Captain David Metzler
Captain David started out sailing in the 80's and has captained and crewed sailboats from 10' to 50' in a dozen states and countries. His passion is learning everything that can be learned about sailing and sailboats. Captain David has spent the years, crewing, breaking, repairing, building, surveying, cursing, loving, delivering, buying and selling sailboats.
In 2013 David decided it would be fun to share this passion with others and started teaching. He got is USCG captain's license and ASA teaching certifications for 101, 103, 104, 105 and 106.
Captain David has worked with several hundred students, and seeing a new student really start developing the confidence of a real sailor is his greatest joy.
Captain Cliff Cohen
"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." - Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows“
Captain Cliff has been messing about in boats on Long Island Sound and beyond for more than 45 years. In 1974, he discovered there is no better sound than that of a sailboat's engine turning off when it is not needed. Since then, Cliff has logged thousands of hours daysailing, racing and cruising aboard a variety of boats from 14 to 40+ feet.
In addition to being a professional sailing instructor, Cliff is a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and an Emergency Medical Services Instructor (EMS-I). When he is not teaching, Cliff can be found either maintaining, launching and hauling boats at his home port in Branford, Connecticut or sailing with his wife aboard their Islander 36.
Known and respected for his calm demeanor and commitment to safety, Cliff takes great pride in helping his students to become confident boat handlers and fully capable sailors.
Captain Don Berich
Captain Don’s love of sailing began by chance when he and his wife, Nancy, were invited aboard a boat for a day sail around Shelter Island, NY in July of 1977. The rest, as they say, is history!
Since that time, he has logged countless nautical miles in both coastal and blue waters, has chartered sailboats in the BVI’s and in Long Island Sound, and has delivered boats as a USCG Captain.
His extensive cruising experience has taught him patience, the importance of keeping calm in the face of an emergency, to anticipate what might lie ahead, and to enjoy each and every sail.
Don would like to think that he has shared his infectious love of sailing and racing with many friends and family over the years, but teaching ASA courses has proven to be an extraordinary experience for him. Captain Don hopes that future sailing students will gain from his experience and enthusiasm.
Captain Dave Higgins
Captain Dave has been an avid sailor for over forty years. His extensive experience includes daysailing, racing and cruising aboard boats ranging from 14' dinghies to 42' yachts. Captain Dave has piloted everything from monohull sailboats, to catamarans and yes, even powerboats.
As an ASA instructor and USCG licensed captain for over a decade, and as the owner of his own Beneteau Oceanis 361, his sailing and teaching experience has given him an exceptional knowledge of Long Island Sound, Fisher's Island Sound, Gardner's Bay and Block Island Sound. As a skilled yacht delivery captain, he's moved boats to and from the Chesapeake Bay and has had many memorable moments cruising the Hudson River, the Atlantic Ocean and the rivers, canals and bays of Delaware and Maryland. No stranger to living his dreams, Captain Dave has also enjoyed sailing the British Virgin Island's beautiful turquoise waters.
Captain Dave enjoys teaching students of all skill levels. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced sailor, he will empower you to thoroughly develop your sailing competence, which will ensure your safety, confidence, and enjoyment while on the water.
Mark J. Holian, Founder
Mark J. Holian, a native of Southington, Connecticut, spent his childhood vacations along the east coast's shoreline, from Maine to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Mark has been repairing and maintaining homes since he could pick up a hammer, a passion which remains today. With the help of his son he assembled a timberframe as a space to continue expanding their crafts. With his training and education in civil engineering and surveying, sailing continued to intrigue him.
Spending more time on the water was a dream until Mark made it a reality. After obtaining his ASA 101 and ASA 103 certifications, Mark caught the sailing bug and purchased New Dawn, a Hunter 336 to support others in fulfilling their dreams of learning to sail.
In January, 2023, Mark sold East Coast Sailing School to Captain Cliff. Although no longer at the helm, Mark's passion for sailing hasn't waned and you're sure to see him on the water.