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US Coast Guard Licensed Captain-Instructors

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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!

Dylan Kline

Bio and photo coming soon.


Richard Jenson

Richard‘s lifelong sailing adventure began with island hopping on a small sailing dinghy at age 14 in the South Pacific Kwajalein Atoll of the Marshall Islands. Frequently meeting visiting cruisers expanded his desire to explore the world of sailing. Learning to sail native outriggers, understanding their ancient navigation technology, and appreciating the significant role that sailing vessels have played over thousands of years in the evolution of mankind drew Richard even deeper into the world of cruising. Sailing became a fascination that would stay with him always.

For the last 50 years, Richard has enjoyed sailing, owned and cruised several designs of small and large vessels. In addition to recreational Hobie cat racing, wind surfing and captaining charters on his Morgan 44, he has taught various levels of sailing for 5 years at sailing schools including Pacific Sail, launching students on their own lifelong sailing adventures. Richard enjoys meeting sailors of all levels in classes and on the sea and welcoming them to the wonderful world of sailboats, wind and water!

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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.

Mark Merritt

Bio and photo coming soon.

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Kate Sonnenfeldt

Kate is a lifelong sailor, water enthusiast, and USCG 50-ton captain who grew up sailing in the San Francisco Bay. In her late teens and early twenties, she found herself cruising in the Caribbean with her dad who was living aboard his 53-foot sailboat. She also began competitive racing in college while attending UCSC, and continues to compete in the weekly yacht club races, as well as other races in Monterey Bay and beyond. Kate works charters and teaches sailing as a way to get more people out on the water and spread the joy that she experiences from sailing.
In her free time, Kate enjoys sailing and traveling, as well as rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing, backpacking, and playing with her dog on the beach.
a man standing next to a body of water

Darrel Louis

My sailing career started over 40 years ago having joined the Santa Cruz Yacht Club in 1981.
Sitting on the beach in 1980 soaking up the sun I saw beautiful spinnakers being flown into the
harbor and it struck me. Learned at O’Neil Yacht Center now a restaurant, my path has taken
me on 4 Trans-Pac and Pac Cup Races-Chartering and Skippering, Mexico Races/Delivery,
One-Design J-24, Santana 35’s both in Santa Cruz and San Francisco. I have owned 2-J24’s, J-
36, Santana 35 and a Schock 35 and currently teach sailing here at Pacific Sail as well as
Spinnaker Sailing at McCovey Cove in San Francisco and consider myself an expert both on
Monterey Bay and San Francisco waters in the art Boat Performance/Sail Trim-incl. Spinnaker,
Crew Management/Yacht Maintenance-USCG License 3572843/exp 31Jul28