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Born and raised in New York City, I had no exposure to sailing while growing up. In fact, I enrolled in the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University. After my first year however, I enlisted in the Navy. I was able to continue my collegiate education while in the Navy, taking course at Old Dominion College when stationed in Norfolk, Virginia and through UCLA Extension when serving aboard the USS Okinawa. At the end of my enlistment, I was honorably discharged as a Data Systems Technician, 2nd Class in San Francisco, California. It was 1967, a very good year in San Francisco! I stayed in Northern California for the next several years, studying Anthropology at Monterey Peninsula College and Cal State University, Sonoma.

Still not having started a sailing career, I moved to Hawai’i in 1971. There, after several years of living on the beach (literally, I pitched a tent and later built a shack), I was offered a job as crew on a sailing and snorkeling boat in Kona on the Big Island. As I worked my way up from crew to mate to skipper; I slowly came to understand the business of being a professional seaman, learning from many knowledgeable and generous men and women. Since earning my License (Master – Near Coastal, 100 Tons, Power and Sail), I have served on all types of commercial and private vessels: multihulls from 26 to 75 feet, and monohulls from 20 to 145 feet. In addition to the Hawaiian Islands, I have gained experience in waters as diverse as the west coast of Florida, Long Island Sound, Southeast Alaska, the American and British Virgin Islands & the Windwards and Leewards in the Caribbean, the Sea of Cortez, the Cycladic Islands, the Turquoise Coast of Turkey, Lake Minnetonka, Lake Superior and the west coast of the United States from Puget Sound to Santa Barbara. I have explored in and under the water as well, earning the Red Cross Senior Life Saving certification and NAUI certification as a Skin Diving Leader and Rescue Diver.

In 1987, I accepted an Instructor position at Olympic Circle Sailing Club in Berkeley, California (OCSC SAILING). After years of inter-island sailing in the strong winds of Hawai’i, I knew that I was well prepared for sailing in San Francisco Bay’s frequently challenging conditions; but could I teach? When I was 10 years old, my mother told me, “When you grow up, Ray, you should either be a lawyer or a preacher or a teacher because you sure can talk.” Now, after more than 20 years of teaching and moving up to the position of Master Instructor at OCSC, it seems she was right.

In 1994, at the inception of the US Sailing Keelboat Certification Program, I was invited to participate in the first Keelboat Instructor Trainer Course. I was evaluated by Tom Cunliffe, Yachtmaster Examiner for the Royal Yachting Association of England and Ralph Naranjo, Technical Editor for Cruising World Magazine. I am presently an Ocean Passagemaking Instructor and serve as one of four Master Instructor Trainers for US Sailing.

That same year, I was asked to join US SAILING’s National Faculty. I have been a member ever since and served as chair of the Keelboat Working party from 2002 – 2005. It is here that the student and instructor standards, tests, and textbooks are created.

Favorite Sailing Books

  • The Life of Captain James Cook

    by J C Beaglehole

  • South

    by Ernest Shackleton

  • Any book written

    by Ernest Shackleton