NSA Officers and Directors
Carl Crothers, Commodore
Carl Crothers and his wife, Donna, sail a Beneteau 423 "Sanctuary" and previously a Beneteau Oceanis 38, "Captiva," out of Whittaker Creek Yacht Club. They started sailing in Tampa Bay in the early 1990s aboard a Columbia 8.7m. In 2009, they bought a Catalina 34 in Oriental and started exploring the Neuse River and surrounding waters, commuting on weekends from their home in Winston-Salem. In 2012, they joined the NSA. Carl served as Vice Commodore of Communications during 2013 and 2014, Vice Commodore of Finance in 2015, Commodore in 2016 and Vice Commodore of Cruising in 2017 and 2020. They have two adult daughters. In the summer of 2015 they moved to Oriental.
Howard Cheetham, Vice Commodore/Cruising
Howard and Ros joined the NSA in 2008, one or the other was a director in 2009 and 2010 and Ros was Vice Commodore of Cruising in 2011 (but she delegated most of the role to Howard!). Howard was Commodore in 2013 for the 40th Anniversary.
In 2020 they had planned to sail to Europe and spend a couple of years exploring the Mediterranean... but Covid changed that to enjoying the Neuse and Pamlico Sound again.
Cara Keys, Vice Commodore/Finance
Cara Keys joined the NSA in 2018 and is happy to be a part of this sailing community. When she was first married, she and her husband Jason decided to quit their jobs and embark on a year-long journey to see the United States while they were young and sleeping in a tent and roughing it wasn’t so bad. It didn’t hurt that both employers were willing to wait for them to get back and restart the jobs they had left, so it was decided and they took off in June of 1996 to start their adventure. If YouTube were around then, they probably would have had a channel, but thankfully all the deflating air mattress, card burning, fish catching, no hot showering, camping mishaps were never documented publicly. A great side benefit of traveling then was their ability to visit with family in Michigan, Illinois, Arizona, Colorado and California in addition to seeing many natural wonders along the way. Cara now lives in Zebulon working as a Realtor with her husband Jason and two great adult kids, Matthew and Allison. The Keys took up sailing four years ago with a 22’ and after two years it was decided they “needed a bigger boat” and transitioned to an Endeavour 32’ named Sol Mate. Since Jason grew up on a lake, they are no strangers to being on the water, but sailing is a different thing altogether. It’s a lot slower, but a lot more exhilarating. One day they hope to transition into seasonal cruisers.
Jeff Kenyon, Vice Commodore/Communications
Jeff and Pat Kenyon sail a Tartan 4100, “Calitri”, out of Sea Harbour Yacht Club. Jeff and Pat both grew up sailing Sunfish and graduated to a Hobie Cat 18 when they first met. They took sailing lessons at the Boston Harbor Sailing Club, and subsequently bought their first cruising boat, a Tartan 3500 named “Wind Streek”. Jeff and Pat have owned a home in Oriental since 2005, joining the NSA as newsletter members shortly thereafter. In 2012, they sailed Calitri from Boston to Oriental where they now are full time residents. Having enjoyed sailing throughout their lives, they plan to do longer term cruising aboard Calitri in the future when the commitments of work and life allow!
Pat Thomaier, Vice Commodore/Communications
After many miles and many stories aboard Midnight Mary, their Endeavour 33, Pat and her husband John Messer will start the 2021 NSA season stretching out in their new-to-them Beneteau 411, Wild Goose. They’ve never gone on an NSA cruise that wasn’t a great experience, and they’ve learned more with each trip. Pat and John are both retired, and they split their time between Raleigh and Oriental.
Mary and Kevin Guilfoyle, Vice Commodores/Special Events
Mary and Kevin Cruise the Neuse in their 36ft Albin trawler. They call Oriental their home full time and are ready for fun any time the weather doesn't make them turn around.
Donna Crothers, Vice Commodore/Membership
Donna Crothers and her husband, Carl, sail a Beneteau 423 "Sanctuary" and previously a Beneteau Oceanis 38, "Captiva," out of Whittaker Creek Yacht Club. They started sailing in Tampa Bay in the early 1990s aboard a Columbia 8.7m. In 2009, they bought a Catalina 34 in Oriental and started exploring the Neuse River and surrounding waters, commuting on weekends from their home in Winston-Salem. In 2012, they joined the NSA. Donna is in her third consecutive year as Vice Commodore of Membership. Carl served as Vice Commodore of Communications during 2013 and 2014, Vice Commodore of Finance in 2015, Commodore in 2016 and Vice Commodore of Cruising in 2017 and 2020. Despite all those fancy titles, Donna remains fleet admiral of s/v Sanctuary. They have two adult daughters. In the summer of 2015 they moved to Oriental.
Margo Fesperman, NSA Secretary
Kathy Kenny, Vice Commodore/Social Media
Kathy & her husband, Buster, started as lake sailors in 1991, beginning with Smith Mountain Lake, VA, then Lake Ray Roberts in TX & finally Percy Priest in TN, before moving back to NC. They joined the NSA in 2005. Kathy was NSA’s “Secretary/Treasurer” in 2009 (when she created the NSA Facebook group), 2010 & 2011. They own a 36’ Catalina, “Cool Change”, which was severely damaged in Hurricane Florence, but will finally be ready for the 2020 sailing season. Both are looking forward to getting back on the water with NSA friends.
Sharon Stephenson, Dinghy Poker Run
Jeff Kenyon, Past Commodore (2020)
Erik Hardtle, Director (2021)
Buck O'Neil, Director (2021)
Chuck Gordon, Director (2022)
Chuck and Sharon have been longtime NSA members who have been involved in many club activities, events and leadership positions. Chuck was introduced to sailing when he met Sharon and after years of patient tutelage has become a sailing enthusiast. They presently sail Pelikan, a Beneteau 373 and are looking forward to being on the water more frequently now that they have retired. Chuck welcomes all old and new NSA members and looks forward to serving you as Commodore.
Howard Gutzeit, Director (2022)
Originally from Queens, NY, Howard transitioned to the south during his early 20’s. Soon thereafter, he entered the sailing world racing catamarans on Lake Norman north of Charlotte. He continues to maintain an S2–6.9 in storage hoping to race again. Boats, both owned and chartered, have remained a major focus of his leisure time. More recently in late 2015, an IP32 came on the scene. Renamed L’Chaim, it arrived in New Bern after a frigid January motor/sail down the ICW from Solomons, MD. Thus, New Bern was officially home port and home town. Since the aftermath of Florence, L’Chaim has been docked at NWC Marina. Full time residency began in June 2018. Plans for life aboard and long term cruising with wife Margo have been challenged by hurricanes and COVID. Fortunately, friends provided an introduction to NSA. A warm welcome, well-planned cruises and socials confirmed NSA was another home port!
Tom McElroy, Director (2023)
Tom Quigley, Director (2023)
Tom and Divis sail a Caliber 35 out of Pecan Grove Marina where he also serves as Dockmaster. They met by chance as new crew in a New Bern regatta. Things went very well from there as they got married in 2017 on Bald Head Island during a NSA event there (attended by many NSA members)! Tom and Divis have since relocated to Oriental full-time and enjoy all things water.
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