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Meet Our Staff ...

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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


        U.S. Sailing Level 2 Instructor

Lauren Ferris

U.S. Sailing Level 2 Instructor

TACS has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I am now going on my 5th summer of working at TACS. I love being outdoors and working with Children. In addition to instructing the youth program I also help with the TACS adaptive sailing program. The best part of TACS is seeing the children conquer their fears and gain so much confidence in just a few short weeks. 


When I am not at TACS I love to workout, hike new places, and teach kids how to ski.

I am currently attending GVSU in hopes of becoming a pediatric PA.


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Olivia Wilson

U.S. Sailing Level 2 Instructor


  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. 

Gabe Maday

U.S. Sailing Level 1 Instructor


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.
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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.



Robert O'Brien

U.S. Sailing Level 1 Instructor

Andrew Godmer

U.S. Sailing Level 1 Instructor

Ella Beck

U.S. Sailing Level 1 Instructor

Marina Ascione

U.S. Sailing Level 1 Instructor
I am new to the TACS program, however I am no stranger to boats and the water! I grew up on the lake, doing every water sport imaginable. Last year, I became an Adaptive Sailing Program volunteer and am now an instructor! When I’m not on the water you can usually catch me on a
golf course!

Colin Gordon

U.S. Sailing Level 1 Instructor

Luke Adams

U.S. Sailing Junior Instructor
Luke is a freshman at St. Francis, and this is his first year working at TACS. He has been sailing since he was 8 years old, and has volunteered at TACS the last 2 summers. Luke is also on the high school sailing team. In his free time, Luke enjoys playing basketball, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Julian Ahluwalia

U.S. Sailing Junior Instructor

Adult Program Instructors

Jenny McCain



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:
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