Owner & Head Instructor
Katy's first job ever was as a dinghy sailing coach, working with kids and teens from beginners through to experienced racers. She worked as a Canadian Yachting Association Instructor Evaluator and the program director for several yacht clubs in the Vancouver area.
After an indoor hiatus to try being a 'real adult', she came to her senses and found herself marooned in the UK. This is when she realized she had it right the first time- teaching sailing is truly her calling.
Katy earned her Royal Yachting Association Yachtmaster Offshore and Cruising Instructor credentials while sailing in the UK, and later achieved the penultimate RYA ticket of Yachtmaster Ocean. She was lucky enough to work as an instructor and skipper in the UK, the Canary Islands, and the Caribbean before returning to Vancouver. She also holds her IYT Recreational Instructor certification.
Katy has raced with winning crews in Canada, the UK and the Caribbean on successful campaigns including the Vancouver Area Racing Championship circuit, the VanIsle 360, the Fastnet and qualifying events, a one-design European Championship campaign, and the Caribbean racing circuit.
Now Katy is putting her global perspective with combined racing, cruising and offshore experience to work in building Sea to Sky Sailing.
Biggest Sailing Adventures (so far)
How do you pick?! Taking the Sea to Sky Sailing Race Team to Alaska and back in the 2018 Race to Alaska was epic-brutal-awesome. Taking the team around Vancouver Island in the 2017 VanIsle 360 for 14 days, 600 miles, and 5 podium finishes during the 9 legs of the race for a 4th place finish overall in our division was nothing short of incredible.
Farther afield, racing in the 2013 Fastnet, one of the most infamous races in the world was a truly life altering experience. From Cowes on the Isle of Wight, down the edge of the English Channel, around the southern tip of Britain and out into the wild Irish Sea before rounding the Fastnet Rock off Ireland and heading back to the finish line in Plymouth: 100% adventure.
Crossing the Atlantic in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) in 2017 as part of a delivery of a brand new Lagoon 42 was also pretty neat. 22 days at sea. 3,267 miles sailed and by some miracle still eating fresh lettuce on the last day.
Will has been part of the Sea to Sky Sailing team from day 1, with a huge amount of practical expertise and knowledge of life afloat to share with our students. He will be taking students on mileage building excursions and day sailing around our local waters.
Will first learned to sail as a kid in dinghies with Katy as his instructor a long time ago, and hasn’t stopped since. 'Graduating' from dinghies he has sailed his Ericson 35 all over the west coast, single-handing the aptly-named Zig Zag up the central BC coast to explore remote anchorages and pristine rainforest wilderness.
Holding his Master Near Coastal ticket from Transport Canada, Will has worked as a navigator, chief officer and fleet captain for a wide range of commercial vessels first in the Great Lakes and now on the Pacific coast. When not sailing or working on boats, Will is a dedicated member of Eagle Harbour Yacht Club (Sea to Sky Sailing's home), volunteering his time to help maintain this small but wonderful club.
Will also stars as our invaluable watch captain / first mate on the Sea to Sky Sailing Race Team.
Best sailing adventures (so far):
Milbanke Sound to Port Hardy. Solo. Outside of the Goose group of islands at night. Downwind. Magic.
VanIsle 360 in 2017 as first mate, helping the Sea to Sky team circumnavigate the island fast and furiously.
Scott is a professed sailing addict and brings a wealth of experience to the Sea to Sky Sailing team.
As a Safety at Sea instructor with BC Sailing and lead trainer of rescue crews with the Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue station in Squamish, Scott is particularly knowledgeable on safety issues for sailors and is spearheading Sea to Sky Sailing’s Boat Safety Review service amongst other Own-Boat Services.
Scott is an IYT Recreational Instructor with a special interest in helping those who are new to sailing get more involved in the sport, especially through racing. He has been actively involved in supporting the Squamish sailing community through his work on the Squamish Open Annual Regatta (SOAR) and the introduction of an open-to-all Squamish Social Sailing group.
Scott has raced his J/30 onto the podium in many racing events and club series, both with a full crew and often choosing to race shorthanded. In 2017 he took the extreme (and awesome) step of racing the VanIsle 360 double-handed.
BIGGEST SAILING ADVENTUREs (SO FAR)
Victoria to Maui race in 2012 as navigator and watch captain.
VanIsle 360 in 2017... DOUBLE-HANDED!
Keanna is almost certainly cooler than you, but you would never know it because she's also incredibly humble about it. She is teaching IYT courses with Sea to Sky Sailing, so we'll brag about her on her behalf!
Growing up in the Vancouver area, Keanna spent her summers sailing the family dinghy and cruising all over the coast before starting her career in the marine industry with a local charter company. As part of a university program, she casually hopped aboard a 112 foot schooner to sail through Indonesia and across the Indian Ocean to South Africa while gaining an education in marine biology and oceanography. Then? To the Caribbean! Keanna has worked as an IYT Recreational Sailing Instructor, charter skipper and scuba instructor in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands. And just in case you think that sounds like she might be soft from an easy life in the warm climates of the south... she returned to BC with a vengeance and completed the Race to Alaska in June 2017.
BIGGEST SAILING ADVENTURE (SO FAR)
In the Race to Alaska, Keanna and her teammates (including Ben Biswell, another instructor at Sea to Sky) have the awesome distinction of being the first monohull over the finish line in Ketchikan, Alaska. They sailed (and rowed when there was no wind) non-stop all the way from Port Townsend, Washington, through the hectic tidal waters of the BC and Alaskan coast, battling gale force winds, hazard-infested waters and extreme fatigue. Without an engine as a safety net.
Hailing from the UK originally and now a denizen of Squamish, Ben is Sea to Sky material through and through. He’s sailed just about all the waters in Europe from the English Channel to Greece and covered the west coast of North America from Oregon to Alaska both cruising and racing.
Not only does Ben have a fair few miles under his keel, he is also a highly experienced instructor. He holds his Sail Canada intermediate cruising instructor certification and brings the added benefit of an additional 15 years of teaching experience in skiing and snowboarding. During the winters in BC he works as a heli-ski guide, so he knows a thing or two about adventure!
Biggest sailing adventure (so far)
In 2017, Ben skippered his own ODay 27 with three crew (including Keanna, one of our other instructors!) in the R2AK (Race to Alaska). After beating into a gale from Port Townsend to Victoria to qualify for the race, they sailed non stop for seven and half days through strong winds, currents and the winding inside passage… and were the first monohull to finish, placing 5th overall. All this they did with a rowing rig instead of an engine on board, as per the race rules- no big deal!
Svetlana joins the Sea to Sky team with am impressive resumé of logistical prowess and expedition wrangling. An engineering student, dinghy sailor, lifeguard and swim instructor, and experienced outdoorswoman, there’s not much she can’t handle. As a case in point, when her car transmission died she didn't call a mechanic or give up on the car... no. She methodically removed the old engine, found a healthier one online and installed it herself, figuring it all out along the way. Clearly the soul of a sailor! She has organized group multi-day backcountry trips all over southern BC and is now helping Sea to Sky on the administrative and logistical front.
We work with a number of freelance instructors with a wealth of experience in cruising, racing and teaching. We are always looking for talented and enthusiastic new instructors to join our roster. If you are interested in working with Sea to Sky Sailing, please contact us to start the conversation.