Early Alpha 2015 – Day 1
written by Social Media Coordinator, Ryan Smith
After a long day of traveling for everybody on the Early Alpha program, all have safely arrived at Hodges Creek Marina. Trevor, one of Early Alpha’s mates along with, Dive Coordinator, Grace, our Marine Science Intern, and Aoife, one of our Operations (OPs) staff, were waiting at the St. Thomas airport for all arriving students today. After arriving, students were assigned and settled into their boats. Next, they enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken, rice and slaw, gobbling it up from inside their new home, among new friends.
Following dinner, students sat attentively as an infamous “Mike Talk” was delivered under the moonlight, outlining policies, standards, and expectations of the program. After taking their last shore showers for the next two weeks, students settled into their boats to hold their first boat meetings with their new crew. Students and staff shared their highs and lows for the day, and played an ice breaker game of two truths and a lie to get acquainted. With heavy eyes but excited minds, the students fell asleep in anticipation of leaving the docks the follow morning to start a new adventure!
Meet our experienced Early Alpha staff team!
Phil Yudin, Program Director
Home for Phil is Hingham, Massachusetts, a small town by the water, but he is currently living in Miami Beach. He graduated from Babson College in Massachusetts with a degree in Finance and Strategic Management. Why does Phil love Sail Caribbean? “For me, a lot of my friends are involved with a lot of corporate jobs, and I’m in the Caribbean sailing. I love telling people that that’s my job.” Phil started sailing at age seven, starting out on sunfish and turnabouts and moving to 420’s when he was 12. Phil joined the program as a student from 2008 to 2010, and then started working for Sail Caribbean in 2013. He has since been a mate, captain and fleet captain. His favorite part of the job is being able to get up and wakeboard, calling it wake and skate. Always enthusiastic and motivated, Phil remembers his favorite Sail Caribbean memory sailing Hobie cats at the Bitter End Yacht Club. When he is not at Sail Caribbean, Phil enjoys playing squash, watching hockey, playing video games, going to the gym, and managing investment portfolios. What an assortment! He looks forward to traveling all around the country for his future job working in the Global Management program in Anheuser Busch, even though in the corporate world, he won’t be able to sport his infamous chubbies shorts.
Sara Stone, Captain
Sara comes from Marion, MA, but has been constantly moving around in recent years, from Colorado, to Panama City and soon to be London! She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2013, with a degree in Global Health with a focus on the ethics of cross-cultural and intergovernmental interactions and a minor in international studies. In addition, she was on the women’s Varsity Rowing team and president of her sorority, Sigma Delta. Her first year at Sail Caribbean was 2012, when she was a captain on the Chavo program. Sara has been sailing since she was born, having been influenced by a whole family that sails. She loves Sail Caribbean because of the responsibilities that it gives to the kids. “They get to do everything.” Known for her unstoppable, adventurous, inspiring character, she loves her role as a teacher to the kids, and building their confidence to perform new and intimidating tasks. It’s no surprise Challenge Day is her favorite Sail Caribbean memory, when kids are put in complete control of their sailboats. Sara also loves days spent at Savanna Bay or Monkey Point. Before arriving at Sail Caribbean this year, she had just gotten off a boat that she delivered from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Panama, through the canal.
Curtis Crooke, Captain, Dive Master
This is Curtis’ fifth year with Sail Caribbean. He lives in Washington, D.C., where he also attends Georgetown University. In addition to studying Government and Economics with a minor in Sociology, he is a member of the Georgetown University Sailing Team. Curtis spent his first three years as a student of Sail Caribbean’s program, followed by a year interning as a Dive Master. Curtis has been sailing since nine years old, influenced by a family of sailors, his dad being one of his biggest teachers. Once a student of Sail Caribbean, he began diving, as well. Curtis enjoys the variety of activities Sail Caribbean provides, in particular scuba diving. He will never give up the chance to go on a wreck dive or sail to his favorite location of Cooper Island Beach Club. Always smiling and seeking fun in every experience, Curtis remembers his favorite memory with the program riding the paparazzi during days spent at the Bitter End. When Curtis is not at Sail Caribbean, he has a passion for traveling. Fun fact, he has traveled to all 50 states, and 49 of the state capitals!
Kevin Bonnie, Captain
Kevin joins us all the way from Balbriggan, Dublin in Ireland for his second year with Sail Caribbean. Kevin graduated from Colaiste Dhulaigh College in 2013, and then attended West Highland College in Scottland for an additional year, earning a degree in Adventure Tourism Management. Inside his courses, he had his first formal sailing training along with kayaking, windsurfing, power boating, and mountaineering training. He previously worked in centers back home in the west of Ireland teaching these adventurous activities. Here at Sail Caribbean, it’s seeing the students with no experience progress so much that Kevin truly loves. Described as a great combination of calm and witty, Kevin is funny and innovative, and loves to make up games during the program. Although, it’s no joke that he is unfortunately unable to do a forward roll.
Eliot Faust, Mate, Dive Master
Eliot joins us from Bethesda, MD, but is currently attending school at Haverford College in PA. He studies Political Science with a minor in Chinese language. Starting in 2007, Eliot spent five years enrolled as a student of the program. He especially enjoyed the friends he made who kept returning each summer. The Sail Caribbean program really attracted Eliot due to his interest in marine biology from a young age. After participating in a bubble maker program on St. Thomas, he knew he wanted to pursue a life underwater. Following his time as a Sail Caribbean student, Eliot then completed the Sail Caribbean Dive Master Internship and is a member of Sail Caribbean’s staff this year as a Dive Master and mate. Always ready with a funny one-liner, Eliot loves diving at the Fearless and the Indians or sailing to his favorite location of Little Harbor on Peter Island. He will never forget hanging out at the Baths with his core crew of friends who always returned for a summer with Sail Caribbean. When Eliot is not with us, he plays tennis on the Haverford Varsity Tennis team and plans to study abroad next year in Beijing and Germany.
Alex Polli, Mate
Born in Northport, NY (the stateside hometown of Sail Caribbean!), Alex currently attends Penn State University studying Psychology with a minor in Human Development. She is the president of the Penn State Sailing Team and works in a research lab studying the effects of nature’s impact on cognitive ability. Sailing’s popularity in Long Island had a huge influence on Alex, who says she’s lived on the water all her life. She has been sailing since she was seven, when a local yacht club sponsored her and she began racing Opti’s and 420’s. This is Alex’s first year as Sail Caribbean staff, but she was a student from 2008 until 2012. Smiley, outgoing and always eager to learn, Alex loves Sail Caribbean for the way it can mesh everybody together. She says, “You meet all kinds of people that you would never get the chance to meet otherwise.” Alex’s favorite location from the program is Salt Island, and she could never forget the best summer of her life, the Sierra program in 2011. With an agenda to graduate college and sail, sail, and sail some more, you would never guess her twin actually has a fear of boats and refuses to go on them.
Kerry Worsfold, Mate
This is Kerry’s first year with Sail Caribbean. She is from Chatham, England and attends Southampton University, studying Environmental Science with a focus on aquatics. When she is not sailing on her school’s racing team, Kerry is also a sustainability officer for her curriculum. She started sailing when she was 14, after joining in on races happening in her hometown, influenced by her dad and especially her granddad, who loved sailing and building boats. Only being with Sail Caribbean a short time, Kerry already loves the flourishing marine life of the British Virgin Islands compared to that of her “uni.” She loves Sail Caribbean’s belief in taking kids and teaching them to be more independent and having them learn so many interesting skills. When she is not at Sail Caribbean, Kerry enjoys rock climbing, high ropes, adventure climbing, zip lining, and is even a sailing instructor back at home and also in Greece!
Maisey Horn, Mate
Maisey is from Dallas, Texas but currently resides at Boston College, where she studies Psychology and Philosophy. She also participates in club volleyball, works as a research assistant in a psychology lab and is trying to start a school sailing club. Although this is Maisey’s first year as staff, she attended Sail Caribbean as a student in 2009 and 2010. Raised by sailors for parents, Maisey has been sailing since she was born. Kind, bubbly, yet balanced, she is thrilled to be living in the Caribbean for the summer, working inside what she calls a very special community of people who really care and are passionate about what they do. Her favorite Sail Caribbean memory is all the quiet nights on board getting to know the people on her boat who come from all over the world, especially at her favorite program location, Savanna. Fun fact about Maisey: she can ride a unicycle!
Trevor Gardner, Mate
Trevor comes to us from Manotick, Ontario, Canada. Ever since he was a little kid, he has always been a fish in the water. Trevor was a student of Sail Caribbean in 2010, and came back as staff in 2013. Having started sailing when he was seven, Trevor spent most summers building bigger and bigger boats, mainly dinghy’s, to eventually end up racing them from 2010 to 2012. He accomplished his open water certification and advanced open water certification through the Sail Caribbean Divers. He loves Sail Caribbean because it has showed him what else was outside of the little rural farm country of Canada. He says, “I had amazing counselors as a camper, so I can only hope that I can have the same effect on a camper. All of these people who don’t know each other come together to become lifelong friends and work together to create life changing experiences.” Trevor is known for his enthusiastic energy and especially loves the moment when a boat’s crew finally clicks and everyone is enjoying themselves.
Justin Perry, Fleet Captain
Growing up in East Texas, “Perry” had never been diving or sailing before he joined Sail Caribbean six years ago. Known as a mechanically inclined “Jack of all trades” with a super strong work ethic, Perry is the key to logistics coordinating our land activities, watersports, and all equipment used during our adventures. Perry attended University of Texas at Dallas, earning a degree in Arts and Technology. He also participated in a nonprofit boys and girls club where he befriended and tutored underprivileged kids. Perry will be expanding his role as OPs Director this season and act as Fleet Captain for the Early Alpha program. Perry loves Sail Caribbean because of its people, both staff and students. He says, “One of the mottos I live by is no matter how old you are and no matter how young you are, you have something to teach me. At Sail Caribbean, there are so many people to learn from.” His favorite part of the job is getting to travel everywhere inside the British Virgin Islands as his skills become needed throughout programs. His favorite place is Musk Melon Bay on Guana Island which is great for wake boarding. Perry sees working on boats, something he truly loves, as a perk rather than an actual job.
The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.