Greg Martin is the owner and head instructor of Sail Hawaii. Captain Greg has been sailing since he was a kid growing up in San Diego and he further refined his sailing skills at the US Naval Academy. After the Navy, he became a middle school math and science teacher in Okinawa and it was only natural that his passion for sailing and teaching would come together when he first started teaching ASA courses in Japan with Yoh Aoki. In 2013 Captain Greg bought his Pearson Alberg 35 “Gemini” in California, intending to sail back to Japan, but stopped in Hawaii along the way and fell in love with the Aloha life.
Our Featured American Sailing Association Instructor: Greg Martin
ASA: What got you into sailing?
Greg Martin: Growing up in San Diego CA, my uncle first took me out sailing as a kid. He started me on Lasers on Mission Bay, keelboats on San Diego Bay and I took my first ASA 101 course at Harbor Sailboats. In 7th grade, I also had a friend who lived on a 60 ft ketch with his family and they invited me out for a 4-day sailing trip to Catalina Island. That was a real life-changing experience as a kid, cruising and living aboard a boat, seeing dolphins riding the bow waves- it’s been an obsession ever since!
ASA: Your most memorable student or class?
Greg Martin: Sail Hawaii’s week-long “cruise and learn” Pacific Offshore Challenge program takes us all around the Hawaiian islands from our home island of Oahu with visits to harbors and anchorages in Molokai, Lanai, and Maui. On a recent trip, we had particularly perfect weather… and a drone! We were able to take some amazing drone video of some of our favorite anchorages and on the return leg, we took an unusual detour to the north shore of Molokai. We were able to take drone video while flying the spinnaker for the first time on Gemini with the breathtaking north shore of Molokai as a backdrop. Check out the video here!
ASA: Your favorite place to sail?
Greg Martin: Hawaii is a very special place for sailors, originally discovered and populated by the Polynesian voyagers and explorers from other lands. As an island chain, we are linked to the rest of the world and inextricably connected to the sea. On the south shore of Oahu, off the world famous Waikiki Beach, we’re sheltered from the trade winds and seas by the iconic Diamond Head crater. It’s almost always perfect conditions for sailing just outside of our home port of Ala Wai harbor. If you want to venture out further but the trade winds pick up or you just don’t want to cross the Kaiwi channel, the leeward side of Oahu is very beautiful and the Waianae mountain range adds another barrier of protection from the trade winds. There’s always a rainbow over Makua Bay and you can always find spinner dolphins playing in Pokai Bay- two of our favorite anchorages on Oahu.
ASA: Why do you sail?
Greg Martin: Sailing is a special way to connect, not just with nature, but with the universe. Patterns in life seem to be a lot like the behavior of the wind and sea and the boat is a metaphor for yourself. Things not going your way? Change your point of sail and ease your sheets. Does life seem to be going against you? You might have to reduce sail and beat to windward- and you know you can do it because the boat was designed for this! And when the conditions are nice -or even if you’re just surviving in a storm- you absolutely must always be grateful that your boat is floating and you have wind in your sails. Enjoy with all your heart the beauty of a well-trimmed boat in fair winds and following seas. In summary, sailing gives me inspiration and confidence to always live the best life that I can.
ASA: What do people not know about sailing that they should?
Greg Martin: Sailing is an activity that is accessible and should appeal to everyone! There’s a misconception that sailing is only for certain kinds of people or that it’s hard to learn. In fact, I think we are all born with an instinct to sail. The universe is all about energy and the wind that is around us all is a type of energy that we are all familiar with. If we listen to and trust our instincts, we can feel this wind energy and we all naturally want to go with the flow (or against the flow if you feel it and want to go there). Sailing is a way to put us all back in touch with the natural rhythm of life.
There are so many ways to get into sailing and you don’t have to have lots of money, fit a particular demographic or even live by the water! People of all walks of life sail on oceans, lakes, ponds- even on land! Flying in the air is also a form of sailing, so whether we realize it or not, we are all sailors!
ASA: Why should people sail?
Greg Martin: There are many great reasons to sail! Sailing is a great way to make friends, get outdoors to enjoy nature, get physical and mental exercise and sailing can take you to some beautiful anchorages. Sailing puts us in touch with the world in real and unexpected ways and builds confidence that carries over into all areas of life. In a world of ever-increasing artificial surroundings, experiences and connections, getting into sailing today is more important than ever!