Outstanding Instructor - Matthew Holt

Living the Dream!

Outstanding Instructor Spotlight

There are a lucky few people in this world who get to live their life just as they had hoped – ASA sailing instructor at Sunsail BVI, Matthew Holt, or Big Red as he is also known, is one of these people.

Matthew teaches sailing in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the British Virgin Islands and fully understands and appreciates how fortunate a person he is. BVI, consisting of four main islands and over 50 smaller islands, is truly an incredible cruising ground for sailors who seek out the idyllic.

“I consider myself very lucky to call the British Virgin Islands home. As a boy, I dreamed of getting paid to take people sailing,” Holt says. “Now I do.”

Holt, a certified instructor since 2002, has been teaching and exploring the picturesque islands for years and is in awe of the seemingly never-ending opportunities for exploration and discovery. There are unmarked reefs, deep ocean canyon​​s, and hidden anchorages which can only be found with navigational tricks left behind by explorers, colonial merchants, even pirates.

“I spend each week sailing through ‘Natures Little Secrets,’ which, by day and night, never cease to amaze a wide-eyed sailor like myself,” Holt states. “It’s hands down, the best sailing in the world.”

As an instructor, Matthew is equally interested and enthusiastic. He subscribes to the concept that, of course, students must learn the nuts and bolts of how to sail, but in doing so, enjoyment needs to be a major aspect of all lessons learned.

“I believe that sailing is contagious,” he says. “Safety and Situational Awareness are what I build ASA’s curriculum around, but I always challenge my students to have more fun than I am on a Sail Training Week. I hope that my enthusiasm comes out in my work.”

After a lifetime of sailing, when asked what advice he would give new sailors, Holt said:

“If you fall in love with sailing, as I have, make sure to pass that love on to at least one other person. If it is a family member or a close friend – even better.”

See all 2014 Outstanding Instructors.