Hospitality meets Hollywood
Caddyshack yacht available as Airbnb on Kent Island, MD
Think Caddyshack and it's easy for me to recall the boat scene as Rodney Dangerfield's character wreaks havoc on the marina and plunges his anchor through a sailboat, hollering, "Hey, you scratched my anchor!"
Today, that anchor is mooring Seafood, the celebrated yacht in the 1980 classic comedy, off of the Chesapeake Bay on Kent island. The luxury boat was recently transformed into an Airbnb. Those looking for a unique get-away will enjoy a stay on this slice of Hollywood fame.
Captain Rich Schott, whose fleet of charter fishing boats is also docked on the island, purchased the 60-foot Striker yacht last spring and has since restored the vessel to its glory days. He said, "The boat offers a nostalgic vacation for Caddyshack fans but also provides a romantic retreat or a tranquil escape for anyone looking for a yacht-style stay on the bay. It's not just an Airbnb; it's a destination within itself."
Guests have access to the entire yacht, which offers the homey comforts needed for a restful vacation. And if they want to leave the berth for a sightseeing cruise, a bareboat charter can be arranged.
On a recent afternoon, the captain and his first mate Jen Bennett welcomed family and friends aboard Seafood for a sightseeing cruise around the bay. I was lucky to be among them. Walking towards the yacht, the first thing I noticed was its commanding presence, dwarfing other boats bobbing nearby. Yet, I sensed nothing pretentious about this gentle giant as I approached it, and boaters docked nearby were quick to welcome me to the "neighborhood" as they call it.
Outside, the yacht retains its classic Seafood design, glistening white with a blue hull and a red stripe from bow to stern. Custom-designed railings and cushions are featured throughout and embroidered with quotes from the movie, such as "You scratched my anchor" across the stern's back, and "I get no respect" on the matching captain and mate chairs at the helm.
Inside, light reflected off the bay, giving the salon a welcoming glow. Here, in the living area, there's a mix of nostalgic and contemporary elements, such as classic 80s Atari games and a flat screen TV.
Rooms are outfitted with engineered plank flooring and enhanced with nautical decor. A few touches of cinematic
references are showcased, such as autographed pictures of Caddyshack stars, a trivia game and DVD. And, push a button on the fuzzy little gopher perched by the TV and it will dance and sing, "I'm Allright," just like the menacing varmint did in the movie!
The captain noted that the boat comfortably sleeps six; the master stateroom has a queen-size bed and en-suite bathroom with shower, and two cozy berths also have private bathrooms.
The modern galley, which overlooks the salon, is well equipped for a microwave snack or gourmet meal. Several restaurant options are also available nearby for guests who choose to dine out, and the art and entertainment district is just a few miles away for those who want to experience the island's culture.
Prior to the cruise , the captain talked briefly about life jackets and safety. He also mentioned that the fridge was stocked with cold drinks, including Fresca, the citrusy soda mentioned in a humorous Caddyshack scene.
And we were off! The captain blasted the musical horn from the movie; nearby boaters came in for a closer look, waving and taking pictures. We waved back and sailed away!
A few minutes into the journey, I noticed an osprey gracefully patrolling the bay for a fresh fish dinner. Along the way, we had a panoramic view of the majestic Chesapeake Bay Bridge which links the Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas to Kent Island and other coastal destinations on the eastern shore. We passed Thomas Point Lighthouse, a Chesapeake Bay icon that dates back to 1824, and enjoyed the 18th century charm of Annapolis's bustling harbor.
The scenic cruise is an option for Seafood lodgers, but the captain believes the yacht's greatest appeal is the restorative time it offers - a time to put the phone away and plug into the rhythm of the bay.
Jen said, "Coffee doesn't get any better than when drinking it on the bow and watching a sunrise. And it's a remarkable experience to capture a fiery sunset as it sinks into the bay."
Rich echoes those sentiments, adding, "Spending time on Seafood is a great way to embrace the serenity and natural beauty of the bay and let your worries drift away."
About the Captain
Captain Rich grew up in the Midwest where he discovered a passion for fishing early in life. As a young adult, he heard the sea calling and answered - with a dream to turn his passion into a career. Today, his fleet of charter fishing boats lines the marina on Kent Island.
He never thought about venturing into the Airbnb business until last spring when the legendary yacht from Caddyshack came on the market. Nostalgia kicked in as he remembered seeing the classic movie in his youth. His interest peaked further when he learned the boat was berthed at a private dock in Pasadena, MD, just a few miles from his home. "I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that described the boat as a total piece of junk, so I didn't know what to expect. I'll admit it looked pretty rough," he said.
The late John Digiulian had purchased the Striker several years earlier with intentions to restore it. The boat, named Big Dog at the time, had been bobbing at the dock since John died in 2014. Earlier this year, his brother Leonard offered to sell it for his sister-in-law.
During negotiations, Rich talked to Dick Philips of Florida whose late father Herbert Philips founded the Striker yacht Corporation in 1951. Dick was familiar with Strikers, so the movie producers hired him as a body double for Dangerfield in the boat scene. "Several yacht owners have claimed title to Caddyshack's official boat, but I remember its hull number was 2, so when I saw that number on Big Dog I was able to confirm its authenticity," Dick said.
Although the yacht wasn't much to look at, Rich knew that it was designed to be seaworthy and reliable. Leonard assured him that the engine was sound. While other prospective buyers focused on the negatives, Captain Rich zeroed in on the potential. He purchased the boat, and sure enough it was a smooth ride all the way to the marina. "Buying the boat was the easy part. The biggest challenge was the cosmetics; I didn't know where to start," he said.
So he started from scratch. For months, he immersed himself in the labor intensive process of refurbishing the vessel's interior and exterior, being attentive to every hiccup along the way. He decided on a down-to-the studs rehab on parts of the interior. When finished, Jen added homey touches, transforming it into a cozy floating home.
Meanwhile, Rich continued to work on the exterior, tackling a lengthy to-do list throughout the summer. "It's one of the most satisfying challenges I've ever taken on," he said. During the restoration, he also had the boat professionally painted.
While sweating away the summer, Rich recalls one day that brought more laughter than perspiration. His fellow captains and friends at the marina had taken an interest in the cinematic history of Seafood. While Rich was working on the bow, he heard laughter coming from the dock. Joe White, the marina's manager, was snapping pictures of a gopher nosing around the dock. "I couldn't believe it," he said conjuring up memories of the pesky gopher, a leading character in one of Caddyshack's iconic scenes.
Today, Seafood is "guest worthy" as well as seaworthy. Let the credits roll as Captain Rich and Jen open their luxurious Airbnb. The captain has just two requests "Respect the boat" and "Don't scratch the anchor!"
For more information, contact Captain Rich at (410) 703-2760.