Cruisers University Instructors

Naval Academy Club at the United States Naval Academy

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

Teresa and Ben Carey

Teresa Carey is a US Coast Guard licensed captain, writer, and educator. She has a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan and two Masters of Arts degrees. 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. 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 journalist at PBS and is the co-owner of Morse Alpha Expeditions, a coastal and offshore sail-training program in the Atlantic. 

Ben Eriksen Carey, 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

Traditional Navigation – An Introduction
Chart Plotting
Nighttime & Limited Visibility Navigation
Advanced Navigation
Lines, Knots & Bends
Docking Single Handed Made Easy
Single Handed Sailing – Coastal & Offshore
Rules of the Road


Behan and Jamie Gifford

Behan and Jamie have sailed more than 50,000 miles with  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

Cruising Women
Healthcare in Paradise
Cruising on a Budget – Gold, Silver & Bronze
Cruising Docs – You Can’t Go Paperless
Countdown to Cruising 3-2-1 Blast-off!
Top Newbie Cruising Mistakes
Offshore Rigging & Sails – When Things Go Wrong 

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 a number of 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

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.

Sail Trim for Performance and Control
Safety at Sea

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. 

Anchoring for a Good Night’s Sleep
Dock & Line Handling
The Cruising Sail Boat – The 5 Step Plan to Purchasing It
OMG I Bought a Boat! Now What?

Kim Russo

Kim Russo is the Director of America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (AGLCA) and the Executive Director of Seven Seas Cruising Association.  She is the emcee for the semi-annual AGLCA Rendezvous, presents the “Introduction to the Great Loop” session at the AGLCA “Great Loop Cruising: A Guide to the Looper Lifestyle” seminars, and has presented about the Great Loop at CruiserPort University, the Chicago Boat Show, the Miami Boat Show, the New England Boat Show, the San Francisco Boat Show, and the Seattle Boat Show.  Kim has been boating in her home waters around Charleston, South Carolina for 20 years.

The Great American Loop

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 – Mile 0-500
Navigating the ICW – Mile 501-1095
The Albermarle Loop

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. 

The Chesapeake in 7 Days

Dave Skolnick

Dave Skolnick is a degreed naval architect and marine engineer with experience in commercial, military, and civil vessel design, construction, operation, and service-life extension. An avowed radio geek, Dave has been a licensed amateur radio operator for over 35 years. He is a recognized expert on HF/SSB, satellite, WiFi, cellular, and VHF analog and digital communication.

He is also an active delivery skipper who uses a broad range of communications and navigation tools underway. From installations through operation offshore Dave uses the technology on which he shares his perspective.Dave is active on ham and marine nets. He has side-by-side experience with HF and satellite systems over commercial and military networks.

As “Auspicious Works” he provides installation, trouble-shooting, and consulting for communication systems, deliveries, yacht management, training, speaking, and writing for recreational boats.

WiFi & Cell Service – Close Yet So Far Away
AIS & Radar – Is Anyone Out There?
Making The Most of VHF & SSB
Crossing The Gulf Stream

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. 

Marine Weather Forecasting – Full Day
Weather Apps to Follow

Peter and Cathie Trogdon

Peter and Cathie Trogdon grew up boating in the Pacific Northwest and now reside in Annapolis, MD. They own a Harbor 20 sailboat and a Zimmerman Downeast 36, BEE WEEMS, which they took to the Bahamas in 2006 and 2012, Maine in 2007, 2015, and 2017, the Great Lakes in 2008, British Columbia in 2009, Alaska in 2010 and then from Annapolis to Montreal in 2011 and up to Nantucket in 2013. They have logged over 17,000 miles on BEE WEEMS and 10,000 miles on trips to the Panama Canal, South Pacific, North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean.

Maine’s Beautiful Coast
The Chesapeake to Nantucket

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  Two Full Days
Bahamas Bound – The Abacos
Changing Your Engine Oil Made Easy
Gear Up – Are You Ready To Drop The Lines
Great Products You Need To Know About

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.

For the past 5 years, she’s been producing Tasty Thursday on YouTube, weekly videos centered around food, kitchen tips, and cooking support. Her goals with all of these is to inspire viewers to try something simple in the kitchen; the tagline is YES, YOU CAN.

Living Aboard – When the Dream Becomes Reality
Provisioning and Galley Essentials

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.

Amp It Up – Cruising with Alternative Energy
Troubleshooting Electrical Problems
The Endless Fresh Water Supply
Insider’s Guide to the Florida Keys

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 Full Days
Maintain Your Diesel Engine 101

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. 

Maintaining Your Boat – Above And Below The Water Line

Annapolis, Maryland

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

"Staff was outstanding to work with, helping us make the course options fit with our schedule."

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