Instructors

Kelly Leibowitz – Program Director

Kelly is a Roger Williams University Alumni, a team race enthusiast and lifetime sailor, she has been the program director at Belle Haven Club and Wickford Sailing Association. While at Kelly was two-time team captain, a three-time All-American, three-time All-New England crew, helped the team secure the 2011 Team Race Nationals win, and played a key role in placing 2nd at the 2012 College Fleet Race Nationals. Before college she competed at Youth Champs and won the US Jr. Women's Nationals as a crew in 2006. She grew up sailing in Niantic, CT and now lives in Salem, MA with her husband. In 2017 she was named to the RWU Athletic Hall of Fame. Last year she was the 420 Race Team Coach, additionally she is the Marblehead High School Fishwagon's coach.

Hunter Zonnenberg – Commodore

Sailing has been a part of Hunter's life since he can remember, first going out on his parents' Rhodes 19. He's been at Pleon for the past 8 years, starting in Optis and going through the Opti, Laser, and C420 programs at the club. He's been a Junior Instructor for two years and an intern this past summer, working with both kids and adults around the club. Hunter also sailed at Milton Academy during the offseason and is looking forward to joining the Brown Sailing team next year. Hunter's favorite part of Pleon is getting all of the young sailors excited about being on the water and he looks forward to to an amazing summer of sailing and learning!

Annabelle Ayer

Annabelle is currently a freshman at Georgetown University, studying physics and economics and racing on the co-ed sailing team as crew. She grew up in Marblehead and has been sailing at Pleon since she was nine years old. Annabelle raced on Pleon's Opti, 420 and Laser Race Teams and has been a junior instructor for two years. She is excited to be back and to share her love for Pleon and sailing with the younger sailors.

Emily Croteau

Emily is from Winchester, MA and graduated from Boston University's School of Education in 2019. Emily has sailed as both a skipper and a crew on the BU Sailing Team and was honored with a First-Team All NEISA Crew title. She grew up sailing at the Winchester Boat Club and for Winchester High School where she was a captain for her junior and senior years. Emily also sailed at Pleon on both the Laser and 420 Race Teams and enjoyed being a junior instructor for two years. This is Emily's fourth year as a Pleon coach and she is looking forward to coming back for another great summer in Marblehead!

Connor Goulet

Connor is a student at the University of Michigan. He grew up sailing Optis and Scows in West Michigan and was a coach at the Grand Rakips Yacht Club for six years. In high school, Connor sailed for East Grand Rapids and was the team captain his senior year. He now sails for Michigan and was a member of the MCSA All-Conference team in 2018. Connor is an avid dinghy sailor, spending most of his time in Lasers, 420's and FJs, but also enjoys sailing offshore boats and J/70s. He is looking forward to his first summer at Pleon!

Alex Myers

Alex was born and raised in Marblehead, and since both of his parents grew up sailing, he jokes that he didn't have much choice in the matter. He loves the sport, learning to sail at the Eastern Yacht Club Junior Sailing program and Pleon before becoming an instructor himself. This summer will be his ninth coaching sailing and his second at Pleon after working at both the Eastern and Corinthian Yacht Clubs. Alex graduated from the University of South Carolina this year with a double major in History and International Studies. He stayed active in competitive sailing on the Club sailing team and any keelboats he could find, mostly J/70s in Marblehead. He coached Opti 3 last year and is excited to share his passion for and knowledge of the sport again, this time working with the Opti Development Team. He is looking forward to a great summer of sailing at Pleon and in Marblehead!

Peyton Russell

Peyton is a junior at College of Charleston, has been sailing for more than 13 years, and is very excited to return to Pleon for another summer! This will be his sixth year coaching and his second at Pleon. Before Pleon, Peyton coached sailors in both of the Carolinas as well as in his home state of California. He has raced Optis, CFJs, 420's and keelboats at the national level, and before moving from California, aided his high school in its a second-place finish at College Nationals as the varsity heavy crew. At school, Peyton is on the pre-med track, and in between studying for the MCAT and classes, he enjoys taking out the J22's in Charleston Harbor, reading on the beach, fishing, and eating burritos. Peyton is looking forward to another great summer at Pleon!


Wyatt Russell

Wyatt is looking forward to his second year of coaching at Pleon. He is a rising senior at North Carolina State University in Raleigh where he is a pre-law student majoring in physics and political science with a minor in Spanish. This will be his sixth summer coaching sailing. Previously, he was a co-director of Blackbeard Sailing Club with his brother, Peyton, coaching Optis and Topazes. Before that, he coached Naples Sabots and C420's at Balboa Yacht Club where he was also an avid keelboat and C420 racer. Wyatt sailed for the Newport Harbor High School Varsity Sailing Team, but grew up racing Optis on the San Francisco Yacht Club Race Team (breeze on!). Outside of sailing, Wyatt is passionate about non-profit work and loves fishing and being outdoors.

Reid Shanabrook


Reid is an undergrad at Virginia Tech where he races on the sailing team, skippering on FJs. At Virginia Tech, he enjoys studying engineering, skiing on the alpine ski team, and biking. He grew up sailing in Marblehead and went through junior sailing at Pleon in Optis, C420s and Lasers. Reid enjoys racing offshore in the summer and getting out on the water as much as possible. This is his second year coaching at Pleon and he is excited to be back.

Emmet Smith

Emmet is currently the assistant coach of the Tufts University Sailing Team. He grew up sailing on his grandfathers' keelboats, learned to sail Optis at the Milford Yacht Club and later worked as a junior instructor at Sail New Haven. As a freshman, he was Division A crew at Tulane University and transferred to Yale as a sophomore where he was on the 2009 Fowle Trophy-winning team. After college, Emmet won the 2009 US Sailing Team Racing National Championship/Hinman Trophy as part of Team Extreme. The Team went on to finish 2nd at the 2011 ISAF team-racing world championship, won the Wilson Trophy in 2010 and 2011, and a second Hinman in 2012. Whenever he can find a ride, Emmet likes to crew on high-performance boats including F18s, Melges 20's and 29ers. Emmet finished 3rd at the 2017 29er North Americans. Last summer, Emmet coached the double-handed race team at Niantic Bay Yacht Club. Off the water, Emmet enjoys inline speed skiing, downhill skate boarding,
skiing and indoor rock climbing.

CHECK BACK FOR ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTOR BIOS

42 Foster Street, Marblehead MA 01945     781-631-1076     kelly@pleon.org
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© 2019 Pleon Yacht Club
A 501(c)(3) organization
© 2019 Pleon Yacht Club
A 501(c)(3) organization