Meet the Crew
I grew up racing and cruising a variety of boats in the waters surrounding Rhode Island and fondly look back on the many waterborne activities of my youth: frostbiting Sunfish on frigid January days; snagging Bluefish off of Sakonnet Point in our 23' Rampage; racing 470's and J-24's off of Newport; and cruising to Block Island aboard the Herreshoff "S" boat. These early activities left me with a strong desire to make a living on the water. To that end, I attended the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY. As a member of the intercollegiate sailing team, I raced dinghies and various offshore boats. During my senior year, I skippered NO QUARTER, a 53’custom IOR racer designed by Frers and built by Palmer Johnson. After graduation I shipped out, working predominately aboard oil tankers. I sailed as an engineer for three years before proceeding topsides and signing on as mate. Shipping brought me to all corners of the globe and broadened my professional knowledge of marine engineering, seamanship, navigation, and shiphandling. I hold a USCG Unlimited Master's license, a 100 ton auxiliary sail license and an Unlimited Horsepower engineering license. With a "two month on, two month off" shipping schedule, I filled my vacations with yachting activities working as a sailmaker and rigger/service technician and logging many more offshore miles racing and delivering yachts. These trips were aboard such vessels as Swans, Beneteaus, Cabo Rico's, Pearsons, Freedoms, Hallberg-Rassys and Sundeers, and they provided me with insightful knowledge about what works and what doesn't in a wide variety of sea conditions.
From 1999 through 2002, I worked for the Pacific Northwest Hallberg-Rassy and Nautor's Swan dealer in Seattle. During this period, I sold fourteen new boats and many high-quality used boats. I've spent time at various Scandinavian yards to broaden my understanding of the construction details that go into a quality yacht. I've supported my clients as project manager for the selection, ordering, outfitting, and delivery of numerous new and used boats both in Scandinavia and the United States. I've taken the time to sail/motor with customers including delivery trips on the U.S. East Coast and countless Seattle to San Francisco passages. I joined Mike and Jan Moore aboard their 1998 HR46 from Charleston to Boston; Bob Briggs aboard his 2002 HR46 from Seattle to San Francisco; Greg and Ruth Walsh aboard their 2001 HR53 from Seattle to San Francisco; Kent Marrow aboard his 2002 Soubise 46 catamaran from Charleston to Annapolis; Ron Short aboard his Ocean 50 Mk1 and Hatteras 70 from Ketchikan to Seattle; Mike Gurley aboard his Ditmar/Donaldson 50 from San Francisco to Seattle; and Dr. Peter Huttemeier aboard his 1995 Sundeer 60 from Seattle to San Francisco. These experiences have paid major dividends that I am able to share with customers when they purchase a boat. I still make time for racing and joined skipper Brian Duchin for two Vic-Maui races including a first overall win in 2006 aboard the Santa Cruz 52 VOODOO CHILD.
I understand and love boats-large or small, propelled by wind or power. Whether traveling with my clients to preview boats, closing a complex purchase, assisting with delivery voyages or providing training specific to a new boat, I work diligently to cultivate a long term relationship with our clients and to serve as a continuing resource long after the purchase or sale is complete. I am a Certified Professional Yacht Broker and am a licensed Florida yacht broker. In July of 2009 I completed a two year Caribbean cruise with my family aboard "Charlotte" a 1991 Robert Perry-designed 51' steel sloop. We're now back in Seattle and I'm excited to return to Swiftsure Yachts. Our website is www.SVCharlotte.com
Brad Baker; Founding Partner/Broker
This early success in my sailing career fed my appetite, and I continued to sail every chance I got. I soon found that my employment as a hotel catering manager was getting in the way of my true passion, sailing. Therefore, in 1989 I switched paths to become a sailmaker. I worked at Shore Sails for six years followed by six years with North Sails. I was involved in just about every facet of the sail making business including repairs, new sail production, sail design and sales. One of the best things that came out of my days as a sailmaker was meeting PJ, a co-worker at the sail loft who soon became my wife. I cherish the time we spend together sailing, both racing and cruising. Along with our two sons Bryce and Austin, we take any opportunity we can to gunkhole the waters of Desolation Sound, the Gulf Island and the San Juans and beyond. But more on that later.
The 1980 Swiftsure race also launched my continuing focus on competitive sailing. In 1984 I sailed my first Victoria to Maui Race on the Baltic 42 HYPERTENSION. In 2006, I completed my 8th Vic-Maui race aboard VOODOO CHILD finishing first overall and receiving the Best Navigator Award. I earned Best Navigator honors in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Vic Maui races as well. The 2006 win in the Vic-Maui Race helped earned Seattle Yacht Clubs Outstanding crew members of the year award for both me and my wife PJ for 2006. I was twice a member of the Thunderbird International winning crew and hold a fleet championship in the J-24 Class. But It’s not all about racing.
In 2009 my family and I took the plunge. May of 2008 we had purchased a Bob Perry designed 48’ custom pilot house ketch CAPAZ. After sailing to Seattle from Hawaii in June and July of 08, preperations began. On January 1, 2009 we moved aboard and put the house of for sale. With the return of my business partner Pete McGonagle from his 2 year long cruise and current partner Ryan Helling at the helm of Swiftsure Yachts, we left on a 14 month 12000 nautical mile Journey that took us all the way to Tahiti and back aboard CAPAZ. An account of our adventure can be found at www.svcapaz.com. In addition to loving every minute being out there, I gained valuable experience along the way.
At Swiftsure Yachts we are proud to be dealers for Hallberg Rassy, but before becoming a partner at Swiftsure Yachts, I worked for West Coast Yachts which at the time was the local agent for Hallberg Rassy and Nautor Swan. I toured both those facilites in Sweden and Finland. I continue to tour yacht building facilities any chance I get to stay current on construction materials and techniques. Today as a Certified Professional Yacht Broker and owner of Swiftsure Yachts, I share the expertise gained during my 20+ years in the marine industry with our customers. The sailing characteristics of different boat designs, expertise in electronics, mechanical systems, sails & rigging, and weather planning for coastal deliveries are a few of the resources I provide.
Over the years I have developed many long lasting customer relationships. Customers appreciate Swiftsure Yachts’ upfront, honest, professional and low-key approach. My expertise combined with the complementary skills of my team at SWIFTSURE YACHTS will help you find the yacht that best fits your sailing needs. My passion is boating, and I will share your enthusiasm as well.
Ryan Helling; Partner/Broker
I have sailed everything from dinghies to big boat sleds, but will always foremost enjoy the fast paced action of small boat sailing. It would be hard to forget winning my first El Toro regatta with seven straight bullets at the age of ten. I went on to campaign Byte and Laser dinghies on the Northwest junior circuit. It's not unusual to see me cruising the lake on my Thistle or racing Lasers at Shilshole on Thursday evenings. Sailing as regular crew on keelboats of all sizes, I snap up any chance I get to go sailing – whether it’s a casual Thursday night or offshore distance racing. In the 2006 and 2012 Vic-Maui races I crewed on the Santa Cruz 52 VOODOO CHILD and J/145 DOUBLE TAKE, in both races we won line honors and took first overall trophies. Deliveries in the Caribbean, up and down the West coast and years of cruising Pacific Northwest waters on both power and sailing vessels add to my ability to help customers step into a yacht that fits their needs.
With my background in boating, it has always been an easy choice for me search for a way to make a living in the marine industry. My high school and college summers were spent teaching sailing for the Tacoma Yacht Club Junior Program and winters were spent working at a local marina and on the floor of the North Sails loft in Seattle. After graduating from the University of Washington Business School with a concentration in Finance, I furthered my experience in the industry working for the Northwest Marine Trade Association and Seattle Boat Show. I enjoy merging my experience in the industry and my passion for boating here at Swiftsure Yachts. I am a Certified Professional Yacht broker and a licensed California Yacht Broker and serve on the board of The Sailing Foundation, a Seattle based organization that promotes youth sailing and Safety at Sea.
I savor getting out on the water any chance I get, whether it be racing sailboats or fly fishing for blackmouth and searun cutthroat from my 15 foot Cheasapeake Bay Oyster Skiff. The bottom line is that I have never spent a bad day on the water. The ocean has the ability to make every day completely different from the last - and they're all equally fun, exciting and beautiful. Whether it is the camaraderie of a racing crew, the solitary beauty of an empty anchorage, or the challenge of a heavy weather sail change at midnight, boating offers a great variety of experiences. No matter what activity interests you, I am excited to help you transition to your next endeavor.
After many years in Early Childhood Education, I have been drawn back to working alongside Brad in the marine industry at Swiftsure Yachts. I am lucky to be able to put my organizational and bookkeeping skills to use in the business here where we are often helping our customers along the path of fulfilling dreams.
Re-exploring our local waters on our Perry Pilothouse 48 "Capaz" and introducing our sons to the fabulous spots, many accessable only by water, that are right here in our own "backyard" has to be one of the most fun aspects of being a parent. I look forward to bringing the experience from our 14 month cruise to the South Pacific and back to Swiftsure Yachts by being able to help answer some of the "what's it like out there" questions that many customers who intend to cruise have. It is very exciting to have had the incredible opportunity to go cruising and then come back to be a part of making that dream come true for others.
Judy Nasmith; Broker/Pre-owned Cruising Yacht Specialist specializes in coastal and offshore cruising sailboats. Originally from South Africa, Judy has been sailing and racing since age 12 and was a past Hobie 16 Woman’s National Champion.
BJ Benson; Broker/West Sound Agent
Bob Schoonmaker; Broker
Bob has built his reputation on helping clients achieve their cruising dreams. Be it racing locally or cruising across oceans he has clients around the world that remain friends. He teaches new boat owners docking and navigating skills and ocean racers through the Safety at Sea Seminars that he coordinates for The Sailing Foundation. Each year dozens of new boat owners learn basic navigation and sailing skills through the Pirate Academy.
He is also a member of the board of directors for The Sound Experience, operators of the historic schooner Adventuress doing sailing and environmental education through the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands.
Originally from upstate NY he has a background in Architecture and Chemistry. He’s resided on Bainbridge Island for more than 20 years and has a terrific community surrounding him.
Please contact Bob if you’d like the benefit of his experience in buying or selling your cruising boat.
Cindy Metler; Broker at Large
However, the life aquatic has always captured my heart. A native of Seattle, I began sailing with my folks on their 22 Square Metre, GYPSY HEART, on Lake Washington. Many years later, my husband and I purchased our first boat, a Blanchard Junior knockabout where I learned to steam-bend ribs, refasten planking and replace keel bolts. We raised our kids on Vashon Island doing some South Sound racing and making yearly pilgrimages to the San Juan and Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound and the waters beyond. And the boats grew in size… and number.
With the sale of our Alden and last summer's sale of our 46’ wood boat, KATE II, a Seattle classic designed by Ben Seaborn and built by Blanchard Boatworks in 1946, I am no longer in the unenviable position of owning three boats. MENTOR, the steel hulled Amazon 44 we are completing, left the dock for the first time this fall!
I am a member of the Quartermaster Yacht Club, a Commodore in the Seven Seas Cruising Association and a Certified Professional Yacht Broker. There is nothing I like better than sharing my boating expertise and knowledge with customers who are soon to experience the wonders of cruising the PNW or the waters beyond...