Meet the 2020 SHYC Junior Sailing Instructor Team!

Kevin Gunn – SHYC Sailing & Waterfront Director

Kevin will be joining SHYC from New Orleans, where he is a high school teacher and the varsity sailing team coach at Ursuline Academy. He sits on the board of directors for his home club, New Orleans Yacht Club, and has spent fourteen summers teaching sailing full time. He has been the sailing director for two sleep away summer camps in Maine and the summer sailing director for Bay Waveland Yacht Club in Bay St. Louis, MS. He took last summer off to be with his wife Sarah in celebration of the birth of their daughter Angelina. Kevin grew up sailing catamarans off Texas beaches, sailed collegiately for Texas A&M Galveston, is a U.S. Sailing Small Boat Instructor Trainer, and a Level 3 Coach.  (Email Kevin)

Haley Brown – SHYC Assistant Sailing & Waterfront Director (August). Haley got her first taste of JR sailing at SHYC in 2003. From then, she began sailing at Yale Corinthian Yacht Club in Branford. Fast forward a decade, she began head coaching the YCYC Team Race Team, as well as directing all summer sailing activities and memberships. Haley sailed on the University of Vermont sailing team for 4 years as a skipper for both women’s and Co-ed. On breaks from UVM, she skippered a J105 in multiple regattas up and down the east coast and crewed on a J30 and a CC99 on the beautiful Lake Champlain along side her professors. Since, Haley has coached the Hamden Hall Sailing Team, the Branford High School Sailing Team, and sailed in Corsica, France where she lived last fall and winter. Aside from coaching and big boat sailing, she is a French teacher in New Haven and a free lance art teacher. When she’s not sailing, Haley is cooking, gardening, running, painting or hosting paint n’ sips. This September she plans to attend Yale Graduate School to pursue a Masters in Archaeology.

Ryan Squires: Head Opti Race Coach & Senior Instructor. Ryan is returning for a second year to SHYC!  He is a life-long sailor who grew up sailing and racing all types of boats at the Hoover Sailing Club in Ohio.  He has competed in a variety of boats including: Opti, Thistle, Flying Scot, 420, FJ, Laser, Laser Radial, Byte, and more. He was a sailing coach at Hoover Sailing Club for the many summers, teaching a range of sailor levels including beginners, intermediate, Opti Race, 420 Race. Last summer he was a private coach for competitive Opti and 420 travel teams around the mid-west. As a youth he was on the USODA Nationals Team Racing Team for Opti. He also trained with one of the top Opti programs in the Country, LOOT (Lake Ontario Optimist Team).  He also represented his club at multiple Chubb Champs and won many regional competitions and sportsmanship awards. He is currently a Junior at Miami University in Ohio.  He will be a US Sailing Level 2 certified instructor for summer 2020.

Joe Coyne. Laser Race Coach. Joe grew up in Madison, CT. He started sailing at age 8 at the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club in Branford, CT, joining the race team there for many years before becoming an instructor. He also sails lasers out of Duck Island Yacht Club in their Thursday night one-design series and in a Wednesday night series in Branford. He was a member of the Choate Rosemary Hall Varsity Sailing Team for four years, serving as captain his junior and senior years and winning the team’s Outstanding Sailor Award his freshman and senior years. He just finished his freshman year at Georgetown University, where he was a member of the sailing team.

James Vagell:  Assistant Race Coach & Senior Instructor.  James grew up sailing and race Optis on Long Island. As a teenager he moved to Madison CT and quickly found his way into 420s and onto the Madison Hand High School Sailing Team.  He was a 4-year varsity sailor for Madison Hand High School and was elected Team Captain. He also was a 4-year varsity skier for Madison Hand High School, and has been a youth ski instructor at Okemo Mountain for the past 4 winters. He spent the last 2 summers as a lead sailing instructor at the Madison Surf Club Sailing Camp.   He currently is a Freshman at the University of Vermont and a key member of the UVM Club Sailing Team; he is also involved with fundraising and regatta scheduling.   He will be a US Sailing Level 1 certified instructor for summer 2020.

Maeve Merkle-Scotland – Senior Instructor.  Maeve grew up in Madison CT and has always loved sailing, racing, and the water. She was a 4-year varsity sailor for Madison Hand High School and was elected Team Captain her senior year.  She was responsible for organizing all of the fundraising for the team. She was also a 4-year varsity swimmer for Hand High School. She spent the last two summers as a lead sailing instructor at the Madison Surf Club Sailing Camp, and as a substitute instructor at Clinton Community Sailing.  She is an active Girl Scout and earned Gold Award in 2018 for her creation of a nature curriculum of outdoor education for elementary age kids. She is currently a Freshman at the University of Maine and sailing on the U-Maine Sailing Club. She will be a US Sailing Level 1 certified instructor for summer 2020.

Issabella Merrill (Izzy) – Sailing Instructor. Izzy grew up on the Farm River in Short Beach, CT.  She began sailing at age 9, and has been sailing and racing at Yale Corinthian Yacht Club (YCYC) ever since. Her last 2 years at YCYC she was on the 420 Race Team and also a Junior Instructor for morning sailors.  For summer 2019, she was the co-head instructor at Guilford Yacht Club.  Izzy loves the outdoors, the water, coaching and working with kids; she has quite a following of young sailors who adore her. She has been on her high school varsity ski team for the last four years and was the ski team captain her senior year.  She is also a valuable member of her track team, running the 800.  This September she will be attending the College of Charleston, and plans to try out for the #2 in the country ranked sailing team! While not sailing, skiing, or running you can find Izzy at Starbucks whipping up your favorite coffee drink as a barista.  Izzy will be a US Sailing Level 1 certified instructor for summer 2020.

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