Learn to sail on San Francisco Bay. Tradewinds stands apart from other sailing schools. Stop by and visit our sailing school and club.
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.
(510) 232 - 7999
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Staff & Instructors


Brandy Kepner

Brandy was around sailing from a young age. She really didn't like it at first due to her sea-sickness and the racing atmosphere.

Then she grew up and married Matt, who was a Navy sailor. They moved to San Francisco Bay when his ship was stationed in Alameda. While Matt was out to sea she worked for a Payroll Company for 3 years doing billing, accounting, customer service, and branch administration. When Matt’s time was up in the Navy, they decided to stay in the bay area.

Brandy decided to move into the customer service area for a direct marketing company and stayed there for about three years. She soon set her goal to become a manager. She left that company and moved to an international mailing company as an Office Manager and Operations Manager.

During this time her father, Butch, had been working with Tradewinds Sailing and she became interested in the sport once more. Brandy and Matt started enjoying sailing together and loved it a lot. When the opportunity to arose to buy Tradewinds, it was an easy choice. She loves the company and the members and enjoys doing what she is doing.

Matt Kepner

Fresh out of High School, Matt joined the Navy. After Basic Training he attended Electrician’s Mate “A” School and Naval Nuclear Power School. After training he was stationed on the Nimitz Class aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson (CVN-70). In the Navy, Matt learned that he had a knack for troubleshooting and for making things work. “I love fixing things – if it used to work, I can figure it out and make it work again. If it’s currently working I can find a way to make it work better.” Matt has a broad range of experience in “making things work,” including Mechanical, Fluid, Electrical, Electronic and computer/PLC systems.

After his first West-Pac cruise on the Carl Vinson, Matt also realized he had an addiction to the sea and a love of travel. “I love boats and I love going new places and seeing new things. After visiting places like Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia aboard the carrier, I knew I’d spend a good portion of the rest of my life either traveling to new places or wanting to. Tradewinds is definitely my idea of the perfect business to own!”

Glenda Craven
Office, Customer Service
gilzean Nick Salvador
Maintenance, Office, Customer Service
Alan Brabon
Maintenance, Instructor

ASA Outstanding Instructor



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.

Dan Dunkel

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.

Don Gilzean

Don is a retired corporate trainer, who joined Tradewinds in early 2006 as a Basic Keel Boat student following the realization that sailing was the first thing he was not able to teach himself from a book.  

Since then, he has sailed Lake Tahoe, Key West, Nassau, Banderas Bay, La Paz, Hawaii, and the west coast from San Francisco to Cabo "a couple times" ... however, his first love is San Francisco Bay.

Don taught his first class for Tradewinds in 2008, and currently holds instructor certifications for nearly every class offered by American Sailing. His favorite class is still Basic Keel Boat, because, "that's where you learn how to sail".

garyg Gary Goodson

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
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

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.   

Jeff Hare

Jeff grew up in Northern Minnesota and boating was just a part of everyday life!  In his teenage years Jeff remembers canoeing on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (now part of Voyageurs National Park) where he lashed two canoes together with the paddles and created a sail from a tent fly - his 1st sailing experience!  From there Jeff has owned a Fanatic Cat Windsurfer, Hobie Cat, several motor vessels, and now Emerald Sea, our Lagoon 450F.

Long story short, Jeff and his Wife Becky joined TWSC over a decade ago and credit those experience to our current ownership of Emerald Sea where we followed state and local mandates by (very comfortably) sheltering aboard for much of 2020 during the COVID pandemic....   If you happen to see Emerald Sea docked at D or F dock (although our home marina is in Isleton, we occasionally bring her to Marina Bay), we hope you will wave and say Hello! 

Bruce Hutchins

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

“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

   Since returning, he has resumed teaching at Tradewinds. He and circumnavigator Shrode, his favorite sailing companion even after the circumnavigation, bought an old Catalina 22 with a swing keel that they kept on a mooring in Marshall, on which they investigated Tomales Bay including Hog and Duck islands. Later, Tony built a rowboat with which he has been exploring the waterways of Marin County not reachable under sail, and accessible islands in the Bay including Rat Rock, East Sister, Brooks Island, and Red Rock.

Jonas Juhlin

Jonas admittedly remembers being in absolute tears when he first went sailing with a family friend at 10 years of age.  An incident that his family still teases him about.  He understands how counter-intuitive sailing can feel to the beginner…for example being in a vessel on the water that’s literally tipping over (and it’s normal), steering away from where you want to go, pushing the tiller in the opposite direction, and wanting the wind to pick up before you go out.  But once you get beyond the sometimes awkward beginnings, the natural connection to sailing comes out.

Jonas grew up in and around motorboats on inland lakes and caught the “sailing bug” from Master Sailor and ASA contributing writer Mary Swift-Swan.  He has been an ASA certified instructor since 2003 teaching small boat sailing to hundreds of youth, teens, and adults on Lake Merritt as well as ASA adult BKB and BCC classes on The Bay.  

Jonas lived on a 30ft sailboat for over 8 years and has helped deliver boats down the California coast.  He has a passion for helping students get their dose of “Vitamin Sea” and you’ll often hear him remind his students “If you can sail a small boat, you can sail anything”.  He loves teaching BKB at Tradewinds because the Richmond Marina gives new students a taste of everything they’ll encounter in The Bay in bitesize chunks…not to mention the sailing community at Tradewinds has a wealth of knowledge and experience they generously share.

Carlos Lamas Babbini

Forty years of sailing experience, racing windsurfers, dinghies (Sunfish, Lightning and Hobie Cats), to keel boats to 45' LOA. 
Crossings (longer than day sail; multiple overnights):
Galapagos Archipelago from Callao, Peru and back.
TransPac in 2003.
Half Moon Bay; Drakes Bay.
Lake Superior
North and Baltic Seas.
San Francisco to San Diego.
Day sailing:
Lima, Peru (multiple times)
Lake Michigan.
San Francisco Bay (multiple times, to date)

OUPV Captain.
Sailing instructor at Tradewinds; qualified to ASA118.
Mechanical/Electrical engineer. Master in Hydraulics.
Owned SVPartenaire, a Hunter 34/1984.

Knud Loehndorff

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

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.

Chris Owczarek

ASA Outstanding Instructor



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. 

Ryan Weible

Ryan Weible is a Bay Area native who got the sailing bug when he was 12 at the helm of a 67’ MacGregor in the Bay, named “Northstar.” Ryan joined Tradewinds in 2010, has taken most of the ASA Certifications offered, and is thrilled to be an instructor. Ryan, and his husband, recently did the Tradewinds trip in the British Virgin Islands where he Skippered the 45 Catamaran, “Soul Rebel.” Although he loves sailing anywhere, the Bay is his home. He just won’t sail Hunters! You can fight him on that.

Last modified on: Friday, 15-Mar-2024 15:31:08 MDT