It all started because of a girl.
It was summer 2012 and Anthony DiMare had met someone at a party two weeks before school ended. He invited himself to go visit her in New York City and wanted to do something special.
“I thought, ‘I’ll take her sailing,’” said DiMare, a recent Syracuse University graduate in mechanical engineering. “Beautiful summer day, 85 degrees, nice, consistent breeze, Statue of Liberty, the sunset. It was going to be great. It was going to be the quintessential romantic thing anyone could ever do.”
But as soon as he started researching boats for rent in New York City, he immediately ran into roadblocks: He didn’t have a boating license. He didn’t know how to navigate with charts and maps. It cost upward of $500 an hour. He decided to take her out to dinner instead.
But the seed had been planted, and DiMare started thinking about how a city-dwelling sailor could get on the water more easily.
Not long after, Regattable was born.
Regattable creates portable, collapsible catamaran sailboats that fit into two large suitcases. Unlike other portable boats on the market, DiMare said, they are as substantial as a regular sailboat and can be transported and sailed anywhere. The boats are aimed at those who live in major coastal cities, since owners can easily stow them in an apartment.
“Most boats are made up of empty space,” DiMare said. “If you could just find a way to get rid of all those empty spaces when you’re done with it, compact it all down and make it so it wheeled around right behind you, it’s a totally different outlook to how you would boat in a city.”
DiMare and his team unveiled Regattable’s FC-16 Alpha prototype this past January, the company’s first fully functioning boat. Though there are still some kinks to work out — the finished product will snap together without screws or adhesives — the prototype does all it needs to do: It sails.
“The first boat that we make is going to be targeted toward people that have sailed in the past,” DiMare said. “They probably loved it, it was probably a large part of their life, they maybe sailed in college. They moved on, found a little bit of success and they have a little extra money.”
DiMare said he eventually hopes to make the boat more accessible and will create a second model aimed at first-time sailors. The current model is more expensive than he would like, but he said that's the nature of a new business with a low volume and high-quality materials.
The company will continue to grow now that he's graduated from SU, DiMare said, and he plans to head to California to tap into the sailing industry there. What Regattable really needs, he said, is funding. But after two years of working on it, DiMare said he is willing to do whatever it takes to make the company succeed.
“I want to see this happen. This is something that I really think could be a game changer in the industry, and I want to see this to fruition.”