Neuse Sailing Association

NSA Officers and Directors

Sharon Stephenson, Commodore

Sharon has been a member of NSA since 1993, although was one of those not so active members the 1st several years of membership. Over the past several years she & husband, Chuck Gordon, have been more active in the leadership & the cruising activities of the club. Sharon has previously served as Commodore. She & Chuck sail on Pelikan, a Beneteau 373, which is currently docked at Sailcraft Marina. Now that retirement is here, Sharon is looking forward to more cruising & more involvement with NSA.


Carl Crothers, Vice Commodore/ Cruising

Carl Crothers and his wife, Donna, sail a Beneteau Oceanis 38, "Captiva," out of Pecan Grove Marina. 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, and Commodore in 2016. They have two adult daughters. In the summer of 2015 they moved to Oriental.

Nelda Coats, Vice Commodore/ Finance

Nelda was introduced to sailing by her husband, Chaz, who grew up in North Florida. Their first boat was an S2 7.9 which they sailed on Lake Lanier near their home in Stone Mountain, Georgia. A chartered vacation in the Caribbean on a Swan 60 changed their lives when they decided to go cruising at the young ages of 29 and 34. Chaz and Nelda first lived aboard a Hardin 45 on Lake Lanier while they readied to cruise. They ended up cruising and living aboard on a 1960 Ted Hood designed wooden sloop, Legend. Travels took them up and down the Intracoastal Waterway, Chesapeake, New England, Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. They also took time out from cruising to backpack across Europe for six months. First living in Oriental in 1990 for 4 years, they returned to Atlanta for most of their working careers. Now back in Oriental since 2010 they are currently restoring their 1979 Tartan 34 Classic, Legend.  They have one son, Chandler, who is also a sailor.

Susanne & Bill Lovelace, Vice Commodores/ Communications

Bill has been small boat sailing since the early '80s and now he and Susanne sail an Island Packet 320, “TRiO” out of Pecan Grove Marina.  Looking for a new challenge with their daughter Natalie, they started sailing in and around North Carolina in 2008. Because Natalie has since moved away to join the Virginia Tech sailing club, Grover, the family dog (a “dorgi”), has been promoted to a full crew member to fulfill the TRiO namesake. The TRiO crew commutes to Oriental on weekends from their home in Chapel Hill. 

Paul & Becky Griffin, Vice Commodores/ Special Events

Paul and Becky, spurred on by the realization that life is short and a desire to one day sail around the world, bought the 3rd sailboat they ever set foot on, "Blue Mind" a Hunter 320, which they have docked at Pecan Grove Marina. What they lacked in experience, they made up for with enthusiasm, and have thoroughly enjoyed learning from and with their new NSA friends on the various day sails, races, cruises and impromptu raft ups during their first sailing season (2016). Paul and Becky can be found in Oriental most weekends honing their skills and plotting their escape from the daily grind back home in Cary, NC.

John Phillips & Cyndy Little, Vice Commodores/ Membership

John was first introduced to sailing at the age of 9 in an Optimist pram and he has been sailing ever since. He has owned or co-owned six boats and has done extensive lake sailing, coastal cruising as well as cruising in the Caribbean both as a skipper on bareboat charters to cruising for a year on his own boat. John enjoys taking friends and family on cruises around North Carolina’s beautiful coastal waters. He and his soul mate, Cyndy Little, currently sail his Island Packet 350, “Chardonnay,” out of Pecan Grove Marina. 

 Laurie Sampson, NSA Secretary

Given that one of the first professional organizations Laurie joined was the National Secretaries Association (NSA), she finds it amusing to now hold the position of Secretary for the Neuse Sailing Association, also NSA. She learned to sail on Lake Erie and vividly remembers the joy and exhilaration of holding her first tiller at age six.  She spent most of her adult life in Ohio.  In 2006 Laurie left the accounting field to wander around on other people’s boats  She spent the winters of 2006 and 2007 in the Bahamas cruising.  In 2008 Laurie captained a 47’ Gulfstar Sailmaster out of Andros Island taking middle school, high school and college students cruising for a week at a time while they studied ecosystems and marine biology.  Laurie moved to Oriental in 2010 teach kids and adults to sail.  After bouncing around in a variety of other jobs, she settled at HeartWorks back in the accounting field.  She purchased Narnia in 2013 and enjoys participating in all kinds of sailing-related activities.

Carl Crothers, Immediate Past Commodore

Carl Crothers and his wife, Donna, sail a Beneteau Oceanis 38, "Captiva," out of Pecan Grove Marina. 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, and Commodore in 2016. They have two adult daughters. In the summer of 2015 they moved to Oriental.

Todd Richards, Director (2017) 

Pic and bio pending



Brian McLamb, Director (2017)


I was invited to crew on a Jet 14 when I was 13 and that hooked me!  Joined a local yacht club on Long Island and learned how to sail on a Bettle Cat.   A succession of small boats starting with a Sunfish provided the experience to eventually acquire Serenity (a Catalina 320) which I sail from Pecan Grove.  The NSA and its cruising calendar help to both enjoy, and continue to learn sailing.


Michael Byles, Director (2018)

Pic and Bio Pending


Donna Ryder, Director (2018)

Donna was first introduced to boating with her husband Skip Hulland in 2004 aboard a powerboat that he was restoring, a 1942, 34’ Richardson, "Heidi."  Heidi was ready for the burn pile, but as a restored beautiful mahogany boat motoring down the Erie Canal, Donna and Skip decided she was ready for New Bern, NC.  However, that never happened due to weather and medical issues.  Heidi was sold and replaced with "Sass-Sea," a 1995 34’ Cape Marine pilothouse sailboat in 2010.  Enjoying sailing became Donna’s love and she continues to learn more about sailing each trip out.   In 2013, they moved Sass-Sea from Northwest Creek to Pecan Grove and joined the NSA. They have become an active part of the community of Pecan Grove and the NSA. Sass-Sea was recently replaced with "Sea Glass," a 2009 Caliber 40LRC.


Jeff Kenyon, Director (2019)

Jeff Kenyon and his wife, Pat, sail a Tartan 4100, “Calitri”, out of Sea Harbor Yacht Club.  Jeff and Pat both grew up sailing Sunfish, graduating 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 after.  They sailed Calitri from Boston to Oriental to live permanently in 2012.  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!




John Messer, Director (2019)

John acquired a 1985 Endeavour E33 four years ago, a significant jump up from the 16 ft. Pintail that their son Andrew had been sailing on the waters around Oriental.   John and his wife Pat Thomaier have since sailed Midnight Mary along east coast waterways from Beaufort to the Chesapeake.  They split their time between Raleigh and Oriental and hope to extend their sailing to the New England seacoast in the future

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PO Box 253 Oriental, NC 28571 | info.neusesailingassociation@gmail.com

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