Channel Islands Landing Marina and Boatyard names new general manager

CHANNEL ISLANDS — Carl Nelson, an experienced sailor and marina operator, has been named general manager of Channel Islands Landing Marina and Boatyard.

Greg Schem, owner of The Boatyard in Marina del Rey, purchased Channel Islands Landing Marina and Boatyard from Frank Butler two years ago and has been searching for a new general manager to run the large facility ever since. When Chris Tibby, a mutual acquaintance in the industry, told Nelson about the opportunity, he contacted Schem. 

“With all his years experience and expertise in running a large and diverse marina and boatyard, he was the perfect match for our team,” said Schem about hiring Nelson.

“I was literally born into the business. My grandfather and dad were both sailors and worked in shipyards,” said Nelson, adding, “Our property was right across from a boatyard and at the age of 3, I was sailing with my dad.”

Nelson and his family sailed San Francisco Bay aboard their 1939 Baltic 8 meter Symphony that was built for renowned violinist Jascha Heifetz.

“Dad later sold Symphony to the founder of Jelly Belly candy, Marinus van Dam. He also owned a 50-footer called Axel Heyst and kept it moored behind the house in Alameda,” Nelson said. “An artist made a painting of her called ‘Transpacific Racer.’ The painting was purchased by President Ronald Regan and displayed at the White House.”

To feed his passion for sailing, Nelson has owned six boats including a Laser, a Moore 24 called Salt Shaker, Cheers an Olson 30, a McGregor 65, Black Jack and a Sydney 38 called Fair Dinkum. Until his move to Southern California he enjoyed sailing his 22-foot sloop, Folly. 

“We lived near the water in Alameda and my dad and grandfather worked on military vessels and also painted commercial ships. I learned the craft from them,” Nelson said.

In 1984, the family opened a boatyard near their home, later moving it to an airplane hangar at the Alameda Naval Air Station. Nelson Marine, one of the largest in the area remained at that location with Nelson at the helm until 2013.

But, in 2013, Google took over the space. 

“After the lease was up, I struck out on my own. Following the teachings of my father and his father and all the years in the industry, I figured with my contacts I’d make a go of it on my own,” Nelson stated.

After nearly three years of working freelance, he missed the camaraderie that comes with working with like-minded people. 

“I am so glad to be here. I live right across the east channel and can see the boatyard and marina from my place. As general manager, I oversee the entire facility including the boatyard, marina, dry storage and handle 98 percent of all the bid work,” Nelson said.

As the facility continues to grow there are plans to add the capability to handle commercial vessels.

“We are currently going through the permitting process to install larger piers (that were previously approved by the Coastal Commission) to accommodate a 150-ton or 200-ton Travelift. With this installation, we believe we have an opportunity to collect business from San Francisco to San Diego,” Nelson said.

He and Schem also have plans to lease out an area of the boat services building to subcontractors, something Nelson did at his boatyard in Alameda.

“We will have a village of shipwrights to coordinate any type of repair on site,” Nelson said.”It’s a very different pace here, slower and friendlier. I am so glad to be here.”

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