John Sezer

Kirkland Sailing Club – Washington State

Meet Sailing Instructor John Sezer

Sailing instructors are often the most highly experienced sailors in the industry, but they all start somewhere! Gain insight into sailing from those who do it most…

Great sailing instructors must be good sailors but more importantly, they must be great teachers. Not only have I taught a variety of topics ranging from computer science to ballroom dancing and paragliding, but I have also been a student of many others, like springboard diving, motorcycle racing and eventually sailing. With such a wide range of experiences and a background in engineering, I feel uniquely qualified to teach sailing no matter the level or learning style of the student.

I am an Instructor for Kirkland Sailing Club. KSC is a great low-cost way to enjoy sailing on the East Side of Lake Washington from our two locations at Homeport Marina and Carillon Point Marina as well as Shilshole Bay Marina on Puget Sound.

We offer training and memberships. Members must be deemed competent sailors in order to take the boat out with their friends and family. This is why we select NauticEd training for all – the focus on competence.

Kirkland Sailing Club, Kirkland Washington

John Sezer

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Turkey and have lived in the US for nearly two decades. I moved to Seattle in 2009 for a job at Microsoft and have fell in love with sailing here. I was fortunate to have a friend secure me a place on an incredible sailboat with an incredible captain during the annual Grand Prix race. This was such an amazing experience that the very next day I joined a sailing club and signed up for sailing classes.

One of the most satisfying parts of sailing for me has always been sharing it. That moment when the sails catch the wind and heel the boat gently, and the giddy smiles that appear almost magically are truly priceless. It is why, after leaving my job as a software engineer at Microsoft, I joined Kirkland Sailing Club to teach sailing. Perhaps it is because my dad is a professor, but I have always enjoyed mentoring and teaching, and consider this to be my core competency.

As you may have surmised, I started sailing later in life, in my 30s. Even though most of my sailing career has revolved around racing I’ve also done my share of cruising. These include cruising the Turkish coastline, the Greek Islands, the BVIs, Mexican coast, and a passage from Mexico to Hawaii as well as several boat deliveries along the Washington coast and through the Columbia River bar.

See John’s full bio ›

John Sezer Instructor

Keelboats -or- Catamarans?


Local Sailing -or – Racing – or – Coastal/Charter Vacations – or – Deep Blue?


What’s your “Style” of sailing?

Coastal / Excursions

What got you into sailing?

Back in Turkey, I used to paraglide and I really enjoyed that communion with nature, the lack of an engine, and using winds and thermals to stay afloat for hours. So when I moved to Seattle I thought sailing might be able to offer similar experiences. I’m happy to say I was correct.

What does sailing do (or has done) for you?

I love to race and part of it is being able to engage in it to the degree where the rest of the world just falls away. I’ve always enjoyed immersive experiences that require all my attention and allow me to escape anything else that might be going on. Sailing has certainly done that but it has also given me a community that I’m grateful for. I’ve met great people, gone on amazing adventures, and traveled, all thanks to sailing. And when COVID hit, I thankfully was able to go sailing by myself or with another as the rules permitted.

Most memorable sailing experience?

Early in my career a friend of mine bought a live-aboard racer-cruiser sailboat. We spent years learning how to race her and spent weeks replacing everything on it. We then spent a fortune getting her ready for the Swiftsure international yacht race. The race wasn’t easy, at times it was scary. But when we crossed that finish line on the third day there were hugs, tears, and a lot of smiles.

What are a couple of your favorite sailing spots?

Sailing up the Mexican coast was incredible. There are so many little bays and towns to get into and they’re not touristic destinations. They’re well known in the cruising communities but retain their charm. The coastline is amazing too.

Closer to home, I really enjoy sailing the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands. I made a few trips to Oregon and back, up and down the Columbia river. We truly live in a beautiful place.

What’s your favorite part about teaching sailors?

Seeing the joy and awe on a student’s face when we put up the sails for the first time and finally kill the outboard engine.

What advice would you give a new student about sailing?  An experienced sailor?

I always advise feeling the breeze on your skin. Reduces your reliance on the wind vane which helps you keep your eyes on what’s around you.

What is a random fact about yourself?

I made the Turkish national diving team as a youth and competed in an international event.

What’s on your sailing ‘bucket list’?

There is so many to choose from but the fjords in the Scandinavian countries are up there.


Learn more about John Sezer ›

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My vision for NauticEd is to provide the highest quality sailing and boating education available - and deliver competence wherever sailors live and go.
Grant Headifen
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Last updated on April 17th, 2023