Cruisers University Instructors

NEW LOCATION: Naval Academy Club at the United States Naval Academy

Presenters are professional, well-known, and experts in their fields.

Andy Batchelor and Lisa Batchelor Frailey

Andy Batchelor and Lisa Batchelor Frailey met at a sailing regatta in Naples Italy while both serving overseas. Upon retirement from their service careers (Andy from the Royal Air Force and Lisa from the US Navy), they attained USCG Masters licenses and American Sailing Association (ASA) instructor credentials, and founded Sail Solomons Sailing School and Charters in 2007. Operating in the Chesapeake and Caribbean, Sail Solomons was awarded ASA’s “Outstanding School” for five consecutive years; Andy and Lisa are frequent recipients of ASA’s “Outstanding Instructor” award. Cruising for two years onboard their Passport 47, the couple took advanced students on ocean passages and charter guests through the Caribbean. They organize and lead annual sailing flotillas on cruising catamarans and monohulls in the Caribbean. Their broad range of experience in cruising, chartering and charter operations enabled them to write the ASA “Bareboat Cruising Made Easy” and “Cruising Catamaran” textbooks. Andy and Lisa launched Kinetic Sailing in 2014 to focus on marine consulting, charter brokerage, deliveries and specialized instruction with a more global scope. Based from Solomons, Maryland, they now conduct advanced sailing and passagemaking courses on their Outbound 46 Kinetic, on which they’ve cruised from New England to the Caribbean, with plans for the Mediterranean in 2018.

Classes:     Cruising in Harmony
                      Night Cruising Demystified
                      Cruising Green: Preserve the Planet and your Wallet


Matt Benhoff

Matt Benhoff, of the Annapolis School of Seamanship, is a lifelong boater having grown up on the Miles River in Maryland sailing and fishing. He began sailing and racing at the age of 14 and quickly learned he had a passion to teach others. Matt was a sailing instructor for the Miles River Yacht Club for five years, teaching racers from beginners to advanced. After finishing two years at college Matt realized his passion was for the water, and in 2006 he joined the Coast Guard. Stationed in Boothbay Harbor Maine, Matt was a boarding officer and coxswain on the 47 foot Motor Life Boat and 25 foot RBS conducting law enforcement and search and rescue missions. 

Classes:    Modern Navigation 
                     Docking and Line Handling

Ben Carey

As a young man, Ben Eriksen Carey, began his life on the water as a commercial shell fisherman in Stonybrook Harbor, NY. Ben earned a degree in Human Ecology from Connecticut College with a focus in marine biology. In 1992 Ben attended Sea Education Association’s Sea Semester program, which was followed by many professional experiences aboard schooners and a US Coast Guard Master’s License. Ben began his live aboard life aboard Elizabeth a 28ft cutter, where he met his wife, Teresa, and traveled alongside her 27ft sloop for several years. Both professional mariners, licensed captains, and educators, they co-founded Morse Alpha (, and offer expedition style sail-training aboard their Norseman 447, Rocinante. They specialize in offshore and coastal sailing in some of the most rugged environments. Teresa and Ben’s programs are unique in that they teach no only the technical skills, but also leadership, positive communication, and effective problem solving.  They are co-captains and partners aboard, in business, and in life. Together they also started Hello Ocean (, a project of The Ocean Foundation designed to connect sailors to ocean science and conservation. They also co-produced with Doctrine Creative a sailing/adventure film called One Simple Question ( 

Classes:  Rules of the Road


Dr. Jim Chimiak

Medical Director, Divers Alert Network

  • Family Medicine, ER, Anesthesiology, Pain Medicine, Flight Surgeon and Diving Medicine
  • Board certified Anesthesiology, Pain Medicine and Undersea Medicine
  • Graduate: USNA “79, UNC Chapel Hill and Duke
  • Sailing Instructor, Newport RI
  • Navigator Mixed Gas Diving Vessel
  • Navy Special Operations Officer
  • Enjoys boating, kayaking/canoeing, sailing

Classes: Minimizing Medical Issues

Jimmy Cornell

Jimmy Cornell has sailed over 200,000 miles in all oceans of the world, including three circumnavigations as well as two voyages to Antarctica and a successful transit of the Northwest Passage. Jimmy Cornell has organized 30 transatlantic and six round the world rallies attended by over 15,000 sailors. Jimmy Cornell’s seminars are based on his extensive knowledge of offshore cruising, as well as from the experience gained from dealing with so many different boats and sailors.

Classes:  Planning a Voyage to 3 Destinations
                 Successful Voyaging
                 World Cruising Today

Behan Gifford

Behan has sailed more than 50,000 miles with her husband, Jamie, and their three children. When they set off from the Pacific Northwest in 2008 aboard their Stevens 47, Totem, Niall was 9, Mairen was 6, and Siobhan was 4. Since then they’ve visited 34 countries, from Mexico to Madagascar. Before cruising, the Giffords lived in Bainbridge Island, Washington, where Behan built a career in management consulting, software marketing, and digital advertising. She holds master’s degrees in international studies and business administration. Behan maintains a blog for SAIL magazine and chronicles her family’s adventures at

Classes:  Cruising Women – Monday and Tuesday, all day
                 Communications for Cruisers
                 Cruising & Healthcare
                 Dollars & Sense
                 Pleasurable Passagemaking
                 Top 10 Cruising Destinations
                 Top Newbie Cruiser Mistakes

Wendy Hinman

Wendy Hinman is a regular speaker on preparing yourself and boat for offshore voyaging at yacht clubs and boat shows around the country, including the Strictly Sail Boat Show, Seattle Boat Show, Wooden Boat Festival and others. She has published articles in a variety of publications and is the award-winning author of two books: Tightwads on the Loose and Sea Trials.

Wendy Hinman grew up sailing and has been sailing for more than 40 years. She taught sailing in the Chesapeake Bay and has cruised and raced in venues around the globe in all sorts of boats as skipper and crew, sometimes winning. She spent seven years at sea, sailing 34,000 miles aboard her 31 foot cutter, Velella, with her husband. She enjoyed it so much, she never wanted to stop voyaging. You can read about her adventures in Tightwads on the Loose, which has earned rave reviews and won awards. Her second book, Sea Trials, details the story of the Wilcox family’s determined quest to circumnavigate despite being shipwrecked. Of Sea Trials, Sailing Magazine writes “A captivating narrative, full of suspense and colorful descriptions … Readers of all ages will enjoy this story and the skill with which it is told.” You can learn more on Wendy Hinman and her writing on her website and read snippets from her voyage blog at She and her husband are currently building a boat for more cruising adventures.

Classes:  Keeping Your Relationship Afloat

Jeff Jordan

Jeff has been sailing for 44 years, and has been at J World for 12 years.  He has logged over 10,000 offshore miles.  More than a dozen boats have been equipped by him for offshore voyages.  Jeff has extensive sailing experience in the Great Lakes, Eastern Seaboard, Florida and the Caribbean, and brings a wealth of knowledge to his seminars.

Classes:  Sail Trim for Control

Mia Karlsson

Mia Karlsson started sailing in 2006. Since then, she’s crossed the Atlantic four times and has logged over 30,000 offshore miles. She & her husband Andy Schell run ocean passage expeditions on their Swan 48 ‘Isbjorn’, sailing 10,000 miles per year on both sides of the Atlantic & as far north as the Arctic. Mia’s photography has appeared in Spinsheet, SAIL, Yachting World & other sailing publications & she’s a producer of the sailing interview podcast ‘On the Wind’. Mia & Andy live in Sweden. Follow her online at

Classes:  The Offshore Galley


Jeff Grossman and Jean Levine

Jeff and Jean assist couples in realizing their sailing dreams with their company Two Can Sail. They work with one couple at a time to provide cruising lifestyle training including; boat shopping/purchase, surveying, and personal training aboard the couple’s boat. Jeff has been actively boating over 45 years, sailing as Captain since the age of 15. Jean has been sailing since she was12 years old on vessels ranging from sunfish to 80’ schooners. Jean is an Accredited Marine Surveyor (AMS), a member of the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) and is ABYC Standards Certified. Jeff holds an Electrical/Computer Engineering degree and has worked with almost all forms of electronic navigation. Jeff is also a licensed Buyers Broker. Both Jeff and Jean are 100GT Masters, ASA Certified Sailing Instructors and together have sailed over 170 different models of sailboats. 

Classes:  Anchoring and Docking; Tips & Tactics

John Martino

Captain John Martino holds a 500 Gross Ton, All-Oceans captain’s license from the US Coast Guard. He is an experienced professional captain with a 20-year background in marine training, as well as more than 1500 sea days upon waters ranging from the Great Lakes to Panama.John has served as captain on ocean-going vessels up to 105 feet, and has done extensive yacht delivery work. As founder and president of Annapolis School of Seamanship, he produces and leads courses ranging from basic navigation and seamanship for recreational boaters to professional mariner training for licensed captains up to 200 gross tons. John also writes boat reviews for Chesapeake Bay Magazine. 

Classes:  Safety at Sea

Ralph Naranjo

Ralph Naranjo’s new book The Art of Seamanship has recently been published by McGraw-Hill and is a comprehensive look at boat handling, weather, navigation and crew development. Ralph is the Technical Editor of Practical Sailor Magazine, and a regular contributor to Cruising World and Chesapeake Bay Magazines.. During his ten year tenure as the Vanderstar Chair at the US Naval Academy, he coordinated safety and seamanship training for midshipman and played a key role in the design evolution of the new sail training sloops purchased by the Navy.
His offshore and coastal resume includes extensive cruising under both sail and power. Bermuda, Hawaii and transatlantic passages are familiar territory.  He and his wife and two young children spent five years engaged in a voyage around the world. In the 1980s, he managed the full service boatyard, and has been a regular presence in technical journals focusing predominantly on marine topics. During the past 17 years he has moderated US Sailing Safety at Sea Seminars, and also serves as an adjunct lecturer at the Annapolis School of Seamanship. He resides in Annapolis, MD and still favors spending as much time on the water as possible.

Classes:   Safety at Sea for Cruisers

John and Amanda Neal

John Neal was born on the banks of Africa’s Blue Nile River. At the age of 22 his love of adventure and travel fueled a desire to sail to the South Pacific from Seattle aboard his 27′ Vega sloop. Log of Mahina chronicled his voyage and adventures and became a best seller. To answer the frequently-asked question, “How can I find and prepare a boat for ocean voyaging?” he conducted the first of now 156 Offshore Cruising Seminars in 1976. In 1990, to meet the requests for hands-on offshore instruction, John established Mahina Expeditions with the goal of sharing his knowledge of ocean voyaging in a safe and supportive environment. John has conducted 171 sail-training expeditions aboard his Hallbery-Rassy 42, Mahina Tiare II, and Hallberg-Rassy 46, Mahina Tiare III, sailing 342,000 miles in the South Pacific, Caribbean, Patagonia, Antarctica, Atlantic, Scandinavia and the Arctic. John has rounded Cape Horn six times under sail and holds a USCG 100-ton Master’s and private pilot’s licenses.

Amanda Swan Neal grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and sailed to Sausalito, Seattle and Vancouver as a teenager aboard a 38’ sloop she helped her parents build. Upon returning to New Zealand, she became a sailmaker for Hoods and transferred professions to rigging with Noake’s Rigging in Sydney, Australia then Southern Spars in NZ. In 1990 she completed The Whitbread Around the World Race (now The Volvo Race) as rigger aboard Maiden, the first all-women Whitbread boat. Amanda’s 300,000 miles of ocean sailing include two Sydney-Hobart Races, numerous international regattas and seven Cape Horn roundings intermixed with a ten-year involvement in tall ship sail-training. Since joining John in 1994 for Mahina Tiare’s Cape Horn and Antarctic expeditions, Amanda has co-skippered aboard Mahina Tiare. She is author of The Essential Galley Companion and since 2005 has written the monthly Galley Essentials column in 48 North magazine. Amanda enjoys introducing women to the joys of the cruising lifestyle and her personal interests include Celtic step dancing, photography, triathlon training and sewing. She holds a NZ Commercial Launchmaster’s license.

Amanda and John spend seven months at sea sailing 10,000 miles annually. When not at sea, they enjoy winter kayaking from their island home at Roche Harbor, 8 miles east of Victoria, B.C. Their website is:

Between them, they have authored 8 books and contributed many articles to 12 different magazines.

Areas of Experience: Caribbean, Mexico, Atlantic including Azores, Canaries, and Madeira, Patagonia (Chile and Argentina), Cape Horn (six roundings), Antarctica to edge of ice pack, Brazil, Uruguay, Pacific including Galapagos, Panama, Juan Fernandez, Cocos, Clipperton, Easter, Pitcairn, French Polynesia, Cooks, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Wallis, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Alaska, British Columbia. Europe including the Med including Balaerics and Malta, Ireland, England, Scotland, Orkney, Shetland, Norway, Spitsbergen to edge of ice pack, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

Classes: Diesel Essentials with Amanda
                  Selecting an Ocean Cruising Sailboat
                  Short & Single Handed Sailing Techniques
                  Storm Survival Tactics


Lin Pardey

Lin Pardey, with her partner Larry, have over the past 45 years, become among America’s (and the world’s) most knowledgeable and recognized cruising sailors. Together, Lin and Larry built two classic cruising boats and sailed over 200,000 miles, including two circumnavigations – east to west and west to east aboard these engine-free cutters which were both under 30 feet. They delivered and raced more than two dozen other boats ranging from 30 feet to over 65 feet across oceans. Author of a dozen books, countless magazine articles, and five cruising documentaries, Lin has shared her sailing experiences with tens of thousands around the globe prompting many to take up the sport and live the dream of the cruising lifestyle. She is still sailing the waters around New Zealand while traveling to present seminars and at the same time publishing books by other sailing authors.

Classes:  Creating an Unstoppable Boat
                Storm Prep & Tactics
                The Paperwork of Cruising
                Writing, Blogging, and Video

Jody Schroath

Jody Argo Schroath has been an editor at Chesapeake Bay Magazine for the past 10 years, exploring and writing about the extraordinary estuary that is the Chesapeake Bay. She is also a veteran of nearly a dozen passages along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and author of the new Atlantic Coast ICW Planning Guide, published by Chesapeake Bay Media. A lifelong boater in both sail and power boats, she currently cruises out of Annapolis aboard Moment of Zen, a 36-foot Endeavour sailing catamaran, with her two-dog crew, Bindi and Cowboy Bob.

Classes:  Navigating the ICW

Andy Schell

Andy Schell runs offshore sailing expeditions on he & his wife Mia Karlsson’s S&S Swan 48 ‘Isbjorn’, sailing 10,000 miles per year on both sides of the Atlantic & as far north as the Arctic. From 2011-2016 he was event manager for the Caribbean 1500 rally. He is also a contributing editor for SAIL Magazine, hosts the sailing interview podcast ‘On the Wind,’ & produces the new ‘Sailing Stories’ narrative podcast. Andy & Mia live in Sweden & can be found online at

Classes:  Crossing the Gulf Stream
                   Offshore Yacht Rigging

John Stefancik

As Publisher of Chesapeake Bay Magazine, John Stefancik spends time on the water aboard his center console powerboat, racing sailboats of all sizes, and cruising the Bay. Born and raised into a boating family, John shared many summers in the v-berth with his brother while his parents took them cruising all over the Chesapeake for weekends and for weeks at a time. He also spent many off-seasons learning and refining marine maintenance skills on an array of his family’s boats. John lives just outside of Annapolis, and cruises with his wife and three children. 

Classes: Exploring MD’s Chesapeake Bay

Mark Thornton

Mark is a 2006 graduate of the Penn State University Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting, a two-year program that develops skills in general, tropical and severe weather forecasting. He maintains a website ( devoted to marine weather education and forecasting resources and is the current president of the local chapter of the American Meteorological Society. Mark is employed as the Vice-President of Administration for the law firm of Wegman, Hessler & Vanderburg and as a Teaching Assistant in the Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting Program at Penn State University.

Mark Thornton began sailing on Lake Erie in 1994 and he and his wife Susan currently own Osprey, a 1985 C&C 35. His interest in weather forecasting grew from his experiences cruising and racing on the Great Lakes. In addition to sailing and weather forecasting, Mark enjoys publishing summaries of interesting weather events and teaching basic weather forecasting skills to recreational boaters. 

Classes:     Marine Weather Forecasting – all day class on Tuesday
                      Weather in Motion: A Primer on Thunderstorms
                      Weather Maps:  What’s with all those Symbols?


Pam Wall

Pam Wall and her husband, Andy, built their own Freya 39 sloop. After taking their two small children around the world on their boat KANDARIK, Pam worked at the West Marine store in Fort Lauderdale for several years. Pam started the Outfitting Program at West Marine where she helped fellow sailors get fully prepared for offshore cruising. Pam’s job at West Marine not only helped cruisers have the right equipment for blue water sailing, but she was also a source of any information on the cruising lifestyle. West Marine sent Pam to many of the boat shows to give seminars on sailing equipment, the cruising lifestyle, and empowering women to really like sailing. You can also become a student of Pam’s at the Bitter End Yacht Clubs annual event “Women on the Water Week” where she is an instructor for women sailors who want to learn more and become confident sailors.

Cruising Women  Monday and Tuesday, all day
A Round Trip Tour of the Abacos
Gear Up – What you Need From Bow to Stern
Great Products I Bet You Don’t Know About
Why Knot – Useful Knots for Boaters

Bob Williams

Bob Williams is the founder and an owner of SALT (Sea-Air-Land Technologies) Service Inc. an organization dedicated to helping clients meet their energy management needs whether in marine or land-based environments.Originally focused on providing yacht builders with fully engineered systems, Bob and his company also address the needs of after market customers, providing them access to energy-related solutions configured for minimum maintenance and maximum efficiency.

Bob is himself an experienced cruiser, holding a 100-Ton USCG license, a licensed private pilot, a state-certified Solar Contractor, and an EPA Section 608 HVAC-certified technician – Type 3. He and his company are experienced in systems as varied as refrigeration and electrical power management on small recreational vessels, to their non-profit “Power Box” program which seeks to provide small communities in developing nations with self-contained, pre-constructed, solar-based power systems. SALT has been working for many years to provide power solutions for villages in developing nations in Africa, the Caribbean, Central America and South America.


Approaches to Cuba & Bahamas via the Gulf Stream
Climate Control Down Below
Offshore Energy Design & Management

The Efficient Boat Fridge

Jim Zima

Jim Zima is the owner of Great Lakes Diesel (GLD) in Huron, Ohio. In addition to maintaining, repairing, and re-powering marine diesels Jim teaches numerous seminars on diesel engines. GLD is the largest certified Yanmar dealer on Lake Erie, and is a certified dealer for Westerbeke, Universal, and Kubota.

Jim was just six weeks old when he first went sailing.  Since then he has enjoyed club racing, the IOR Lake Erie Circuit, and several Port Huron to Mackinaw races.  Jim got his diesel training at the Ohio Diesel Technical Institute, and from there worked in both Texas and Ohio as a truck and engine re-builder and a fleet manager. Working out of his garage on a part-time basis in 1988, Jim began rebuilding the diesel engines for the many Tartan Ten fleets found along Lake Erie.  One thing lead to another and a decade latter Jim started Great Lakes Diesel Incorporated. From a garage cluttered with engines and parts to his current multi-building facility on the Huron River, Jim Zima has built a reputation as a solid mechanic, businessman, and instructor along Ohio’s North Coast.

Classes:  Diesel Maintenance  All day, Monday and Tuesday

Steve Zimmerman

Steve Zimmerman is the president and founder of Zimmerman Marine, a company specializing in boat repairs, refits, and maintenance. Started in 1981, ZMI now operates four boatyards in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. In addition, the yard has built a number of custom cruising boats in sail and power. 

Steve writes a column for PassageMaker Magazine and is one of the featured presenters at TrawlerFest events around the country. He has cruised the East coast from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas, the Great Lakes, the inside passage to Alaska, and has made over fifty delivery trips. 

Classes:  How to Maintain your Cruising Boat  Parts 1, 2 and 3


Cruisers University

Annapolis, Maryland

"Excellent presenters discussing the topics cruisers and would-be cruisers want to hear."

"Top-notch lecturers with outstanding reputation in the cruising community."

"Having this run at the same time as the Annapolis Sailboat Show makes Cruisers University a huge draw for all participants."