Stephen Spoja | Modern Sailing

Stephen Spoja

Instructor

On a cold winter day in 1971, this Montana boy wrote to sail charter companies: "Teach me to sail and I'll work for room & board." The following spring he started working for a small charter company on Lake Champlain. From Vermont, Stephen hitched a ride on a 61' sloop to New York City to board a 72' schooner bound for the Caribbean. Her winter passage was thwarted by 70 knot winds & 20 foot seas 200 miles off the coast of Delaware. The boat returned, damaged, to NYC.

Determined to reach the Islands, Stephen sailed from Florida to the Virgin Islands & stayed for the season as the charter boat's first mate. From there, he boat-hopped, hitch-hiked & rode the rails to San Francisco with an eye to the South Pacific. Working for yacht maintenance companies in SF and racing every weekend, he managed to work several passages between SF and San Diego.

After four passages to Hawaii, four to Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco, cruising between So Cal & Catalina, sailing the San Juan & Gulf Islands, he bought his third boat in 2005: a S&S Yankee 30 sloop. Today he has three grown children and lives in Tiburon, operating a yacht maintenance company.

Spoja obtained his captain license in 2015 through Modern Sailing. Having taught sailing informally for years he finally got ASA certified and began teaching at MSC. His safety-first teaching philosophy is intended to enable students to handle & enjoy the demanding conditions found on SF Bay.

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Testimonials

  • John Clark

    Every aspect of Modern Sailing - training, syllabus, course materials, quality of the boats, quality of the instructors, and the very friendly and helpful staff - exceeded my expectations. Modern Sailing has a first class sailing program in an environment with challenging winds and currents. I look forward to coming back to charter a boat and certainly plan to continue my sailing training.

  • Casey Bishop, Corporate Regatta

    WE LOVED IT! The whole team was so honored and thankful. Thanks so much for all of your team's hard work and excellence in organizing our party. Of the 22 of us, only 4 had ever been sailing and not in the Bay. The guys had an incredible experience, the skippers were all really great, allowing each of us to be at the wheel. They were kind and empowering. Plus the weather and wind were perfect! It was definitely one of the top 3 experiences that we have shared as leaders in the past 5 + years. We couldn't have asked for a better day!

  • Rolf Zingg

    Since many, many years, I had the dream to sail underneath the Golden Gate bridge. On October 14th last year, my dream became true. Thanks to our dear friend Aaron Fritz who made it possible and organized this cruise for us. With this adventure I was able to achieve one more milestone on my sailing career.

    Finally on the water, it was great! Full moon made the flows even stronger and it was like sailing in a washing machine.

    I did my sailing education in the English Channel, where the situation with the wind and flows is comparable to the San Francisco Bay. So I felt pretty much "at home" being on the helm in the Bay.

    I hope our skipper Stan Lander enjoyed this day cruise too. We, definitely did! It was an unforgettable experience for all of us.

    A very big thank you to all of you who made it possible, that my dream became reality! Also thank you for the MSC flag I got at the end of the day. It found it's place in my study, where I can see it daily.

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Modern Sailing School & Club

2310 Marinship Way, Sausalito, CA 94965

415-331-8250 / 800-995-1668

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