Learn to sail on San Francisco Bay. Tradewinds stands apart from other sailing schools. Stop by and visit our sailing school and club. Our ASA course offering prepares you for sailing the Bay or anywhere in the world. Sailing schools on San Francisco Bay.

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Sailing School

Meet our Instructors

Craig Walker
Lead Instructor
 

Craig's love for sailing began more than 35 years ago, sailing a Sunfish on Folsom Lake. After graduating from college in Arizona, Craig moved to Silicon Valley, took basic keelboat lessons, and hooked up with several racing crews. He raced extensively for several seasons on boats ranging from 23 to 40 feet and raced to Hawaii in two Pacific Cups, winning the Navigator's Trophy in 1994.

Craig has sailed up and down the California coast and chartered in the San Juan Islands, British Virgin Is. and Tahiti. He has owned several boats including a Cal 29, Ranger 33, and a Hans Christian 43 and recently built his first boat, a Redwing 18 Pocket Cruiser.

Craig loves teaching and has been teaching for Tradewinds since 1989, when he earned his U.S.C.G. license and ASA Instructor certifications. Craig is now an ASA Instructor Evaluator. In his spare time he enjoys mountain biking, playing the guitar and singing as an amateur musician, and spending time with his family in the Sierra foothills.

 
bogert John Bogert
Instructor
 

John Bogert has always loved the water.  He taught swimming in high school and enjoys SCUBA diving, canoeing and kayaking.

John's first experience sailing was taking BKB in July of 2009 and he has been a Fleet Member of Tradewinds since then.  He has sailed most of the Tradewinds fleet and has logged over 160 days as Skipper. He sails most weekends year round with friends and members of the club.

He now owns his own sailboat, a 31' Hunter 310 named Epiphany.

His ASA qualifications include Basic Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Chartering and Advanced Docking.  John was certified as an ASA Sailing Instructor for Basic Keelboat in the spring of 2013.

John currently pays the bills as an IT Director for a payroll service bureau in downtown Walnut Creek.

 
Alan Brabon
Instructor

ASA Outstanding Instructor

 

2013

Alan grew up in San Diego where sailing and SCUBA diving were a big part of his life.  He graduated from San Diego State University with a Masters in Marine Biology.  During graduate school one of his classes was a 6 week trip down the coast of Baja Mexico on a 62 ft. schooner, studying marine life along the way.  Alan held a few positions in marine research before the Vietnam War drew him into the US Air Force.  He was able to use his biology knowledge as a Biomedical Laboratory Scientist in the Air Force where he became involved in hospital information systems.  He enjoyed teaching Chemistry and Biology to AF laboratory technologists.  Retiring after 20 years in the AF, his computer knowledge landed him a job as a systems engineer for the next 19 years. 

Now retired for the second time he devotes his time to his passion of sailing.  Alan took ASA training through Bareboat at Tradewinds Sailing School in 1998.   He has owned several boats including a Hunter 23, a Balboa 26 and currently is the owner of “Grey Goose” a Hunter 36.  Alan likes to singlehand his Hunter 36 and has made modifications to make it safer and easier.  He recently earned his U.S.C.G. captain’s license. He has sailed up and down the California coast and did the “Baha Ha Ha” in 2003.   He loves the challenge and harmony with nature that sailing brings and he wants to share this with others.  He especially likes to share sailing with his 4 grandchildren.

 
Steve Damm
Instructor

ASA Outstanding Instructor

2006

2007

Steve began sailing in the mid 1970's on small centerboard sailboats, mostly Lasers, FJs and El Toros.  During the next 15-20 years Steve raced in the Small Boat Racing Association having moderate success.  He taught beginning sailing on Lasers for three years at Briones Sailing Club, including a year as Sailing School Director.

In 1999 Steve discovered Tradewinds Sailing Club and took full advantage of the unlimited sailing program that TWSC offers.  In 2004 Steve began crewing on boat deliveries with Butch Florey, one of the TWSC owners. These deliveries ranged from Oregon to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  During one of these trips Butch asked Steve if he would like to teach sailing for TWSC.  Steve jumped at the opportunity thinking it would be a great activity for a rapidly approaching retirement.

Steve completed ASA Instructor Qualification courses for BKB, BCC, BBC, and CONI.  In 2003 Steve received his MMC from the United States Coast Guard. In 2006 and 2007 Steve was acknowledged as Outstanding Instructor of the Year by the American Sailing Association. Steve continues to teach for TWSC during his "retirement," enjoying meeting new people, and bringing new sailors into this great sport.

 
Dan Dunkel
Instructor
 

Dan Dunkel retired after a 35 year career in software engineering.  The career started as a part-time job while getting his degree from Eastern Illinois University.  It continued through his tour with the U.S. Navy, 13 years at Chevron, several computer-startup companies, and several software development contracts.

Dan is a product of the “Tradewinds System”.  He started with the Basic Keelboat class in July of 2008.  This has progressed to being certified by the ASA to teach Basic Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Cruising, and Coastal Navigation.  In that time, Dan has also earned a USCG Master’s License, 100 Tons, Inland–with Sailing and Towing Endorsements. In his first 10 years with Tradewinds, Dan has sailed over 1,000 days, 779 of which were on Tradewinds boats!

Dan’s other major interest is aviation.  In the last 25 years, he has accumulated over 2,200 hours in gliders.  This experience explains Dan’s obsession with safety.

 
Steve Felte
Instructor
 

Steve retired in 2010 after 30+ years as a utility manager and started teaching at Tradewinds in 2011.  While born and raised at Lake Tahoe, Steve didn't start sailing until in his 30's when he started sailing with friends and bought his first sail boat, a Venture 21 which he sailed on many lakes in the foothills and Tahoe when visiting his folks.

The sailboat was sold and ski boats were the ticket as the family skied and boat camped until they went off to college and the sail boating returned, this time with Steve and his wife Tess taking lessons at Tradewinds.

Steve continued his sailing education at other schools in the bay area and went on many of Tradewinds sailing trips.

Just to make life more interesting Steve started ocean racing with David Kory, doing the Transpac and several Mexico races.

These days you will see Steve working on his own boat, Home Free, a Catalina 36, or out on the Golf Course. He still keeps his Utility interests alive by serving on the American Samoa Power Authority as a board member traveling to the south pacific 3-4 times a year.

 
Don Gilzean
Instructor
 

Don is a retired corporate trainer, who joined Tradewinds in early 2006 as a Basic Keel Boat student after realizing sailing was the first thing he was not able to learn from a book.  Since that time, he has sailed Lake Tahoe, Key West, Nassau, Banderas Bay, and La Paz ... however, his first love is San Francisco Bay.

Holding ASA certifications for Basic Keel Boat, Basic Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Charter, and Coastal Navigation, his favorite class is Basic Keel Boat, because "that's where you learn how to sail".

 
garyg Gary Goodson
Instructor
 

I grew up living next to the Niagara River, where my family was actively involved with boating. Niagara Falls was just a few miles downstream from our dock (you could see the mist) so from day one, safety, good skills and equipment, and being prepared with a “Plan B” before casting off were the house rules. After college, and away from the Niagara currents, I discovered sailing. Through the years I’ve sailed off New England and Southern California, but for me the best sailing is here on San Francisco Bay.

In ‘08 I came to Tradewinds for courses and ended up joining the Sailing Club, where I’ve been a member ever since. Teaching and sailing have been dominate themes in my life, and I was happily able to combine them by teaching BKB courses with Tradewinds starting in 2012. 

I’m currently an ASA certified instructor and licensed USCG Captain. I also hold an MA in Communication, and a BS in Music and Education. When I’m not teaching sailing classes you can probably find me out sailing the Bay with my wife and friends, or maybe riding a motorcycle somewhere.

 
James Gotesky
Instructor
 
James began sailing as a teenager racing Lightening class one designs in the chilly waters of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. After a long hiatus the draw of San Francisco Bay led him to Tradewinds Sailing School & Club. There he found a sailing home. James holds ASA teaching certifications for Basic Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Advanced Coastal Cruising, and Advanced Docking and Motoring. He also holds a US Coast Guard Captain’s license.  James regularly cruises the Bay and the California coast. He owns the Toba Leah II, a Catalina 42, in charter at Tradewinds. When winter weather storms over the Bay you will find James skiing the Sierra steeps and deeps. James works as a transmission dispatcher for PG&E.
 
Herman Haluza
Instructor
 

Herman Haluza has been sailing with Tradewinds since 2005 and has worked in maritime San Francisco at different jobs, one being a part-time Ride-the-Ducks captain.  He honorably served in the US Coast Guard and now holds a 100-ton Coast Guard Master’s License as well as is a certified Sailing Instructor with the American Sailing Association teaching BKB.  He is currently part of the Coast Guard Auxiliary as a Vessel Examiner and Qualified Crew.  Apart from this, he is an avid practitioner of Tai Chi and the Sword.

For most of his work (what is called career) time he has taught English at Cal State East Bay and now teaches as a retired annuitant at San Francisco State University.  As an independent scholar, as well, he has published articles with regard to European Politics, Book Reviews, Pedagogy, Philosophy (Eastern and Western), and Literary Theory.  He also was a presenter in many conferences, mostly regarding philosophy, literature, and composition methodologies.  He was editor on the San Francisco Review of Books and has put on numerous national conferences, in particular, “Ancient Paths/Modern Journeys” and “The Future of Interdisciplinary Studies,” all of which had media coverage.

He has some writings on the Tradewind’s blog which show his view of sailing, to quote: “Sailing is a lure for a number of reasons, but one is often the attraction to what we are not about in this distractive world, that is a life force that vivifies.”  Sailing is more than just having fun; it is a way of life that brings about new perception.   

 
Martha Henderson
Instructor
 
Sailing is my recipe for joy and I love sharing the fun with new sailors! I joined Tradewinds in 2005 and did a lot of my training and found new friends to sail with through the club. In addition to many happy hours sailing on San Francisco Bay, I've taken my family on sailing vacations to the San Juan Islands and up to the Delta. I've done a couple coastal trips, including a two-week trip to the Channel Islands and back. Whether dropping anchor in a far-away cove or just tying up at a bayside restaurant's dock, I think any destination is more appealing when arriving by boat! 
 
Bruce Hutchins
Instructor
 

Bruce, is a retired Fire Captain from Santa Rosa Fire Dept with 30 plus years in adult education. He grew up in the bay area boating extensively on San Pablo Bay mainly in small to medium sized power boats. He got into sailing when he was 14 yrs old, when his father placed Bruce and his three siblings into a Sunfish, pushed them from shore in a small Northern California lake, and said “Sail!”. The four of them answered “We don’t know how, what do we do?” His father answered “I don’t know, I drive a power boat”. That summer the Sunfish ended up making a great swimming platform until they figured sailing out. From that point on he was hooked on sailing.
Bruce moved on from the Sunfish to Hobie Cat racing. He now enjoys cruising on various sized boats, on the bay, local lakes, and on the ocean in boats up to 45’. In 2007, he started his formal training to enhance his sailing knowledge, and now currently holds a USCG Master Captains license for near coastal waters and has many sailing and navigation certifications including, but not limited to: Coastal navigation, Celestial navigation, Bareboat, Coastal Passage and many more. He has sailed up and down the California and Mexican coastlines multiple times and including a Pacific crossing to the Marquesas’ Islands.
Missing instructing in the Fire Service, and at the encouragement of sailing companions, he started teaching sailing. Bruce, is currently a volunteer instructor at one of the local yacht clubs teaching youth sailing. He currently is an ASA instructor and has a passion for teaching and being on the water.

 
Tony Johnson
Instructor
 

Tony holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Pomona College and a Master's in Religion from Yale University. He is also a retired musician who began performing professionally at the age of 12 and has occupied the drum stool on the road or in the studio for such artists as Maria Muldaur, Jr. Walker and the All-Stars, Mary Wells, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Hoyt Axton, and Dave "Six Days On The Road" Dudley. His songs have been recorded by a variety of artists including Asleep at the Wheel, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Commander Cody, Hoyt Axton, and Bette Midler, who sang his song, "Midnight in Memphis" on the soundtrack of the movie, "The Rose."

    After retiring from the road in the early nineties, he concentrated his energies on his business (a cassette and CD duplication facility) and teaching philosophy at the College of Marin in Kentfield, California.

    He learned to sail at Tradewinds, joined the club, and eventually became an ASA certified instructor and earned a 50-ton USCG Master’s license.  In the early nineties he sailed to Hawaii with fellow Tradewinds instructor Ted Stuart, and cruised the Caribbean with former Tradewinds partner and teacher Bob Miller. In 1994, he purchased the 1972 Ericson 39 IOR sloop Maverick and began to modify her for passage making. On March 17, 2001, he and crew Terry Shrode set sail for the South Pacific, making their first landfall in the Marquesas 27 days later. The circumnavigation was completed when the pair sailed back under the Golden Gate Bridge on June 7, 2003. Their adventure was often featured in the pages of Latitude 38, and details and photos of the trip can be found at www.ussmaverick.net. The voyage has now been documented in the book The Captain and Mr. Shrode, available in print and e-book from Amazon here: The Captain & Mr. Shrode

 
Knud Loehndorff
Instructor
 

Knud joined Tradewinds Sailing School & Club in 2009. He can often be heard exclaiming that this was the best sailing decision of his life. He has been all over the bay on the club boats and has taken many trips off shore from Half Moon Bay to the Farallons and Drakes Bay.

Knud grew up in Denmark and as a young man sailed dinghies with his friends in the local waters. At age 23 his company transferred him to New Jersey where he jumped at any chance he could to go sailing. In this period he owned a Hobbie Cat 18 catamaran which he sailed on nearby reservoirs and Barnegat Bay. He also launched it many times off the beach into the Atlantic Ocean.

Other than ASA instructor certification, Knud has taken ASA certified classes through Advanced Costal Cruising (ASA106). Today he is excited to be a part of the TWSC family and as an instructor he especially enjoys being there when someone gets the “sailing bug.”

In his free time, Knud enjoys taking his wife and daughter sailing. Although he would prefer to spend all of his time on the water, Knud makes a living on dry land as a food distributor with his own company.

 
Virginia Luchetti
Instructor
 

Virginia started sailing on her sister’s 21-foot sailboat when she was 12. Even though she got seasick almost every time they went out, she loved being on the water and sailing. In her 20s and 30s, Virginia continued San Francisco Bay sailing on a Cal 20. After a break from sailing, she joined the non-profit Cal Sailing Club in Berkeley and had a lot of fun sailing dinghies that can capsize. She became the Dinghy Lesson Coordinator and then the Rear Commodore of that club for several years. She was also very active as a Boy Scout Adult leader and helped many scouts earn their Small Boat Sailing Merit Badge.

She came to Tradewinds as a student in 2010, became certified as an ASA instructor in 2012, and then earned her Captain’s license. She’s extremely grateful to her sister and to Tradewinds. At Tradewinds, she found a fantastic club that really fits. She’s qualified to teach Basic Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising, and Coastal Navigation. She’s helping to start a program to train Boy Scout Adult Leaders in Sailing Awareness. She volunteers for the Coast Guard Auxiliary and is in the process of being qualified to verify navigational aids and teach boating safety classes. When not on the water, she loves to go backpacking in Yosemite and Ansel Adams Wilderness. She works as a psychologist and is on the mental health management team for one of the state’s prison facilities.

 
Tony Medunic
Instructor

ASA Outstanding Instructor

2011

2012

Sailing was something that I had thoughts of doing for many years but never got around to until moving to San Rafael in 1996. I had owned ski boats for many years and the San Joaquin Valley was great for that, but sailing seemed to be the ultimate way to enjoy being on the water and the Bay one of the best places in the world to sail. I looked at boats for a while and almost bought one, but since I had never sailed before I think I made the lucky and right decision to take lessons at Tradewinds. I was an engineer with PG&E until retirement in 1998, and then I really got a lot of time on the Bay in all kinds of conditions and with many interesting people. I’ve sailed on Lake Erie, in the Greek Islands with a side trip to Turkey, and most recently in Holland on some of the prettiest, but most congested lakes and waterways you could imagine. Sailing the Bay is still the best, with any conditions and challenges you could want and also great views and places to go along with the sailing.
 
Chris Owczarek
Instructor

ASA Outstanding Instructor

 

2016

Chris started to learn sailing in Poland on the Mazurian Lakes during his college years on various small sailboats. Every summer he would go gunkholing and fishing on a sailboat through the Mazurian Lakes with his friends. After graduation from college his fascination with sailing took on a new twist when he moved to the Bay Area and enrolled in sailing classes at a local sailing club.

In 2005 Chris joined Tradewinds Sailing School and Club, and since then has never looked back. Over the years, Chris has completed various American Sailing Association (ASA) certification courses from Basic Keelboat to Celestial Navigation. He currently holds Advanced Coastal Cruising Certification.

Chris loves sailing the Bay. He often sails coastal Pacific waters. During one of his vacations he chartered in the British Virgin Islands. Other time he charted in southern California and visited the Channel Islands. From time to time he goes back to where it all started, the Mazurian Lakes in Poland.

When not sailing Chris enjoys time with his wife and son hiking, kayaking, fishing and camping in the California outdoors. In his professional life he works as a Quality Control Laboratory Manager at a local Bay Area biotech company helping to develop drugs against anemia, liver cancer and tissue fibrosis. 

 
Joe Vorderbrueggen
Instructor
 

Joe recently retired after serving 38-years as a computer systems engineer for Shell Oil Company. Included among his new post-retirment interests are playing music, sound reinforcement, working on his and his kid's home projects, and of course, sailing.

Joe began his sailing career in 2002 along with his wife, Lisa, with a skippered charter in Greece. While sailing, they looked at each other and said, "we could do this!" And so they did! Returning home, they quickly found Tradewinds and haven't looked back since.. Both Joe and Lisa are active members of the club and have completed many ASA certifications including ASA 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, and 114, as well as endorsements 117, 118, 119, and 120. They have enjoyed charters in Mexico, Croatia, SoCal (over to Catalina Island), Australia and New Zealand and plan on many more in the future. Joe enjoys racing on a J-29 in the Thursday-night Benicia "Beer-can" regattas.

At the same time, Joe discovered a passion for sharing sailing skills, knowledge, and experience with all who will listen. To that end, Joe successfully completed ASA instructor certification and has now joined the TWSC instructor staff. Joe and Lisa have 4 children, 12 grand-children, and live in Martinez, CA.

 
Marianne Wheeler
Instructor

ASA Outstanding Instructor

2009

2014

Sailing captivated Marianne when she came to San Francisco some years back. Growing up in the Bavarian Alps, she had never given boats much thought before. But, from the moment she saw the blue Bay speckled with white sails, she couldn't forget about them.

Soon, she sailed the Bay, much of the West Coast and around the Hawaiian Islands. After helping deliver a MacGregor 65 across the Atlantic to the Med, she found herself being blown across the oceans aboard a Cal 40 on a whirlwind circumnavigation. Small wonder the salt wouldn’t shake off after that and she became a Tradewinds instructor in 2002. 

Since then, she has enjoyed lots of day sails on San Francisco Bay with her students and made many friends on Tradewinds charters to Mexico, enchanting Tahiti, the Caribbean, the Greek Islands and Turkey’s beautiful Turquoise Coast. In cooler regions, she has sailed the rugged North West and crunched ice in Alaska, negotiating calving glaciers and floating icebergs. She crews on ocean races with Tradewinds members on the 65ft ULDB Barking Spider 3 and has participated in Transpac, Los Angeles to Honolulu, and Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta races. 

Marianne has her Coast Guard license and ASA instructor qualifications including Bare Boat Charter and Coastal Navigation. She invites you to join her at Tradewinds and looks forward to helping you reach your own sailing goals. Marianne is also an accomplished Tahitian dancer.

 
Bill Yawn
Instructor
 

Bill retired in 2006 after 37 years in the corporate world in industrial engineering management and is now pursuing his dream of “working” on the water.

His first experience on the water came after he was a few months old and has continued. In 2005 Bill obtained his 100 ton Master’s License and began working weekends on the bay with Tradewinds Sailing School, Vessel Assist, delivering vessels, personal captain, skipper for ASA in Antigua, Vallejo Ferry and the Red & White Fleet. Bill has also worked with insurance companies in teaching and certifying people on their newly purchased yachts.

Since retirement, his “part time” job has turned into almost fulltime opportunities. Bill also volunteers with the USCG Auxiliary. Bill has a passion for teaching all aspects of boating. He begins each class by telling his students his goal for the class is S.A.F.E. , which stands for Safety, Advance their skills, Fun and Education. And his goal is to learn something new himself in the teaching process.

Bill is certified by the ASA for BKB, BCC, BBC, ACC, Coastal Navigation and Radar. He holds a USCG 100 Ton Master’s license, unlimited Radar Observers, Sailing endorsement, and towing endorsement. He also holds a Commercial pilot’s license with an Instrument rating and has a FCC Commercial Radio license [formerly First Class Radio License] and is an Amateur radio operator.

Bill believes education should continue until we slip the bonds of earth.

 
Last modified on: Tuesday, 26-Feb-2019 14:11:30 UTC