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Neuse Sailing Association

NSA Officers and Directors

Rob McDonald
Commodore 2024

Boating was always in the cards for Rob. 

Born with an innate understanding of all things electrical and mechanical, and a strong desire to be in and around the water, it was inevitable. Today, if you’re don't find him puttering around the boat at the dock, then he’s out on the water with his wife Sharon, or thinking about being out on the water with his wife Sharon, or maybe just thinking about puttering…

He and Sharon learned to sail while living on Lake Champlain in Vermont, where they were both born and raised. After the last of the children left the house Rob and Sharon were lured south by the warm breezes and friendly faces of Oriental where they live now, and have never looked back.  

Rob and Sharon now sail a Monk Trawler. Rob would grinningly call it “A more civilized way to see the world”. But please don’t hold that against him :)

David & Christa Kreutz
Vice Commodores - Cruising

Christa and David have been NSA members since 2021.

They started on a 28’ Saber and now are on Cymbeline, a Mirage 39. They have enjoyed many NSA activities close to home and are now looking forward to expanding their cruising waters. They look forward to planning and enjoying many fun cruises in 2024!

 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!

 Todd & Tammy Richards
 Vice Commodore - Special Events  

Nine years ago, Todd and Tammy started watching sailing videos on YouTube and decided “We can do that!”.  A little research brought them to Oriental, where they received the best sailing advice they were given….”just join the NSA”.  After a very warm welcome and some patient tutorage, they learned to sail on their Fountaine Pajot catamaran. The many good friends and memorable trips they’ve made since, have been amazing. Always there for the party,  “Socials” is probably what “Island Girl “ is best known for. Anytime you see people aboard, don’t hesitate to join in for a drink or a song!  They plan to use this opportunity to bring old friends closer and new friends in. 


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.

Lisa Mannion
NSA Secretary

Lisa grew up around inland lakes in Wisconsin.  She learned to sail on Sunfish at camp and quickly fell in love with the sport.  The best job she ever had was teaching sailing to kids at her camp.  Before she moved to NC, Lisa lived in Cleveland and joined a sailing club similar to NSA where she was introduced to”big boats” and week-end cruising on Lake Erie.  She and her husband Ray finally took the plunge and bought their Beneteau 373 “Freedom” in 2020.  They really appreciate all the support and friendship in NSA; Lisa is happy to contribute as Secretary in 2024.

 Kathy Kenny
 Vice Commodore - Social Media

Kathy lives in Wilmington with her husband, Buster. Originally from NC, Kathy and 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. They moved back to NC in 2003 where they discovered and joined the NSA in 2005. Kathy was NSA’s “Secretary/ Treasurer” in 2009, 2010 and 2011. She created our current Facebook group in 2009. She has served as Vice Commodore of Social Media since 2009, as well as ordering our NSA merchandise the last several years. Kathy looks forward to serving the club again in 2024! Buster served as Commodore in 2008 and has held various positions throughout the years. They are now both retired and own a 36’ Catalina, “Cool Change”, which is docked at Whittaker Creek Yacht Harbor.

Sharon Stephenson, Dinghy Poker Run Director

Chuck Gordon
Past 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.



Buddy Taylor

Buddy and Marie are still employed, part time sailors, living in Bahama NC (not The Bahamas).

They love their time away with the NSA.

They started with a Catalina 30 at Oriental Harbor Marina. Now they sail a Hunter 33 out of Whittaker Creek.

Werner Wildenburg

Up until 2021, Werner was a life-long weekend powerboater in the Great Lakes.  Fore the past 15-plus years, during weekday evenings, he has been club-racing one-design sailboats out of the Cleveland area.  He and his wife Calley relocated to New Bern in 2022.  He purchased his first sailboat (a Hunter 386) with a plan to cruise/learn the inner banks NC area.
In 2022, Werner joined Blackbeard’s Sailing Club to further hone his racing skills on the Neuse River.  By the end of that year, he realized NSA was the next step in safely learning his way around the inner banks.  He and Calley attended numerous cruises in 2023 and found out what a fun club NSA is.


     Pat Thomaier

Cara Keys

Cara and Jason have been members of the NSA since they discovered Oriental and brought their 22’ trailer sailor down in 2017.  After their first overnight in South River where the weather turned rough overnight, it was decided.  “We are gonna need a bigger boat!”  Now they sail an Endeavour 32 based out of Pecan Grove.  We really love the sense of community and adventure we have found in the club.  Everyone has been very helpful, encouraging and quick to lend a hand (or a tow) when needed.  We are both still working but “One Day” we will make it to the Bahamas in our own boat.  Until then, we enjoy hanging out with all the great friends we have made in the club. 

 Oh – Cara was VC of Finance for 2 years and Jason was VC of Cruising in case anyone wants to know.


Carl Crothers

Carl and Donna Crothers have owned four sailboats since they began sailing on Tampa Bay in the early 1990s. They currently sail Sanctuary, a Beneteau 423. They joined the NSA in 2012 and moved to Oriental from Winston-Salem in 2015. Carl has served in most officer roles on the Bridge over the years, including twice as Commodore, 2016 and 2021. Donna served as Vice Commodore for Membership for several years until 2022.

Tony Nelson

Tony is an avid sailor, cyclists, drummer and all around nice guy which on most good days, many can agree with. Being of Jamaican decent, English born and raised in Brooklyn, unlike Jason Bourne, all three of his passports are legal. 

Tony came to sailing whilst a Boy Scout at camp each summer in upstate NY. Noticing that kayaking and canoeing took continuous effort to keep moving, Tony quickly realized that once you got the sail up, you could grab that beer that was poured into a soda bottle (that didn't end well) and just relax. 

Early adulting got in the way of sailing till the mid 90's when he would sail his beat up, free to him, Hobie 16 off Emerald Isle in Bogue Sound from time to time. One day he thought about big boat sailing and learned about the Oriental School of Sailing, located in..... Oriental, NC. This immediately brought a question....where the heck is Oriental, NC? Tony came down and took a week long class based on the U.S. Sailing course. From there he chartered from the sailing school, mainly a C&C 26 where he quickly ran aground and scared the living crap out of his young boys. Not to be deterred, he kept at it and soon through word of mouth, secured a part-time job with NOAA validating depth soundings throughout the Neuse River and Pamlico using trial and error. 

Tony has a Beneteau Oceanis 361 named Hemispheres which is named after his favorite Rush song, dealing with the battle between heart and mind and the balance between them. Tony has been coming to Oriental for almost twenty years now and had relocated permanently to this quaint village, specifically the theater district three years ago. 

You'll usually find Tony at The Bean most mornings and the brewery solving social issues and world problems. When not in Oriental, he frequents Ocracoke, Beaufort and Cape Lookout as the goto spots with Hemispheres, creating what we all know as "Tony Events". So let's all bow our heads for a moment of silence for the club as we all welcome him aboard as a new director.

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