Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

US Coast Guard Licensed Captain-Instructors


Jeff Cathers

Bio coming soon.


Shannon Kelly

Shannon has been sailing for 58 years in the Monterey Bay, San Francisco Bay/Delta and Pacific coast area. He has been passing on his extensive sailing knowledge to Pacific Sail students of all experience levels for 17 years! He is experienced with teaching students how to sail on monohull and catamaran vessels!

a man riding on the back seat of a car

Tim Smith

Tim has enjoyed sailing for over 45 years. He began with sailing lasers, then was hired for many Transpact deliveries (Honolulu to Westcoast) and a trip from New Zealand, to Hawaii via Tahiti beginning in 1976. As a graduate of California Maritime Academy he’s spent a lifetime at sea, working as a licensed merchant mariner for 36 years criss-crossing the globe. His roles include third mate, second mate, and lastly chief mate for a dozen years. He has recently enjoyed teaching and skippering through Pacific Yachting first and currently through Pacific Sail. He holds an unlimited tonnage USCG Masters License.

Tim’s hope is to share experiences on the ocean that teach patience, awareness, and clear communication, while emphasizing safety and hands-on-training. He believes we are lifelong learners and encourages questions. Through experience he hopes the students learn to assess situations, come up with a game plan and develop options, while enjoying a love for sailing.

When not sailing Tim is an avid surfer and member of 2 performing Ukulele groups. He lives on the Westside of Santa Cruz and enjoys spending time with his two adult children, Ryan and Mckenzie.

a person standing next to a body of water

Helen Christianson

Helen is a Santa Cruz native and has spent her whole life on and around the ocean. She holds a degree in environmental science from UC Santa Barbara and has worked as a biologist, naturalist, outdoor educator, and guide both on & off the water for 10+ years.

Three years ago, she earned her USCG captains license and has been running charters and teaching sailing ever since. She is excited for future adventures on the water!

a boat on a body of water

Dylan Kline

Bio and photo coming soon.


Richard Jenson

Bio coming soon.

a person wearing a hat and smiling at the camera

Myles Stanford

I grew up in Rhode Island and began a career as a boatbuilder in 2012. I love to build but after some years I found that the craft of sailing was something I treasured even more. I decided to become a career captain instead of builder and achieved this mostly by way of living the cruising life on sailboats. I cruised with friends all over the Pacific on their boats, did some crewing on sailboats for cash, and worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. Then I bought my own boat in 2017, a Westsail 32 I renamed Baba Buoy. For the next 2.5 years I completely refurbished it and put it all back together while working full time as a boat builder in Moss Landing, CA. I sailed her from Santa Cruz to Rhode Island by way of the Panama Canal. Most of the trip was single-handed and I stopped a lot in Mexico to explore. My longest stint at sea alone was from Huatulco, Mexico to Panama City, Panama at 16 days.

I sold the boat in RI and moved back to Santa Cruz to be with the love of my life, Makana (yes a human, not a boat), and work as a sailboat charter captain, which I have been doing for the last 6 months. Teaching sailing through the ASA is a new and rewarding path for me in which I have the opportunity to share what I love and help people reach new heights on their aqueous journeys. I look forward to getting out on the water with you!


Brian Kieft

Brian’s background in sailing is largely racing. He really enjoys sailing with a purpose whether it’s racing, a passage to a new destination, or finding a secluded anchorage to spend some time exploring on land and underwater. In his free time, he enjoys working with a couple of different nonprofits that focus on getting students out on sailboats who might not normally have an opportunity to do so. He also really enjoys participating in Pacific Sail’s Team Buildings and Skippered Charters! His career in ocean engineering has him offshore quite a bit in various spots around the world and Monterey Bay. Brian agrees that we are truly lucky to enjoy the Monterey Bay often referred to as the “Serengeti of the Sea” where we get to see abundant wildlife and enjoy fun destination sails each less than a days sail away.

a boat on a body of water

Mark Merritt

Bio and photo coming soon.