Dave PelkeyDave Pelkey, NSS Instructor of several classes, shares his experiences and insights from the water and teaching sailors, new and veterans alike:

1. How did you first get into sailing?

My father bought a Sandpiper 19 a long, long time ago. We learned to sail as a family on Lake Erie. I fell in love with it all.  And, one day, I proposed to my wife on that boat. Great memories.

2. Have you had any disaster scenarios, failures, or simple problems in your sailing career that have given you a valuable lesson as a result?

Yes, I’ve had plenty of disasters, failures and simple problems in my sailing career! The key lesson is that you are never done learning. I still consider myself a student. I work at getting a little bit better every time I go out.

3. If there’s one thing you can tell new sailors when they are just introduced to the sport, what would you tell them?

Feel the wind, feel the boat, listen to everything, look around you, live in the moment.

4. What advice would you tell a new sailor to ignore? What are bad recommendations you hear about sailing?

Don’t buy too much boat too soon. I’m a cruiser and appreciate the creature comforts big boats give you, but you need to master your craft first. Be patient, gain experience, and move up in increments.

5. Who most influenced your life when it comes to sailing?

My father, followed by Bernard Moitessier, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Ted Turner, and a fellow instructor and the former owner of Narragansett Sailing School, Rob Lawnsby.

6. Outside of sailing, what is something that you love to do; something that makes you feel alive?

Walking, hiking, travel, music, food, family, friends… It’s good to be alive!




About Dave Pelkey

Dave owns an Island Packet 35, and enjoys sailing around the bay and beyond. Dave is one of those rare instructors that can let a student flounder while learning a new skill, and gently guide them to the correct path before they get frustrated. Very experienced, a gentle soul, and with a crisp mind to zero in on what easy prodding will give the student the most confidence.

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