Our Staff & Instructors

Our Staff

Mary Goff

Sailing School Owner

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!

Read Mary’s interview here.

Our Instructors

Many Sailing Schools hire college kids to teach for the summer. Some schools have just a few ‘full time’ instructors. Our feeling is there are many aspects of sailing and cruising, and different approaches to overcome the challenges. So we have many seasoned cruising sailors teach our aspiring sailors. 

Personality type is a critical piece of the selection criteria. Only gentle souls get to teach here. Unflappable personalities that take everything in stride, and explain details rather than raise their voice. Plus you will have different instructors as you go through our program, learning various ways to solve the myriad of problems that come up. After getting their ASA instructor certification, all our “sailing coaches” go through a rigorous, intensive process of in-house training so we are all teaching the same material, but with our individual stories and flair. All of our Instructors are USCG captains as well as exceptional instructors.

Mary Goff

Mary now owns the Sailing School. She schedules classes and manages the Instructor team. Not just an administrator, Mary is a certified ASA instructor and USCG captain as well! She started sailing as a young adult on an Islander 36 with her husband. When she started with Narragansett Sailing 3 years ago she got serious about sailing and has so much to share!

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104, ASA 105, ASA 118

Rob Lawnsby

ASA Instructor of the Year 2011 and 2013. A sailor of 40 years, Rob was the owner of the Narragansett Sailing companies, including the school, charter, and brokerage. Rob has cruised extensively, both coastal and offshore, along the Eastern Seaboard and beyond. Rob is an ASA Instructor Evaluator and ASA site evaluator, and as such instructs and qualifies experienced sailors to be ASA instructors as well as evaluates schools for ASA accreditation. ABYC certified in Boat systems, Standards, and Diesel Engines; he holds a Coast Guard 50-ton Masters License. Rob lives aboard his Tanzer 35 sailboat year round at Cove Haven Marina. He loves his commute to work which is just a walk down the dock!

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104, ASA 105, ASA 106, ASA 114, ASA 118, Diesel, Boat Systems, Marine Electrical

Regina Kreiger

Regina is a Licensed captain with sailing experience including coastal New England, San Francisco Bay, South Coast of England inclusive of The Solent and English Channel, and offshore experience Southern Ocean & Pacific. She sailed the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104, ASA 105, ASA 106, ASA 118, Diesel

Glenn Miner

Captain Glen was a State Trooper for decades, and now does boat deliveries, sailing classes, and a number of other interesting pursuits. Extensive sailing experience coupled with a quiet intensity he coaches his students to achieve more than they thought they could.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104, ASA 105, ASA 106, ASA 114, ASA 118

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.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104, ASA 105, ASA 118, Marine Electrical

Dirck Westervelt

Dirck grew up on Narragansett Bay. He’s been sailing and fishing all his life. In high school he lived on a sailboat in the summer and day sailed in the fall and spring doing oceanographic research for NOAA and URI. He owns a Sunfish, 16 foot Hobie Cat and 2 Boston Whalers. Dirck is also a fan of kiteboarding. Off-season he teaches World Music and related topics at Western Connecticut State University.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104, ASA 105, ASA 106, ASA 118

TJ Kowalczyk

TJ started sailing in 2010 on the Charles River and was hooked immediately. Since then he’s gone from learning the ropes aboard dinghies to double-handed offshore racing and everything in between. His “question everything” approach to sailing has turned him into an encyclopedia of sailing trivia and a well informed instructor. These days TJ’s life revolves around sailing 9 months of the year and shares lessons learned from his sailing adventures at SavvySalt.com.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104, ASA 105, ASA 106, ASA 118

Thelma Brooks

Thelma currently sails with her family out of Warwick Rhode Island, cruising Narragansett Bay and Buzzards Bay on their 35’ Bristol. In the summer of 2007, she fell in love with sailing when the wind filled the sails on her cousin’s sailboat while passing the tall ships in Halifax Harbor, Nova Scotia. Soon after, she and her husband were given their first sailboat, a Catalina 22’, and her sailing career began. She enjoys all aspects of sailboat ownership and is always adding to her ever growing knowledge base. Thelma is excited to share the thrill of sailing with others.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104, ASA 105

Mary Connaughton

Mary learned to sail in an ASA 101 class on a lake in Oklahoma. Six weeks later she bought her first boat a Hunter 26. A visit to the marine store introduced her to sailing magazines where she first heard about cruising. Sailing, traveling to new places while always at home seemed like the perfect life, so she learned all she could with plans to head out once her son left for college.

A few years later she did just that with her six year old daughter for crew. For nine years they sailed the East Coast, Florida, the Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean, Colombia and Panama. After her crew jumped ship to attend a traditional high school, Mary got involved teaching sail… which is almost as fun as cruising. She loves meeting new people, being on the water nearly every day, and seeing her students with big grins as they learn to tack and pick up the MOB, or grab a mooring on the first try.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, 103, 104 and 105

Rich Munson

Rich Munson is the owner of Narragansett Sailing Charters and a lifelong sailor. He first owned a boat at the age of 12 (more of a skiff). He continued to own various boats until his present boat – a Beneteau 37. He enjoys helping others experience a common love of the ocean, which draws us all together. His vast experience with charterers makes him a great instructor with many real life stories.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, ABYC certified Diesel and he teaches Marine Electrical.


Carol Hesson

Sailing since childhood, Carol is committed to sharing her love of the outdoors and empowering people through sports.  At 38, she left corporate life to pursue her passions. Carol’s sailing experience ranges from dinghies to big boats

She has lived aboard a big boat and has cruised throughout New England and in the Mediterranean.  Carol has a 50 Ton Master Captain’s License with Auxiliary Sail Endorsement.  She has a love of racing, and is a US Sailing Level 3 certified Race Coach.  She has been a Director of Sailing at numerous yacht clubs and sailing facilities.  She has run adaptive race programs as well as the largest women’s race program in the country and is still active as a race coach.

When not sailing, Carol can be found surfing, skiing, mountain biking, and having all sorts of outdoor adventures.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, 103, 104


Francois Asselin

Francois has been a sailmaker and sailing instructor for over 30 years. He is the founder of Fast Sailmaker in Weymouth, MA. He has taught sailing in New England and the Caribbean and was named ASA instructor of the year in 2017 and 2018. In addition, he holds a USCG 50-ton Master license. In the summer he races 12 meter, the old America’s Cup class boat. He is a five-time 12 meter North American champion and a one-time 12 meter world champion. In the winter he races a DN iceboat that he built.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, Sail Making

Don Scott

Don is a lifelong boater, power and sail. He is a graduate of Massachusetts Maritime Academy and spent many years working in the maritime industry. For three years he and his wife lived on a sailboat in New Orleans and in the summer of 88 sailed it to Massachusetts. Currently they own a catamaran, which Don sailed up from Florida, and cruise all over Narragansett and Buzzards Bay. In 2016 Don crewed a sailboat to St. Martin via Bermuda. During this trip he decided to get a Captains licence which he completed in 2019.

Don has been a home inspector for 25 years. In addition to teaching sailing, he teaches a diesel engine class in the winter and spent many years coaching softball teams. So he is very comfortable communicating techniques and lessons. He prefers the hands on, learn by doing method.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, Diesel Engine
Read Don’s Interview

Christopher Allen

Chris joined our crew in 2022 after teaching sailing for 10 years in Boston and on the Cape. He’s led charter trips in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and the South Pacific, but nothing brings him more joy than teaching new sailors. Sailing can sometimes be challenging, but his step-by-step approach keeps things simple, and allows students to progress naturally while discovering the fun of sailing. The basis for his legendary patience is the memory of how he learned to sail, as a kid on a 14-foot Sunfish on Long Island Sound, and from his work with blind and disabled sailors.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, 103, 104, 105
Read Chris’ Interview

Cary Kaczowka

Cary Kaczowka is a mechanical and materials engineer with a decade of experience in aerospace and defense. Since 2016 she has been living aboard, cruising, racing and maintaining her 34’ Catalina first in Seattle, WA and now in Portsmouth, RI. Parallel to her engineering career, Cary has pursued her 25-ton Master’s captain’s license, and has crewed in offshore and inshore races and deliveries on boats ranging from dinghies to 58’. For her, sailing has been a way to continuously learn and challenge herself, as well as a way to share that joy with others. She brings a humble and enthusiastic approach to teaching in the classroom and on the water.

Certified to Teach:
Diesel Engine – All Women’s

Steve Klain

A lifelong sailor and licensed Captain, Steve spent much of his childhood sailing on inland lakes and Boston Harbor. Later, he began cruising extensively in and around Narragansett Bay / Southern New England with his family and crewed on other vessels gaining additional experience with larger boats via offshore deliveries to Bermuda and the Caribbean. Steve brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to his students.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, 103, 104, 105, 118
Read Steve’s Interview

Kristin Walcott-Matthews

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kristin has called Rhode Island her home since 2005 and has been sailing since 2011. As a former wedding planner and current Realtor, Kristin prides herself on her patience and easy-going spirit. Fun and confidence building are priorities in her classes. Drawing on her patchwork background, she has knowledge of canvas and sail repair, diesel engine maintenance, and passage planning. In her off time, for the experience and the adventure, Kristin has been assisting friends move their 45′ catamaran throughout the Caribbean and is always looking for the opportunity for a sailing adventure.

Certified to Teach:
ASA 101, ASA 103, ASA 104, Diesel Engine Course, Canvas
Read Kristin’s Interview

Jonathan Thurston

Jonathan is the owner of Lanex Yachting USA and is the North American distributor for Lanex Cordage, and the US distributor for Barton Marine UK. Jonathan came to sailing relatively late in his career, but very quickly fell in love with competing on Narragansett Bay. For the past twenty five years he has been a regular of the Sail Newport J-22 circuit. In his capacity as owner of Lanex, he has amassed an in-depth knowledge of the physics of how best to create a safe environment in all aspects of yachting whether cruising or competing at the highest level.

Certified to Teach:
Rope/Cordage Theory, Class 1 Splicing, Soft Attachments
Read Jonathan’s Interview

Michael Garretson

Michael is the President of Sea & Land Yacht Works, a Marine Service Business located in Wakefield, RI. Michael has a background in Mechanical Engineering and is an ABYC Master Technician with certifications in Marine Electrical, Marine Systems, and Marine Standards. He also has advanced certifications for NMEA2000 and MEI, and is additionally certified for B&G H5000. Michael is currently refitting a Bristol 38.8, and has extensive cruising and racing experience both inshore and offshore.

Certified to Teach:
Electronic Courses
Read Michael’s Interview

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