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Neuse Sailing Association

NSA Officers and Directors

Chuck Gordon
Commodore 2023

Chuck and Sharon have been longtime NSA members who have been involved in many club activities, events and leadership positions. Chuck was introduced to sailing when he met Sharon and after years of patient tutelage has become a sailing enthusiast. They presently sail Pelikan, a Beneteau 373 and are looking forward to being on the water more frequently now that they have retired. 

Tracy Vail & Robert Pugh
Vice Commodores - Cruising

Tracy and Robert have been members of the NSA since 2017.  Tracy has previously served on the bridge as a Director and Robert and Tracy shared the position of Communications for two years.  They have spent the last two years cruising down the inter coastal and throughout the Bahamas, first on their sailboat, Solveig, a 25 ft. Ericson and most recently on their trawler, Kindred Spirit, a 42 ft. Grand Banks.  Tracy and Robert love to be in, on or under the water and look forward to planning and enjoying lots of fun cruises with the NSA this year!

 Howard Cheetham
Vice Commodore - Finance

Howard and Ros joined the NSA in 2008, one or the other was a director in 2009 and 2010 and Ros was Vice Commodore of Cruising in 2011 (but she delegated most of the role to Howard!).
Howard was Commodore in 2013 for the 40th Anniversary, VC Cruising for 2021 and treasurer in 2022, continuing as treasurer this year.

Before joining the NSA they had chartered and sailed in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific NorthWest before getting their own yacht, Island Dream, a 2008 Beneteau 37 and settling in Oriental. In 2013, with dreams of bigger things, they upgraded to their Nautitech 442 catamaran “Misto” which they sailed North to Rhode Island and South to the BVI before departing at the end of 2016 for their circumnavigation (completed in 2019). They remained members throughout and wrote of their adventures in the Neuse Juice and in their blog


 Erik & Jean Hardtle
 Vice Commodores - Communications

We have a retirement plan... we plan to SAIL! We are working the plan... sell the house... (done) buy a big sailboat... (done... 1974 Gulfstar 44) remodel it to what we want... (done) live aboard for a while... (pending) then cut the lines and the jobs and make our lives an adventure!   We also have a YouTube channel about it:  Sailing Knotshore

Then we joined the NSA and bought a dock (and house) in Oriental!

 Alice Petree & Tom McElroy
 Vice Commodore - Special Events  

We took our first sailing lesson together almost 20 years ago, on the Potomac River on a Flying Scot.  After several ASA courses we graduated to chartering keel boats on the Chesapeake and in the Caribbean.  When we retired from the DC area in 2012 we were lucky to buy our first sailboat from Donna and Carl Crothers.  We have loved The Highland Fox, our Catalina 34 MKII but this year made the decision to transition from sail to power.  Our sailboat is on the market and we hope to have a power boat behind our house before the end of January.  We look forward to continuing to explore the local waters with NSA, in addition to venturing further afield with a faster boat.

As special events coordinators we want to encourage all of our members, new and old, to participate in the activities of the club, both on the water and off.  As with many organizations you often see the same faces doing the work, which is a shame, because the best way to get to know someone is to work on a project together.  Come on out and have fun with a great group of sailors (and stink potters too)!

Sharon Bellrose-McDonald

Vice Commodore - Membership

After catching the “sailing bug” during a few sailing opportunities with experienced sailors, Sharon and her husband Rob purchased their first sailboat, a Pearson 30’, in 2015. With the help of a how-to textbook and YouTube, they learned how to sail the waters of Lake Champlain in Grand Isle, VT.

After moving their youngest daughter to UNCW in Wilmington in 2018, they happened upon Oriental, instantly falling in love with the community. To escape the cold, they moved from Vermont to Oriental in October 2020. Before the move, they decided to sell the sailboat and purchase a Monk 36’ Trawler, which they motored from Florida to NC.

They became members of the NSA in early 2021 and have made many new friends and connections, through group events and trips.

I am so happy we found the NSA and all its adventurous, warm, and supremely fun members. The NSA has allowed us to make great friends and explore our new home and the surrounding waters, with a fleet of others who are remarkably knowledgeable, supportive, and welcoming. I look forward to being Vice Commodore of membership and encouraging new members to join the NSA family.

Margo Fesperman
NSA Secretary

Although a native North Carolinian (Wilmington), as a young adult she had drifted across the state and into TN.  After attending UT and living in Knoxville, she continued to look east to the horizon. By 1986, employment opportunities returned her to NC and closer to the horizon.  Fast forward to 2005 when sailor Howard entered her life.  For her  coastal boating experience had been limited to vessels with keys to start a motor,  no sails.  Boats were for going fast and water skiing. Therefore, the IP32, selected by Howard, required new skills.  In May 2018, she graduated from the Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship.  Ironically, the boats used by instructors were IP32’s!!! This was basic sailing, no instruments, strictly line of sight and charts, paper charts. However, her preferred method of sailing is — fly to desired destination and crew with friends (Nova Scotia, 2018) or charter (Croatia 2019).  Next stop Greece?!  If not, sailing with NSA along the NC coast is fine and dandy.

 Kathy Kenny
 Vice Commodore - Social Media

Now living in Wilmington and originally from NC, Kathy & her husband, Buster, started as lake sailors while living in Roanoke, VA,  beginning with Smith Mountain Lake, VA, in 1991, then Lake Ray Roberts in TX & finally Percy Priest in TN, before moving back to NC in 2003. They joined the NSA in 2005. Kathy was NSA’s “Secretary/Treasurer” in 2009 (when she created the NSA Facebook group), 2010 & 2011 and has served as Vice Commodore of Social Media numerous years as well as contact person for NSA merchandise. Kathy looks forward to serving the club again in 2022! Buster served as Commodore in 2008 and has held various positions throughout the years. Kathy retired in 2020 and Buster hopes to retire soon. They own a 36’ Catalina, “Cool Change”, which is docked at Whittaker Creek Yacht Harbor.

Sharon Stephenson, Dinghy Poker Run Director

Mary Guilfoyle
Past Commodore 2022

Ever since I was a child visiting my grandmother who retired to a small cottage in Eagle Lake  Wisconsin I have loved being close to the water.

My parents bought a small 14 ft motor boat and every week-end we would drive from Chicago to Eagle Lake to go boating.  Boating ended when I moved to Nebraska to attend college at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Winters were very cold in Omaha and we made the decision to move south.

After coming to New Bern North Carolina I started a career working at the Department of Social Services as the Program Director of Child and Family Services. The job was very stressful and I found Oriental to be a place to come and rejuvenate. I became interested in sailing and racing.

I first joined NSA in the late 90' s but due to work responsibilities and a change in family circumstances I was unable to participate in any of the NSA activities. I am probably one of the few members who has actually joined the club 3 times. After many years of being week-end visitors Kevin and I decided to retire and move to Oriental as permanent residents. We became active in NSA and served as the Vice Commodores of Special Events for two years. I felt very honored and somewhat shocked when I was asked to serve as the Commodore for 2022.


John Burmann, Director (2025)

EJohn Buhrmann and April Bradley split their time between Durham, North Carolina and living aboard s/v Daily Alice, a 1989 Caliber 33, at Northwest Creek Marina. John learned to sail from his dad in an old Klepper canoe that was rigged for sailing with leeboards, a rudder, mainsail and jib. He sailed for fun at Eckerd College in St. Pete, Florida where he earned a degree in German literature. John moved to North Carolina for graduate school at UNC and has been here since. After starting a family, he wanted to involve his daughters in boating. He first purchased an O'Day Day Sailer but tired of how much time it took to rig the boat at the launch. He then built a lug-rigged Puddle Duck Racer and sailed that with his young girls on Falls, Jordan, and Kerr Lakes. They even adventured out to Shackleford Banks with it. He's owned and built a variety of small boats including a pair of Jim Michalak Totos, a Chesapeake Light Craft Skerry in addition to the PDR. John and April rekindled their college relationship in 2016 and bought Daily Alice before they were engaged and while April was still living in Connecticut. John now works for Duke Health in cybersecurity. April is a writer and editor, and a grad student in clinical mental health. They plan for when John's girls leave for college, when they will sell the Durham house to cruise full-time from Canada to the Bahamas.

Tom Quigley, Director (2023)

Tom and Divis sail a Caliber 35 out of Pecan Grove Marina where he also serves as Dockmaster. They met by chance as new crew in a New Bern regatta. Things went very well from there as they got married in 2017 on Bald Head Island during a NSA event there (attended by many NSA members)! Tom and Divis have since relocated to Oriental full-time and enjoy all things water. 

Rob McDonald, Director (2023)

Buddy Taylor, Director (2024)

Kevin Guilfoyle, Director (2024)

Pat Thomaier (2025)

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