Instructors

Michael Beemer

Michael is a Marine Technology instructor at the Northwest Career and Technical Academy in Anacortes, WA. He has been instrumental in developing the marine programs for the Academy that bridge both the high school/college programs with the industry needs. In the cruising community, Michael is well known as “The Boat Doctor” who can diagnose and fix almost anything on a vessel. He teaches at Skagit Valley College in the marine systems program, including ABYC certification courses. Mike grew up as the son of a master mechanic. This experience included learning all things mechanical including motorcycles, automobiles, and boats. He has operated his own successful boat repair businesses and has moved into the marine systems consulting field. Michael has presented programs such as Keeping Your Diesel Alive and maintenance courses covering water-making systems, gensets, steering and control systems, marine electrical systems, boat fresh water and gray water plumbing, and freshwater pump systems. Mike’s specialty is the new technology systems now coming on-line for boats in power generation, water systems and propulsion.

Mark Bunzel

Mark is an experienced boater having cruised extensively in the Pacific Northwest, the Inside Passage and throughout Alaska on assignment while writing and photographing beautiful locations for magazines and to update the books he edits and publishes. Also, he has chartered cruised the Chesapeake, and the Intracoastal Waterway, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico, the Canal du Midi, Greece, Honduras, and he lead the first American charter crew to sail the coast of Vietnam. He is the principal owner of Fine Edge Nautical Publishing and the co-Author of Cruising the Virgin Islands, the most popular cruising guide for the Virgin Islands.

He is the Editor and Publisher of the Waggoner Cruising Guide and is responsible for the annual research for all of the marinas and anchorages between Olympia and Ketchikan, Alaska. Mark’s articles and photography have appeared in magazines including PassageMaker, Northwest Yachting, Canadian Yachting, Dockside, Latitudes and Attitudes, Power Cruising, Soundings and Pacific Yachting. Mark holds a U.S. Coast Guard Masters rating in Power and Sail. He is on the board of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend and is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA), the presenters of the Seattle Boat Show. Mark is the former chair of the Seattle Boat Show Committee for the NMTA, and he is the founder of Seattle Boat Show University.

Lee Chesneau

Lee is a highly experienced professional meteorologist on land & at sea (with over 70,000 miles under his keel), a retired naval officer, author, & dynamic instructor and lecturer. He has an ongoing distinguished 40-year career, during which he received a number of awards and recognition. Lee’s career includes service with the U.S. Navy, the National Weather Service (NWS), & the private sector, specializing in maritime weather forecasting & ship routing. Lee is also the author of the book, “Heavy Weather Avoidance,” and has written numerous magazine articles. He is a speaker at a number of Safety at Sea Seminar Symposiums (SASS), marine trade, & boat shows. As a certified approved U.S. Coast Guard instructor for five maritime schools teaching Standards Training Certification, and Watch-Standing for Seafarers (STCW) for Basic and Advanced Meteorology. Each is a five-day course for professional mariners. Lee has a version of each course tailored to the commercial fishing and recreational communities in both one and two-day courses. Lee is dedicated to educating and training every seagoing mariner on self-reliance for their own marine weather & forecasting, strategic routing, emphasizing prudent, independent decision making.

Leonard and Lorena Landon

Leonard and Lorena have been boating Pacific Northwest waters for over 30 years. Primarily power boaters, they have navigated the waters in sports boats to trawler vessels. In the early years, they bareboat-chartered, cruising from Olympia, WA to the reaches of British Columbia with their two young sons. Since 2010, they have been cruising year-round on their 46’ Pilothouse trawler and have logged over 20,000 miles on West Coast waters from Manzanillo, Mexico to Yakutat, Alaska. 2017 will be their fifth season in Southeast Alaska. Leonard has extensive navigation skills both as a boater and a licensed aircraft pilot. Lorena enjoys the unique adventures that boating brings and has written a blog for each of their excursions (llcruise5.blogspot.com). She was the author of Cleats & Eats, a series of restaurant guidebooks for boaters, published from 2002-2010, and has written articles for local boating magazines. Lorena currently serves on the Boating Programs Advisory Committee for the State of Washington RCO.

Captain Linda Lewis

Capt. Linda Lewis holds a USCG 100 Ton Master’s License. A University of Washington Emeritus Associate Professor, she brings her professional educator background to presentations on navigation and boat handling at the Seattle Boat Show, TrawlerFest, and USCG Auxiliary public education courses. She has been an avid boater for 45 years (sail and power), with 12 years of cruising the Inside Passage on her 45’ trawler, including nine trips to Southeast Alaska. She also provides customized, on-the-water boat-handling instruction for power boaters (www.privateboatinginstruction.com).

Matt Mardesich

Matt Mardesich is the primary propulsion instructor at Skagit Valley College. Matt has been around the water all his life and still does some commercial fishing when not teaching at the technical school. Matt is an ABYC certified Master Technician and holds certifications in Gasoline/Diesel engines and electrical. Some of the many topics he has done include diesel engines, gasoline engines, outboard motors, and hydraulics.

Kevin Monahan

Kevin has spent most of his career on the British Columbia coast, first as a fisherman, then as a Canadian Coast Guard patrol boat skipper, and later as the Pacific Region Manager of the Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety. Kevin recently retired from Transport Canada national HQ in Ottawa where he worked on marine regulation and safety issues.

Kevin is the author of “The Radar Book”‘ “GPS-Instant Navigation” and “Local Knowledge-A Skipper’s Reference.” His books and presentations have helped boaters get the most out of their boats and their equipment so they can manage their boat confidently and enjoy the cruising experience.

John and Amanda Neal

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. 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 the 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 an NZ Commercial Launchmaster’s license.

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 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 and has rounded Cape Horn six times under sail and holds a USCG 100-ton Master’s and private pilot’s licenses.

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: www.mahina.com

Magazines Contributed to: Blue Water Sailing, Yachting World (UK), Australian Yachting, Cruising World, Cruising Helmsman (Australia), 48 North, Latitude 38, SAIL, Sailing, Yachting, Ocean Navigator and Practical Sailor.

Books Authored: The Essential Galley Companion (Amanda), Log of the Mahina, Mahina Tiare, Pacific Passages (John), Offshore Cruising Companion, Offshore Expedition Companion, Storm Survival Tactics (John and Amanda), Selecting and Purchasing an Ocean Cruising Sailboat (John).
Books Contributed to: World Voyage Planner, World Cruising Survey by Jimmy Cornell, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, fourth edition, by John Rousmaniere, Surviving the Storm by Steve Dashew, NOAA-PVS Safety Manual, Voyager’s Handbook by Beth A. Leonard, Sharks of Tropical and Temperate Seas, R.H. Johnson, Fifty Places to Sail Before You Die by Chris Santella.
Videography: Heavy Weather Sailing (1981) (contributor), Sailing to Cape Horn (1995), Sailing to Antarctica (1996).

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.

Margaret Pommert

Margaret is a Puget Sound based boating instructor, teaching classes from beginning sailing through docking, bareboat chartering, coastal navigation, and advanced coastal cruising. She started boating over 35 years ago and has since explored thousands of nautical miles in various parts of the world in a wide variety of sail and power boats, monohulls, and catamarans. Margaret has enjoyed many of the world’s top cruising destinations, including the Inside Passage to Alaska, San Francisco Bay, the Med, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, the Great Lakes, the Channel Islands, Mexico, and the Chesapeake Bay.

She’s a certified instructor with both the American Sailing Association and U.S. Sailing and holds a U.S. Coast Guard Master Captains License in Power, Sail, and Towing. Margaret has long been committed to getting more women on the water and is active in groups such as Northwest Women in Boating, Women Who Sail, and Women Who Sail and Power Cruise Pacific NW. Margaret teaches private, co-ed and women-only sailing lessons, including week-long “Learn-n-Cruise” San Juan Sailing courses that transform complete beginners into skippers able to bareboat charter anywhere in the world. She leads annual women-only flotillas and is in her 3rd year of leading the Seattle Sailing Women’s program.

Andy Schwenk 

Andy Schwenk grew up in Anacortes working after school, summer and weekends aboard the charter boats, marinas, and boat dealers until he graduated from WWU. He continued to teach sailing on weekends throughout his military stint stationed at Ft. Lewis and 10yrs public school teaching. He has now completed 42 Trans Pacific crossings on sailboats 26′ to 72′ and dozens of deliveries from Mexico to Vancouver mostly starting from Seattle. He currently owns Northwest Rigging a full-service rigging shop with 7 employees serving yacht owners from Pt. Roberts to Portland. He and his wife sail their SC-27 throughout the PNW year around with their two boys. Among their accomplishments are SC-27 national champions in 2015, Swiftsure and Vic Maui wins as well.

Terry Sparks

Commander TL Sparks enlisted in the Navy in 1968 after he completed a three-year Electronics program at Spokane Community College. His first assignment after boot camp was to the Navy’s Electronics Technician “A” school to learn how to operate and repair the Navy’s HF, VHF, and UHF communications equipment.

After almost nine years of active duty at a Communications Station, aboard two Submarines, and a Satellite tracking and injection facility, Terry left active duty and joined the Naval Reserves. After active duty, Terry enrolled in a night program to attain a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering offered through Washington State University in Richland, WA. Terry Sailed his first boat over thirty years ago and was hooked at first sail. His years in the Navy where he learned Communications, Navigation, Radar, as well as the workings of the many systems involved in making sure that his two submarines both went into the deep and back to the surface clearly honed Terry’s skills for the cruising lifestyle.

After his retirement from the Navy and ABB in 2008, Terry and his wife went cruising on their sailing vessel Sunnyside. They continue to cruise in the Sea of Cortez and the Mexico Pacific coast.

After a couple of years of cruising, Terry started writing Made Simple for Cruiser books to help others get started living the dream, do it right and come home safely.

Check his cruising travels out at http://sunnyside-adventure.webs.com/

Woody Wentworth

Woody is a retired military officer, offshore sailor, and owner of ‘IceBoat Marine’ specializing in marine refrigeration, solar and heating, and electrical. An ABYC Certified Master Technician, he is a factory certified installer and troubleshooter for most refrigeration/AC, and heating systems. Woody teaches Marine HVAC at the Skagit Valley Marine Maintenance Technology Program. When not fixing others’ boats, Woody and his family which includes three children, are out cruising (and of course, fixing stuff!) year-round.

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