PYSF DIRECTOR & HEAD COACH
Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer is a 2012 Olympian who competed in the Match Racing discipline with teammates Anna Tunnicliffe and Debbie Capozzi. This graduate from the University of Hawaii has coached at Severn Sailing Association, Annapolis Yacht Club, the US Naval Academy, and CISA. Her sailing honors include Match Racing World Champion (2011), Snipe Women's World Champion (2011), US Sailing Team Member (2003-2015), College National Champion (2001), All-American Team (2000-2002), High School National Champion (1996).
Molly grew up sailing with her family in San Diego, CA. She began sailing in Sabots, moving on to both skippering and crewing in High School (USDHS), College (UH), Laser II's, 470's, Match Racing and most recently in the 49er FX. She loves being able to see the kids learn the life-long sport of sailing and progress in their racing ability.
Udi Gal is a two-time Olympian and two-time Olympic coach in the 470 Class and comes to PYSF from Tel Aviv, Israel. He began his sailing career as a skipper in youth classes and then switched to crewing on the Israeli National Team in 2001. Udi competed in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. In 2012, he was the Team USA Women’s 470 Coach and, in the 2016 Games, Udi coached the Israeli Men’s 470 team. He also coached the Chinese and Finnish 470 teams during this time span. Udi studied phycology and communication as an undergraduate and is currently working towards a master’s degree in sports psychology. We are very excited to have Udi leading our race teams at PYSF.
Sydney Bolger was born in Long Beach California and began sailing at eight. She excelled in her youth sailing career, culminating in a bronze medal at the 2009 I420 World Championships in Italy. While attending Georgetown University, she lead the women’s sailing team and was awarded MVP three years in a row. Sydney is a four-time, ICSA All-American skipper and was awarded the 2012 Women's Quantum Sailor of the Year award. Sydney spent 2013 through 2016 campaigning for the 2016 Olympics and has many multiple top 10 World Cup finishes, Sydney has coached 420s and I420s at the CISA Clinic for four years and has coached 420s in many regional and national regattas. Sydney also has experience coaching sabots, optis, lasers, and 29ers.
Nora Brugman was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain and has been sailing since the age of four. She has sailed and competed internationally in Optimist, 420’s, 470’s and 49erFX. She was 420 Spanish National Champion and qualified for the national team to sail in multiple World Championships, European Championships and the Youth ISAF Worlds in 2009 where she finished 6th. She graduated from the Universitat of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, class of 2016, where she majored in advertising and marketing. Since 2013, she has been involved in a 470 Olympic Campaign for Rio 2016. She has also coached Optis at her hometown yacht club and has been coaching the 420 Racing Team at Shelter Island Yacht Club, NY, for three seasons.
Jeff Knowles grew up sailing at Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, RI and competed in regattas around the country.He sailed on the St George's high school team and was named an All-State Sailor before joining the Brown University Sailing Team where he became Team Captain, an honorable mention All-American, and an Academic All-American. Knowles has coached junior sailing and worked as an instructor and guide for disabled sailors. Knowles studied bat echolocation at Brown, and has relocated to California to attend UCSF to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience. Down time sees him racing dinghies and keel boats in the Bay area, and taking up kitesurfing.
Judge Ryan grew up sailing Naples Sabots at the San Diego Yacht Club. He began sailing 29ers in 2006 and has been hooked ever since. He competed extensively in high performance boats all through out his youth sailing career. Judge won a bronze medal at the 2008 Youth Worlds in the 29er class. After youth sailing, he competed for Brown University on the college sailing scene. Judge completed his studies at Brown in 2014 and immediately transitioned into an Olympic campaign in the 49er class. During the winter of 2016, he finished second in the Olympic trials narrowly missing a spot to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games. He and his partner, Hans Henken, trained extensively in Rio in the lead up to the Olympic Games. Judge plans to continue campaigning and training hard for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Kieran Chung was born in Pasadena, California and raised in Newport Beach. He learned to sail in the naples sabot at Newport Harbor Yacht Club, and competed for the Corona Del Mar and Newport Harbor high school sailing teams. He primarily sailed Lasers and 420’s, but also sailed FJ’s, catamarans, and small keelboats. He graduated from Stanford in spring of 2015 with a bachelors in biomechanical engineering. He was co-captain of the sailing team, a 2x All-American skipper, and the ICSA sportsman of the year for 2015. His current racing mainly consists of team racing, and he is keen to get involved with kiteboarding and offshore racing. Kieran currently lives in Palo Alto, where he is pursuing a masters in biology before applying to medical school in May 2016.
Haley Kirk was born and raised in Long Beach, sailing sabots, FJ's, 420's and i420's since she was seven. Before attending Stanford University in 2011, she became a double handed crew and finished first in the Perry Series, MidWinters and Shadden Series and was second at the Orange Bowl Regatta. She competed at the i420 worlds in Haifa, Israel, the Junior European Championships in France as well as the Kiel Regatta in Germany. She coached at Long Beach Yacht Club for 3 summers before attending college. At Stanford University she was a starter at both Team Race and Fleet Race National Championships her Freshman through Senior years. She was inducted into the All American Crew Inter-Collegiate Sailing Hall of Fame her Junior year. Haley was co-captain of the Stanford sailing team and graduated with the Class of 2015 with a degree in Psychology and minor in Political Science. Following graduation, she became a 2015 ISAF Team Race World Champion in England.
Zach Brown trained for the Olympics in the 49er ranking as high as 3rd in the World and winning the Miami World Cup in 2013. Zach had a successful youth sailing career with results like 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the Youth Champs in 420s; 1st at High School Nationals A division; two time 420 Midwinters Champion; and he represented the US at the ISAF Youth Worlds back to back years finishing 4th and 11th. Zach sailed at Yale when they finished top 3 in 3 national championships and he earned 3 college sailing All American titles and 1 Honorable Mention. Between college and his Olympic effort, he won the US Team Racing Championship two times. Zach currently works in finance and enjoys fast and physical boats, team racing, and coaching high level sailing.
Jacob Kowalski has been sailing year-round with PYSF for the last 4 years. He started out in the Optimist class and slowly made his way to the i420 and C420s, with time in the FJs and Lasers. He has also sailed in big boat regattas up and down the bay, as well as match racing J22s. He was accepted to the CISA clinic in 2017 to sail i420s. He plans to study aerospace engineering in college, where he also will continue to sail for his school. He is currently a rising Junior at Woodside Priory. He enjoys playing the piano and reading books about World War Two aircraft and ships.
Hanna Miller grew up sailing out of Encinal Yacht Club. From age 8-18, she sailed Opti's, Splashes, Laser Radial and Full rigs. She sailed for her high school, Newark Memorial and went on to compete for her college, Cal State Monterey Bay. She worked at Stanford summer sailing for four years and was the director for two. After working at Stanford she spent a summer at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club as their summer sailing director. Hanna is now back at PYSF to assist Molly with the summer program.
Jessica O'Neill has been sailing ever since she was a baby. She joined PYSF in the summer of 2010 when she was 9 years old sailing Optis. In the summer of 2012 she started sailing Fjs at the age of 11. And in the summer of 2014 she joined the high school team and started racing Fjs and learning to sail 420s. Since then she has competed in multiple BAYS, NorCal and PCISA regattas. She is an incoming sophomore at Woodside High School.
Joseph Politi is a Junior at Woodside High School. He learned to sail in Italy at the age of seven, and has sailed for Woodside at PYSF since 2013. He competes in NorCals and PCISAs up and down California's coast in FJ's, as well as sailing in various national 420 events across the country. He hopes to continue his sailing career in college. He is eager to share his passion for sailing.
Peter Werner will be attending Washington University in St Louis this fall. He first started sailing with his dad on big boats, and has been sailing at PYSF since eighth grade. He has competed around the Bay Area in many of the NorCal regattas and throughout California in PCISA events. He hopes to continue sailing in college.
Matthew Wright is a rising senior at Woodside High School. He starting sailing Optimists when he was seven, learned to windsurf at eleven, and joined the Woodside High School Sailing team freshman year. He continues to sail on the team and has since learned to sail C420s at PYSF, and now competes in regattas across the country. Matthew enjoys science and history at school and has been fascinated with aviation his whole life. He looks to a college degree in aerospace engineering and then a career as a military pilot after that. Oh, and his British-sounding accent is actually an Australian/New Zealand mix learned from his parents.
Elizabeth Avdanina has been coaching Opti's at PYSF for the past year. She has sailed competitively at PYSF since 2012 in FJ's, Lasers, and 420's. This fall she will study Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She attended Henry M. Gunn High school, and hopes to continue sailing in college.
Sean Jawetz is a sophomore at UC Santa Barbara studying Mechanical Engineering. He sailed with PYSF since eighth grade and is now a part of the UCSB Sailing Team, competing up and down the Pacific Coast. He cites the sailing team as his closest friends at school and adds that they are some of the most dedicated individuals he has ever met. Outside of sailing, Sean works with Engineers Without Borders, a student group dedicated to engineering projects abroad.
Maeve Lavelle has been a coach at PYSF and other programs for the past 4-5 years. She began competitive sailing in high school at PYSF where she learned to sail FJ's, 420's and 29er's. Currently on the sailing team at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland she competes in Firefly's. This fall she will be a member of team Ireland at the laser performance collegiate cup in Italy.
Giorgio Petrakis learned to sail at age 8, sailing 420s at Stanford Sailing Camp. He is heading into his Senior year as class president at Aragon High School. This summer will be his fourth year coaching at PYSF, as he started as a junior instructor when he was 13. Through coaching at PYSF, Giorgio Learned how to sail Fjs and Optimists. Although Giorgio was unable to join the Sailing team due to his commitments to high school sports like Water Polo and Soccer, he does plan to continue sailing in college.
Derek Makovich iattends UC Santa Barbara. He attended Everest Public High School and started sailing in his sophomore year in FJ's, competing in numerous PICSA and Norcal regattas up and down the California coast. When not sailing, he is head off to college where he wishes to study physics and continue his sailing career.
Mark Power started sailing when he was 8 years old at Stanford Sailing Summer Camp. He began sailing Optimist at PYSF at 10 years old and has moved his way up, today, sailing Fjs and 420s, and 29ers and lasers sporadically. He has recently, in the past 4 years, attended Chubb’s Junior Championship three times and Youth Champs once, both while sailing in a 420. He recently has graduated from Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, and will be attending Willamette University in Salem, Oregon this fall. He loves to sail and hopes to share that joy with others.
Thomas Samuels is a incoming Senior at Lynbrook High School. He learned to sail at the National sailing Center in Singapore where he began sailing optimists; at PYSF he learned to sail FJs and 420s. Since then, he has attended numerous regattas around the bay area and has competed in various national 420 regattas. Thomas hopes to continue his sailing career throughout college.