Sailing Directors


  1. Robert Burke

    Executive Director
    Robert has spent over 20 years in the field of experiential and adventure education, youth development, and non-profit management. For the past decade, Robert has been Program Director for NYC Outward Bound. Robert holds a US Coast Guard Masters License, and has taught sailing predominantly on the west coast on the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Northwest. He has explored much of the east coast on tall ships, deliveries, and open sail boats. Having kayaked or sailed all of the tidal Hudson, Robert has a strong interest in the natural and human history of the river.
  2. Alex Baum

    Program Director
    Alex was born in Rochester, NY and grew up sailing on Lake Ontario and Keuka Lake. He has sailed competitively since high school and is now a U.S. Coast Guard licensed Captain. At HRCS, in collaboration with DOE educators, Alex designed and implemented the accredited curriculum. He is responsible for programming and outreach. Alex graduated from Fordham University with a degree in International Political Economy. While at Fordham, he was the captain of the university’s sailing team.
  3. Spencer Merlis

    Adult Programs Director
    After completing his Master’s, Spence built a wooden sailboat and spent 3 weeks aboard learning to sail along the way. Since that time he has devoted himself to working and teaching on the water. Sailing brings together the aesthetics, sport, science, and teamwork that he values. He has captained and crewed on tallships, tugs, cruisers, and race boats. Spence holds a US Coast Guard Master License, and is certified by US Sailing to teach Basic Keelboat, and by the American Sailing Association to teach Coastal Cruising and Navigation.
  4. Christopher Green

    Operations Director
    Christopher was born and raised in NYC and grew up sailing and working on wooden boats on the coast of Maine. He started learning about boatbuilding when he and his brother restored his family’s 1928 Northeast Harbor A-Boat at a boatyard in Maine. Chris studied architecture at Cornell University and worked briefly in the field before starting to teach English and Math in NYC, but boats and the water have never been far from his horizon.
  5. Katama Martellucci

    First Mates Program Manager
    Katama (pronounced “KuhTAYmuh”) brings a strong background of education to HRCS – both in sailing and  science/outdoors.  For the past four years, she has worked  as a naturalist at Exploring New Horizons Outdoor School in Loma Mar, CA.  Prior to that, she worked at various sailing centers including Inverness YC and East Chop YC as Head Instructor and Program Director, respectively.  Katama graduated from Vassar College in 2009 and is excited to be back along the Hudson.
  6. Don Rotzien

    Program Development and Growth Officer
    Don has been an avid sailor and racer all his life. He has competed in regional and national championship regattas as a junior sailor and has a passion for yacht racing in all its forms. Don was the General Manager of Greenwich Community Sailing from 2007-2013, and has spent the last 15 years working as a professional in the field organizing and educating hundreds of students and sailors.

Sailing Educators


  1. Andrew Zuber

    Youth Educator
    Andrew moved from Rochester NY to come teach for HRCS.  As a core instructor, his primary assignment is teaching for Sail Academy and City Sail.  Andrew brings a host of skills, and most recently worked for Haarstick Sailmakers.   He has taught and coached sailing in Rochester and Annapolis, and graduated from the College of Charleston.
  2. Zachary Martellucci

    Youth Educator
    Zachary Martellucci has been a sailing instructor at East Chop Sailing School in Martha’s Vineyard for the past 6 summers, while studying Environmental Science, Spanish, and Politics at NYU where he is graduating next month.  His studies have allowed him to study in Spain and conduct research in Costa Rica, and he currently leads “unconventional tours” at the Museum of Natural History.
  3. Charlotte Matthews

    Sailing Educator
    Charlotte grew up on Staten Island and realized her passion for sailing at an early age. She began sailing on her family’s boat, their 31 ft yawl “Hermitage.” During the summer months, Charlotte’s family spent many weeks aboard Hermitage cruising the Northeastern seaboard and racing out of their local yacht club. As a child, Charlotte became involved in racing various types of boats and later began as an instructor at a local yacht club and, after two years, became the head instructor and director of the junior sailing program.
  4. Todd Vorenkamp

    Sailing Educator
    Todd Vorenkamp, a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, is a former naval aviator who has served as an aircraft commander in the Boeing H-46, Sikorsky H-3 and H-60, and Eurocopter H-65 helicopters. He is the former editor-in-chief of Rotor Review, the Naval Helicopter Association’s quarterly publication, and is a trustee of the association. His writing was featured in the anthology “Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families,” published by Random House and the National Endowment for the Arts. Todd has been sailing since the mid 1980s and has captained and crewed sailboats cruising and racing all over both coasts and the Caribbean   He currently sails as a mate on large container ships.
  5. Christin Ripley

    Sailing Educator
    Christin grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida sailing dinghies. She originally moved to NYC to study and now holds a BFA in visual art from Cooper Union. She holds a 100 Ton Inland USCG Masters License, US Sailing Level 1 and Basic Keelboat Instructor Certificates. She has crewed in offshore transits on private vessels and tallships in the Caribbean, Eastern seaboard and Great Lakes. When not working at HRCS, Christin is crew on the Schooner Pioneer at South Street Seaport, sailing ICs in western long island sound and making art and signs.
  6. Andreas Pejovic

    Youth Sailing Educator
    Andreas grew up in Irondequoit, NY on the shores of Lake Ontario. His first experience sailing was at the YMCA affiliated Camp Cory on Keuka Lake, where he was instructed by the HRCS Program Director, Alex Baum. He credits summer camp and relationships developed while sailing as fundamental to the person he is today. After graduating high school he moved to New York City to pursue the arts. He currently attends Hunter College on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where he is in his Junior year.
  7. Kelly Dunn

    Sailing Educator
    Kelly grew up sailing on the Great South Bay of Long Island and attended Roger Williams University where she was in the varsity sailing team. Kelly has coached varsity high school sailing and has coached at various sailing organizations throughout the northeast. Kelly is in her second summer with HRCS, after having taken the fall off to finish up her degree in History Secondary Education at Stony Brook University.
  8. David Caporale

    Adult Sailing Educator
    David has been sailing since he was nine years old. He spent most of his career sailing in the Great South Bay on Long Island’s south shore. There he raced every weekend on various types of boats from May through November. Starting out as rail meat he grew quickly to manage the foredeck, and eventually to become skipper. David holds a United States Coast Guard 100-ton Master’s License. One of his favorite activities is chartering sailboats in the British Virgin Islands with friends. He strongly believes in their mission to help kids learn to sail and grow as leaders in our community.
  9. Denise Meagher

    Adult Sailing Educator
    Denise became involved with HRCS in 2011 when she joined as a member. She began her sailing career in 1998 on traditionally-rigged vessels (Tall Ships) as a volunteer, eventually left her career as a biochemist and ran away to sea. She now holds a USCG 500 Ton Ocean Master’s license. Denise is also the captain of the Schooner Unicorn, the only all-female crewed tall ship in the world.
  10. Jacques Servin

    Adult Sailing Educator
    Jacques grew up in Arizona and began sailing (elsewhere) as a teenager. Since then he’s sailed on five oceans and a few lakes. He recently obtained a US Coast Guard master’s license and is ASA accredited to teach basic sailing, coastal cruising, and bareboat chartering; he also teaches sailboat racing. In his spare time, Jacques makes movies and runs environmental activism workshops at NYU, where he’s a professor.
  11. Jessica McGreehan

    Youth Sailing Educator
    A native Mainer, Jess learned to sail at another community center in Portland, Maine. She raced dinghies and keelboats competitively throughout high school and college. Jess took of time off from college to sail the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on different tall ships. Jess just moved to NYC and is really looking forward to exploring a new city, the beautiful Hudson River and meeting lots of new people!
  12. Brendan Malone

    Adult Sailing Educator
    Brendan was born in NYC, but grew up in New Haven, CT. He started sailing at the Community Sailing on Hobie Cat 16s. He attended the Sound School, a Marine Technology and Science High school, where he studied boat building and repair. He also crewed on the JN Carter, a 65-foot Chesapeake Bay Bugeye Ketch. He ran his own business, Malone Marine Carpentry, and was a shipwright and waterfront foreman at the South Street Seaport Museum. He was a founding staff member of the UANY Harbor School in the Fall of 2003 and remains there as the Marine Systems Technology teacher.  

Volunteers


  1. Rupert Murray

    Veteran Volunteer
    I have had the privilege of volunteering with HRCS for 5 years, year round . I grew up on the UK  South Coast and followed an apprenticeship from Optimist dinghy all the way to the Fastnet Race.  From an early age sailing gave me self-confidence, the ability to take initiative and strong sense of teamwork and responsibility for those I sail with.  All these attributes, and many more, are excellent qualities to pass on to our young people of NY, and I am passionate about sharing my experience in this learning environment.
  2. Rachael Fein

    Veteran Volunteer
    Rachael learned a love of sailing from her father and grandparents, taking day trips on Long Island Sound and small lakes in upstate New York. As an adult, she lost touch with the sport, but found HRCS and took the Basic Keelboat class to refresh her skills in the summer of 2011. While in the class, she learned about the after school and summer sailing programs.  As a high school engineering teacher, Rachael was intrigued and excited by the programs.  Bringing her teaching, engineering, as well as her math and science knowledge, she began volunteering regularly for the Sail Academy, First Mates and City Sail programs.  Volunteering at HRCS has been a rewarding experience for her because she is able to share her own skills and knowledge, but also learn from the students.
  3. William Gilmore

    Youth Program Volunteer
    Will grew up in Manhattan sailing in small boats in Long Island Sound during the summer.  After not sailing for many years, he recently started sailing J24s in New York Harbor.  During the day, Will does prototype work and custom fabrication in his shop in Long Island City. He brings his practical experience with math and science as well his knowledge of tools and construction to the program.
  4. Patrick Orenstein

    Youth Program Volunteer
    Currently a high school senior, Patrick has been sailing since age 9, learning to sail and teaching others on the Mystic River in Connecticut. He is interested in nearly every aspect of boats, from design, construction, sailing, to recycling.  With a little tall ship experience, having sailed on the Brilliant and the Corwith Cramer, he is also an amateur woodworker and is constantly fascinated with the complex curves and interlocking parts of boats.
  5. Rockford Regan

    Youth Program Volunteer
    Rockford attends Math, Science and Engineering and works as a Life Guard during the summer.  However, while volunteering at HRCS, Rockford is truly in his elements.  He has been drawing detailed sailboat designs since kindergarten and built numerous model boats of his own design from displacement monohulls to hydrofoil trimarans.  Rockford sailed solo at age 8 (hobie 16), and moved on to own an M16 at age 12, which he restored with loving care.  He enjoys sailing competitively at local races in New Jersey, where he gathered experience sailing rebels and JYs as well.  Considering his fascination with boat building and design, Rockford sees himself as a naval architect in the future.  In the meantime, he enjoys working with students at HRCS to help them understand the math and science behind sailing, and assists in building the optimists.
  6. Genarile Debarros

    BMCC Human Services Intern
    Genarile attends Borough Manhattan Community College where he is pursuing a degree in social work.  After college, he hopes to become a parole officer. His hobbies include boxing and producing music.
  7. Michele Lopez

    BMCC Human Services Intern
    Currently enrolled as a human service student at BMCC, Michele has always been active in volunteering within her community and expanding her  knowledge about the world around her. For 3 years, she volunteered for Americorps in Arkansas in an outdoor educational program working with inner city youths on improving their academics and teaching them outdoor living skills. She was exposed to sailing during her time in Arkansas and was excited to learn about the mission of HRCS. She is passionate about working with young individuals and exposing them to new environments.  Being a New York native herself, she believes this is a great opportunity to have for New York City students.
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