Cruisers University Instructors

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

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 13 years of experience helping businesses succeed.  Their sailing resume is equally impressive, with over 6000 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

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.  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, electronics, and yacht systems and off shore sailing.  He is a current member and past president of the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA), he also holds a USCG 100T Masters license and currently lives on his 60’ Seaton Ketch, ‘Chardonnay’.


Troubleshooting Basic Electrical Problems

Nigel Calder

Nigel Calder

Nigel is best known for his Boatowner’s Mechanical & Electrical Manual and Marine Diesel Engines.  In addition to hundreds of magazine articles, he has authored “A Cruising Guide to the Northwest Caribbean”, “Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook: A compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors” and “How to read a Nautical Chart”.  He most recently published Shakedown Cruise, a look back at his early years cruising with his then pregnant wife and a toddler. Nigel is currently the Technical Editor or an Associate Editor of PassageMaker, Professional Boatbuilder, Sail, and Ocean Navigator magazines and a freelance consultant on marine energy issues.  He and his wife, Terrie, spend several months every year aboard their Malo 46, Nada.  Over the past 35 years, they have cruised and written about the east coast of North America and the Bahamas; the Caribbean; the U.K. and points as far north as the Faroe Islands; the Atlantic coasts of Ireland, France, Spain, and Portugal as well as Scandinavia.


Electrical Systems – Understanding & Troubleshooting (an all day class)

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 & Safety

Behan Gifford of SailingTotem

Behan Gifford

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 SAIL magazine and chronicles her family’s adventures at


Cruising Women – 2 Day Master Class

Cruising on a Budget – Silver, Gold, & Platinum

Top Newbie Cruising Mistakes

What Me Worry? Putting Your Cruising Fears to Rest

Jamie Gifford of SailingTotem

Jamie Gifford

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.


Safety at Sea

Splicing & Whipping

Route Planning

Offshore Rigging & Sails – When Things Go Wrong

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

The Chesapeake Bay to the Caribbean

Docking & Linehandling for Couples

OMG, I Bought a Boat!

The Cruising Boat – The 5 Step Plan on Purchasing It

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.  


Tool Time

Plugged In – Power Cord Safety & Corrosion Concerns

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.


Navigation – An all day class


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 of Trawler Training & Anchoring Consultants

Jill & Rudy Sechez

Live-aboards and cruisers, Rudy and Jill have 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 20+ years of cruising and anchoring, their experiences have included years of repairing and delivering boats, and installing and maintaining marine engines and other systems. Through the years, they have been contributors to magazines such as PassageMaker, Good Old Boat, SAIL, and Blue Water Sailing.

 Rudy and Jill are Trawler Training and Anchoring Consultants. They have written a book, “ANCHORINGA Ground Tackler’s Apprentice”, published through Waterway Guide Media, LLC.


The Art of Anchoring – Tackle, Tips & Tactics


Carolyn Shearlock of The Boat Galley

Carolyn Shearlock

You may know Carolyn Shearlock from The Boat Galley, her website and podcast that cover all aspects of living aboard and cruising. She’s lived aboard and cruised full-time for twelve years, in two different stints aboard two very different boats – the first, a heavy bluewater Tayana 37 monohull and now on a smaller, lighter, coastal-cruising Gemini catamaran.

She’ll be leading three sessions: how to store (and find!) everything you need on a boat; techniques for storing food without refrigeration; and her favorite: hurricane prep. Her boats have survived two direct hits by hurricanes and she has always cruised in hurricane waters. Carolyn’s talks are filled with straightforward tips and how-to’s that you can put to use immediately.


Cruising & Living in Hurricane Latitudes

Storing Food without Refrigeration

Storage Strategies When Your Boat is Your Home

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

Weather Apps to Follow

Thunderstorm Primer – Weather in Motion

Pam Wall at the helm of Kandarik

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. She is now a Keynote Speaker at numerous boat shows across the country and is an active Cruising & Sailing Consultant. Pam has also been a sailing instructor at the Bitter End Yacht Clubs’ annual event “Women on the Water Week”.


Cruising Women – 2 Day Master Class

Bahamas Bound – The Abacos

Great Products You Need To Know About

Nica Waters of Fit2Sail

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, 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’s produced since 2012, Nica podcasts with Carolyn Shearlock and Lin Pardey 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,


Sharing Your Adventure – Through the lens of a blog, video or podcast

Provisioning – From List to Last Bite

Staying Ship Shape – When Your Boat Becomes Your Gym

Bob Williams of SALT Services, Inc

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 in the US, Europe and Asia with fully engineered systems, Bob and his company also address the needs of aftermarket 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, desalination and electrical power management for cruising yachts and off-grid homes in addition to systems large enough to support US embassy operations. For over 30 years SALT has also helped design power solutions in developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America.


Amp It Up! Cruising with Alternative Energy

Offshore Energy Management & Design

The Efficient Boat Fridge

The Endless Fresh Water Supply

Steve Zimmerman of Zimmerman Marina

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 five boatyards in Maryland, Virginia,  North Carolina and South 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 over 35,000 miles along the East coast from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas, the Great Lakes, the inside passage to Alaska, and has made over fifty delivery trips. 


Maintaining Your Boat – Above & Below the Waterline

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

Maintain Your Diesel Engine 101

Annapolis, Maryland

"Diesel School was extremely helpful and well run. Good mixture of classroom reinforced with hands on training."

"It was so well done from the lectures, to the delicious breakfasts and lunches to your wonderful cocktail hours."

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