Coaches Bio

Maxwell Plarr
Vir Menon
Nathan Smith
Sophia Jefferson

Summer 2020

HYC Coaches

Benton Amthor
Alesha Darling
Britt Cortina
Brian Fox
John Glenn

Coaches Bio

Call us if you would like to know more about our summer coaches.

Maxwell Plarr

Maxwell Plarr

Program Director

After leading the Christopher Newport University Varsity Sailing Team for the past eight years, head coach Maxwell Plarr will be stepping down from that position after accepting an offer to be the new Sailing Director for Hampton Yacht Club.

Coach Plarr was a three-time Team MVP and four-time All-Academic Sailor as a player. Maxwell coached junior program teams for HYC, GPYC, and the Navy’s MWR. During his tenure as head coach of the team, the Captains competed in their first ICSA Women’s National Championship, and two ICSA Singlehanded National Championships. His sailors hold such accolades as MAISA Undergraduate South Representatives, MAISA Undergraduate President, ICSA Undergraduate Vice-President, Purrington Award recipient, MAISA All-Academic Team, ICSA All-Academic Team, and MAISA Sportsman of the Year. CNU will continue in good hands under interim head coach Jocelyn Rovniak.

Maxwell lives in Little England in Hampton, Virginia, with his wife Lexy and dog, Cooper, who you may find to greet you with a wagging tail at the Sailing Center. Max is an avid sailor, fisherman, and cyclist in his spare time. The new director is a US Sailing Certified Level III Coach and a Level I Instructor Trainer that plans to bring US Sailing models and methods to enhance all areas of sailing and power boating at Hampton Yacht Club, from juniors to the most ancient mariner. The new sailing director has a vision that is focused on safety, education, and fun! Besides his daily duties of junior and adult sailing he will be planning clinics and will make himself available to any member seeking advice or knowledge daily with listed office hours. Maxwell started his position by traveling to the US Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego, CA, in February to network and learn the latest strategies to implement into club programming at the highest contemporary levels. Maxwell is settling into the position by professionalizing the spaces in the Adult and Junior buildings to maximize classroom, storage, and office space capabilities. There is much to be done and volunteers will be crucial to help in the process. The summer is rapidly approaching and the sailing director is keen to develop a rewarding, fun, and competitive and/or exploration experience for all junior members planning to participate in the summer program. There will be a youth panel and a parent interest meeting announced soon coupled with an evening of Virtual Regatta Game Night for Junior members. Please help us in making this one of the best summers for our young sailors! Maxwell can be reached at sailingdirector@hamptonyc.com.

Vir Menon

Vir Menon

Laser Coach

Vir started sailing the Optimist at the age of 5 in India and competed at regional, national and international championships while representing the Indian National Squad until the age of 14.

He was the Indian National Champion until he moved into the Laser where he competed in 4 World Championships, 3 European Championships, and was National champion in the 4.7, Radial, and Full-Rig disciplines. Vir is was the Captain of Christopher Newport University’s Varsity Sailing team for two years where he majored in History with a double minor in Leadership Studies and Classical Studies. He has been competitively racing all his life in hoping to make it to the Olympic Games in the Laser. As the Opti Head Coach this summer, he is looking to work on fine-tuning the sailors’ tactics and strategy by spending time going over the routine and tips that helped him succeed in the class. Vir was the Opti RWB coach for the Hampton Roads Race Team, summer 2019, and traveled with the team to Maryland, Michigan, and several other regattas within the state.

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith

Coach

Nathan Smith is a graduate of Christchurch School who was admitted to Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  Due to recent events, he has chosen to take a gap-year to advance his involvement in the sailing community outside of high school and college circuits to reassess his own path forward. 

Nathan has been sailing since age six and has competed in many high level events in the Optimist. He has represented different countries throughout his career and has attended the Optimist World Championships from 2012-2014 and multiple North and South American Championships under varying flags. During his junior year of high school, the Christchurch Team won the Baker Trophy for the National Team Race Championship which has been the pinnacle of his sailing career up to this point.

Nathan took over the Hampton Roads Race Team for Benton Amthor in the fall of 2020. The team has accepted an invitation to the 2020 Optimist Pram Team Race hosted by South Carolina Yacht Club and sponsored by Zim Sailing. An event Smith knows well as he won the inaugural event in 2015 with his teammates at Fishing Bay. Nathan is very excited to coach this team and helps to promote a high level of sailing at Hampton Yacht Club.

Sophia Jefferson

Sophia Jefferson

Coach

Sophia Jefferson hails from Rhode Island and is currently studying for her undergrad at the College of William and Mary. Sophia grew up sailing at Edgewood Yacht Club in Cranston, RI competing in Optis and moving up to the c420 circuit.

Sophia worked as an instructor previously at her home club where she developed and implemented the Opti race curriculum in 2018.  During the summer of 2019, Sophia was hired by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Fransisco, CA.  Hampton Yacht Club is proud to have her on board to work with our Opti Green Fleeters and build the future sailors of our club. 

Alesha Darling

Alesha Darling

Coach

Alesha Darling is a returning Hampton Yacht Club instructor from Chesapeake, Virginia. Alesha is a rising senior studying Psychology at Christopher Newport University where she is a member of the varsity sailing team.

Alesha learned to sail Opti’s when she was eight at Hampton Yacht Club and continued sailing on keel boats and sunfish with her dad till she reached college and stepped into 420’s and FJs. Alesha is excited to be running the Explorer Program.

Benton Amthor

Benton Amthor

Coach

Benton Amthor is a rising Sophomore at SUNY Maritime College.  He is planning on graduating with a 3rd Mates Unlimited License with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Transportation.  Benton has been sailing since a very young age at Hampton Yacht Club and Fishing Bay Yacht Club.

His first boat was the Opti which he competed at a high level in his last two years of Red Fleet.  During his last year, Benton qualified for the North American Championships and represented Team USA.  After Opti’s, Amthor went on to sail Club 420’s and competed in high school sailing for Christchurch School.  During his senior year of high school the Christchurch Team won the Baker Trophy (Team Race Nationals).  Benton is looking forward to a good summer and coaching high level sailing!

Brian Fox

Brian Fox

Coach

Brian Fox grew up in Yorktown and is a rising sophomore on the Christopher Newport Varsity Sailing Team.  Brian has been competitively sailing for over seven years out of SYC, where he was an instructor for the past four years.

This will be Brian’s first year at HYC and he will be working with the Opti Green fleet and developmental programs. 

Britt Cortina

Britt Cortina

Coach

Britt Cortina learned how to sail at Hampton Yacht Club. Britt was a stand out on the c420 race team for three years. Wanting to pursue singlehands he switched over to laser radials at Fishing Bay Yacht Club where he placed third in the CBYRA circuit and competed in many large regattas such as Laser Nationals and Orange Bowl

This is his first year instructing for a whole summer. Britt is a recent graduate of Peninsula Catholic High School and will be attending Virginia Tech in the fall for engineering.

John Glenn

John Glenn

Coach

My name is John Glenn but everyone calls me Buzz. I grew up in Orlando, FL and grew up sailing on Long Island sound in the summertimes and gradually started competing year round. I’m currently a junior at Old Dominion University and sail for the team as well. Outside of sailing I like to surf, cook, or do anything that keeps me outside and moving.

2019 Sailing Instructors

Meet Tom – Summer 2019 Head Instructor

Tom Etheridge is a Norfolk native and started his sailing career at Norfolk Yacht and Country Club, where he learned how to sail and race.  After outgrowing Optis, he moved into Lasers and in 6th grade joined the Maury High School sailing team.  While studying naval architecture and marine engineering at the University of Michigan, Tom was a two-time captain of the sailing team and competed in the collegiate co-ed fleet, team race, keelboat and match race national championship regattas.  Since graduating in 2016, Tom has coached the Maury and Norfolk Academy high school teams and the NYCC Opti Race Team. Tom was our Summer Head Instructor and has coached HYC’s Fall and Winter Race programs. He is US Sailing Level 1 certified.

Meet Anna – Summer 2019 Instructor

Anna Patterson is a Hampton native who learned how to sail and race when she began sailing for Hampton High School in eighth grade. She was an active participant on HYC’s C420 race team until 2016. She is currently a junior at Christopher Newport University where she is one of the captains of the varsity sailing team. At CNU, she drives A Division for the women’s team and crews for the coed and team racing teams. Beyond college sailing, she is a crew in HYC’s 505 fleet and competed in the 2017 505 World Championships in Annapolis, Maryland, as an all female team. This summer she plans to attend the 2019 505 Canadian Nationals and 2019 505 North American Championships in Kingston, ON. She has worked as a junior and adult sailing instructor at Hampton Yacht Club since 2016 and is US Sailing Small Boat Instructor Level 1 Certified.

Meet Alesha – Summer 2019 Instructor

Alesha Darling is from Chesapeake, Virginia. Alesha is a rising senior studying Psychology at Christopher Newport University where she is a member of the varsity sailing team. Alesha learned to sail Opti’s when she was eight at Hampton Yacht Club and continued sailing on keel boats and sunfish with her father till she reached college and stepped into 420’s and FJs. Alesha is excited for her second summer instructing at HYC. She is US Sailing Level 1 certified. 

Meet Cole – Summer 2019 Instructor

Cole Handly is a returning certified US Sailing Level 1 instructor who makes learning fun and exciting for his sailors.  He is a Hampton native and has been raised on the water.  Cole has grown up sailing Lasers, Sunfish, Opti’s, c420’s, and FJ’s.   Cole has been sailing on his high school team for 4 years now and is a starting skipper. Cole plans to attend Roanoke college to study business and entrepreneurship to pursue a career in creating his own company. We are excited to have Cole for another summer at HYC.

Meet Spike – Summer 2019 Instructor

Spike Douglass was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, and grew up overseas in Doha, Qatar.  He learned to sail when he was in the sixth  grade. After learning to sail and race in Lasers and RS Fevas, he became a part-time instructor at his local sailing club, Regatta Sailing Academy. After working there for five years, he came to CNU and is majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the CNU Varsity Sailing team. Spike is certified under the Royal Yachting Association as a Dinghy Instructor. Spike looks forward to his first year teaching at HYC.