Captain Kathy Struchen started sailing after she first came out of college when her boyfriend (now husband) introduced her to scuba diving. Through the various locations they went to dive, sailboats would be around and it wasn’t long before she got the bug. Between diving and sailing the couple knew being on the water was what they loved most and began to figure out how to make it a more substantial part of their lives. They did and today she is being recognized as one of the American Sailing Association’s Outstanding Instructors.
Growing up in St. Petersburg Florida David Whidden was surrounded by boats and lived his life on the water and at the beach. He said that, as a kid, sailing held a particular mysterious romantic quality and from that, a lifelong bond was formed.
Whidden became a USCG 100 Ton Master of Sail working both as charter and delivery captain and thus, has sailed all over the planet. He’s cruised the waters of Fiji, Seychelles, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean Central and South America – to name just a few. At 20 he sailed a traditional Belizian mahogony dugout over 100 miles along the Barrier reef and out to the atolls and back.
If you’ve ever considered making sailing a livelihood, you’ll respect the path of Judy James, one of ASA’s recipients of the Outstanding Instructor honor.
Judy always gravitated towards water so when her husband bought a Tanzer 22 in the late 70s she was on her way. Although she confessed to being in “panic mode, waiting for the next gust to lay the boat over.” In fact, James admits that it probably took her longer than most to feel completely comfortable sailing. She describes it as a nervousness. But she kept at it and when she began to gain a confidence and expertise with sailing, she looked to pass on her knowledge and help others who want to sail but are a bit intimidated by all of it. After becoming ASA certified she did just that.
“I wanted to help other nervous people learn enough to relax and enjoy the serenity of sailing and the beauty of water,” James says.
According to criteria and judgment of the American Sailing Association, Jim Stewart is a model sailing instructor. He has now been recognized as one of ASA’s Outstanding Instructors for the third time – 2009, 2013 & 2014. He and his wife Jane retired from the “real world” in 2001 and he started teaching sailing as a livelihood in 2004. Apparently he is quite good at it.
“A lot of folks feel I have the perfect retirement job,” Stewart says. “As I tell my students when we are enjoying a great day on the water ‘Sure you guys are having fun, but this is just another hard day at the office for me…’ That always gets a lot of groans.”
Bob Diamond has been teaching beginning-sailors the ropes for a good long time and has been an instructor at Spinnaker Sailing in Redwood City, California since 1984. Although he is happy to be recognized as one of ASA’s Outstanding Instructors, it’s not necessarily a new feeling – he’s actually been singled out for the honor seven other times through the years.
Chet Shubert was waiting for the ferry to Alcatraz in San Fransisco one afternoon and was entranced by all the sailboats darting around in the crisp winds the bay so often produces. The good news was he was going to Alcatraz just as a tourist, the other good news was his life was changed from that moment on… for the better.
That week Shubert joined Olympic Circle Sailing Club, and started his quest to be one of those same lucky sailors, out in the bay on a sunny and breezy afternoon. In no time he would gain his 101 and 103 certifications and soon found himself blazing around the bay on the club’s the club’s J 24s. He later earned his 104 certification at Modern Sailing School & Club in Sausalito and now sailing was officially in his blood… and on his resume.
Sailing school owner Jim King didn’t scratch his sailing itch right away, but he definitely made up for lost time. It was just in 2006 when he took his first ASA 101 and ASA 103 courses but he bought a boat the next weekend! Now there’s a guy who knows he found his calling. He sailed all the time. First he explored the Jacksonville, Florida area, then the waters of England for three-years and when he joined the Air Force he continued to sail, this time on the Potomac River in DC and the Chesapeake Bay around Annapolis.
Outstanding Instructor Series
John Martin is a guy who knows how to live life. A retired surgeon who has sailed around the world, Martin has over 48,000 nautical miles under his belt and he’s still sailing all the time.
The sailing bug bit him as a 7-year-old racing Lasers, Flying Scotts and then 470s through high school and college. As he got older the boats got bigger and he was soon crewing on the larger mono’s racing the Chicago and Port Huron to Mac races.
Today he’s an instructor at the Great Lakes Sailing Company in Traverse City, Michigan where he’s enjoying his second career as a sailing instructor. For his dedication to education and conscientious work there, he has been recognized as one of ASA’s Outstanding Instructors.