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US Coast Guard Licensed Captain-Instructors

Bruce Vessey

Bruce started sailing when he was 6-years old at the O’Neill Yacht Center. When he was a little older, he started racing with his dad and his brother. They would take trips to still water cove on their Ranger 26’ that they won numerous races on. Later on, Bruce’s family bought a Santa Cruz 27’ that Bruce won the national championships three years in a row. Bruce raced in his first transpacific sailboat race on an Olsen 40 names Notorious. Bruce won the transpacific race in 1989 and in 1998 he was the overall Pacific Cup winner. In 2005 Bruce bought a Catana 41’ catamaran and sailed it from Florida to Australia making many fun and adventurous stops along the way! Bruce started teaching sailing lessons for Pacific Yachting & Sailing, now known as Pacific Sail in 2014. Bruce loves to teach but his favorite class to teach is the ASA 114 Catamaran class. He believes in trying to keep things simple and straight foreword as he teaches and with his vast sailing experiences he hopes to pass along his knowledge to his students.



Chris Hofmann

Chris has over 45 years of sailing experience racing, cruising, teaching sailing, and yacht deliveries.  He grew up sailing and racing dingies and keelboats on the inland lakes and reservoirs of Utah and started the University of Utah’s first sailing program in 1977-78.  Later he moved to Puerto Rico after graduating from college where he and his wife raced, cruised, and delivered yachts in the Caribbean for 4 years. From there, they moved to Newport RI where we sailed for 13 years on Rhode Island and Long Island Sounds.  After retiring from 22 years from the tech industry in 2016, Chris has had a lot more time to spend on racing, teaching sailing, and yacht deliveries up and down the west coast.   He loves spending time out on the water with all kinds of sailors from first-time beginners to world-class racers where we have one of the best sailing venues of the west coast!

Joe Wagster


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!


Douglas MacPherson

ASA instructor specializing in Celestial Navigation. Doug grew up in New England learning to sail there on the coast and local lakes. His first introduction to celestial navigation was as a deck officer in the United States Navy. That initial training has turned into a lifetime hobby and Doug loves to introduce others to the fascinating art of finding one’s way across the world’s oceans with the sun, moon, stars, and planets. He has two grown children and resides with his wife of 35 years in Sacramento CA. When he is not sailing with his wife and friends, Doug enjoys playing the violin. Doug has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Mass. Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of California at Davis. He holds a USCG Master’s 100-ton sail and power license and a majority of the ASA teaching certifications.

Anthony Stuhan

a man in a boat on a body of water

Mark Merritt

Mark learned to sail about 30 years ago from Pacific Yachting and Sailing (now Pacific Sail).  After passing the practical checkout, Mark began chartering boats from Pacific Sail.  During his first years of sailing Mark chartered every boat in the program from a classic Danish BB 10 meter to a Serendipity 43.  We are certain that he was one of Pacific Sail’s best customers!  After test driving many charter boats in the Pacific Sail program, he bought his first little pocket cruiser about 25 years ago.  As Mark was nearing the end of a 31-year career as an engineer in water resources, he began moonlighting as a charter boat skipper and sailing instructor for Pacific Sail about 5 years ago.  

To compliment the fun of pure pleasure sailing and sailing instruction, Mark actively races in Santa Cruz one-design and handicap series, and in regional regattas such as the Delta Ditch Run.  Mark regularly skippers and crews on boat deliveries along the California coast and from Hawaii.

Mark’s favorite billet at Pacific Sail is sailing instruction.  He enjoys sharing in the excitement and accomplishment as students begin to understand and execute new sailing skills successfully as they prepare for the grand adventure that lies ahead!    

Cullem Phillips


Jeff Cathers


Richard Jensen

a man standing next to a body of water

Tim Smith

Tim has enjoyed sailing  for over 45 years. He began with 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 included 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 a member of 2 performing Ukelele groups. He lives on the Westside of Santa Cruz with his wife Liz, and has two adult children, Ryan and Mckenzie.



Dylan Kline


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. 
About Us

Pacific Sailing is an accredited American Sailing Association sailing school and yacht charter company with a fleet of 10 sailing yachts from 27-46 feet. We offer all levels of sailing instruction, Team Building Regattas, Skippered Charters, and Bareboat Charters.