Michael Beemer is the department chair for Skagit Valley College’s marine maintenance and repair program. Michael has been presenting and teaching professionally for almost 20 years and holds a master’s degree in education. At the college he teaches all the systems courses, including ABYC certifications. He and his wife have cruised extensively from Anacortes to southeast Alaska for many years on their motor-sailer. In the cruising community, Michael is well known as “The Boat Doctor” who can diagnose and fix almost anything on a vessel. Some of the many topics he has done include: diesel engines, electrical systems, solar, new battery technologies, extended inside passage cruising, and more.
Andy Schwenk grew up in Anacortes working after school, summer and weekends aboard the charter boats, marinas, and boat dealers until he graduated from WWU. He continued to teach sailing on weekends throughout his military stint stationed at Ft. Lewis and 10yrs public school teaching. He has now completed 42 Trans Pacific crossings on sailboats 26′ to 72′ and dozens of deliveries from Mexico to Vancouver mostly starting from Seattle. He currently owns Northwest Rigging a full-service rigging shop with 7 employees serving yacht owners from Pt. Roberts to Portland. He and his wife sail their SC-27 throughout the PNW year around with their two boys. Among their accomplishments are SC-27 national champions in 2015, Swiftsure and Vic Maui wins as well.
Jen Haaland received her marine training from the Skagit Valley College Marine Maintenance Technology program and holds ABYC certifications in Marine Electrical, Corrosion, Gasoline, and Diesel Engines. She specializes in AC and DC electrical troubleshooting and has a passion for labeling. Jen currently works for NW Explorations in Bellingham, WA as a lead technician.
In addition to being an ABYC Master Technician, Jen has a BA in Fine Arts from Seattle University. She enjoys spending her free time sailing and power boating around the San Juan islands.
Woody Wentworth is a retired military officer, offshore sailor and owner of ‘IceBoat Marine’ —specializing in marine refrigeration, solar and heating, and electrical. An ABYC Certified Master Technician, he is a factory certified installer and troubleshooter for most refrigeration/AC, and heating systems. Woody teaches Marine HVAC at the Skagit Valley Marine Maintenance Technology Program. When not fixing others’ boats, Woody and his family which includes three children, are out cruising (and of course, fixing stuff!) year-round.
Mark Bunzel, Contributor, Editor and Publisher of the annual Waggoner Cruising Guide, co-author of Cruising the Virgin Islands, and nautical publisher and distributor at the Waggoner Store. Mark’s boating experience began at the age of 15 and has cruised the Greek Islands, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Honduras, Mexico, Vietnam, and the Chesapeake Bay. Each year, he cruises to Waggoner Guide destinations in the San Juan Islands, Inside Passage and Southeast Alaska. Mark’s work can be found in Power Cruising, Pacific Yachting, Latitudes and Attitudes, Soundings, Dockside, Northwest Yachting Magazine. Mark also teaches seminars at Boat Show University, Fine Edge Nautical Seminars, and Cruiser’s College.
Matt Mardesich is the primary propulsion instructor at Skagit Valley College. Matt has been around the water all his life and still does some commercial fishing when not teaching at the technical school. Matt is an ABYC certified Master Technician and holds certifications in Gasoline/Diesel engines and electrical. Some of the many topics he has done include: diesel engines, gasoline engines, outboard motors, and hydraulics.
John & Amanda Neal
John Neal was born on the banks of Africa’s Blue Nile River. At the age of 22 his love of adventure and travel fueled a desire to sail to the South Pacific from Seattle aboard his 27′ sloop. John holds a USCG 100 ton Master’s and private pilot License.
Amanda Swan Neal grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and sailed to Vancouver as a teenager aboard a 38′ sloop she helped her parents build. She is author of The Essential Galley Companion and since 2005 has written the monthly Galley Essentials column in 48 North magazine. Amanda enjoys introducing women to the joys of the cruising lifestyle and her personal interests include Celtic step dancing, photography, triathlon training and sewing. She holds a NZ Commercial Launchmaster’s license.
Arthur Hebert is a 28 year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. He served on a wide variety of the Coast Guard ships and participated in many Search and Rescue missions. He holds a 100-ton Master Inland License and is an ABYC Master Tech. He is a part time instructor at Skagit Valley College Marine Trades program and during the summer you can find him on his 30 ft Fisher motor-sailer or working as a checkout skipper for NW Explorations.