Meet Sailing Instructor Mark Noneman

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…

Capt. Mark Noneman is an extraordinary sailor and instructor who’s “living the dream” with his wife Sharon (and ship’s cat Max) aboard S/V Calypso, a 48′ Leopard sailing catamaran. Mark’s sailed extensively – including West Coast US (California, Puget Sound), East Coast, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Australia, and much more (it’s a long list). Instructor credentials include NauticEd, ASA, RYA, and ICC; and more notably as an instructor Mark’s past career in management consulting translates to professionally helping sailors achieve their sailing goals – to Learn to sail and live your dreams!

Calypso Sailing offers personalized sailing instruction and consulting for a full range of sailing training, whether specific needs or full certification. Notably, if you’re thinking of chartering or buying a Catamaran – then you seriously should consider Calypso and Capt. Mark for training with their Try-A-Cat learning vacation opportunities around the world. Learn from a Catamaran master, and have fun on a vacation! Why not?!

Capt. Mark Noneman

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Southern California and my family was all about skiing and golf. I didn’t grow up boating or sailing, really. In fact, just looking at a boat at the dock would make me seasick, back in those days!

I went to school and earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering. I worked initially in electronic systems design and project management. Later, I started working with software companies and eventually became a management consultant – where I began to hone my skills as an instructor and coach.

I started sailing beach catamarans in the 1990s. In 2010, my wife and I took our first keelboat sailing class and the rest, as they say, is history! We were hooked on the sailing life.

As “retirement” (whatever that means) came into focus, we decided that helping others learn to sail and enjoy the sailing life would be an awesome purpose after our busy corporate and consulting careers. To prepare for that, we bought a Leopard 39 sailing cat in 2019 to figure out what full-time cruising and boat ownership was all about (we called it our “starter boat”). That allowed me to gain enough sea time to achieve my USCG OUPV license (aka 6-pack) and in 2021, I earned my instructor credentials. We upgraded our boat to a Leopard 48 and moved on board full-time in October of 2021.

We really enjoy working with couples that want to bareboat charter or buy a new-to-them boat to help them gain the confidence, capability, and competence to achieve their sailing dreams.

Keelboats -or- Catamarans?

Catamarans!

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

Deep Blue and Beyond

What’s your “Style” of sailing?

Adventure (new destinations & experiences)

What got you into sailing?

In the 1990s, my brother owned a 16′ Hobie catamaran and we sailed on weekends now and again when I lived in San Diego (the first time I lived there). I really enjoyed that but it was just something we did for a few hours occasionally.

In 2010, I moved back to San Diego after living in Oregon for 15 years. In Oregon, we did Oregon things: fishing, camping, hiking, etc. In San Diego, golfing and sailing are what many people do. I learned growing up I would never be a good golfer so sailing it was!

My wife and I started with what I knew: beach cats but quickly learned about these things called keelboats. We signed up for a sailing class in Mission Bay, San Diego and that was it! We were hooked. We sailed every weekend and took further sailing courses. We took our first bareboat charter in the BVI in 2012…and the hook was set! For several years we bareboat chartered in California, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, the Puget Sound, the Lesser Antilles, Australia, and Croatia.

Now we own our own boat (our second boat, a Leopard 48) and cruise aboard full-time.

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

Sailing, at its best for me, is relaxing and amazing. It still surprises me how the power of the wind can move a large(ish) vessel through the water. With the engines off, the only sound is the wind in the sails and the water against the hull(s). Sailing also requires skills that are both physical and intellectual. It’s something I can continue to learn about and get better at. The engineer in me really appreciates that.

Most memorable sailing experience?

There are so many! I think our first bareboat charter in the BVI really stands out. We only had about 25 days of sailing experience in San Diego but our good friends agreed to come with us anyway (very brave of them)! It was on a Jeanneau 41; one of the biggest boats we had sailed at that time. We learned so much (what works and what doesn’t when cruising!) and had so much fun we really didn’t want to leave. And, meeting other sailors and the people of the BVI, snorkeling, going ashore to explore, eat and drink was all very exciting. It was the beginning of our sailing life which eventually became full-time.

What are a couple of your favorite sailing spots?

The BVI was our first cruising experience and will always be a favorite spot. The sailing is easy, the water warm, and the islands beautiful. Iconic places like Road Town, The Bight, North Sound, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada will never get old for us.

We also love cruising the Bahamas, especially the “family islands.” The water is crystal clear with unbelievable shades of blue; every shade of blue you can think of and more. There are all kinds of sailing from the calm sounds of the islands to deep water sailing between island chains. And with so many islands, we still have so much to explore even though we’ve been there many times.

What’s your favorite part about teaching sailors?

We’ve had many great instructors and coaches as we’ve grown in our own sailing experience and we want to “pass it forward” to others with similar dreams. We especially like helping couples that are getting into sailing learn how to work effectively as a team together and with others out on the water. We’ve seen couples that were not a team and it’s not pretty! We hope by sharing key skills and tips we’ve learned as a sailing couple that we help other couples find their own sailing team approaches.

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

For new students, the main advice is: 1) find a good sailing coach or instructor you trust and 2) get out there and practice! Learning new skills takes frequent and continuous practice to achieve whatever level of competence you are seeking.

For experienced sailors, I would ask that you share with the sailing community in whatever way you are able. Perhaps you can share your experience with newbies through coaching or even teaching. Or maybe your sharing is by action: sailing in the most competent way possible to show others how it should be done.

What is a random fact about yourself?

I studied piano for many years as a young boy. I learned how to play the notes and I also learned it’s a lot of work to be better than just average!

What’s on your sailing ‘bucket list’?

Even though we live on board our own boat full-time, there are a lot of places we’ve never been. I doubt we’ll get to Asia or the South Pacific on our own boat but, luckily, there are bareboat charters in French Polynesia and Thailand just a (long) plane ride away!

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