Second Annual May 19th, 2012  
    homeMWSC Home Page
Instructors for the Midwest Women's Sailing Conference classes and seminars
Betsy Altman Sally Ballinger Debbie Bruesewitz Amy Cermak
Holly Davenport Nancy Erley Jan Guthrie Kaisa Herrmann
Whitney Kent Cindy Kraus Jane Larson Alice Martin
Phyllis McDonald Anne Miller Mickey Nielson Amy Seeley
Charlotte Taylor Jennifer Townsend   Jean Wolfram


MWSC Instructor Information and Associated Class Descriptions

Alphabetical Order by Last Name

Instructors   Classes

Betsy Altman
just announced !

Betsy Altman is a lifelong competitive racing sailor who loves being on the water. She has raced and won in 470s, Lightnings, and Etchells focusing on one design racing.

In 2007, she won the US Women’s Open Championship, the Adams Cup, the first time it was won by a Chicago Yacht Club skipper. Today, she serves the sport as an umpire and certified judge  working at Optimist Dinghy events in the US, team races across the country and matching racing at Chicago Match Race Center.

She has been a volunteer for 15 years at US SAILING, chairing a variety of committees promoting small boat sailing and youth development. She edits/publishes OptiNews, among other projects.


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Betsy Altman


Advanced Sail Trim

If you thought the skipper was the most important person on the boat?. Guess again.

The sail trimmers control the speed of the boat, upwind and down, when cruising or when racing. We will talk about keeping the boat moving at the critical moments (crossing channels, start line and mark roundings).

We will discuss keeping the boat moving in light air and depowering her in heavy air. We will take the mystery out of the control lines (halyards, boom vangs and the like). Most importantly, we will help you feel powerful when you look at the sail and it talks to you (they all do, you just need to know the vocabulary).

Sally Ballinger

Sally learned to sail later in life starting with lessons from George Williams College on Lake Geneva. Even when she moved her boat to Lake Michigan she did not plan to go beyond the break water. Then the cruising bug bit her. She has ended up cruising all over the world, owning several different boats in the process. She has sailed and cruised all of the Great Lakes, The North Channel, Georgian Bay and all the waters reachable from Chicago.

She has taken the opportunity to crew and sail through the Polynesian, Cook and Samoan Islands as well as the East Coast of Australia. She made her Atlantic crossing from the Canary Islands on the Coast of Africa to Antigua. Sally left Chicago using the long passage out the St. Lawrence Seaway seven years ago and now lives aboard permanently in Florida. Her current cruising ground is the Islands of the Bahamas with her husband Ed and their cats

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Sally Ballinger cruising on her boat

Adventures in Cruising


Join Sally and hear about her cruising adventures all over the world. In this workshop Sally will discuss how to prepare yourself and your boat for cruising. She will share tips on planning ahead to enhance your comfort, time for sailing and so that you will always have time for the sunsets.

Sally will provide you with resources and tips on safety, navigation, provisioning and health. All the necessary considerations for cruising will be discussed. She will even share tips on cruising with your pets and how to pack garbage! A must attend session for anyone planning to cruise from a week to a lifetime.

Debbie Bruesewitz

For Debbie, racing sailboats started out as a casual interest and developed into an insatiable passion. 

Debbie started learning to sail on the Chesapeake Bay and her first major sailing competition was Audi/Yachting Race Week, early 90's, in Solomon’s Island Maryland, on the bow of a C & C 33.  After that experience, she really learned how to sail when she started competing in one design fleets like Hobie 16's, J 22's, J24's, J29's and J105's.  Participating in Key West Race Week, Block Island Race Week, Women's Rolex , Netherlands' Medemblik J22 Worlds and Wednesday nights on the Chesapeake.  

Some Blue-water racing, cruising and work, like the Bermuda Race, NYC deliveries and cruising in the British Virgina Islands added a new perspective.  Yet, her passion returned her to racing around the buoys!  In 2003, competing at Key West Race Week led Debbie to Milwaukee via the long distance romance with accomplished racer, Scott Bruesewitz! 

Today, Debbie is crewing and skippering on T-10's, Mount Gay 30 and even ice boats on inland lakes and Lake Michigan.  Debbie is still learning more about sailing every day, if possible out on the water and by attending classes like MCSC's, North U, watching videos, reading Speed and Smarts and Sailing World and more!

Debbie working the bow

Basic Sail Trim


join us for a short course on basic sail trim.  Debbie will give you instruction on basic trimming of the main, jib & spinnaker for different conditions on the Lake.   For you trim/sail handling to get you out sailing with confidence and the knowledge that you can manage the sails.  Techniques that you can take with you to practice out on the water this Spring and Summer.
Amy Cermak

Amy was first certified in 1973 as a water safety instructor and ever since then, water safety has been Amy’s primary focus as she actively continues to promote water safety. Amy loves being on the water and is passionate about sharing her knowledge of sailing with others, especially youth groups. She coordinates the annual and day-long “AdventureSail” program for girls sponsored by the National Women’s Sailing Association as well as a similar event sponsored by the Racine Yacht Club in Racine, Wisconsin.

Since 1994, Amy has participated in the Milwaukee Bay Women’s Sailing Association as skipper of an all-women’s sailboat racing team. Additionally, she skippers her own boat along with her husband and enjoys sailing with junior sailors and close friends. Amy has extensively cruised the waters and ports of Lake Michigan and has chartered in the British Virgin Islands. Off the water, Amy is employed by the Kenosha Unified School District where she coordinates transition services for high school students with disabilities.

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Amy Cermak

Safety on the Water


In this interactive, hands-on workshop you will gain the knowledge, and learn how to use the safety equipment required on your boat. Many aspects of boating safety will be covered; including, life jackets, marine radios, flares, man over board equipment, and other safety tips. A must do course for people at levels of sailing.
Holly Davenport

Holly began sailing at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center in 1985. In 1999 Holly accepted a position at the Sailing Center as a Director.  She coordinates many of the educational and special activities provided by the Sailing Center to members and the community at large. Holly is a licensed Captain for 100-ton vessels and frequently works on many of Milwaukee’s excursion and work vessels.

Holly holds many significant US Sailing certifications as an instructor including Level I and Level II Instructor Trainer, Powerboat Instructor and Instructor Trainer, Safety and Rescue Instructor and Instructor Trainer, and Keelboat Instructor. Holly is also certified to teach Red Cross First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automatic Electrocardiogram Defibrillator (AED).she coordinates transition services for high school students with disabilities.

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Holly Davenport

Introduction to Sailing


This course is designed to address the needs of women who are beginners or wish to learn the fundamentals of sailing. Holly will introduce you to the basics of sailing, boat equipment, points of sail, tacking, jibing and much more. Even if you already know some basics of sailing, Holly’s knowledge and experience are sure to enhance your skills.  


Nancy Erley

Nancy Erley led two voyages from Seattle around the world aboard her Orca 38 sailboat, Tethys. “As the skipper of an all-woman crew, Nancy fashioned a circumnavigation that should go down in the record books as one of the soundest, most seamanlike journeys in the modern cruising era. Like all competent voyages, Tethys circumnavigation was notable for its lack of disasters.” George Day, publisher Blue Water Sailing magazine.

In 2006 Nancy was presented with the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award sponsored by BoatUS and the National Women’s Sailing Association. The award honors a male or female who has built a record of achievement in inspiring, educating and enriching the lives of women through sailing.

Nancy holds her USCG 50-ton Master of Oceans and 100-ton Master Near Coastal licenses, is an Instructor Evaluator-Ocean for the International Sail and Power Association, a HAM radio operator KI7DP, and an advanced scuba diver and delivery skipper.

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Nancy Erley - Keynote Speaker

Our Featured Speaker !!


 Night Navigation

Nervous at night? Learn from someone who has sailed 1000's of miles, and made numerous landfalls in all kinds of light and weather.


Anchoring ... anytime, anywhere

Anchoring in an unknown (or known) anchorage, with enough security that you can sleep soundly no matter what the weather is an important and learned skill. Learn about what equipment you need, how to read the bottom, plan your scope and swing .... everything you need for a safe and secure stay while you explore ...

Jan Guthrie

Jan has been involved in almost every aspect of Sailing and the Marine industry for more than 40 years. She has been a USCG Licensed Charter Captain on boats from 35 – 70 feet and a Licensed Captain on private yachts.

She also worked as a delivery captain, including taking sail and power boats from Chicago to Puerto Rico, up and down the East Coast, the Gulf, down to St. Martin, and all around the Great Lakes. She has managed and run Marine Stores, and worked in both Boatyards and Marine stores.

Jan has also been involved in a leadership position with the Waukegan Sail and Power Squadron for the past 8 years. As well, she has taught their Sailing classes and seminars for the Squadron.

She was a Marine wholesale Rep for the largest Marine Distributor in the US. She also taught sailing both professionally, and as a volunteer, and managed a sailing school and a windsurfing school. She has cruised and raced the Great Lakes with approx. 16 Chicago-Mac races, several Port Huron Macs, done the Queen’s Cup, the Hook and many, many buoy and long distance races around the area, many as skipper or watch captain. Her experience includes both Doublehanded and Singlehanded sailing.

Jan has skipped an all woman crew racing out of Northpoint Marina for the last 15 years. It is the only all women crew in that fleet.

She is now selling boats of all types and sizes as a Yachtbroker, since 1989 with some of the largest powerboat and sailboat dealers in the area. She has had her own company, Jan Guthrie Yacht Brokerage, since 1995.

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Jan at the helm


 Line and Rope Handling

Tired of knots in your halyards, the mess of tangled lines in the bottom of your cocpit locker? Can you actually get the end of the line to the person on the dock? Is your anchor line a tangled mess that you hope to never use? Does it take a LONG time to uncoil a line that you need NOW. It is easy, you just need to know the secrets that Jan learned from the manufacturers of the lines themselves and 40+ years of experience.


Docking Techniques With and Without Springlines

Each approach to a dock requires evaluation of a different combination of wind speed, direction, type of dock and available crew and talent.

Using land-based theory, and on the dock landing, you will learn some of the fundamental techniques of boat handling in the marina. This workshop will also include the proper use of fenders and cleats, as well as basic and alternate dock line rigging. Phyllis and Jan will also demonstrate line throwing techniques in order to lasso those elusive pilings. This class will be outside rain or shine so bring your gear.

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Whitney Kent

Whitney began sailing on prams at the age of 6 and was destined to be an avid and skilled sailor. At only 18 years of age, Whitney already has made significant accomplishments in sailing. She skippers a J-30 she named Rafiki and in 2010 took home an armload of trophies for wins against a seasoned PHRF fleet. Her accomplishment was recognized by the Milwaukee Bay PHRF competitors who named her the Corinthian Yachtsman of the Year.

That same year she received the Sportsmanship award from the Milwaukee Bay Women’s Sailing Organization (MBWSO). Whitney has served as Commodore of the South Shore Yacht Club’s Junior Fleet and has twice been named their Sailor of the Year. Whitney is well respected by her competitors on the race course and off. Learn how Whitney has combined competition and courtesy by knowing and using the Racing Rules of Sailing. 

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Whitney Kent
Basic Rules of Racing

You’re on Starboard tack and have the right of way. Not Every Where, not all of the time. Utilizing the Right of Way Rules RSS 2008-2012, winning skipper Whitney Kent and Lifelong Sailor Susie Rieck will take you through many of the different race course situations you could encounter. You will learn the rules of racing and how to use them competitively and with courtesy.
 Cindy Kraus

Cindy began sailing on Lake Geneva while she was in her early teens, sailing Class X and scow boats. She became an active member of the University of Wisconsin –Milwaukee Sailing Club serving as Fleet Captain and Instructor. She also became a member of the Port Washington and Milwaukee Yacht Clubs.

Cindy and her husband Bob, who introduced her to big-boat sailing, cruised extensively on their 32 foot Pearson 323. Passages included: down the Mississippi River, across the Gulf of Mexico, and over to the Bahamas. Continuing inshore they traversed the Intracoastal Waterway and eventually through the Erie Barge Canal and Canada’s Trent Severn Waterway. She recorded and navigated their journey before the advent of GPS!

Cindy is a US Sailing Certified Race Officer and has been extensively involved in the sailing community serving on many race committees. She is a Board member and Director of Milwaukee Yacht Club, currently serving as Fleet and Regatta Chair. Previously she was Race Committee chair. Cindy and her husband have raised three daughters who have also been racers on high school and collegiate teams.

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Cindy Krause


Understanding a Race Committee

  This class will explain the responsibilities of the Race Committee as defined in the US SAILING Racing Rules of Sailing.  It will review each of the Race Committee job positions, and how the team successfully services the competitors.  Brief explanations of the Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions, Race Signals, and Course Diagrams will be covered, as well as race committee equipment, race day preparations, and scoring. The class will conclude by identifying where to get more race committee experience, and how to learn more about Race Committee Management.  
Jane Larson

Jane has been sailing most of her life, but became serious about sailing in 1997 when she sailed with Bill Gladstone’s Chicago Sailing Club and joined the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center. She has race experience at Key West Race week and on Lake Michigan including (among many) Queen’s Cup, MBWSO and MAST racing. Boats that Jane has raced on include the 470, J-24, Melges 24, Laser 28, Tartan 10, J-92, Beneteau 42s7 and more.

She has been a race committee member for various regattas including several national US Sailing championships held on Milwaukee Bay. In the winter months, Jane assists Capt. Berg in teaching navigation courses. In the summer she assists in teaching an on board navigation course on MCSC’s C&C 29. Jane owns a Holder 14, a Cape Dory 25 and a 1959 Cruiser’s Inc. wooden lap strake power boat named “Buster”.

Jane is on the board of directors of the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center where she has volunteered as an instructor and ambassador. She is a member of South Shore Yacht Club), MAST, Milwaukee Bay Women’s Sailing Org, Milwaukee Community Sailing Center and US Sailing.

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Jane Larsen

Intro to Aids to Navigation


This course will give the sailor an introductory knowledge of the Buoyage System and an understanding of why navigation aids are established and how they are used.

We will discuss and show various buoys and their shapes, colors, sounds and lights as well as provide a cursory introduction to charts and other tools used for navigation.

Geared to the less experienced sailor/navigator, this workshop is a great way to begin understanding navigation without being overwhelmed.




 Alice Martin

When one looks at Alice Martin’s accomplishments, PhD, Law Partner, international author and presenter on Biotechnology issues both scientific and legal, you wonder when does she have time to go sailing? Alice’s sailing and racing accomplishments are formidable.

Alice has owned and skippered several boats through the years from a 16 foot Hobie Cat to the Sydney 38 named “Painkiller 4”. .She has chartered  and skippered boats for competition in multiple Key West and Antigua Race Weeks. She has been a skipper and helmsman through many of Lake Michigan’s great annual races including the Chicago/Mac, Tri-State and Bayview/Mac. Her skills as helmsman have led to podium positions in section and fleet overall. Recently, Alice skippered in the 2010 Newport to Bermuda race finishing 3rd in IRC Section A. Alice’s qualifications include US Sailing SAS 2002, 2007 and 2010. She is also certified in Seamanship and Advanced Piloting by the US Power Squadron.

Alice has a doctorate in Biology from Case Western University, was a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Medical School and Director of the Cytogenetics Laboratory at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She is currently an attorney and partner in the Chicago Office of Barnes & Thornburg, LLP.

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Alice Martin

Challenges and Rewards to Becoming a Skipper ....


Challenges face women who want to be skippers-either of their own boats, charter boats, or for a boat owned by another. However, being a skipper is an excellent way to hone your sailing/racing skills  and maximize your enjoyment on the water.

The many routes to becoming a skipper will be discussed. in the context of  personal skills and preferences  . One route is through boat ownership. Alice Martin has owned and chartered boats in races and regattas internationally. She has skippered dinghies,a hobbies cat , a Pearson Renegade 27, a J-30, a C&C 37R, a Sydney 38, an IMS 45, a Swan 45, a Vasquez 48 , a Salona 34 and in March 2012 will skipper a Beneteau 50.5 in the Heineken Regatta in St. Martens. 

There are advantages women have as helmspersons-even when they are not skippers, and conversely there are positions other than helm skippers may fill. Tips on developing a racing program will include crew management, race entries, rules knowledge, protests, boat selection, and equipment .


Phyllis McDonald

Phyllis’ first experience sailing was as a kid and it was not good. She stepped off into deep water. She never set foot on a boat again until her college years when she took a class “Learning to sail”. That Class introduced her to Land’s End when it was just a boat parts store. There were field trips to a sail loft, boatyard and brokerage office.

When they finally got on board the boats, Phyllis went sailing, and never looked back. You could say she ran away to sea. In the first two years she made 9300 miles of passages. Those trips included going down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, up and down the Atlantic coast, Key West to Newport, Rhode Island and then traversing the Great Lakes. The logged miles and experience as crew, then as skipper on the race course and deliveries, gave her the knowledge and experience to earn a USGC Captain’s license. That was the 1970’s. Ever since then Phyllis has worked somewhere in the marine industry.

She has spent time in bilges, under boards and cubbies generally not suitable for a human being. But, Phyllis has been there and she would like to share some of what she has learned through all those miles and all those boat compartments.

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Phyllis McDonald at the mast

Basic Engine Troubleshooting - Diesel
Using a small Westerbeke engine, Phyllis will trace out the basic systems of a sailboat’s inboard auxiliary diesel engine. She will help you learn the logical steps to take so you can diagnose your engine’s problem the next time something goes wrong. You will learn the usual culprits and the different symptoms that might point you to the source of the problem. And then there is the best diagnosis of all: PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE.

 Working with Epoxy

Learn how to use epoxy for both projects and repairs around you boat. Phyllis knows of the tricks of the trade, and you will be surprised at what you can do ....

  Docking Techniques With and Without Springlines

Each approach to a dock requires evaluation of the different combination of wind speed, direction, type of dock and available crew. Using land-based theory and on the dock landing, potential boat operators will learn some of the fundamental techniques of boat handling in the marina. This workshop will also include the proper use of fenders as well as basic and alternate dock line rigging. Phyllis and Jan will also demonstrate throwing techniques in order to lasso elusive pilings. This class will be outside rain or shine so bring your gear.

Anne Miller

Anne was born and raised in Zion, IL on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Her family alwyas loved the water.  She married in Hawaii in 1951 and then attended the U of Wyoming with her husband, Ken, and later graduated from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  They have 4 daughters, sixteen grand children and 3 great grand children with another on the way.  Following graduation she had a teaching career.

Their first boat was a Snipe bought in 1954 followed the next year by a Lightning.  Other boats they have owned were a  Butterfly, O’Day Day Sailer, Balboa 20 and an Alberg 35.

Their first cruise was in the Snipe from Waukegan, Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin and return.  In 1966 and 1967 they cruised/raced on  Lake of the Woods in MN and Canada in their O’Day Day Sailor with their 4 kids..  It was in 1966 that they announced in the Baudette news paper that they would someday sail around the world. 

In 1966 Ken became a glider and airplane pilot and earned his instructors license.  Along with 3 of his daughters Ken taught Anne to fly their small plane.   During this time they sailed their Balboa 20 all over Lake Michigan, and trailed it to Penobscot Bay in Maine & to the Chesapeake Bay to cruise in salt water.

In 1976 Ken and Anne joined the Waukegan Sail and Power Squadron to prepare for their future ocean cruising..  Anne passed her Advanced Piloting grade.

 In 1984 they sold their home  and bought “Resolute” their Alberg 35 and prepared it as a cruising boat.  In 1986 they  retired, moved aboard and began their 10 year sailing adventure. 

 They sailed through the Great Lakes, Erie Canal and down the coast to N. Carolina.  Thence off to Bermuda and the Caribbean where they spent their first winter.  In the spring they sailed to Europe via Bermuda, the Azores, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.  After wintering in Portugal they sailed into the Med where they spent another couple of years reaching Odessa, USSR on the Black Sea and wintering in Tunisia and Cyprus.  Anne broke her leg in Cyprus and returned home to heal while Ken single handed the boat back to the Caribbean.  Anne joined him there and they spent 3 years in the southern part of the Caribbean. 

In 1994, Anne took time off to care for a sister in law and father in law while Ken single handed to the Pacific.  She joined him in Tahiti and together they visited many Pacific Islands, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Oman, Yemen and some other countries on the Red Sea. They sold the boat in Israel after Anne had  a heart attack a day and a half after mooring the boat.   This completed their ten year adventure. 

Since they returned to Zion they have been teaching English, traveling and enjoying their growing family.

Anne Miller at Strictly Sail
  How to sail anywhere, and what I learned along the way ......

Ann's collection of photographs will take you completely around the world with her and her husband on their Alberg 35. She will share with you the stories and lessons shelearned along the way. So many little things, that she wishes that she had known ahead of time, and what she thought was necessary, that was not ...?

A real life story from someone who went out there and did it ... on the kind of boats that a lot of use everyday.

Mickey Nielson

I’ve sailed numerous U.S. Sailing Championships, J24 Worlds, 24 Chicago and Pt. Huron to Mac Races, 15 Queen’s Cup Regattas, 6 Key West Race Weeks, Various NOOD Regattas across the country, and various levels of J22 Regattas. Great Lakes 36, 50, and 70 class boats, J105, and J109’s are just a smattering of the boats I have sailed. 

The list of boats and classes is long and varies in size from 14 feet to 70 feet, and the regatta list goes on for miles. 

I volunteer at Nielson Sailmakers in Racine, Wisconsin. My husband and I own an Olympic Class Star Boat, and sail this boat from local to World Level competition. 

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Mickey Nielson

Spinnaker Handling & Rigging 101

Pole or sprit or not, asymetrical or symetrical, let Mickey show you how to hoist the sail. Launching, jibing, take down. Cockpit or foredeck. Learn what you need to know to rig a spinnaker on a variety of boats. This class includes rigging from the bag to the mast and the pole to the cockpit. What all of the lines do, and what to do with them.

Advanced Spinnaker Handling &Trim 202

Confused by what do with the spinnaker once it is up and flying? All of the tips and tricks learned over years of racing and spinnaker trim.

Pole or sprit or not, asymetrical or symetrical, let Mickey show you how to hoist the spinnaker, deal with a spinnaker snuffer and how to make the sail fly as it should. This class is about what to do with the spinnaker once it is up. Trim and handling ... safety and speed.

Amy Seeley

Amy Seeley is a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chicago, and has been there for the past 20 years. She graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1992 with a B.S. in Meteorology, and has worked in the Chicago, Rockford, and Peoria, Illinois offices during her career. From 1994-2009 she was the Port Meteorological Officer (PMO) for the National Weather Service. 

As PMO, Amy went aboard the freighters and tugs that ply the Great Lakes and trained them on how to take weather observations so that that the forecasters would have real time observations from the water. She also calibrated their weather equipment and taught them how to correctly use the National Weather Service products available online. 

Amy enjoys doing outreach to the marine community, educating the boating public about the National Weather Service marine products available and how to use them, and talking about weather hazards on the water. Amy is also involved in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadron, and the International Shipmasters Association.

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Amy Seeley - NWS How to find the Weather Information that you need and want !!

Learn how to use the available weather information to make the right decisions for your boat, and your crew. Knowing what the day will bring, will make you a safer cruiser, and a faster and safer racer. Know how to find and interpret the available info can make all the difference in the world.


Weather on the Water

Learn how to use the available weather information to make the right decisions for your boat, and your crew.

Learn how to read the clouds, the sky, the wind and see the signs around you that tell what is coming and help you prepare.

Knowing what the day will bring, will make you a safer cruiser, and a faster and safer racer. Know how to find and interpret the available info can make all the difference in the world.

Charlotte Taylor

Charlotte began her career in the sailing industry at the age of 15, working at a chandlery in Jacksonville, Fl.

By that time, she was skipper of three of the family boats, and had spent several summers helping teach sailing to the junior fleet at the Florida Yacht Club.

With a “performance cruiser” attitude towards sailing, Charlotte has lived aboard an Endeavour 40 ketch in Virginia and South Carolina, and has cruised the ICW from the Chesapeake to the Keys, but not in one shot. In the Milwaukee area for the past 12 years, she has most recently been racing and cruising on Lake Michigan on her Ericson 34.

She has worked at Harken for 12 years, where she is the manager of both the Technical Service Department and US Aftermarket Sales. Charlotte has worked in the marine industry for over 20 years, including stints on both coasts as well as the Great Lakes.


Charlotte Taylor

Making Hardware Work For You


Have you ever felt that you do not have the strength needed to safely handle tasks on your boat? Whether racing or cruising, the systems we use to control sails are often overlooked. Friction, weight, and harsh outdoor environments are all enemies to the sailor.

We tend to make sure that our sails, engines & crew are well cared for, but the furlers, blocks, travelers and other sail-handling systems may be undersized, worn, inefficient or just not the right set-up for how the boat is being sailed. We will look at common ways to improve hardware performance on your boat. And how to make them work for you.

Bring your specific questions, and if an answer is not available immediately, Charlotte and the Harken tech team will research an answer and follow up with you individually.



The care of feeding of sailboat winches

This hands-on class will give you a chance to work with a group and get your hands dirty. We will have plenty of examples of different types of winches. This is a chance for you to see how they go together and what sort of maintenance is required. As well as the hands-on portion, we will cover the basic mechanics of a modern winch, as well as discuss how different winch handles affect the performance and how to size winches properly for your boat.

Sailboat winches seem to be elaborate, exotic machines to most of us. And as machines, they require some tools and a bit of technical knowledge in order for us to care for them properly. This hands-on session is designed to take some of the mystery out of winch maintenance and selection. What does that noise mean? How do I pick the right size winches for my boat? Can I add electric power to my winches? Does it matter what winch handle I use? How do I get this thing apart and put back together again without losing my mind? These are some of the questions that will be answered in this course.



Jennifer Townsend

Jenny grew up between the family sailboat and the local ski area. She learned sailing and downhill skiing at a very young age and excelled at both. She was a state qualifying slalom skier at a time before polypropylene and smart wool and other high tech fabrics were available. She has competed outdoors in everything from 90 degrees and fog to minus 20 and snow.

Jenny won the Duluth Yacht Club Junior Skipper award at the age of 10 and went on to teach and coach both skiing and sailing and achieved various certifications and a houseful of awards, medals and trophies in both. She has taught adults, children and disabled sailors on everything from Optis and Prams to 50 foot keel boats and has spent her life teaching and coaching many people of all levels how to ski. Jenny won the Best New Skipper award at Bayfield Race Week and Best Performance by a First Year Skipper at the Duluth Yacht Club.

Jenny was Board Member, Vice Commodore and Commodore of the Duluth Yacht Club. She was also the first second generation Commodore and second female Commodore.

Jenny has done buoy races since childhood and numerous offshore races. She and her family did extensive cruising on Lake Superior on their 36 foot cruising boat and she has raced her J-24, Strange Crew, in hundreds of buoy races with a mixture of family and female only crews and has competed in extensive handicap and one design racing.

Jennifer Townsend

Dressing for the Weather ....


Cotton kills. .... this is a true statement.
Dressing for been on the water is different than dressing for any other outdoor activity. Even the best intentioned salesperson may not really know what you need to be comforable and safe.

Have you ever been cold out on the water? Or wet? Even though you felt that you had on so many clothes that you could not move, and were still cold. Or have you been too hot and uncomforable, and could not figure out how to be more comfortable.

And being and staying warm is an important fact in keeping yourself and your crew safe. A fall in core temperature of only 1°C can slow reaction times and impair judgment.

Learn how to stay warm and dry no matter what. Or stay cool ... and dry. Protect yourself from the sun. Have great grip on the deck with shoes that keep your feet comfortable, and keep you on the boat and moving around.

You should no longer be miserable in any boat in any weather. New fabrics, new designs and high technologies make it possible to have fun, be comfortable and enjoy sailing in any conditions.

Jean Wolfrum

Jean is a Registered Nurse with a diverse clinical and administrative background. She currently works as an instructor to students attending a medical assistant program at a local technical school and is a CPR instructor to healthcare professionals.

Jean began sailing over 25 years ago with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Sailing Club. Since learning to sail she has owned and skippered two sailboats before meeting her husband Tom. Together they have lived aboard their sailboat year-round including the years they lived in Milwaukee and have cruised and explored beyond Lake Michigan. In 1994 they traversed the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and down the Hudson River into the Atlantic and docked for a few years in Charleston, South Carolina.

From there, Jean and Tom cruised the Bahamas before their Trans-Atlantic Passage from Bermuda to Portugal and then down to the Canary Islands. Utilizing her knowledge and experience as a nurse and with the help of a physician, Jean prepared for their long-distance cruise with an extensive medical kit that became her emergency room afloat. Jean’s other interests include photography, oil painting, gourmet cooking and playing with her two young grandchildren.

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Jean Wolfrum

First Aid and Medical Emergencies Afloat


Being prepared for handling injuries or illness afloat is paramount to the safety of the captain and crew. In this workshop, Jean will provide valuable information to prepare for and deal with many types of medical emergencies while racing, day-sailing and cruising.

You will learn what you can do if help is far away. Jean will focus on the basics of first-aid, treating cuts and lacerations, sprains and fractures, head and eye injuries as well as some of the more serious life-threatening problems that can occur unexpectedly.

She will also focus on the available over-the-counter medications and will discuss their uses, side effects and availability. A must-attend course even if you just want to learn the basics of treating exposure and tips on preventing and treating seasickness.