Meet Our Staff ...

Ben Ferris Program Director

Ben has been at TACS for 20 years and is the director of the youth programs. In addition to teaching Spanish at St. Francis High School, he is a ski coach during the winter.

Ben is a qualified Level 3 US Sailing Coach as well as a US Sailing Certified Coach Trainer.


Aside from sailing and ski racing, Ben also enjoys mountain biking, windsurfing, reading, Kan Jam, and spending time with his two children.


Youth Program Instructors

Kai Dolan

        U.S. Sailing Junior Instructor
Kai is a student at Traverse City Central High School. She has participated in the TACS program for 7 years, since she first learned to sail. Kai really enjoys nature, so when she is not sailing, she is almost always outside.

Lauren Ferris

Lauren Ferris is currently a student at NW Michigan College. She is US sailing level 2 certified instructor. Lauren grew up going to camp at TACS and she has been sailing since she was seven years old. Lauren has been teaching at TACS for 3 years now. She now instructs beginning opti sailors and loves it! 
When she is not sailing or teaching sailing, she water skis and hangs out with friends. 

Drew Follet


Drew has just graduated from high school and is moving to Maine for college in the fall. She has been sailing for 6 years. When Drew is not enjoying her time sailing she enjoys running, hiking, art, lacrosse, or anything outdoors. I also enjoy traveling. Drew has her CPR and First aid certifications, a level 2 US sailing certification, and a NASBLA power-boating license

Jessica Gerber

Jessica joins the TACS Staff this year and is a lifelong sailor. Growing up in Traverse City,  she has been sailing all her life on Lake Michigan and Traverse Bay. She came to TACS first as a parent whose children were part of the program, now as a US Sailing Level 1 Certified Instructor.


Nick Gustafson

Nick is returning for his third year of instructing at TACS as a US Sailing Level 1 Certified Sailing Instructor. He is involved in the high school sailing program in which he was the fall 2019 captain of the varsity team from West Senior High. Nick loves competing in 420’s, lasers, and being part of a Melges 24 crew in the summer. This fall he will be studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan where he hopes to continue his passion for math and design.
In his free time, Nick enjoys spending time with friends and family, chess, cubing, just about any physical activity, and being on the water as much as possible.

Gabe Maday


Gabe is excited to be working again at TACS this summer. He has been a part of the TACS community since his first sail here at 8 years old, first as a beginning sailor, then as a member of the high school sailing team (St Francis) then as an instructor. He's an active sailor both at TACS and on any boat possible. Gabe's hobbies include reading, of course sailing, and hanging out  with friends and family. 
Gabe is a US Sailing certified Level 1 Instructor and CPR/First Aid Certified.

Jamie McClellan


Brooke Ostrowski


Brooke is a level 2 coach and has been sailing competetively for 8 years throughout the country. Bringing both dinghy and keelboat experience she is looking forward to leading the melges 24 and J-22 programs this summer.

Olivia Wilson


  Olivia has been sailing competitively for the past five years, having been on sailboats her entire life. She is always eager to help someone else learn the trade she loves so much. This is Olivia's second year as a sailing instructor and coach. She is certified as a US Sailing Level 2 instructor.
Olivia wants to pursue a career in early childhood teaching and art. 

Ben Vanderheide

Ben is currently a student at Elk Rapids High School. He has enjoyed sailing with the TACS program since moving to northern Michigan in 2016. When he is not sailing, Ben spends his free time reading, running, mountain biking, and wakeboarding.



Adult Program Instructors

Kimberli Bindschatel

Kimberli is teaching our "Women on The Water" program located at Great Lakes Sailing on the the West Bay. She is a licensed US Sailing and ASA instructor and when not authoring her own books or instructing at TACS she can be found captaining her 40' Hunter across Norther Michigan's lakes and bays.



Adaptive Program Instructors

John LaCross

I am a teacher at St. Francis High School and I have been sailing since childhood.


I'm happy to be at TACS because it allows me to blend my training as a teacher with my love of sailing.  I have sailed on a variety of boats, including a summer spent crewing aboard a schooner on the coast of Maine, which was my favorite sailing experience. I am also married with three children who I hope will grow up to love sailing as well!

Chris Allard

Traverse Area Community Sailing PO Box 4149 Traverse City Michigan  49685-4149 Phone: 231 922 5922 Email: