Cruisers University Instructors

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

This is a sample of instructors presenting in past programs.  Check back in early June 2021 for the complete fall schedule and registration details.

Devon & Richard Anderson

Devon & Richard Anderson from Sea-Tech

Richard and Devon own Sea-Tech Systems, providing communications equipment, airtime, services, and support for cruisers, and also Skepsis Technologies, a technology and bookkeeping business for solo and small law firms.  For the last year and a half, Richard and Devon have been successfully operating their businesses from S/V Mobert as they travel, and now they’re helping other cruisers do the same.
Their backgrounds are perfectly suited to helping business owners take their businesses mobile.  Richard has 20 years of IT experience working with media, entertainment, gaming, software development, aerospace, healthcare, travel, and web companies in the PacNW both internally and as a manufacturer’s pre-sales engineer.  Devon is an attorney with over 15 years of experience helping businesses succeed.  Their sailing resume is equally impressive, with over 9000 miles of family cruising with their two kids aboard S/V Mobert, their 45-ft Jeanneau.  In addition to their significant cruising experience, Richard holds USCG 50T Masters, OUPV, and Aux Sail licenses.


Moving Your Business Aboard

Lisa & Andy Batchelor

Lisa & Andy Batchelor of Kinetic Sailing

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 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 spent several seasons cruising New England, Chesapeake Bay, Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean.


Optimize Your Cruising Efficiency

Night Cruising Demystified

Take the Stress out of Docking

Cruising the Eastern Caribbean

Scott Berg of Chardonnay Boatworks

Scott Berg

Scott Berg has been sailing, racing and cruising for the past 50 years and has experience on a range of power and sailing vessels from an El Toro Pram to a 135’ Baltic Trader.  Scott is the owner of Chardonnay Boatworks, a full service marine repair and consulting company focusing on the repair and re-engineering of sail and motor yachts.  He frequently lectures on marine electrical systems, communication, electronics, and yacht systems and off shore sailing.  Scott holds multiple certifications from the ABYC and NMEA.  He is the a co-founder of the SSCA HF Radio Network (KPK), holds both commercial and amateur radio licenses, and represents recreational boaters as member of the USCG’s Global Maritime Distress & Safety System(GMDSS) Task Force. Scott is a member of the Ocean Cruising Club and the SSCA (Past President).  He holds a USCG 100T Masters license and currently lives on his 60’ Seaton Ketch, ‘Chardonnay’.


Troubleshooting Basic Electrical Problems

Marine Communications in the 21st Century – VHF, AIS, SSB, Cell, WiFi, & Satellite

Let the Sun Shine In

W. Frank Bohlen

W. Frank Bohlen

      Frank Bohlen is a physical oceanographer and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut.  His research interests include the dynamics governing coastal sediment transport and long-term observations of currents and associated weather conditions. He started and continues to be involved with the Long Island Sound Observatory ( .  Past Commodore of the Off Soundings Club he’s an experienced offshore racer/cruiser having participated in 20 Newport Bermuda Races and five transatlantic sails, two racing and three cruising.  On the majority of these passages he served as navigator. Since 1998 he has been a member of the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee preparing regular Gulf Stream tutorials and analyses of conditions that are posted on the Race homepage during the months before the Race and briefing participants on expected Stream characteristics as part of the pre-Race Skipper’s Meeting. He regularly participates in Safety at Sea Seminars discussing weather and ocean currents and the associated effects on passage


The Gulf Stream – Structure & Strategy

Teresa Carey & Ben Carey

Teresa & Ben Carey

Teresa is a US Coast Guard licensed captain, writer, and educator. She has worked aboard a variety of sailboats from dinghies to schooners as an educator, delivery crew, and charter-boat captain. She taught for sea programs such as Outward Bound, and has also been a Marine Science educator. Teresa met her husband when she was sailing solo for a few years between Maine and the Bahamas. She has given inspiring talks, such as her 2011 TED talk or 2012 National Women’s Sailing Association Keynote Speaker Address. She now works as a science writer for the National Institute of Health and is the co-owner of Morse Alpha Expeditions, a coastal and offshore sail-training program in the Atlantic. 

Ben began his sea life as a clammer in Stonybrook Harbor, NY. Ben pursued a degree in Human Ecology from Connecticut College with a focus in marine biology. In 1992 Ben attended the Sea Education Association (SEA) program, which followed with many professional experiences aboard schooners and a 200 Ton US Coast Guard Master’s License, 500 ton Mate, and a long list of other certifications. Ben is a successful independent web designer. He worked and lived aboard Elizabeth his 28ft cutter, while traveling alongside Teresa’s 27ft sloop, Daphne for several years. He now works on tugboats and is the co-owner of Morse Alpha Expeditions, a coastal and offshore sail-training program in the Atlantic.


Beyond the Bowline:  Essential Knots & Theory

Cruising Couples: an egalitarian approach to cruising

Line Handling

‘Miss’Perceptions: How to become or support amazing women sailors

Rules of the Road

Sail Theory

Jeff Cote

Jeff Cote of Pacific Yacht Systems

Jeff is a systems design engineer, avid boater, entrepreneur, and the author of a monthly column in Pacific Yachting Magazine and Northwest Yachting Magazine.  He is a regular presenter for Power Squadron, Yacht Clubs, Boat Shows and has over a million and half views on his YouTube channel.

His company, Pacific Yacht Systems Inc., provides boaters with easy to use, reliable solutions for marine electrical and electronics. Jeff’s presentations are designed for beginners, tech-savvy, and DIY experts alike.


DIY Electrical survey


David Flynn of Quantum Sails

David Flynn  

David Flynn has a unique combination of sail making, sailing, and teaching experience. A sail maker with experience in all aspects of design, he provides a balanced perspective, having worked with north, Horizon, and Doyle during his thirty-year career. He joined Quantum during its formation in 1996.

David’s racing background covers a broad spectrum, from dinghies and offshore one-designs to custom big boats. He has participated in winning programs at every level, including multiple national, North American, and World championships. David has also found time to win the trans-Atlantic, Fastnet, Bermuda, and several other major open ocean events.

For the last two decades his principle focus has been offshore one design. He recently started working as the head of the special projects group, tasked with coordinating design, engineering, and project management for many of Quantum’s big boat cruising programs.

An in-demand speed doctor, David has an exceptional eye for sail shape and a feel for the subtle alterations of trim and tuning that make boats go. He has been instrumental in developing Quantum tuning guides and systems for many of the leading offshore one design classes, including the one Design 48, farr 30, J-24, J-30, J-105, farr 40, one Design 35, and swan 45.


Heavy Weather Sailing

Sail Trim for Performance & SafetyDuplicate This

Behan Gifford

Behan Gifford of SailingTotem

Behan Gifford has sailed more than 50,000 nautical miles while circumnavigating with her husband, Jamie, and their three children. She has visited 48 countries/territories from Mexico to Madagascar to Martinique while raising a family during the last ten years and continues cruising in the eastern Pacific. Behan is a co-author of Voyaging with Kids, the de facto guide to cruising with children; she and Jamie provide coach/mentor services to help people realize their cruising dreams. She maintains a blog for Cruising World magazine and chronicles her family’s adventures at


Cruising Women – 2 Day Master Class

What Me Worry! Putting Cruising Fears to Rest

Healthcare While Cruising

Lessons Learned from Covid-19

Make Your Escape – Turn your dream to a reality

How to Budget for the Dream

Jamie Gifford

Jamie Gifford of SailingTotem

Jamie Gifford is a recovering racing sailor. His therapy was a 10-year circumnavigation with his wife and three children on Totem, their Stevens 47. As a sail designer, he was behind sails for winners in the Americas Cup, Vendee Globe Challenge/BOC, Whitbread, and numerous other regattas; in recent years, Jamie’s focused on cruising sails, rigging, and systems for offshore and regional sailors. Experience from professional life and that gained in 100,000+ miles sailing gives him rich perspective on cruising topics.


Lessons Learned from Covid-19

Offshore Rigging & Sails -When things go wrong

Route Planning

Safety at Sea

Kerry Gonzalez – AMG Insurance International

Kerry Gonzalez with AMG Insurance International

Kerry Gonzalez, CEO & Marketing Director of AMG Insurance International, will be holding Question & Answer sessions at the end of classes on Thursday – Saturday from 4-4:30pm. She will be available to guide you through the most troublesome part of cruising – the insurance industry. AMG Insurance International is in business to change the landscape of the marine insurance industry. There is no other brokerage like them; they assist marine facilities with implementation of storm planning and development initiatives that have unparalleled impact on insurance rates. They will work with your staff to have the ‘best in class’ safety standards and training. They will review contracts for compliance and reassurance that you are ‘covered’ outside of the insurance policy. When a Named Storm is moving in, you will have preparation calls with AMG Insurance beforehand and they will play a key role with you even after a storm. Their leadership has written feature articles for Passage Maker and Waterway Guide and they are committed to entrepreneurial servitude. AMG leaders are honorary members of many Power Squadron chapters, sponsors of youth safety days on the water, volunteers with the American Red Cross for disaster support and support for FEMA when FEMA can’t respond in a timely manner. Currently under consideration for a federal committee position with the National Boating Safety Advisory Council, AMG Insurance spends
countless hours each week helping yacht owners of all sizes with a comprehensive understanding and execution of storm plans that put both the vessel and the general public in a safer place. Every single customer of AMG Insurance International receives ‘whistles for life’. A ‘whistle for life’ has a clip to connect to each life jacket and is guaranteed for life to be waterproof, rustproof and erosion proof. It is endorsed by the military and all first responders. As the only known female minority owned contractor registered with the federal government, AMG Insurance is aligned with the best partners to make a difference in the marine industry. They are licensed in almost every State in the country as well as in foreign markets. Their markets include many syndicates of Lloyds of London, where they can insure just about any marine facility, product, work or service for almost any peril that keeps you awake at night. Please consider partnering with AMG Insurance International as your ‘outsourced internal risk manager’ on the water!”

Jeff Grossman & Jean Levine of TwoCanSail

Jeff Grossman & 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. 


Anchoring for a Good Night’s Sleep

Docking & Linehandling for Couples

OMG, I Bought a Boat!

The Cruising Boat – The 5 Step Plan on Purchasing It

Understanding Solar Energy

Watt’s Up – Electricity Simplified

Weather 000 for Cruisers

Tom Hale

Tom Hale

Sailor, racer, cruiser, boat builder. Tom Hale grew up working in his father’s boatyard on Martha’s Vineyard, where he learned to sail, race and operate all sorts of boats at a young age.  Tom spent his career in the marine industry as a boat designer, builder, boatyard operator and he spent many years has the technical vice president of ABYC.  Tom and Cristina are now full-time cruisers on a 38-foot trawler. They cruise the US east coast from New England to the keys.  For two years they were co-leaders for the SAIL Magazine Rally down the ICW.  Tom is a frequent presenter at boat shows and cruiser rendezvous on topics of boat repair, navigation and cruising.


Navigation by Tablet

Plugged In – Power Cord Safety

Tool Time

John Herlig

John Herlig

In 2013, John Herlig found an old, storied sailboat named Ave del Mar.  After restoring her, he cruised from Annapolis through the Bahamas, Haiti, and on to Jamaica before sailing back to the Chesapeake Bay.  He has spent time exploring the Bahamas, from the Abacos down to Great Inagua.

John is a published poet, a frequent magazine contributor, and a former restauranteur. His unique and vibrant storytelling combines with his love of ‘sailing simple’ to create an entertaining and fast-paced classroom experience.


Cruising Around the Bahamas

Now You’re Cooking with Gas!

Jerry Latell & Jake Pender

Jerry Latell & Jake Pender of Evolution Sails Chesapeake

Jerry Latell has been a sailmaker for over 20 years and has owned the Latell Sailmakers/Evolution Sails Chesapeake loft since 2005.  The loft builds sails for all types of boats from small daysailers to offshore race boats but specializes in bluewater cruising sails and large traditional boats.  Recent tall ship projects at the loft include new sails for USCGC Eagle, Schooner Virginia, and Mayflower II.  Jerry’s primary jobs at the loft are designing sails and managing larger build projects.

Jerry has been racing for decades and sails on a variety of boats.  Some recent offshore race results as a watch captain include class wins in the Annapolis to Newport Race, Miami to Havana, and the Newport to Bermuda Ocean Race.  When not designing sails or sailing with customers, Jerry cruises the Chesapeake Bay with his wife and two children on their Tartan 31.

Jake Pender has been around the water and boats since he was a young child. Both of his parents were in the Coast Guard, and at a young age his father, a Chief Boatswains Mate, taught him how to drive boats and work with line. He has been involved in the maritime world ever since, from sailing optis as a child to working as Chief Engineer on the Schooner Mystic during an extensive yard period and a stint underway in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Jake has also sailed aboard the Schooner Virginia during the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race as a crew member. 

Jake is an expert at splicing all types of line from standard three strand to hi-tech dyneema/spectra, parallel polyester core and double braid rope, and traditional ropework/splicing.  He belongs to a select group of sailmakers who can worm, parcel and serve a “clew iron”, splice in a “head earring”, work a rope cringle into the bolt rope or install a buntline bullseye into traditional tall ship sails.  He has been a sailmaker since 2013 and gained an extensive knowledge of both modern and traditional splicing and sailmaking.




Bob & Jody Lipkin

Bob ‘Bitchin’  & Jody Lipkin

     Adventure has been a way of life for Bob Bitchin since the early sixties, when his name was coined by the comedy team of Cheech and Chong (his birth-name is Robert Lipkin). He worked as a traveling companion and bodyguard for famous motorcycle daredevil Evil Knievel, promoted motorcycle shows, and created Biker Magazine and Tattoo Magazine in the 70’s and early 80’s.  He also worked as editor of many of the motorcycle magazines of that era, and wrote for other publications as diverse as Forbes, Penthouse and New Look.  During that time he rode his motorcycles across the country over 30 times, and around Europe as well.  

     In the early 70’s he met Alan Olson, Captain of Stone Witch, which was a 74′ square rigged topasil schooner that sailed out of San Francisco.  He signed on for a 3 month sail to Guatamala to see if the sailing life was for him.  Stone Witch was the flag-ship for GreenPeace, and had no engine, ran kerosee running lights, and had four 21′ oars for propulsion. This sail changed his life, and soon, while we rode all over the world on Harley’s, he lived aboard various sailboats that he would buy, fix up, and sell.  For over thirty years he lived aboard sailboats and cruised most of the Pacific and Central America.

     He kidnapped Jody, the bartender at the Portofino Marina Yacht Club, and they to Atlantic, and sailed the Med, The Caribbean and everywhere they ever dreamed of going. They were married on board Lost soul at the Portofino Marina on their return from their world voyage.

     In 1996 he created Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine which became one of the largest publications on sailing and world cruising.  In 2005 he created the television show Latitudes & Attitudes, which was the first and only nationally televised show about the sailing lifestyle.  The show aired nationally for 5 season and has been in syndication world-wide. He is also heard weekly on Pyrate Radio with his show, Latitudes & Attitudes.

     Jody “Bitchin” Lipkin was born with sailing in her blood, but she didn’t know it until she was 27 years old and looked up her “real” father.  He had built his own junk rigged steel schooner, named Contrast, and the first time she met him was when she joined him to sail with him in the Bahamas.  He lived aboard up and down the Caribbean for over 20 years.

     Working at the Portofino Hotel, Marina and Yacht Club as bartender/waitress and Jack of all Trades, she met many sailors who offered to “take her away from all this” but it wasn’t until a big ol’ tattooed ex-biker by the name of Bob Bitchin walked in that she actually said yes.  For the next six years they sailed the world, and she became expert in provisioning, varnishing, nursing, and piloting the 68′ ketch Lost Soul.

     In 1996 on their return from their world cruise she helped to create Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine, and for the next 15 years participated in numerous Share The Sail Adventures all over the world.  And she still does!

     Jody is an expert in what the cruising life is all about, and has taught at seminars and boat shows and sat on numerous panels for women in sailing.  She is married to Bob Bitchin and lives in Berry Creek, California.


Sailing with a Cruiser’s Attitude

Ralph Naranjo

Ralph Naranjo

Ralph Naranjo is the Technical Editor of Practical Sailor Magazine, the author of The Art of Seamanship and a regular contributor to Cruising World and other boating magazines. During his ten-years as the Vanderstar Chair at the U. S. Naval Academy, he coordinated safety and seamanship training for midshipman and played a key role in the design development of the sail training sloops purchased by the Navy.

He and his wife Lenore and their two young children Tara and Eric spent five years sailing around the world, and exploring south seas landfalls using a sextant and traditional paper charts. In the 1980’s, they ran a full-service boatyard. And during the past 17 years, Ralph has moderated U. S. Sailing Safety at Sea Seminars, and served as a past Chairman of U. S. Sailing’s Safety at Sea Committee. 

Currently he is an adjunct lecturer at the Annapolis School of Seamanship. Ralph teaches traditional navigational techniques, celestial navigation and has written and lectured extensively about the value of blending new gadgets and tried and proven traditional navigation techniques.


Traditional Navigation – An all day class

Safety is Seamanship

Amanda Swan Neal

Amanda Swan Neal of Mahina Expeditions

Amanda 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, and just released by Sony Pictures as a major motion picture. Amanda’s 346,000 miles of ocean sailing (more than any woman on the planet!) 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 Diesel Engine Essentials and 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.


Diesel Engine Essentials

Offshore Cruising Seminar – an all-day seminar

Short & Singlehanded Techniques and Tactics

Storm Survival Techniques

John Neal

John & Amanda Neal of Mahina Expeditions

John 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 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 165 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 177 sail-training expeditions aboard his Hallbery-Rassy 42, Mahina Tiare II, and Hallberg-Rassy 46, Mahina Tiare III, sailing 388,000 miles in the South Pacific, Caribbean, Patagonia, Antarctica, Africa, Atlantic, Scandinavia and the Arctic. John and has rounded Cape Horn six times under sail and holds a USCG 100-ton Master’s and private pilot’s licenses.


Offshore Cruising Seminar – an all-day seminar

Short & Singlehanded Techniques and Tactics

Storm Survival Techniques

Steve Rakkar, MD

Steve Rakkar, MD of

Steve is a graduate of the University of London UK and has 35 years experience in family practice, urgent care, emergency medicine & anethesiology.  He has spent over 25 years sailing with more than 10,000 ocean miles under his hull. 



What’s in Your Med Kit?

Lenny Rudow

Lenny Rudow of FishTalk Magazine

Lenny Rudow has been a writer and editor in the marine field for over two decades, and has authored seven books. He is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk Magazine, is Electronics and Fishing Editor for BoatUS Magazine, and is a contributing editor to several other publications. His writing has resulted in multiple BWI writing contest and OWAA Excellence in Craft awards. Volunteer positions have included NMMA Innovations Award judging, serving as president of Boating Writers International, and serving as the president of the Maryland Freshwater Foundation. Rudow is an alumnus of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology, and The Sea School. He boats and fishes as often as possible on the Chesapeake Bay and in the Atlantic Ocean.


Fishing from a Slow Boat – A Cruisers Guide to Feeding the Crew

Jody Schroath of The Chesapeake Magazine

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.


Navigating the ICW – North to South

Rudy & Jill Sechez

Rudy & Jill Sechez of Anchoring Consultants

Live-aboards and cruisers for over 20 years, Rudy and Jill Sechez built both of their cruising boats, first a 36’ wood cutter, and then their current 34’ sail-assisted trawler Briney Bug, their own design, also of wood. Briney Bug has gained some notoriety, having been featured in PassageMaker magazine and on the Trawlers & Trawlering website.

In addition to their years of cruising, their experiences have included years of repairing and delivering boats, and installing and maintaining marine engines, as well as other systems. They have been contributors to PassageMaker, Good Old Boat, SAIL, Blue Water Sailing, as well as other magazines.

As anchoring consultants,, they focus on helping boaters improve their gear and bolster their skills.


The Art of Anchoring


Gary Shaw

Gary Shaw

Gary began sailing in 1964 and purchased his first sailboat in 1972.  He progressed upward in size to his present boat, a Seidelmann 37 which he still owns and sails.  He had done extensive cruising in the Chesapeake Bay for about 20 years.   Circumnavigated the Delmarva Peninsula and has crewed on a number of boats being transited between the Chesapeake Bay area and Rhode Island.  He entered three Annapolis to Bermuda Ocean races and won one.  Gary served as a volunteer sailing coach for the US Naval Academy Varsity Off Shore Sailing Team (VOST) for 5 years.  Served as assistant Officer in Charge aboard a Navy 44 on the return trip from Bermuda to Annapolis.

Gary is the inventor and manufacturer of the Chutescoop Spinnaker control system which has been marketed since 1980.


Spinnakers for Cruisers & Beginners

John Stefancik

John Stefancik of Chesapeake Bay Magazine

John Stefancik is the Publisher of Chesapeake Bay Media. He spends time on the water aboard his center console powerboat, racing sailboats of all sizes, and cruising between the waterside cities and towns of the Bay. Born and raised into a boating family, John spent summers sharing a berth with his brother while their parents took them sailing for weekends and weeks at a time. “The specialness of the Chesapeake cannot be overstated,” John says, “because one minute one can find themselves floating in a big urban area with city culture, then in the next moment being blissfully alone in one of the richest natural resources in the world!” John lives just outside of Annapolis, on the Severn River, with his wife and three children.


The Highlights of Cruising the Chesapeake Bay

Mark Thornton of LakeErieWX

Mark Thornton

Mark Thornton has been sailing for more than 25 years and currently owns Osprey, a C&C 35. His interest in weather forecasting grew from his experiences cruising and racing on the Great Lakes. 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 is the president of LakeErieWX LLC, a company dedicated to providing marine weather education and forecasting resources for recreational boaters ( Mark publishes a marine weather blog and teaches basic forecasting seminars to recreational boaters during the off-season. He has served as the Race Meteorologist for the Bell’s Beer Bayview Race to Mackinac since 2014. Mark is also employed as a Teaching Assistant in the Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting Program at Penn State University.


Marine Weather Forecasting – 2 Day Master Class

Doppler Weather Radar & Satellite Imagery

Tropical Weather Forecasting

Thunderstorm Primer – Weather in Motion

Weather Apps to Follow

Weather Routing with GRib’s

Thomas Trimmer

Tom Trimmer of Custom Marine Products

Tom Trimmer is the founder and owner of Custom Marine Products, a company specializing in marine solar systems for the cruising sailor. Mr. Trimmer has been a cruising sailor for more than 20 years and understands that the number one challenge to comfortable cruising is the availability of electrical power. His company has helped many sailors analyze their power requirements, evaluate solar products available and design systems to meet their needs. A graduate mechanical/electrical engineer from the University of Michigan, Mr. Trimmer has been involved in the marine industry for over 20 years. He and his wife cruise the Great Lakes for six weeks each summer testing and evaluating solar equipment. (Somebody has to do it.)


Boating Life with Lithium

Pam Wall

Pam Wall at the helm of Kandarik

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.


Great Products You Need to Know About

Outfitting the Bluewater Cruiser

Cruising Women – 2 Day Master Class

Nica Waters of

Nica Waters

Nica Waters, one of the admin team for the Facebook group “Women Who Sail”, has been cruising on and off for the past 25 years. She and her husband, Jeremy, have owned and sailed their Bristol Channel Cutter, Calypso, since 1992. They have done 2 successful cruises (one before kids and one with) and are in the countdown phase for the next one. A longtime teacher and certified personal trainer, she’s passionate about the topics of provisioning, food, wellness, and how they all come together on cruising boats.

In addition to a weekly food series on YouTube called Tasty Thursday that she produced for 6 years starting in 2012, Nica regularly blogs on her website,, and podcasts with Carolyn Shearlock on The Boat Galley Podcast. The podcast, found wherever you listen to podcasts, is designed to help you turn your cruising dreams into reality, and features stories, tips, and advice on negotiating all stages of the cruising life. We welcome subscribers and listeners!

You can find out more about Nica and all she does on her website,


Provisioning – From List to Last Bite

Preparing for Your First Cruise

Staying Ship Shape – When Your Boat Becomes Your Gym

Website, Blogging, & Podcasts – The beginning steps to share your cruising journey

Jim Zima of Great Lake Diesel

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.


Diesel Maintenance – 2 Day Master Class

Advanced Diesel Diagnostics – a 3 part class


Annapolis, Maryland

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

"The knowledge of the presenters was outstanding, and the information gathered from attending was incredibly valuable!"

"I had high expectations for Cruisers University, and every single course far exceeded my expectations!"