Our Crew

Harry Averill - Assistant Racing Coach

Harry has been around the water, and on boats, his entire life, He began sailing with Water Sports at age 7, and has never stopped. Harry went through the sailing programs, including the Racing Program. He was a volunteer with the Sailing Program, and this will be his second year as a racing coach and sailing instructor. Harry says that he really enjoys teaching and helping to grow the program that got him into this amazing sport, and he is excited to continue that into this year. 


Last summer, Harry and HHWSP’s Liz Wolaver, were 2/3 of a team that qualified for the 2020 Lightning Junior Worlds. Like Liz, Harry is disappointed that the regatta has been postponed.


Harry is a rising senior at Arlington High School outside of Boston, MA where he plays the trombone in the Jazz Band and Orchestra, and is active with National Honor Society. He founded the school’s Mountain Biking Club, and is very involved with the STEM Club and SAVE, an organization that focuses in giving back within the community and recycling.

Marigold Averill - Sailing Instructor

Like her brother Harry, Mari Averill has been around the water and boats for her entire life. She began at Water Sports as a Sea Squirt and has been involved as a student, and most recently as a CIT, ever since. This will be Mari's first summer as a certified instructor, and she is very excited to be able to pass along her love of the water and sailing.


Mari is a rising junior at Arlington High School in Massachusetts where she plays Lacrosse. She loves to swim and travel.

HHWSP alums may recognize the Averill name. Harry and Mari's dad, uncle, and aunt all taught sailing, and his grandfather is a former HHWSP Board member.

Lee Cagwin - Adult Sailing Volunteer Instructor

Lee began sailing, as a young boy, on Barnegat Bay in New Jersey. When he was in late elementary school, he bugged his dad constantly for a sailboat. When that didn’t happen, Lee used his paper route earnings to buy a wooden Sailfish kit and, with the help of his dad, built it. Two years later, he repeated the process with a Sunfish kit. 


After graduation from college, Lee enlisted in the Navy and spent 4 years crossing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on aircraft carriers. Following his Navy career, Lee spent 10 years working in the maritime industry, selling O’Day sailboats. He has owned a variety of sailboats and cruised the East Coast, Lake Ontario, and the Caribbean.


At Henderson Harbor Yacht Club, in the 1980s, Lee organized the original Laser Fleet and later the fleet of CR-914 radio controlled sailboats. Recently, he was a driving force in establishing a fleet of Cape Dory Typhoons. He has held multiple positions at HHYC, including Commodore. Lee and his wife are permanent residents of Henderson Harbor.


Lee has volunteered with Water Sports as a Friday Night Fun Racing assistant, and has assisted the Basic, Advanced, and Adult Sailing staff. According to Lee (and we agree wholeheartedly), “it is a wonderful experience, in retirement, to be able to assist Water Sports with their junior and adult instructional programs.”


Ema Davis - Head Sailing Instructor

The first time Ema sailed was as a young child with her dad, in Sackets Harbor. Her grandparents live in Sackets and her dad had a Sunfish there. Ema immediately fell in love with sailing and upon returning to her home in Arizona, Ema joined the Arizona Sailing Foundation, started taking classes, and has never looked back. She has sailed and raced in and on 420s, Open Bics, Fireballs, Lasers, Lightnings, Santana 20s. Last summer she had the rare privilege of joining her sailing mentor aboard the 12 Meter Easterner during the 12 Meter World trials. 


After finishing high school in Arizona, Ema moved to Sackets Harbor and attended JCC. She is currently enrolled at SUNY Oswego and is working on a joint BA/Masters degree in Childhood Art Education.


At age 14, Ema joined HHWSP as a volunteer. Over the years she has taught Sailing, Sea Squirts, Racing, and filled in as Life Guard. In her role as Head Instructor, Ema works on almost every aspect of the sailing programs. She also assists with administrative paperwork and fundraising.


Ema is looking forward to the summer and seeing all of our students return!

Ryan Grant - Program Director

Ryan, is a native of Adams, NY. He currently lives, with his wife and son, in Mannsville, NY. He has an absolute passion for the water, and for more than half his life, Water Sports has been the highlight of his summers. 


Before he could walk, Ryan loved driving his family’s boats. His mom enrolled him in, what was then known as Sail School, starting at age 10. At age 13, Ryan began volunteering with the program. A year later, he was promoted to Volunteer Instructor being paid with chicken fingers and french fries. Throughout high school and college, Ryan taught, for US dollars, and after a brief hiatus, post college, he returned as Head Instructor teaching Sailing and Powerboat Operations. Ryan has been with the program ever since. 


In addition to being the oldest tenured instructor at Water Sports, Ryan is also a professional pilot, musician, and photographer. He owns an assortment of boats and his favorite spot to boat is Henderson Bay.


As Program Director, Ryan teaches Sailing and Powerboat Operations. He is in charge of staff training, program safety procedures, and website/social media development. He works as a liaison between staff and the Executive Director, and always cheerfully does anything asked of him. 


Ryan is looking forward to another summer of fun and learning on and in the water!

Mary Hoffman - Volunteer Safe Boating Instructor & Volunteer Executive Director

Mary grew up in southern Maryland and has spent her entire life on, in, and around the water. Her grandfather, a boat builder, who built her first boat, a wooden skiff. Mary's first sailboat was a pram that Mary built, with her father, as a winter project. She has restored several boats both sail and power.


From junior high through college, Mary worked in boatyards and boat dealerships. After college, she continued to work in the maritime industry. When not involved with HHWSP, she can be found at Yacht Haven of Annapolis where she is a hands on partner, and at her music education studio. Mary has cruised on the Chesapeake, Lake Ontario, and up and down the East Coast. Boat deliveries have taken her through the ICW, to Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands. She has raced one design and keel boats, and also enjoys kayaking, and fishing. 


In the 1990s, Mary volunteered to be Program Director of HHWSP and shortly after became certified as a NYS Safe Boating Instructor and as a certified NASBLA (National Assoc. of Safe Boating Law Administrators) Instructor. In 2016 Mary was named, for her work with HHWSP, Boating Educator of the Year by New York Sate. The same year, she was a national finalist for the Old Pulteney Maritime Heros Awards.


Mary is passionate about introducing youth and adults to the joys of water sports and safe boating. She says that she "has been very blessed to have worked, for years, with amazingly dedicated and loyal staff , Board members, and families".

Michelle Lawrence - STEM Instructor

A year round resident of Henderson Harbor, Michelle has taught at at Belleville-Henderson Central School for 20 years. She has been involved with Water Sports for the past 10 years as a parent, the past 3 years as an HHSP Board Member. She was one of the organizers of the STEM Camp program, and this will be her second year teaching STEM Camp.


Michelle grew up spending summers at a family camp on Skaneatelas Lake and it was there that she learned to sail. Michelle refreshed her sailing skills in an Adult Sail class, and she earned a NYS Safe Boating Certificate with HHWSP.


She enjoys working with the entire range of ages in the STEM Camp programs, and loves introducing students to Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math through a range of fun, water based activities. She has some wonderful new units for the 2020 programs, and can't wait to share them!

Riley Nans -  Sea Squirts & Sailing Instructor

Riley first came to Water Sports, for swimming lessons with his triplet siblings, at age 3. From swimming, he progressed to sailing, then racing. This will be his third year as an instructor, and his second year as a Sea Squirts instructor.


His joy of working with the youngest sailors is inspiring to all in the program. Riley’s favorite things to teach at Water Sports are, marlinspike seamanship (knot tying), rigging, and proper boat heel. He is the self proclaimed king of downwind sailing.

Riley graduated from Sackets Harbor Central School. He is a rising junior at SUNY Potsdam where he is majoring in Arts Education and Graphic Design. Art is his passion and cats are his favorite animals. He is very much looking forward to being back this summer and sharing his love of sailing with others.

Dylan Rastley - Swimming Instructor

Dylan, from Watertown, NY, graduates this year from General Brown High School where he played football. This past winter, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. In the fall of 2020, he will be attending JCC for general studies, and plans to transfer to a larger school after obtaining his AA.


This will be Dylan’s second summer teaching swimming at Water Sports. He has also taught swimming and lifeguarded for the Watertown YMCA. He loves the water, swimming, and the outdoors. He “can’t wait to get started with swimming lessons again”.

Whitney Shirley - Sea Squirts & Sailing Instructor

Whitney, from Sackets Harbor, has been involved with Water Sports, first as a student, then as a volunteer, and now as instructor, for somewhere around 10 years. She fell in love with sailing and is enthusiastically passing that love for the sport along to her students.


Graduating this year from Sackets Central School, Whitney has been a member of the Trap Shooting Team and the Color Guard. She has committed to SUNY Oswego for the fall.


While Whitney primarily works with the Sea Squirts and Beginning Sail programs, she is happy to hop in wherever needed. She feels that sailing is a lifelong activity and a skill that can be both competitive and relaxing. In her own words, “Passing on a love for sailing is such a privilege, I always look forward to each summer with HHWSP!”

Nancy Siemon - Adult Sailing Volunteer Instructor

Nancy grew up boating on Lake Erie and the Erie Canal. As a newlywed, she and her husband canoed extensively. While on a canoe trip in Minnesota, they found a styrofoam sailboat, with all its parts, sitting next to a garbage can with a sign stating “For free or trash”. They couldn’t resist. That began a lifelong love affair with sailing. In the almost 50 years since, they progressed from styrofoam to a Penguin, a Lightning, a Hunter sloop, and a Typhoon. 


While sailing on Lake Ontario in 2012, they stopped by HHYC for an overnight. A member invited them to join a Club dinner, and they were hooked. They moved their boat and joined the Club a year later, primarily so their granddaughters could attend HHWSP.  The next step was to purchase a camp in Henderson Harbor.  


Nancy retired from a career in education. Her last position was Math Professor at Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, NY. She and her husband Ed, when not at their Henderson Harbor camp, live in Ithaca. In addition to sailing, Nancy is an accomplished musician. She plays the Oboe and English Horn with the Ithaca Community Orchestra, Ithaca Concert Band, and an octet. She and a pianist friend also play nursing home gigs. 


Nancy has been active with HHWSP as a grandparent, former Board member, tireless volunteer sail repair and auction helper, and in 2019 as Volunteer Adult Sailing Instructor. She looks forward to being back on the water, in her Typhoon, and sharing her love of sailing with the Adult Sail program.

Ethan Smith - Counselor in Training

Ethan is a resident of Henderson Harbor, and is a rising junior at Belleville-Henderson Central School. He is involved in Band, and Swimming. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout this past winter and is very active within the community. Ethan hopes to attend the US Naval Academy and eventually work for the Center for Disease Control.


Starting out at age 5, as a Sea Squirt, Ethan has progressed through every sailing course offered at Water Sports. He also earned his NYS Safe Boating Certificate through Water Sports. He has enjoyed the friendships he has made at Water Sports, and looks forward to renewing those each summer. He is very excited to work and teach with the program.


Elizabeth (Liz) Wolaver - Head Racing Coach

Liz grew up in Jamesville, NY and spends summers at the family home in Henderson Harbor. Her parents, both competitive sailors, introduced Liz to sailing as an infant and she has been on the water ever since. Currently a sophomore, at Sienna College, Liz is enrolled in a dual degree Nursing program.


Enrolled in HHWSP Sailing classes at age 9, Liz developed a love for racing and quickly started accumulating flags and trophies. She graduated to volunteering, then to Sailing Instructor. This will be her 2nd season as Head Racing Coach. 


Liz loves going to regattas for the fun as well as the competition and has competed successfully throughout the region. Her major accomplishments are having Gold Medaled, with her brother, at the 2013 Junior Olympics in a 420. She qualified and crewed in the Lightning Junior Worlds in 2014. In 2015 she sailed her Laser in the National Juniors Women Singlehanded Championship, and crewed in the Lightning North Americans with Tom Allen. In 2017 Liz crewed in the Lightning North Americans with Jack Jones, and competed, on her Laser, at CORK. She is disappointed that the 2020 Lightning Junior Worlds, has been postponed as she and two others had qualified to compete.


She is “very excited to be spending this summer back in my favorite place with the most fun racing team out there!”, and encourages anyone who has a passion for sailing to consider joining the Racing Program!