Lou Sandoval has had an atypical path to the water, with a venture that started out learning to sail at a Boy Scout camp in Michigan and lead to offshore races in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. He’s competed twice in the Transpacific race (Los Angeles to Honolulu), Newport to Bermuda and is a veteran of nineteen Chicago Mackinac races. He’s won numerous buoy races and is a nine-time sectional winner of the Race to Mackinac in various one-design offshore boats.
Sandoval transitioned a successful sixteen-year professional career in the bio-tech/pharma industry to the marine industry began with the purchase of his first ‘new’ boat. That adventure lead to a fifteen-year run as owner of the award-winning Karma Yacht Sales in Chicago. He most recently transitioned to a new corporate assignment with NAUTIC-ON, the technology division of Brunswick Corporation.
Lou serves on several marine industry boards including the National Board of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Sail America and the Recreational Boating Leadership Council (RBLC). He is on the Board of Directors for Chicago Yacht Club and their executive board where he currently serves as the Commodore. He is past board member of the Yacht Broker’s Association of America (YBAA) and has served as the Chairman of the venerable Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac for the 104th and 105th running. Lou believes in giving back to the community and is active on the Executive Board of the local Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Lou, his wife and two daughters live on the near South side of Chicago and enjoy boating and youth sports in their spare time.
Diane Bouckaert & Vito Bitondo
Vito has seven years of racing experience working main, pit, jib and spinnaker trim. Vito will provide insights as a crew member for what to expect and the sailing skills one can learn from crewing aboard the MORF Fleet. Vito has done seven straight Macs on Unknown Lady2, and has experienced various weather conditions that Lake Michigan typically will throw at sailors. He has raced in storms with peak winds of over 60 knots and rough seas and has come through it without giving up the contents of his stomach to King Neptune of Lake Michigan.
Chris grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan, and after many years away from sailing, she began racing in 2005 after attending CCYC's Crew School Program. 13 years later, she has raced thousands of miles of local and long distance races including 8 Chicago & 6 Bayview Mac Races, the 2016 Conch Republic Cup Regatta (Key West to Cuba) and the 2016 Heineken Regatta in St. Maarten. Chris was an instructor for CCYC’s Crew School program from 2008-2014. This spring will mark her 4th year since taking over the helm of CCYC's Sailing Crew Training Program. She and her team successfully train 30-40 new crew each spring for Chicago area skippers who are looking to fill out their summer crew ranks.
Howard is a dedicated adventurer with a life-long learning ethic. One of his passions in life is to better understand the world, it's people, environmental issues and solutions through first-hand experience. His international working career has taken him to many continents and numerous small island nations. He is a dedicated sailor, climber, cyclist and hiker.
"I believe exploring and sharing the world with students can make a measurable difference in their knowledge base and world view helping them to be more thoughtful and engaged adults."
His career as a College Professor, Department Chair teaching small island economics, sustainability and global tourism makes him a good match for this program. During his professorship he founded and managed the International Student Exchange Tourism Summit and was awarded a PATA Gold Award for Educational Excellence in Nagoya, Japan.
He is a former Governors Special Assistant, and in this capacity founded and directed a complex state economic planning process.
With Klepper USA he and his partner Eric Stiller instructed US Army Combat Swimmers, 10th Mountain Division, NATO and Navy SEAL instructors in small boat/folding boat (MAROP) operations.
Howard has helped hundreds of small boat sailors sail more safely through his seamanship programs. He is the former North American Sports promotions Manager and One Design Director for Mistral ag and in this role managed 167 world, national and local sailing championships and regattas including Olympic games.
Howard's adventures have been covered in books and magazines ranging from Sports Illustrated to Outside. The documentary film "Below 40 South" about his recent adventure is currently in post- production.
Alan Veenstra is a professional sailing master with over one hundred thousand offshore racing and cruising miles. As owner of Chicago Sailing, Inc., a US Sailing Certified training facility, he is also a master at teaching sailing skills in ways that are easy to learn and remember. As owner of Rigtek, Inc., Chicago’s premier yacht rigging company, he is intimately involved in all aspects of modern marine rigging. Come meet Captain Veenstra and share your sailing goals.
National Judge, Club Judge Instructor, Rules Instructor, Chief Judge at Columbia Yacht Club, umpire in training
Past Chairmen of US Sailing The Mallory Cup, Master Mariner, 59 Mackinac Island races
I judge and umpire throughout the United States and Europe
Fleets I have companied in: Vanguard 15; J 24; C Scow; Tartan 10; Off Shore Lake Michigan
Club Champion in: Vanguard 15; J 24; Off Shore Champion; multiple Chicago to Mackinac Island Wins
Past Commodore of Columbia Yacht Club and Island Goat Sailing Society
A full time sailing coach, seminar speaker and North U instructor; Andrew has traveled the world teaching seminars and leading clinics.
Teams Andrew has coached have won National/ NA championships in Farr 40s, J80s, B40., J105, Mumm 30, and ID35s as well as Block Island Race Week, Key West Race Week, SORC, Long Beach Race Week, Chicago to Mackinac Race, Bayview Mackinac Race, and many NOOD regatta’s in a wide variety of classes .
When not coaching, Andrew does a bit of his own racing both as skipper and as crew. His victory list includes National/ NA championships: J24 8 x’s, Santana 20 12 x’s, J27, and Holder 20, plus Block Island Race Week, the SORC, BVI Spring Regatta, multiple Key West Race Weeks and 30 NOOD championships!
And, we should add, Andrew has taught hundreds North U Seminars and Clinics.
Jim Andersen, US Sales Manager at Harken Inc., works with customers from around the world and is an expert at solving line-control issues. Jim came to Harken with twenty years of experience in boatbuilding with several top-end, international companies. His strong technical background, detailed knowledge of the Harken products, and unique perspective as a former boatbuilder provide him the expertise to assist boat owners meet their sailing goals.
Bring your questions! Jim is a fantastic resource for your hardware concerns.
Director of Evolution Sails, Rodney Keenan, is a sail maker and more often than not, a competitive yacht racer. His knowledge about the industry is deep as he regularly interacts with boat designers, boat owners and boat captains.
Rodney has over 215,000 miles of offshore racing experience in both crewed and single handed racing. His experience is truly international, including races such as the Sydney to Hobart, Transpac, and Middle Sea Race. Rodney is a veteran of the Chicago to Mackinac Race with multiple class wins and an overall win with TOA in 2017.
Director of Evolution Sails USA, Andy Camarda, is a local sailmaker who grew up sailing in Chicago. He is a veteran of the local distance racing scene, with multiple wins in the Mackinac Race. Andy has logged thousands of miles on the great lakes and understands the unique challenges they present.
Captain Frank Jaeger
Captain Frank Jaeger is an accomplished sailor and passionate educator who has sailed in a variety of different weather and sea conditions on numerous vessels. As a USCG 50 Ton Master Captain and ASA certified sailing instructor, he enjoys teaching new students the art and science of sailing as well as established sailors the advanced concepts of coastal cruising, bareboat chartering and navigation. Frank lives in Chicago and when not teaching, can be found cruising the Great Lakes with family and friends.
Captain Brian Earl
Captain Brian Earl, owner of Sea Safaris Sailing School, has been sailing for over 50 years on various size vessels and in several locations around the world. He’s taught in all of the places he’s lived – Europe the East and West Coasts of the US and of course, the Great Lakes and many inland waters where he is from. This extensive experience has given him a unique perspective of various weather, water and yacht conditions you might find where you sail. Brian is a licensed Coast Guard 100 Ton Master Captain and an ASA Instructor Evaluator. He’s taught for over 40 years in a number of different learning environments. He maintains certificates in Red Cross First Aid, CPR and AED. Brian was recently recognized by the ASA for Outstanding Instructor of the Year along with Sea Safaris Sailing School at School of the Year.
Jordan Clore has a unique ability to put diesel engine maintenance theory into perspective with real life examples. His background includes over 20 years in the U.S. Navy as a Diesel Engine Specialist and at the Naval Training Center where he was an instructor for basic diesel engine theory and provided hands-on training for diesel engines and generators. Jordan heads up our Training Services Team as the Lead Instructor with Mack Boring after serving as the Lead Product Support Specialist for over 12 years.
Nigel Calder got into motorcycles and sailing dinghies as a teenager, and has never been far from mechanical things and boats ever since. He has worked on an automotive assembly line, in a foundry and machine shop, and on offshore oil production platforms. He and his wife, Terrie, built two 70-foot canal boats (on which they lived in Oxford), and a 39-foot Ingrid cutter. They then sailed a Pacific Seacraft 40 for 5 years, following which they had a Malo 45 built in Sweden. This was replaced by the same boat but with experimental electrical and propulsion systems. It was used by the European Union HYbrid MARine (HYMAR) project, of which Nigel was the Technical Director, for extensive testing of hybrid propulsion systems. Nigel is a member of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) Electrical Project Technical Committee. Nigel and Terrie have sailed in the North Sea, Scotland and points further north, the US east coast and Bahamas, and extensively in the Caribbean, with Pippin (now aged 32) and Paul (30) augmenting the crew along the way. Nigel is best known for his Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, now in its 4th edition, and his Marine Diesel Engines, in its 3rd edition, and both considered the definitive works in their field. In addition to over 200 magazine articles, he has also authored a Cruising Guide to the Northwest Caribbean, Cuba: A Cruising Guide, Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook, and How to Read a Nautical Chart.
Dave is a leading RV expert and the author of 'The RV Handbook' as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club,http://www.rvrepairclub.com. For the last 30 years he has helped develop both dealer and owner training programs, authored safety and handyman articles to manufacturer's club publications, conducts the RV Buyer's Seminar and Handyman Handyman Seminar throughout the country, and logged more than 100,000 miles on the road in an RV!
If you are a first time RV buyer or a seasoned road warrior, you won't want to miss these great programs.
The founder and namesake of Crowley’s Yacht Yard, Grant is an industry leader with a career that started when he was 12 washing boats in Belmont harbor. After graduating from University of Michigan with a degree in Naval Architecture he worked as a sail maker at Murphy and Nye. He went on to found Crowley’s. Active in numerous industry organizations, Grant is especially proud of the work he does with marine related charities in Chicago. He is a founding member of the Chicago Maritime Society, and an active member of Friends of the Chicago River, the Chicago Yachting Association, Director of Nautical Donations, on the executive board for the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation and the Chicago Area Sea Scouts, Active in the Chicago area lodge of the International Ship Masters Association and the Chicago Yacht Club as well as many other charitable and educational organizations.
Mark Kish, U.S. Navy Retired, served 20 years in the U.S. Navy. He worked on marine diesel engines and was a marine diesel engine school teacher for 3 years, prior to retirement. For the last 17 1/2 years, Mark has been employed by Larsen Marine Service, Waukegan, Illinois, where he has held the positions of Marine Technician, Mechanical and Electrical Service Supervisor, Store and Parts clerk, and is in charge of safety, training and education. Mark grew up on Lake Erie and has been boating his entire life and passes along tricks of the trade in an effort to keep everyone safe. He also performs training in the form of webinars for the Great Lakes Cruising Club, and Seven Seas University.
Mary grew up in central Wisconsin. She spent the summers sailing sunfish and refinishing furniture in her mother’s antique business. Mary earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Functional Design from UW Oshkosh and after college spent 12 years in Alaska working for BP on the Arctic Ocean, commercial fishing on the Bering Sea, and delivered a new fishing boat 1800 miles. She raced schooners in Gloucester, MA and raced a 12 meter with Gary Jobson in Maine. After returning to Wisconsin in the late 1990’s Mary joined South Shore Yacht Club racing Tartan 10’s and then joined the PHRF 51Great Lakes 36 Fleet. Her marine finishing skills were fine-tuned working on a fleet of classic wooden boats in the Milwaukee area, starting Fine Yacht Finishing, LLC in 2002. Mary is a USCG Captain and member of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. Her varnish seminars and workshops have garnered rave reviews and made her a respected and sought after speaker.
Born in Chicago, Captain Paul has been sailing on the Great Lakes for more than 30 years. Born of Norwegian, German, English, and Scottish decent, he's lived in Denmark and traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America. Paul loves the outdoors where he pursues his passions for skiing, iceboat sailing, cruising/racing, hiking, and biking.
Over the past 30-years he's owned several sailboats and has cruised and raced extensively on the Great Lakes with more than a dozen Chicago-Mac races and 25,000 sea miles. Paul has extensive experience with coastal and offshore passage making, and single and short-handed sailing on a wide variety of sailboats.
Paul holds a USCG Master Captains License with sailing and towing endorsements, and is First Aid/CPR certified. He also volunteers as an Advanced Adult Sailing and Racing instructor at Columbia Yacht Club in Chicago, and has served as the Columbia Yacht Club Cruising Fleet Chair for more than 10 years.
A calm and patient teacher, Paul has inspired many to become skilled and confident sailors, and others to set off on their own adventures and extended passages
Mark Thornton began sailing on Lake Erie in 1994 and he currently owns Osprey, a 1985 C&C 35. His interest in weather forecasting grew from his experiences cruising and racing on the lake. Mark is a 2006 graduate of the Penn State University Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting, a two-year program that develops skills in general, tropical and severe weather forecasting.
His company, LakeErieWX, is dedicated to providing marine weather education and forecasting resources for recreational boaters (www.lakeeriewx.com). He has served as the race meteorologist for the Bell’s Beer Bayview Race to Mackinac (2014-2016), and is the past president of the Cleveland chapter of the American Meteorological Society. Mark is employed as the Vice-President of Administration for the law firm of Wegman, Hessler & Vanderburg, and as a Teaching Assistant in the Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting Program at Penn State University.
Brian is a highly experienced sailor, sailing on the Great Lakes for 30 years. He has raced, delivered and cruised on a variety of boats from Butterflies to 70 footers. Sailing is a large part of his life and has been a great influence. Sailing has taught him how to safely deal with a constantly changing environment and how to achieve the best from the experiences and individuals involved.
Brian’s Sailing experience includes 21 Queens Cup races, 14 Chicago to Mackinac races, a Port Huron to Mackinac race, 2 Newport to Bermuda races and 100s of races around The Great Lakes in summer and Florida in the winter. I have accumulated 20,000+ racing, delivery and cruising miles on the The Great Lakes, East Coast, Florida and Caribbean. He is currently doing the Great Loop Route with his wife. He holds a US Coast Guard Captains 100 ton Masters License and is a certified instructor. He serves as a US Sailing Safety at Sea, Moderator and Committee member, and Safety officer for South Shore Yacht Club. He has also received numerous accommodations for his work as communicator on board “Sociable” during the 2011 Wingnuts rescue.
Pam Wall has sailed around the world in a 39 foot sloop with her husband and two small children. She is a source of inspiration and knowledge going around the country giving Keynote talks that help people to enjoy life, know how to become better at what they do, and keep the spark of enjoyment forever burning.
Pam not only helps cruisers have the right equipment for blue water sailing, but she is also a source for information on the cruising lifestyle, routes and sailing information, and helping to encourage new cruisers. Her Web-Site: www.pamwall.com has a lot of useful cruising information that is always available. Chances are you all have been to one of Pam's many instructional seminars across the country. She is well known for her many presentations at all the boat shows and Safety at Sea Seminars.
You can reach Pam at email@example.com for her personalized consulting.
John Neal’s 313,000 offshore miles include six Cape Horn roundings plus voyages to Antarctica and Spitsbergen. Since 1976, John’s passion has been sharing his knowledge of ocean cruising and he has conducted over 160 sail-training expeditions worldwide aboard Mahina Tiare III, a Hallberg-Rassy 46 detailed on mahina.com. John and Amanda are contributing editors to Blue Water Sailing Magazine and when not at sea they are based on San Juan Island where they enjoy wintertime kayaking.
Lou Bruska has orty seven years of sailing experience on Lake Michigan as a racer and cruiser. After 15 Chicago-Mac races and countless buoy races he now devotes his time to cruising. Lou is a member of the Great Lake Cruising Club and is the chairman of the GLCC's Harbor Reports Committee. He actively cruises Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and Lake Erie. Since 2008, he has cruised more than 8,000 miles on the Lakes from his home port in Holland, MI.
Rich Stearns the owner has been racing sailboats since 1962 when he started sailing a Penguin dinghy and Sunfish. Since then he has raced and cruised all over the world. Rich was a Sailmaker for 25 years owning the Murphy & Nye Hood, Sobstad and Doyle franchises in Chicago. Along with racing he has cruised both monohulls and catamarans throughout the Caribbean.
Rich Started in selling boats buy developing the LS-10 33 foot sailboat. Rich has sold J-Boats since 2000. Rich has known the Johnstone family for over 30 years sailing with and against Bob Johnstone when he lived in Wilmette Illinois in the 60’s and 70’s. In 2008 Stearns Boating LLC became the Midwest Hanse, dealer. When Hanse bought Dehler Stearns Boating took over as the Dehler dealer in the Midwest. In 2015 Stearns Boating became the dealer for the renown Nautor Swan line.
Rich is also the author of “Getting Started in Sailboat Racing” International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press / McGraw Hill 2004 and 2013. Second edition 2013.
As a husband and father who has introduced his family to the sport, he loves working for a company that supports and encourages family cruising as well as top-level racing. TJ's passion for sailing, coupled with Quantum’s resources, make it possible for him to help sailors at any level find the right sails for their need. "I'm committed to finding answer to my client’s questions, even if I don't know them," he said. "At Quantum Sails I have access to resources that help me provide the best options for my clients. I’d love the opportunity to talk with people about what they've got going on and how I can help."
Kim Russo is the Executive Director of America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association (AGLCA). She is the emcee for the semi-annual AGLCA Rendezvous, presents the "Introduction to the Great Loop" session at the AGLCA "Great Loop Cruising: A Guide to the Looper Lifestyle" seminars, and has presented about the Great Loop at CruiserPort, University, the Chicago Boat Show, the Miami Boat Show, the New England Boat Show, the San Francisco Boat Show, and the Seattle Boat Show. Kim has been boating in her home waters around Charleston, South Carolina for 20 years.
Shelly is a registered nurse with 25 years of experience in the Emergency Room. She holds certifications in Emergency nursing, Offshore medicine, trauma nursing, advanced cardiac life support, and pediatric advanced life support. She teaches American Heart Association CPR/AED/First Aid and is the Fleet Surgeon for South Shore Yacht Club. Shelly grew up racing and cruising on a classic wooden Q boat. She was away from sailing for a lifetime, and has returned with gusto. She has her USCG 100 ton Masters License and now specializes in offshore first aid education and tricky boat deliveries. Most recently she has delivered boats from St Thomas to Florida, Panama to Tampa, and Hawaii to California and has instructed classes at the Chicago Boat Show, Chicago Yacht Club, Corinthian Yacht Club, Larsen Marine and the Midwest Women’s Sailing Conference. Shelly is passionate about life on the water, and life in general.
Amanda Swan Neal
Amanda Swan Neal, a contributing editor to 48 North magazine grew up in Auckland and sailed to Sausalito as a teenager aboard a boat she helped her family build. Upon returning to New Zealand she became a sailmaker before completing the Whitbread Around the World Race as rigger aboard Maiden, the first all-women crew. Amanda continued as an international sailor, logging 271,000 miles including two Sydney-Hobart Races and seven Cape Horn roundings. She joined John in 1994 and they annually sail eight months and 10,000 miles aboard Mahina Tiare. She is author of The Essential Galley Companion and enjoys introducing women to the joys of the cruising lifestyle.
Ryan Bumber and John Casey
Ryan is a Master Mechanic with advanced certifications from Yanmar, Volvo and Mercruiser to name a few. He knows his way around marine engines. His relaxed seminar style lends itself to casual give and take sessions with an emphasis on the practical.
John Casey is also a Master Mechanic with advanced certifications from Yanmar, Volvo and Mercruiser. Little John as he is known around the yard is a no nonsense mechanic who frequently amazes boat owners with his ability to fit his considerable frame into tight spaces and quickly solve complex mechanical problems.
Niels R. Jensen is the Past Commodore of the Great Lakes Cruising Club (GLCC). A journalist by trade, Jensen has written for BoatUS Magazine, SAIL, Sailing, Northern Breezes, Good Old Boat, and Blue Water Sailing. He has been a speaker at Strictly Sail and the Chicago Boat Show for the past ten years, and holds a USCG Master’s license.
John & Amanda Neal
John Neal’s 332,000 offshore miles include six Cape Horn roundings plus voyages to Antarctica and Spitsbergen. Since 1976, John's passion has been sharing his knowledge of ocean cruising and he has conducted over 160 sail-training expeditions worldwide aboard Mahina Tiare III, a Hallberg-Rassy 46 detailed on mahina.com. John and Amanda are contributing editors to Blue Water Sailing Magazine and when not at sea they are based on San Juan Island where they enjoy wintertime kayaking.
Amanda Swan Neal, a contributing editor to 48 North magazine grew up in Auckland and sailed to Sausalito as a teenager aboard a boat she helped her family build. Upon returning to New Zealand she became a sailmaker before completing the Whitbread Around the World Race as rigger aboard Maiden, the first all-women crew. Amanda continued as an international sailor, logging 290,000 miles including two Sydney-Hobart Races and seven Cape Horn roundings. She joined John in 1994 and they annually sail eight months and 10,000 miles aboard Mahina Tiare. She is author of The Essential Galley Companion and enjoys introducing women to the joys of the cruising lifestyle.
Dave heads up the rigging department at Crowley’s Yacht Yard. He has extensive experience as a rigger and is especially skilled at traditional rigging. Before coming to Crowley’s he owned a rigging shop in the Houston/Galveston area on Texas’ gulf coast. Dave has also worked in the offshore oil industry as a hard hat diver and supervisor, in ship salvage, underwater construction and underwater welding.
Travis Blain and his brother Colin Mack are the owners of Mack Sails which was started by their dad in 1968 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. There loft and rigging shop is now in Stuart Florida, which is the jump off point for the Bahamas and Caribbean. Mack Sails is one of the largest sailmaking and rigging companies in the Southeast. They are a one stop shop making all of their sails and rigging in Stuart as well as supplying and installing spars, furling, hardware and electronics. Over the last 40 years they have outfitted many boats for blue water cruising and they have serviced and repaired boats returning from major trips. This experience has allowed them to see what works and what needs improvement in the area of sails, sail handling systems and rigging
Cindy Kalow has been boating in the mid-west for over 20 years, both sail and power. She left her corporate job in the Twin Cities over 10 years ago to pursue a dream of raising her family on the shores of Lake Superior. Combining a love of boating and a passion for the Apostle Islands, Cindy operates Superior Charters and Superior Yacht sales with her husband in Bayfield, Wisconsin.
Dan is a 30 year veteran of the Marine Industry. He is currently the General Manager at Crowley’s Yacht Yard. His marine skills run the gamut from ABYC certified Electrical Technician to Crane Operator. He has acquired a wealth of knowledge that only 30 years of experience and an inquisitive mind can accumulate. He is a frequent speaker on a variety of marine subjects giving seminars that are both entertaining and educational.
Bill Bloom is an independent financial planner and principal of Bloom Financial Company in Chicago. He helps individuals and business owners understand their current financial situations, define future goals, and develop a strategy that is flexible and will allow them to reach their retirement objectives. Bill helps clients “Retire as You Desire” by providing them with meaningful solutions to a wide range of financial matters including: investments, risk management, tax planning as well insurance needs analysis.
Bill is also an avid sailor out of the Chicago Yacht Club and has participated in many races in Chicago. He has also competed and won international regattas such as the Antigua Sail Week in 2015. This year, Bill and his crew set the record for earliest arrival ever for the Race to Mackinac. Bill specializes in working with fellow yachter's to help them achieve their financial goals along with helping them plan for retirement.
Phil is a marine industry veteran with experience ranging from fiberglass technician to offshore navigating and just about everything in between. He is the Sales Manager at Crowley’s and enjoys sharing lessons learned and skills garnered during his 30 year plus tenure in the industry.