Leadership

It all started with Ruth Ann and Wally Lesynski who embarked on a life-changing journey that would set the course for their family, building MMYB from the ground up, almost 7 decades ago.
Today, Jay Jr., second generation, and Jay III, third generation, are at the wheel of their legacy.

 

Both Jays were brought up in the Merri-Mar boatyard and started working when they were barely old enough to tie a bowline. Enjoy this snapshot of a few reflective conversations.

Jay Lesynski Jr.
President

Early days:

 

Jay was a liveaboard with Ruthann, Wally & sister Merri-Lee, year-round at the marina aboard the Sea Princess, a Lesynski-built 38’ cedar and mahogany flybridge sedan that the family called home for 18 years. He recalls that one of his many yard jobs as a youngster was as a “roller gatherer”, responsible for moving cedar “rollers” underneath cradles when the boats came off the rails, the key to moving boats around the yard at the time.

 

Education:

 

Jay graduated from Newburyport High School. While in school, he played several sports, hockey being his favorite. At the same time, Jay was immersed in the family business. He is a firm believer that his real education came from hard work, which continues every day at Merri-Mar.

 

Favorite memory:

 

Jay’s adventurous spirit was teased for years watching Wally and a select few drop into Deep Princess, the one-person submersible that Wally built, and take her for a dive. Then there was that magic day when Wally felt he was “ready” and gave Jay clearance to take her for his first underwater voyage.

 

Lesser-known fact:

 

Jay loves to be underwater. Be it with a tank & regulator, or aboard the Deep Princess, Jay has clocked many hours submerged, exploring, and salvaging.

 

Home:

 

Jay and his wife Debra have known each other for most of their lives. They both earned their 100-ton USCG Licenses together. They have sailed extensively Downeast ME, to the Bahamas, and all through the Caribbean with more cruising on the horizon. They live in Newburyport with their Schipperkes, Tug & Tiller.

Jay Lesynski III
VP/General Manager

Early days:

 

When Jay was young he split his time between Plum Island and Merri-Mar…beaching and boats…in the surf…running skiffs…living IN the water and ON the water 24/7. Being ON the “water” continued through the winter, with Jay starting to play ice hockey when he was about 5. As he says, “It was not a bad way to grow up”.

 

Education:

 

Jay continued to play hockey through high school while learning the business and working at Merri-Mar. He graduated from Newburyport High School and wrapped up his senior year playing hockey at the TD Garden. Jay attended Johnson & Wales for business for a short time. Ultimately, he decided that he needed to follow his passion for all things maritime and get back to being hands-on at Merri-Mar.

 

Favorite Memory:

 

Learning from Wally happened daily. One of Jay’s earliest and favorite memories was when they were building the Marine Hauler and Wally taught him the concept of welding when he was about 6 years old. YES, 6 years old. The bond forged through learning to weld with Wally at such a young age had a tremendous impact and likely set the stage for Jay’s talents as a fabricator. He can make just about anything out of anything.

 

Lesser-known fact:

 

Jay and his grandfather Wally were great buddies. With the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, they went to the Whistling Kettle in Amesbury for breakfast every day for about 10 years, Breakfast takes on a whole new meaning when you are counter-side 7 days a week. The Whistling Kettle folks would test out the daily specials on Jay to off-set his boredom with breakfast fare.

 

Home:

 

Jay and his wife Lisa have enjoyed a wonderful long-term relationship together. They married in Jamaica in December of 2022 and live in Newburyport with their Old English Bulldog, Stanley. Lisa and Jay welcomed their first grandchild in January of this year. Callie Rose is quickly becoming Jay’s North Star.

Billy Keefe


Known as MMYB’s front-line, go-to coach, and boat project therapist, Billy has been managing the MMYB Parts department and Ship’s Store for 14 years. If you stop by the Store, particularly in the Spring and Fall, you might think you stepped into a rowdy family reunion, with Billy juggling a queue of salties looking for parts and advice, swapping notes, and sharing tales of the season.

 

Born in Exeter, and raised in Hampton NH, Billy has been a Granite State-er since his beginnings. When Billy was 12 his Dad bought a 37 ft wooden Jones Porter lobster boat, Green Eyed Lady, and ran it out of Hampton. That, shall we say was “only the beginning” and Billy set sites on his future as a commercial fisherman.

 

During the summer months, through grade & high school, Billy worked on a number of fishing charters & party boats out of Hampton. He was a “pier rat” with his lifelong friend Derek, both picking up odd jobs, getting in trouble, and just biding time until they graduated from Winnacunnet HS in 1993. He started out on the Jeri Ann, a gillnetter out of Portsmouth, NH. For the next 17 years, he fished for mostly groundfish (pollack, cod, redfish, monkfish, etc.), “accidental tuna”, and lobster, on more than a dozen boats up until the increasingly unreasonable commercial fishing regulations forced him out as one of many “government displaced commercial fisherman” in 2010. Shortly after, he landed at MMYB, where he combined his deep knowledge of mechanics, troubleshooting, and a working life on the water, with an extensive familiarity with the waterscape from the Gulf of Maine to The Hauge (Canada fishing line) & points South, to launch a new career on terra firma. This was quite a welcome change of course, that not only combined his comprehensive knowledge of the maritime industry with the ability and stability to support his family life, but provides MMYB clients and industry partners with an incredibly valuable resource for all things maritime. Billy is a certified technician with VOLVO, Cummins, and YANMAR, along with ABYC certification.

 

In 2021, Billy and his wife Renee, transformed their lives by “officially” welcoming Callie and Dominic (niece/nephew) into their family. They are new homeowners (2022) and live in Seabrook. In his “off-time”, Billy fits in early AM fishing trips, afternoons at the beach with his family, and sneaks in some surfing and off-road motorcycling when he can. He also is very involved in his kids’ afterschool activities and recently signed on as President of the Boosters for his son’s Wrestling Team at Winnacunnet High School.

 

An unknown secret about Billy, and this is not a fish tale…he is an avid fan of Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathons. Seriously!?!

Jenn Manson

Jenn, aka “Jenn with two N’s” or “Sassy”, landed at Merri-Mar in the Spring of 2023 and is the newest member of the crew. She is an Amherst NH native who landed in Newburyport in 2005.

 

Jenn has worked in various administrative, management, and customer service roles for businesses that ranged from health & wellness to motorcycles to wine. Early in her career, Jenn was a certified personal trainer and Manager on Duty for Executive Health & Sports Center, a huge fitness and wellness complex in Manchester NH. At the same time, she volunteered as an EMT and firefighter. Before heading to MA, she worked for Harley Davidson in Manchester, then worked for Life is Good,
Traveling Vineyards, and The Financial Advisors in Newburyport.

 

Jenn lives on the Merrimack River in Haverhill with her partner in crime Mark, and their beloved beagle-mix pup Georgia. When she isn’t at work, she enjoys playing with a myriad of water toys that fill the nice weather with weekend boating excursions, jetskiing with eyes closed heading out of the mouth of the Merrimack, and paddle boarding with her co-captain Georgia. Ironically, Jenn’s aquatic passions float exclusively above the surface - she is secretly and genuinely horrified by anything that “lurks” below the water line.

 

A hidden gem about Jenn is that she comes from a musical family and learned to play the piano by ear at a young age, and guitar as a young adult. She still plays when inspired and always has a new song on deck.

Brandon Crigger


Brandon's deep connection with water is rooted in his beginnings, growing up in Michigan's Great Lakes Region, developing a passion for fishing and water sports at an early age. His career started in construction with a degree in Construction Management in Michigan, but his love for the ocean led him to Ft. Lauderdale in 2006, where he launched his career in the maritime industry. He earned his Master Scuba Diver status and a 100-ton USCG License, in Ft. Lauderdale, then set off on an 8-year global adventure aboard private Motor Yachts, clocking 150,000+ nautical miles, traversing Italy, Greece, Turkey, and the Bahamas and Caribbean.

 

He then headed to New England, where he met his wife Nicole and her dog Hani, and here he stayed! Before joining Merri-Mar, he spent 3 years as captain & crew with Coastal Discoveries in Newburyport. Brandon has been an integral member of the MMYB Team since 2016. His diverse and global maritime experience, combined with integrity and a genuine affinity for all things maritime, offers clients a deep understanding of what it takes to match their wish list with their dream boat.

 

Brandon lives in Stratham NH with his wife Nicole, and two sons Chase and Cameron. What most folks don’t know about Brandon, is that his salty endeavors land-stage-side as a Donald Duck impersonator.

Cari Lord


Cari grew up in upstate NY, spending most of her time outside enjoying the Adirondack region and pursuing her life as a “creative” in music and the arts. At a young age, she realized that if left idle her adventurous spirit would get her into trouble so she jumped into college early, attending Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington MA. Her continued journey east was driven by her education, earning her BA in Russian and Fine Arts from the State University of NY at Albany, and her Masters from Lesley University in Cambridge.

 

In the beginning of her career, Cari trained in paper/art conservation and served as an archivist for the City/County of Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute & the Harvard Theatre Collection. Her path segued into fundraising where she honed in on revitalizing philanthropy programs for non-profits that spanned healthcare, academic, and cultural missions. She held executive positions at several non-profits, including the Newburyport Maritime Society, and worked for a consulting firm delivering fundraising, strategic planning, and executive search services for about 7 years.

 

On the salty side of life, Cari crewed for a few years on the Alexandra Rose a 37’ ketch out of Salem MA. In 2006 she met Captain Tim, who skippered many vessels one being the Schooner Adventure out of Gloucester. Cari crewed weekends on several boats with Tim at the helm including many years on New Horizons, a 60’ motorsailer out of Boston and Kennebunkport, and Adirondack III an 80’ schooner out of Boston. While on New Horizons, she crewed OpSail 2012, a tall ships event with parades of sail from New York to Norfolk. Cherished times were spent cruising the BVI, with a soft spot for Jost Van Dyke & Virgin Gorda.

 

Cari has been with Merri-Mar for a little over a year fine-tuning branding and communications, writing grants, and learning the brokerage side of the business. A not-so-lesser-known fact about Cari is that she recently got back into painting and is showing and selling her artwork. She lives on Lake Attitash in Amesbury with her butterscotch kitties Duff & Aesa.

Craftsmen & Crew
Eric Batchelder


Raised on the Parker River in Newbury, Eric comes from a large, long line of mariners. Be it fishing, cruising, water sports, and/or “hanging on the Plum Island sandbar”, he recalls his family heading out for day trips en-masse, as many times as possible during the season. When he was a kid, his father built a 35’ Duffy that offered opportunity for many family excursions to points north, mostly in Maine. Eric went to Tritan Regional High School, then Whittier Regional Technical Vocational High School where he graduated with a degree in electrical technology. Before Whitter, Eric was selected to participate in the People to People Student Ambassador Program, an immersive travel experience and cultural exchange that sent him to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia where he met with local dignitaries, took part in summits and UN meetings, and enjoyed a variety of outdoor adventures.

 

On the work front, Eric bounced around North Shore marinas including Parker River Marine Sports, Curtis Custom Marine, Crockers, and Riverfront Marina working the docks and in yards. He worked for several employers honing his skills in roofing, electrical work, masonry, operating heavy equipment, and truck driving. He drove for Coca-Cola and Action Paving before landing with Hall & Moscow for about 5 years where he worked in many capacities including building the Institution for Savings’ clocktower in Gloucester and creating the extensive signature waterfall at the Hillside Center for Sustainable Living in Newburyport. He was with TRUE Homes & Design creating outdoor spaces when he heard that Merri-Mar was looking for help so he jumped at the opportunity. He has been working here for about a year…doing a little bit of everything.

 

Besides cruising around in his 22’ Chris-Craft, when not at work, Eric is into a variety of board sports and competitive mountain biking. He lives in Newbury with his girlfriend Renata, cat Smitty, and dog, Ivan.

 

An unusual truth about Eric is that “he has the propensity to finding his way to bad things”, like rescuing folks from boat accidents, finding missing deceased bodies in the Merrimack, and being the first on the scene of a nasty car crash. Being in the right place at the wrong time, or wrong place at the right time, has a few of the Newbury elders raising an eyebrow as far as Eric’s timing.

David Dunham


Although David was raised in Rowley MA, his Mother’s “Newfie” roots and stories attached to her legacy remain an evident part of his make-up. David’s memories of visiting family, and “earning cash jigging for cod” and other related activities off the Newfoundland coast, make it no surprise that he landed in the maritime industry.

 

After David graduated from Triton Regional High School, he took night classes at various vocational schools while testing his interest in machinery in his day jobs. He settled into his 23-year tenure at Winninghoff Boats where he fine-tuned his expertise in welding, primarily aluminum boats, and fuel and hydraulic tanks, earning his welding certification for USCG Chapter T (passenger) vessels. While at Winninghoff he built thousands of fuel tanks, and 150+ aluminum boats ranging from flatbottomed skiffs and fire boats, to large commercial vessels. A boat of note is the Henry Longfellow, a 65 ft riverboat still in service operating charters on the Charles River. He then started with Merri-Mar where he has done “a little bit of everything” for the past 19 years.

 

Running parallel to his career in the maritime industry was a solid trek as a musician, playing bass in a band known as the 60’s Invasion. At their high point, they were averaging 40+ gigs per year. David finally retired (for the most part) about 2 years ago.

 

A lesser-known fact about David’s life is that he has spent Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends camping with his compadres from high school since 1980…that’s twice annually for the past 44 years!

 

David lives in Madbury NH with his wife Nancy of 31 years, and their two cats Thelma Lu and Toodles.

Mike Fortin


When you think of Merri-Mar and engine service, Mike Fortin has to come to mind. Mike is our veteran in-house engine expert.

 

Mike is originally from the Andover/Lawrence area. He attended the Greater Lawrence Technical School and graduated with a focus on engines, more specifically machine tool technology. He spent the earlier days of his career in the automotive industry where he sank into his craft for about 10 years. He then dove into the marine industry working on boat motors for Riverfront Marine in Salisbury MA for the next 10 years. Next stop Merri-Mar, where he will be celebrating his 25th anniversary this year. He is the go-to guy for all engine mechanicals and electrical systems, transmissions, outdrives, and diagnostic work, and is certified as a Cummins, Yanmar, Mercruiser, Volvo Penta, Northern Lights, and Kohler generators technician.

 

When not at work, Mike is happily maneuvering through his Grandson’s rigorous sports schedule. Kole, age 10, keeps both of his grandparents on the fly through overlapping seasons of basketball, baseball, football, wrestling, karate and soon-to-be on deck, dirt biking. It's no surprise that Mike’s 2 Albemarles haven’t clocked many engine hours over the past several years, but the family does manage to squeeze in water time with his extended tribe in the Lake Winnipesaukee & Ossipee regions.

 

A lesser-known tidbit about Mike is that he is a newlywed. After 14 years, he and his wife Angie tied the knot in the summer of 2023. They live in Elliott ME with their grandson Kole, and feline friend Kaylie.

Sean Hussey


When you first meet Sean, you think- “what a nice guy”, “he’s so polite & mellow”, little would you ever think that under that flannel shirt beats the heart of a card-carrying adrenaline junkie.

 

Originally from New Milford CT, Sean graduated from Ridgefield High School, landing jobs “doing everything on boats” all through school. After he graduated, he headed west to Big Powder Country, landing in Durango CO, attending Fort Lewis College. Over his 5-year tenure in CO, he held all kinds of jobs having to do with ski-resort life – fitting boots, waxing skis, ski rentals, etc. His favorite job was a 2-year stint working the Gondola at Telluride.

 

He headed back east after college and worked for Sound Sailing for 2 years, then Norwalk Cove Marina for another 5 years. This is where he really cut his teeth on rigging, and got into the racing circuit, sailing in the St. Thomas International Regatta twice, Key West Race Week, and in the 2016 Newport to Bermuda Race his boat placed 4th in their division.

 

It was around this time that he met his now wife Sarah. He moved to Peabody MA, Sarah’s hometown, and began to search for a job in the maritime industry on the North Shore. In 2020, Sean walked into MMYB and asked, “Hey, do you need any help”? The rest is history. Over the last 4 years, Sean has plugged into all aspects of the service side of the business but is found most often skyward in a bosun’s chair or our manlift, stepping and un-stepping masts, and working his rigging magic on deserving sailboats throughout the season.

 

Sarah and Sean exchanged vows in 2023, and live in Raymond NH with bestie canine Murphy, a Shephard-Lab mix.
When asked about an unknown fact about himself, Sean admitted that he can solve any Rubix Cube, be it a 3X3, 4X4 or 5X5 cube Cube, in a minute and a half!

Slide

Merri-Mar Yacht Basin Inc.
364 Merrimac Street
Newburyport, MA 01950
Phone: (978) 465-3022
Fax: (978) 465-1443

HOURS
MON – FRI : 8 AM - 5 PM

BROKERAGE is also open by appointment on weekends.