Alumni Updates

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you
didn't do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe
harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

            - Mark Twain, Great American Writer

A big 'Thank You!' to our Alumni who have sent us updates and photos on
their recent sailing adventures. If you have any photos or stories to share
with other SDSA Alumni, please send them along.

In fact, we have a picture to share! Here is a photo of Capts. Nick and Mike 'back in the day' before that dream of throwing off the bowlines and pulling away from safe harbor was just, well, just a dream. We've come a long way, worked hard, sailed with a passion, and made our dream a reality.

Two SDSA alumni on a boat

Thank you again for the class last week. Here is a picture that my brother got on Thursday near Pt Loma.

I am in the process of applying for the sea trial membership at Southwestern. I just need to write-up and submit my letter at this point.

Ben Parry

Ben Parry on a sailboat.


Sporty sailing day off the coast of Spain. Got some serious westerly action... third reef, no jib, and we were seeing 12.5 kts over ground. Pretty intense. Lots of good lessons learned!! The yacht week course was great as well. Learned lots of the less conventional mooring techniques. Currently sitting tight in Cartagena till we find a lull in these 30 kt winds that'll take us to Ibiza. Thanks again!



Hi Nick and Mike,

You may not know but one of Gloria's and mine early dates was taking your class for a week in San Diego. We decided if we could live together in a cabin of a 26' mono for a week we could live together for the rest of our life and now are happily married.

We have enjoyed sailing more than you can imagine. Sailing in locations such as the NW San Juans around Friday Harbor, BVI's, Leewards, Belize, Croatia, Thailand, Tahiti, and many more to come.

We purchased a 40' Lagoon Cat which is docked in Longbeach Ca. We are experiencing the "Real" joys of sailing.

I must admit you have changed our lives.

Class of 2004
Argan & Gloria Johnson
Park City UT
S/V Mai Tai

Captain Nick

It has been quite some time since we took lessons with you. Since our graduation we have bare-boated in the BVI a number of times. We purchased a 1993 Hunter 33.5 and sail the east coast from Virginia to points South. Currently we reside in New Mexico (how we ended up here is another story) and our boat is on the hard at a marina in the Chesapeake. We lived aboard her for two months and very rarely went in, it was great due to the fact our training base was excellent. Once again Capt. Nick thanks from Judy and I for your excellent program. I have attached a photo of us under full sail in the Chesapeake.

Paul Cyre

Sailboat on the Chesapeake

Hello Nick!!

I was recently in San Diego and wanted to stop by to say hi but, I was there only for two days. However, I wanted to share some pictures sailing with my wife and family!! We have had very special moments and lots of fun thanks to SDSA!!!

Have a nice weekend!!

Ruben Guzman
San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

Friends on a sailboat in San DiegoA couple on a sailboatA couple posing for a photo on the deck of a sailboat in San Diego

Dear Nick and Mike,

I only just now saw your email. We bought an Outremer 49 in 2012. We named it BOB because 1. we wanted a short name--Elainium was problematic and 2. we remembered Mike saying "Bob's your uncle" when we were on the SD Bay and all was good.

We picked it up in France in September, 2012, sailed the med a bit then crossed the Atlantic arriving St. Lucia in December. We sailed the eastern Caribbean after that, going as far as Carriacou. BOB summered in Rhode Island, where she was struck by lightning, frying all the electronics. Once we got all that fixed Peter sailed her to Bermuda in October.

We began this last cruising season in November and sailed south to Grenada, west to CuraƧao, north to Puerto Rico, then to Saba, Statia and through the eastern Carib. We left the boat in Bonaire just last week. We love the cat and the carib!

Thanks for reaching out,
Elaine and Peter Simon


Since we did our 5 day 101,3,4 with you (remember we irritated the USN and their sub base) we have purchased and fixed up two boats an O'Day 22 and now a Laguna 26 (Vesper). Taken our 105,6 while night sailing across the "Stream" Fla to Bimini's. Chartered 10 days out of La Paz, MX in Sea of Cortez and are about a year from selling our home and buying an Island a Packet 38 to cruise into retirement. Thanks for the kick start on our dream.

Dean and Kim Martin.

Nick and Mike,

I am currently in the BVI, sailing a Beneteau 40 I purchased in 2011. I have attached a pic taken from a kite flown from the cockpit. Thanks to your excellent training I felt secure to go ahead with the cruising lifestyle.

Best Regards,
Francisco Bassi

Aerial photo of a sailboat on the water

Hello Capt.'s Mike and Nick:

You probably don't remember us, but my wife Debbie and I (Gary Honeycutt) took basic sailing lessons from you back in Nov. of 2006. Since then we have owned a 42' Manta cat, which we sailed for 10 months from Tridad up through all of the windward islands and the first couple of Leeward islands. We also have a 37 ' Beneteau in the Moorings program located at Marsh Harbor, Bahamas and a 27' trailerable 1973 Balboa, which we dock periodically and sail to Catalina from Dana Point.

We have sailed a whole bunch of nautical miles since you taught us the basics and I can assure you we have learned a whole lot more through the experiences we have had on the water since. In addition, we have sailed in Tahiti, Croatia, St. Marteen, Belize, all over the Bahamas/Abacos, Virgin Islands and will be leaving soon to celebrate our 40th Anniversary by sailing for three weeks in Greece. We plan to sail along the coast of Turkey next year and return to the Bahamas several times, which we really love. We sailed over 500 mile on our last visit.

I just wanted to respond and let you know that you did a great job of laying a foundation for many subsequent years of wonderful sailing experiences. We have had a few "exciting" challenges along the way, but like life in general they have served to make us better sailors. Feel free to use my feedback to convince novice sailors that they will benefit greatly by getting a solid foundation on the basics of sailing as well as the systems found on most boats before they head out on their own. Also, we have had to present our training docs in many of the foreign countries, so your classes were a basic requirement to sail their waters.

As Capt. Ron said, "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen out there" and I will say in retrospect that he was right and the better prepared one is to deal with the unexpected the better off they will be.

Anyway, thanks again for getting us off to a good start with our sailing career. We have seen many beautiful places and had some unbelievable experiences as a result.

Gary and Deb Honeycutt, class of 2006
Prescott, Arizona

Bruce and I just returned from Palmetto, Florida after spending a week and more money on our Island Packet Estero that we bought last year. It has been a great adventure, not enough miles yet but we're getting there. We're also logging time on our friends' Hylas with another invitation to join them sailing this summer in the Grenadines with Steve Moore (SDSA alum who told us about you) and his wife. You're both on board with us every time we sail, thanks again! And every time we're visiting my mom in Coronado we keep an eye out for Swellbound!

Lisa and Bruce
Park City, Utah
S/V Revival

Nick and Mike,

It was nice to get your email today. It brings up great memories and makes Peg and I think about how amazing the last few years have been since you taught us to sail. We sail now every year somewhere in the world. Thursday we will leave for two weeks in the Grenadines! I can't imagine now a life without sailing. It is the thing we look forward to the most every year. Thanks for helping to make that happen.

Mark and Peg

Lorraine and I completed an 8-day cruise of the BVI chartering a Moorings 48-foot catamaran with a crew of 7. Mike--your suggestion to spend an extra day at the Bitter End worked just great for us. We'll send you some pics in a future mailing. All the best to you and Prof. Nick!

Mike Messitt

Sailboat tied up at harbor