August 2023 Sailor of the Month: Randy Stafford

By: American Sailing, Giveaway, Sailing Story

Each month we feature sailors who pursue the passion of sailing through education, lifestyle, and commitment to community. This month we were inspired by Randy Stafford’s story and he is our August Sailor of the Month.

American Sailing’s August 2023 Sailor of the Month is Randy Stafford from Ken Caryl, CO. For the past twelve years Randy has been cruising through ASA certifications and online classes on the way to realizing his sailing dreams, which have included racing on the lake at his home port in Colorado to taking his family on cruises of a lifetime in the Caribbean, to some pretty epic moments on the open ocean under the guidance of the stars. He tells it all here in the latest episode of American Sailing’s Sailor of the Month.

We hope you find Randy’s story as inspiring as we do. Please take the time to share your own story with us — every journey that leads to a sailboat is worth hearing! (Not to mention the perks of being chosen are pretty great!)

American Sailing

American Sailing:
How long have you been sailing?

Randy Stafford:
12 years formally, longer informally


American Sailing

American Sailing:
Where is your home port?

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Randy Stafford:
Ken Caryl, Colorado


American Sailing

American Sailing:
Where is your favorite place to sail?

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Randy Stafford:
St. Vincent and the Grenadines


American Sailing

American Sailing:
What ASA Certifications do you hold?

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Randy Stafford:
ASA-101 Basic Keelboat Sailing, ASA-103 Basic Coastal Cruising, ASA-104 Bareboat Cruising, ASA-105 Coastal Navigation, ASA-106 Advanced Coastal Cruising, ASA-107 Celestial Navigation, ASA-108 Offshore Passagemaking, and ASA-114 Cruising Catamaran.


American Sailing

American Sailing:
What ASA school(s) did you attend?


American Sailing

American Sailing:
Do you currently, or have you ever owned a sailboat?

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Randy Stafford:
Yes, I own a C&C MK I #79 for seven years


American Sailing

American Sailing:
What got you into sailing?

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Randy Stafford:
Weekend trips to Catalina Island on my dad’s friend’s Cal 29 in the mid-1970s. I was a young teenager enthralled by the adventure: seeing hammerhead sharks in the San Pedro Channel, snorkeling at Two Harbors, even returning to Naples in a small craft advisory. As time and life went by, I wanted to re-experience the feelings of wonder and thrill and serenity only found in sailing, and share them with my family.


American Sailing

American Sailing:
What is your most memorable sailing experience?

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Randy Stafford:
There have been so many memorable moments. Ripping at eight knots all night on a Hylas 44 crewing a 2021 Bermuda-to-Annapolis delivery under a clear sky, with a streak of silver moonlight on the water and bioluminescent spray splashing onto the foredeck, steering by a star aligned against the mast. Relishing a lobster dinner on the beach in Tobago Cays with my family on our first charter. Returning to Catalina Island in 2018 captaining a charter for the first time. Approaching Anegada while captaining a 2019 catamaran charter with friends, in the most amazing water color I have ever seen. Hearing “land ho” approaching Tortola from New England after 12 days at sea in ASA-108. Ghosting through Town Cut, Bermuda at 0300 hours on a Hylas 49 under sail in dead air, with failed engine, to a chorus of whistling frogs while crewing another delivery in 2022. But if I had to choose just one, it would be mooring in Maho Bay with my wife and daughters and sons in law on a Christmas 2021 catamaran charter I captained – the realization of the dream that led me to start taking ASA courses eleven years prior, and a moment powerful enough to choke me up with joy.


American Sailing

American Sailing:
How has American Sailing played a part in your growth as a sailor?

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Randy Stafford:
American Sailing is the foundation and backbone for my growth as a sailor. More than any other sailing activity I’ve pursued, American Sailing has, most importantly, provided the structure, and the knowledge and training, that I have needed to handle and navigate sailboats with safety and good seamanship, in roles ranging from crew to captain to owner. While my certifications are listed with pride on my sailing resume and have no doubt helped me qualify to captain charters, it’s the structure and knowledge and training that mattered most to my initial confidence as a sailor. I have crewed on other people’s boats for racing and deliveries, and learned much from other experienced sailors. I have taken specialized yacht racing courses, captained multiple charters, and owned my boat for seven years, doing major upgrade projects every year and racing or sailing her 50 days per year. But nothing can substitute for the foundational structure, knowledge, and training I gained through American Sailing.


American Sailing

American Sailing:
What is your favorite aspect of American Sailing membership?

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What I really like now, at this stage in my sailing journey, is the wide variety of ASA education offerings, both in terms of content and delivery method. The online courses on weather, cruising, electronics, and diesel maintenance are all fantastic. The merger of North University with ASA has allowed me to take both in-person and online courses in racing tactics and asymmetrical spinnaker handling. I like that American Sailing continues to expand its offerings to appeal to sailors at all stages of their journeys.


American Sailing

American Sailing:
Why should people become an ASA member?

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Randy Stafford:
People should become ASA members to join and leverage the highest-momentum sailing community in America, in order to access the educational resources they need to become competent, confident sailors for whatever their sailing goals may be.

Garmin