Starpath Instructors, past and present
Kenn Batt
Marine Weather

Kenn Batt joined the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in 1975 and has since worked as a meteorologist in most Australian States and Antarctica. For much of his 30 years in the weather game he has been an aviation and marine forecaster. Between 1989 and 2001 he worked as a marine and severe weather forecaster based in Sydney, NSW. He then worked as the Aviation and Defence Weather Services Manager for NSW/ACT for 3 years before moving to Canberra as Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Australian Capital Territory Meteorological Office.

Kenn is a very accomplished yachtsman having been a member of representative teams at state, national and international levels over the years. He has participated in eight Sydney to Hobart yacht races (took handicap honours in 1993 on Wild Oats) and numerous other offshore races both in Australia and overseas (Kings Cup in Phuket, Gotland Runt in Sweden and Annapolis to Newport in the USA) and was forecaster for one of the Australian syndicates in the 1995 America's Cup as well as many other events. He was a yachting forecaster for the Sydney 2000 Olympics/Paralympics and has been for many years a weather adviser/forecaster to numerous centreboard and ocean racers around the world, including the Farr 40 circuit, BT Global and Whitbread now Volvo Ocean races.

He has written a number of peer-reviewed scientific papers and also writes for a number of yachting magazines. Kenn has taught marine meteorology in a number of educational institutions, including the Sydney University, Australian National University and various yachts clubs around the nation. He has an Honours degree in Science and has completed a Masters degree in Meteorology. Kenn also has a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment. He holds membership of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Sydney and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. He is also a member of the American Meteorological Society. He was awarded the Commonwealth Sports Medal in 2000 for services to the yachting community.

Dave Wilkinson
Marine Weather and Electronic Chart Navigation

Dave Wilkinson first became familiar with marine weather as a research assistant at Oregon State University in 1975. As part of a larger goal to find potential wind power sites, he studied how winds were affected by coastal headlands under various weather patterns. After graduation, he joined the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality as meteorologist for the agricultural smoke management program and then enjoyed a broad career in environmental management.

Learning to sail in the 1990s refocused Dave’s interest in how weather knowledge could better serve the many needs of sailors. At first, just to anticipate the wind on an afternoon sail, then to forecast weather over the course of a vacation cruise, and later to help fellow sailors accomplish extended coastal and ocean passages.

Since completing the Starpath Marine Weather course and becoming an American Sailing Association sailing instructor in 2012, Dave has taught the Marine Weather class for ASA schools in Oregon and Washington. He teaches Marine Weather for the University of Washington Sea Grant program and the Port Townsend based Northwest Maritime Center, as well as lectures on specific weather topics at northwest boat shows, festivals, and rendezvous.

Dave Wilkinson holds a BS Ed. in Mathematics, a MS in Atmospheric Science and is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the American Sailing Association. His sailing experiences in Mexico, the Caribbean, and New Zealand, as well as the Pacific Northwest, provide realistic background and context for explaining key weather concepts and their value to all boater

Larry Brandt
Radar and Marine Weather

Larry Brandt gained his intimate knowledge of radar compliments of the US taxpayer, in the US Air Force, where he was a maintenance crew chief on advanced Air Defense Command search and height finder systems. Following his stint in uniform, he worked for a number of years as a technician on aviation weather radar, autopilots, and other avionics, followed by a multi-decade history in avionics marketing. International responsibilities consumed the majority of those years, primarily in Asia, with responsibilities in Latin America and Europe eventually being added. He has resided in both Hong Kong and Singapore. Larry is retired from a major avionics company, where he was most recently a senior manager leading the marketing and sales of head-up displays in the business jet market worldwide.

Larry is an American Sailing Association-certified instructor for all keelboat levels up to and including Advanced Coastal Cruising, Marine Radar, and Coastal Navigation. He and his wife own a Catalina 36 sailing vessel that is used extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, and he crews as navigator and mate on deliveries, both power and sail. A member of the staff of the Catalina 36 International Association (, he is the Technical Editor for the Catalina 36 Mk II series boats.

He holds an FCC General Radiotelephone License with ship radar endorsement, and an amateur radio license as well. He has over 4500 hours of flying time, and holds an FAA Airline Transport Pilot License (multiengine land), and an FAA Commercial License (single engine land, sea, and helicopter). He also holds FAA Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor ratings. In 2018 he made a round-trip, single-handed voyage from Portland, OR to Glacier bay, AK.

David Burch, PhD, FRIN
Participates in all Starpath courses

David Burch is the author of the courses and Founding Director of Starpath School of Navigation.

Biographic notes are in the About Starpath section.

Bill Cook
Instrument Specialist

William J. (Bill) Cook has managed the Precision Instruments & Optics Department of 109-year old Captain’s Nautical Supplies for 19 years. Retiring from the Navy as a Chief Opticalman, he immediately began freelancing his skills, and has provided technical, engineering and consulting services for the Navy, Coast Guard, NOAA, NASA, Yerkes Observatory and the Smithsonian Institution, among others.

Bill has manufactured lenses for the Navy’s 120mm “big eyes” binoculars and telescopic alidades as well as sextant mirrors and prisms for C. Plath Navigation. Today, he is recognized as America’s most authoritative voice on the repair and restoration of binocular, sextants, compasses and other opto-navigational instruments.

In 1991, he began publishing his own telescope making and optical engineering journal that, in its 10-year run, was welcomed into the libraries of universities and observatories in 54 countries. In 2003, he culled the best articles from the journal and turned them into two 450-page books.

Today, Bill writes for a wide variety of publications, and his articles on binoculars, navigational instruments and maritime history have appeared in dozens of marine magazines including: Ocean Navigator, Sea, Sea History, Sailing, Nor’Westing, 48 Degrees North and Latitudes & Attitudes.

A member of the Society for Technical Communication and the prestigious American Society of Journalists and Authors, Bill has earned bachelors degrees in Journalism and History and plans to start a masters in Education program in the near future.

John Dowd
Seamanship and sea kayayaking topics

John Dowd is the author of the classic text Sea Kayaking—A Manual for Long-distance Touring, which along with the magazine Sea Kayaker, which he and his wife Beatrice founded, were the primary impetus to the original rise of the popularity of sea kayaking as a new sport. He has continued with his adventurous life in maritime affairs, now specializing in amphibious craft as representative of the remarkable Sealegs vessels, which he uses to access his own home on a remote BC coastal island. Though he is known worldwide for his contributions to sea kayaking, it is less known that he has also written an engaging series of children's books that focus on maritime adventures.
Pam Hom
Navigation Rules and navigation in general

Pam Hom retired from 27 years of sailing as a mariner (17 years as Master) on various types of vessels; from crab boats in the Bering Sea to tug boats in the Gulf of Alaska and high-speed ferries as well as sail boats around the world and tankers in the Mediterranean. She holds licenses for unlimited tonnage and oceans and has served as an apointee on two federal advisory groups to the USCG (NAVSAC & MERPAC). Pam founded, owned and operated a navigation and license exam prep school for 13 years. Ms. Hom is still active in the maritime industry as a part-time marine arbitrator and mediator.
Steve Lowney, MD
Onboard Navigation and Medicine at sea

Dr. Steve Lowney is an expert in orthopedic, emergency room, and wilderness medicine, as well as a highly experienced mariner and navigation instructor (What past students say). He is one of the instructors of our underway navigation course on the F/V Aimee 0 (charting, ENS, radar, watch standing, piloting, and DR) and is the author and instructor of our forthcoming course on Medicine at sea, which is designed to prepare offshore sailors for treating medical issues at sea, including preparation, supplies, radio sources underway, and accident prevention underway. Steve is a racing and cruising sailor, with transoceanic voyages and extensive knowledge of the Inside Passage.
Steve Miller
Celestial Navigation and Inland and Coastal Navigation

Captain Stephen Miller earned his Coast Guard Masters License in 1989 after 25 years of sailing the East Coast of the United States. He spent 6 years in the U.S. Naval Reserve and specialized in Celestial Navigation while on active duty. Years of sea time in the Navy and aboard his own sailing vessels have allowed him to enhance his skills in Celestial as well as Coastal Navigation.

For the six years after obtaining his License, Captain Miller was an Instructor for Sea School Northeast, passing on his Navigation knowledge while preparing his students for their Coast Guard Exams. Captain Miller, in June 1999, became the Navigation Instructor at the Chapman School of Seamanship, where he teaches primarily Celestial Navigation—in 2008 he was appointed Dean of Professional Mariner Training Instruction. He is a member of the Foundation for the Promotion of the Art of Navigation. He also holds ASA Celestial Level Instructor certification and teaches ASA courses at the Chapman School of Seamanship. Steve is the author of The Captain's Moon, a book on moon photography.

Steve Morrell
Onboard Instructor

Steve Morrell brings a wealth of experience to our cruises. Raised in San Francisco, Steve now lives in Mt. Shasta, California with his sweetheart and their two cats. He completed his Master's degree in zoology at UC Santa Barbara. He spent the next ten years studying seabirds and marine mammals on islands of California, Alaska and Antarctica. Seeking a new direction in his life, Steve accepted an offer to work on a fishing boat in Southeast Alaska for a summer. He was captivated by the wilderness and moved to Alaska. Steve spent eighteen summers salmon fishing (mostly in Southeast Alaska with Chad) interspersed with occasional work as a biologist. He acknowledges that his favorite parts of fishing are exploring the waters and forests of Southeast Alaska and watching the fish and wildlife. He looks forward to sharing the excitement and beauty of this wild country with our guests. Steve has his USCG Master's license as well as CPR and first aid training.
Robert H. Nicholas, Jr.
Navigation Rules

Robert H. Nicholas, Jr., is an admiralty attorney with Phelps Dunbar in Houston TX. He has extensive experience in all areas of maritime law, including collision cases, conversion of vessels, sales and financing of vessels, towage, shipyard construction, regulatory compliance issues, and state and federal environmental laws impacting ocean and inland marine operations. He is the author of A Guide for Investigating Marine Casualties (1985).

He is an expert on the Navigation Rules, both from the perspective of commercial vessels and as a recreational boater. He has frequently taught the use and interpretation of the Navigation Rules to recreational boating organizations, and can annotate and reference any issue that might arise in our online Nav Rules discussion with practical as well as legal insight and specific court cases.

Robert Reeder
Participates in all Starpath courses

Robert Reeder served as a quartermaster (enlisted navigator) aboard US Navy ballistic missile submarines from 1983 to 1993. As a civilian mariner he has served aboard tankers, container ships, ferries, tugboats, and just about anything that floats. He was a navigation instructor for the US Navy, and has taught navigation for various commercial schools since 2000. Robert is our resident expert on USCG licensing exams. He also teachs part time at Zenith Maritime Academy, Elkins Institute (Designated Examiner for FCC Tests) and the North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owner's Association.

His specialties are celestial navigation, inland and coastal navigation and radar. He is a certified US Sailing instructor. Robert holds a license as a 200 ton Master, 1600 ton Mate, and AB Unlimited Tankerman. When he is not teaching for Starpath and other maritime schools, Robert drives high-speed passenger ferries for a living, and wee tiny sailboats for the pure unbridled hell of it. Robert has taught for Starpath since 2000.

Hewitt Schlereth
Celestial Navigation and Inland and Coastal Navigation

Hewitt Schlereth is a longtime sailor and author of six celestial navigation books, most recently of Celestial Navigation in a Nutshell. His first book, Commonsense Celestial Navigation sold nearly 30,000 copies. Hewitt grew up in Larchmont, NY, racing one-design boats and after college began distance racing in a 24-foot MORC yawl. He progressed to offshore cruising and racing and has been navigator on many cruising, racing and delivery passages to Bermuda, Halifax and the Virgin Islands. Professionally, he is a NAMS certified marine surveyor, has managed a boatyard, been editor of BOATING magazine and a freelance teacher of coastal and celestial navigation. He is a member of the Foundation for the Promotion of the Art of Navigation.
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