Living It Up

The Lanz family enjoys the pleasures of boating

January 2021 Feature Heather Magda Serrano

Jim Lanz enjoys nothing more than boating on Lake Ontario with his wife Shannon and 11-year-old daughter Juliana. They enjoy exploring all the wonders of the lake together on their Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349, and have found the perfect base at their local yacht club in Rochester, N.Y.

Whether they’re hanging out and socializing with their friends at the Rochester Yacht Club or exploring the various nooks and crannies of Lake Ontario, the Lanz family always has a wonderful time together.

Community & Family

The Rochester Yacht Club gives them an ideal atmosphere with its close-knit, family-friendly atmosphere. “It’s a great little community,” shared Shannon.

Jim agreed, describing how boating neighbors usually come right up to each other and strike up a conversation. Before they know it, there’s usually a collection of people laughing together and enjoying each other’s company.

The Lanzs has now been a member of the yacht club for five years. Before moving to the area, Jim had raced sailboats here, and then they moved to the Rochester a little over 20 years ago. A big reason they started looking into joining a yacht club was really for their daughter Juliana.

When they saw the Rochester Yacht Club had some wonderful junior programs for kids, they knew it was something they wanted for their daughter, especially since they had gone without a boat for a while. Jim and his wife knew they wanted boating to be a part of Juliana’s life.

“It was exactly what we were looking for: a family and a community,” explained Jim. “A lot of our friends were already members here, and it was a good experience to be able to find a place where kids had good, professional and trustworthy role models. They can really be free and go out and learn things like sailing.”

Living only four miles away from the club, the Lanzs try to make the most of their membership with the club and spend plenty of time there even in the off-season.

Year-Round Fun

Since the Rochester Yacht Club is a year-round club, the restaurant and everything remains open even in the winter months. In fact, sailboat racing continues in the winter with single person interclub 14 and large 1 meter radio-controlled fleet.

“It’s a big thing that we have a year-round club because that means people from other clubs can come and hang out at our bar and eat food,” explained Jim. “We even have speakers come on Wednesdays.”

“We also have masquerade balls and fun things like that,” added Shannon. “It’s really nice because we can head down to the club and Juliana can play with her friends in the playroom.”

Staying Involved

The Lanzs enjoy staying involved in the club community and helping others experience the joys of boating like them. Jim even teaches adult sailing classes in order to share his passion with others.

He teaches the classes using a type of sailboat called a Sonar. These make the ideal learning vessels for students because they are comfortable and user-friendly. In fact, these are the same kinds of boat they use in the Paralympics. Jim likes to invite paraplegics of all different levels once or twice a year so that they can experience sailing while he helps them to develop their skills as sailors.

Jim has had countless wonderful experiences working with the disabled community and he immensely enjoys helping those with special needs learn to sail. He feels privileged to have worked with highly talented disabled sailors during his career as a sailing instructor.

Boating Explorations

Jim had the pleasure of growing up sailing on Lake Erie in the Buffalo, N.Y., area, so he’s become very familiar with both Erie and Ontario. He explained that, in comparison to Lake Erie, Ontario has a lot of bays close to them that are only about 30 to 40 minutes away. This makes it easy for them to grab a bite to eat, stay the night, and then move on to the next bay since everything is really close together.

Now they love exploring the lake together, discovering the unique and awesome places along the way. They enjoy the different parks for their beautiful, scenic nature. One of the areas the family enjoys frequenting is the Thousand Islands, which consists of around 1,800 small islands that straddle the United States and Canadian border. This beautiful area offers plenty of beauty and exploration for the family.

“We just drop anchor at the Thousand Islands and raft to one another,” explained Jim’s wife. “We’ll usually swim and get out the kayaks to play and have fun.”

Built To Cruise

Their Jeanneau 349 sailboat is perfect for all the fun expeditions the family enjoys. When they were first in the market for a family boat, they had a hard time finding the perfect fit because all the boats they looked at were either too expensive or required too much work.

In order to find their perfect vessel, the Lanz family started attending various boat shows. They would scour each show and it took them about two years before they were finally able to narrow their search down to their current vessel.

“We liked the inside layout of this boat and how we could do the three-cabin configuration,” explained Shannon. “That way we could have the third place be like a small garage area.”

This sort of extra space was crucial to the Lanz family so that they would be able to store boating items such as standup paddle boards, kayaks, rafts, extra food and more. “This boat met all of our requirements,” shared Jim. “I really like this boat—I like the design and how it all came together.”

“He could even sail it all by himself if he wanted to,” added Shannon.

The Jeanneau makes excellent use of space, offering the family more room than many other boats of the same size. If the Lanzs were to give someone advice on buying a boat, they explained they would first advise the new buyer to know what they are looking for.

For example, Jim loves to race, but he knew his family boat would never enter a race, so he opted for a boat that specializes in cruising. In the end, their Jeanneau fits this profile perfectly while offering plenty of space, making it the ideal vessel for all his family’s needs.

Boating Bliss

“We consider this boat our cottage on the water,” smiled Shannon. “This is our place to come and enjoy comfortable conversation and each other’s company.”

Looking back on everything, the Lanz’s only regret is that they did not join the Rochester Yacht Club sooner. They were under the impression that the club prices were untouchable, but once they finally looked into it, they realized that it was completely doable. Now they are grateful that they can give Juliana these awesome boating experiences and opportunities.

“I love watching her on the boat,” shared Shannon. “Had we joined earlier, we would’ve been able to spend more time on the boat earlier.” 

“It’s also a lot of fun,” added Jim. “We like to get groups together and we’ll just have the boats out while the kids swim—it’s a fun time.”

For More Information

Jeanneau Boats

Rochester Yacht Club

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