Mary Goff

Mary now runs and owns the school. Scheduling the classes, assigning the instructors, registering the students, paying the bills, and keeping up with the books is just PART of what Mary does.

1. How did you first get into sailing?

I started sailing 32 years ago on my father in-law’s boat. I loved looking at the houses on the water and seeing the smiles on my in-law’s faces. Each summer we would go out several times, but then four children came along and I got out less and less. I got a job at Narragansett Sailing School and took all their courses. Each season I would take people out who didn’t know anything and that is when it all became real and super exciting!

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?

Where do I begin? Many mishaps happened. None resulted in disaster, but the incidences keep me humble. I’ve seen very experienced sailors make mistakes as well as newbies. The valuable lesson that I’ve learned, is to do a risk analysis. For example: motoring down a channel and the engine dies? How would I get back into the marina without an incident?

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

Get educated, get experience and challenge yourself in small doses. One challenge after you’ve been educated is to take a boat out with people who do not know what their doing. Being the most knowledgeable person is what really lets you know what you know and what you don’t know. We all can follow directions, but can we give them and give them correctly with the right results.

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

I have been under the tutelage of many different instructors over the last five years. There are many different schools of thoughts on how to do things. It’s not black and white, so try not to get hung up on the details in the beginning.

Bad recommendation for new sailors is to have them adjusting the sails continually. If they’re not luffing, they are fine. Learning to enjoy and relax is what the cruising lifestyle is all about. Enjoy the tranquility and serenity of sailing and not the frenzy of perfect sail trim.

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

Roger, my husband, would light up every time we would go sailing with his dad on a 36′ Islander. Rob Lawnsby the former owner of the school would always say “You can do this!”. He had me backing up a 41′ Hunter my first season at the school. When you have someone cheerleading you on, it is such a great boost!

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

I feel alive when I’m outside and around people I love. Family, camping, reading a good book, riding a horse, hiking a trail… these are all things I really enjoy.


About Mary Goff

Mary now runs and owns the school. Scheduling the classes, assigning the instructors, registering the students, paying the bills, and keeping up with the books is just PART of what Mary does. Her title of “The Mom” better describes her myriad tasks and duties. A USCG Captain, an ASA instructor, and a lady that loves introducing people to the World of Sailing!

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