Our Team

Ashley Nelson

Sailing Director

Ashley holds US Sailing Level 2 Coaching and Level 3 Head Instructor certifications. Her background as a teacher allows her build programs that work for kids. Ashley has coached a high school team to the Mallory Championship and sailed twice in the ICSA Women’s Nationals as a college sailor. In her spare time she enjoys sailing, backpacking, and spending time with her husband and two kids
The best part about the work we do is seeing kids gain confidence and self reliance as they overcome challenges and experience new things.

Niko Twilla

Assistant Sailing Director

Niko holds a US Sailing Level 3 Head Instructor Certification, and has a BA in Recreation Management and Leadership from WWU. He grew up sailing on high school and collegiate teams in Washington, which inspired him to pursue a career in creating life-changing recreation opportunities. When not racing boats, he will use any vehicle he can find to explore and appreciate the environments around him.
Personal agency, empowerment, and unbridled joy from my students are my reward for a successful day in sailing!

Andrew Nelson

Summer Race Team Coach

Andrew has been sailing in Gig Harbor and Wollochet Bay since the early aughts. In 2007 he became an instructor with the TYC Jr. Sailing Program and worked there for several years as the Race Team Coach. Andrew was head coach at Balboa Yacht Club (2010-11) and program director/head coach at Encinal Yacht Club (2011-2014). He recently left The Sailing Foundation, where Andrew served as the Director of Youth Sailing for the Pacific Northwest from 2014-2022. He is a US Sailing Instructor Trainer for Levels 1-3 and has certified over 500 instructors, including many of the Gig Harbor Junior Sailing staff. Andrew is now a classroom teacher with Tacoma School District and enjoys having summers off (mostly). He enjoys sailing with his wife Ashley and two girls on their Olson 30.

Jake Tiedeman

Summer Race Team Coach

Jake Tiedeman is a US Sailing certified level 1 instructor and raced Lasers and FJ’s in college at WWU. He is also currently in his 10th year as a middle school teacher (STEM Technology and Engineering) in Steilacoom Historical School District. When he’s not coaching students how to race boats, he loves to waterski, backcountry snow ski, is an avid photographer, and loves to travel the world with his wife Jordan and newborn son Jameson.
I am honored to be able to pass on my sailing knowledge to my students and in return learn what freedom in a sailboat is to them.

Juan Luis Videla

Summer Race Team Coach

Since I started sailing at the age of 8, I have never stopped. Nowadays sailing is not just the sport I practice; it’s my life, my family, and my friends. I represented my club in regional and national championships. I got the first place in Argentinian ranking in 2016. Also, I represented Argentina in international championships, raced in three Laser Worlds, in 2012 (4.7), Youth in 2016 (Radial) and Youth World Sailing in 2016 (Radial). My biggest conquest was winning the 2017 South American Championship in Mar del Plata, Argentina, over 150 sailors from South America in one of my favorite places to sail. Now while I’m finishing studying Civil Engineering I enjoy the water through coaching, kiteboarding, kite foiling and wake foiling. If I’m not in the water, I am studying or hiking mountains.
I think the best part of being a coach is sharing knowledge and tools with the kids, including good practices to sail and live life.

Julia Sherry

West Shore Site Director

Julia has been instructing at GHJS for 5 years now and holds a US Sailing level one certification. She is a senior at the University of Washington where she rowed crew and is studying Physiology. Her time sailing is split between Liberty Bay where she started, and Hood River. She has competed in a variety of boats and levels of racing with highlights being multiple national championships. When not sailing, Julia enjoys skiing (snow and water), running, and biking. Julia continues to coach sailing in the hope that her students will come to find as much joy, adventures, lifelong friends, and learning in it as she has.

Peter Ryalls

Sailing Instructor

Peter is a US Sailing Level 1 certified instructor and has been instructing for 5 years. He sailed competitively for Gig Harbor High School and has represented them in youth keelboat nationals. He is currently working toward toward a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics at Belmont Abbey College. His hobbies include playing piano, pretending to own expensive cars, and annoying his sisters.
I’m very happy to help these kids grow, have fun, and learn about this sport that I love so much

Dalton Lovett

Sailing Instructor

Dalton holds a US Sailing Level 1 Certification, and is currently working towards a Bachelors degree in Marine and Coastal Science at WWU. He was introduced to competitive sailing through the Narrows Race Team at the end of his Freshman year of high school and sailed constantly since, attending various high level events such as Keelboat Nationals. He now sails as part of WWU’s Sailing team. When not sailing, Dalton enjoys rock climbing, time with friends and family, and being out in nature.
Sailing has brought so much joy, fulfillment and opportunity to my life, I hope that I am able bring the same to others.

Emily Smith

Sailing Instructor

Emily holds a US Sailing Level One Certification and has been an instructor for three years at TYC, sailed for Bellarmine Prep in high school, and currently sails for the UW team where she studies marine biology. She enjoys rock climbing indoors and outdoors when she’s not sailing.
Leading the youth class is always exciting because I get to see the kids go from never stepping in a sailboat to being independent on the water and racing in just a few days.

Anna Sherry

Sailing Instructor

Anna holds a US Sailing Level 1 Certification, and is a rising senior at the College of Charleston, working towards a BS in Biology. At The College she is a varsity athlete on the sailing team, crewing at multiple National championships, and on the teams that placed third at the 2021 Coed Team Racing Championship and first at the Women's championship. Her team also was awarded the 2021 ICSA Fowle Trophy, which goes to the best overall collegiate team. She first learned to sail on Liberty Bay, and then continued her racing and coaching with Dogfish Sailing. When not sailing, Anna enjoys skiing (water and snow), trail running and spending time in the mountains.
I love coaching sailing so I can pass on the joys of the sport to the next generation. Pro tip, learn how to swim before you come to sailing camp.

Jaden Unruh

Sailing Instructor

Jaden holds a US Sailing Level 1 Certification and now sails with the UW Sailing Team. He sailed on the Narrows Race Team representing Charles Wright Academy in middle and high school. When he’s not sailing, his hobbies include competitive robotics and coding.
I love having this opportunity to pass on my greatest passion to a new generation of sailors; I hope they'll grow to love sailing as much as I do

Camryn Lee

Sailing Instructor

Camryn holds a US Sailing Level 1 Certification and has been sailing with the Narrows Race Team representing Charles Wright Academy for six years. When she’s not sailing, she enjoys horse riding and playing with her cats
I couldn’t be more excited to spread some of the joy I found in sailing to future sailors.

Sky Rainbolt

Camp Photographer

Sky holds a US Sailing Level 1 Certification and has been sailing with the Narrows Race Team representing Gig Harbor Gig Harbor for 2 years. When she’s not sailing, she enjoys going dock jumping and playing Dungeons & Dragons.
It’s such an honor to be able to share my passion and connect with younger kids.

Nico Konyk

Sailing Instructor

Nico currently sails on the Narrows Race Team for Gig Harbor high school, and learned to sail in Gig Harbor through GHJS summer camps! He’s excited to share his sailing knowledge with others. When he’s not sailing, you could probably find him playing the violin.
I really enjoy working with the kids and helping them reach their full potential. I love seeing them challenge themselves, overcome their fears, and achieve things they might not have previously thought possible.

Kel Cowart

Sailing Instructor

Kel has been sailing with the GHJS program for four years and currently sails on the race team for Gig Harbor High.
I am looking forward to showing kids how to sail and hope they end up loving it as much as I do

Hannah Welch

Sailing Instructor

Hannah currently sails on the Narrows Race Team for Bellarmine Preparatory School. She learned how to sail through GHJS summer camps and has been on the Narrows race Team for 4 years.
I am passionate about sailing and am excited to pass my sailing knowledge onto the next generation of sailors.

Bailey Rainbolt

Jellyfish Instructor

Bailey has been a passionate sailor on Narrows Race Team for three years, with four years of experience sailing in various boats, locations, and weather. As a sailing instructor, he is patient, knowledgeable, and fun. He especially loves working with the jellyfish class and believes that anyone can learn to sail with the right mentorship, walking away with a lifelong love of sailing.
Teaching sailing is my way of sharing my passion for the water with others and helping them discover the joy of harnessing the wind.

Will Embick

Jellyfish Instructor

Will has been sailing with the GHJS sailing program for two years. He currently is a part of the Narrows Race Team and sails for Bellarmine Preparatory School. His hobbies outside of sailing include coding, video games, and Scouts BSA.
I enjoy seeing so many kids become great sailors and have fun while they are learning”