Santana Sailing Testimonials

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Hi Marc,
Lena and I both have extended family members who have lived on sailboats and have heard their stories growing up. While neither of us had very much experience sailing we are both adventurous and love the ocean so we decided to try it out.
We decided on Santana Sailing because it was the closest sailing school with the most time on the water to offer for the price. Plus, I had taken an ASA course a few years back that didn’t leave me feeling confident enough to charter a boat myself, so I wanted to try NauticEd courses. I appreciate Santana Sailing’s focus on competency—Lena and I both felt quite confident after two Santana Sailing courses (8 days on the water!). Our instructors were very knowledgeable and patient and were instrumental in that confidence boost as well.
After the courses we called Marina Sailing and signed up for a membership and within a couple weeks we were taking friends and family on affordable day sails! Sailing is ridiculously fun on its own but the bragging rights that go with it are the cherry on top.
Our next step is going to Catalina on a chartered boat, then who knows—we don’t plan to buy a boat any time soon but it is probably a ~15 year plan for us to live on a boat temporarily and cross an ocean or two someday.
Trevor H 3/23/23


Hi, Theresa! This is Jeff H from the sailing class that just wrapped up this weekend. I am starting my coursework for the Skipper Course, but just wanted to send a note of thanks for what I’ve accomplished so far with Roger. He was a fantastic teacher, so patient, and fun to sail with. As I told Ali, from my class, I had no idea what to expect with all of this and it was a real joy. So just wanted to say that.

Talk soon, can’t wait til November!

Jeff H 9/20/21

I wanted to thank you so much for yesterday‘s adventure. I felt completely safe at all times. I really appreciate your leadership, your strategies and sensitivity to the group’s emotional morale. I’m still not an expert in Sailing Heavy weather, but I am more aware, more experienced, and more knowledgeable than a person caught off guard. I should have brought foul weather gear with me to stay dry and warm. I would like to go out with you again once I have the appropriate storm gear.


Alex VN. January 26, 2021

So many of the things we went over and performed during our bareboat assessment is paying dividends this week with Mark Howe. During anchoring today I was able to explain in pretty good detail how and why we would be anchoring and what to expect.

On the first day of class I waited until the very end before taking my turn at the helm. No sooner than I did, Mark calls out man overboard. without hesitation, I tacked the boat and performed a heave-to maneuver and brought the boat to a stop without Mark giving any instruction (not that I needed him to). Others in the class just stood there in astonishment, apparently they had not learned that. When Mark asked about the maneuver I stated that we performed this both in the Basic Cruising class on Betty, along with our sail to the NCI. We did it one more time so that the others could watch and learn.

All of this to say that I thank you very much for the instruction you gave, especially on the anchoring. It’s making this advanced class go so much easier.

Jeff C. July 18, 2020

Hi Marc,

Just wanted to make sure you know how much your volunteering to dive on my rapped stern anchor line was appreciated. I don’t know what I would have done if you had not helped me out of that severe & stupid rapped line problem. I have been going to Catalina since 1953 and had never had that problem before. You are a true Waterman with lots of knowledge and a kind heart willing to help a fellow boater in trouble. Your expertise and experiences on rope fouled shafts was evident and invaluable.

I love your book on anchoring at Catalina which I find very accurate and true to my experiences and further enhances my knowledge of anchoring at the island. So thanks for the autographed book, it will always remind me of your willing expert help and to always keep the stern anchor line taut when backing down on the bow anchor !!

By the way, it’s a small world. My brother & sister in law, Bruce & Sue Foat traveled on the Alaska Eagle between 1994 & 2010 to the South Seas & the North Sea area voyages. They also volunteered at the OCC Sailing School during that time. Bruce is quit a techie and I believe he set up the tracking system for the TransPac race in which the Alaska eagle was the communications & tracking vessel. Sue set up the OCCSS chart library.

Again Marc, you will always be remembered by me as a great guy willing to go above & beyond the call of duty to help a fellow boater in need of help, and the author of a great reference book on anchoring at Catalina Island.


Cliff Dudley
Green Flash
San Pedro

May 3, 2020


First off major kudos to Alex for the great instruction, thanks Alex! It was great:
  • I really appreciated that as a student I was enabled to try things, take a risk and see what happened. Sometimes you have to just jump, the overall flow was  fantastic. Tied with that was the mentality to keep looking for the positives and just keep moving. Great stuff!
  • It was actually pretty cool to have a rotating crew. The opportunity to see how different people approached problems, handled themselves, and work through problems was informative! I don’t know if that is typical or a factor of my last minute scheduling but I recommend for new folks to keep that going, something to think about.
  • Finally the boat was fantastic. That was a huge step up from a prior sailing course. And holy smokes the labeling is right on, big fan of labels over here. It seriously is great for students too.

Kirt L. 1/10/24


Forgot to thank you and Theresa for the private Catamaran maneuvering and docking under power instruction. I learned so much in the short time we had. Our Catamaran trip went well and I always felt confident maneuvering under power. Thanks for the tips on the normal wind direction at the Costa Baja fuel dock. It was exactly like you mentioned and we  made our fuel stop with no Drama. Thanks again.

Bob F 7/5/23


I will watch for your skills clinics after the first of the year. Yours is the best training I’ve ever had and I’ll sign up whenever I can. Always more to learn and practice.

Greg B., December 2019

Marc and NauticEd are a truly unique and serious combination. NauticEd boasts “the world’s most advanced sailing education and sailing certifications,” and they deliver. The online curriculum is extensive and thorough. It would have been nearly impossible to get through if it were not presented in an entertaining way. When it came time for on-the-water assessments, NauticEd recommended Marc Hughston of Santana Sailing. I contacted Marc and he arranged for a two-day session that he calls training and assessment.

I am an experienced sailor, and I was working to receive an International Sailing License and Credential (SLC) to support bareboat charting in the Med.

The first day, training, Marc runs you through a number of exercises on the water. Where you are lacking, he spends time teaching and cleaning up your technique. During the training day Marc evaluates your abilities and lets you know if you are ready for the assessment. The second day is the formal assessment. The assessment is thorough; it is not to be underestimated.

I’ve done a number of international bareboat charters and have decades of experience cruising the San Francisco Bay (and delta) and California coast, and I learned a lot from Marc. A couple of highlights include the med-mooring (I’m ready) and excellent man overboard strategies. I was also pretty rusty, we sold our last boat over 12 years ago. Marc’s patient style put me at ease and helped restore confidence.

Marc offers a number of practical courses, including overnight trips to Catalina and the Channel Islands. I plan to send my boys on one or more of those trips. And we may join Marc for a trip to Baja.

note: I very rarely give 5-star ratings.

Erwin G, April, 2019

I just did the slow cruise in the Sea of Cortez with Marc on a boat he chartered. I felt comfortable with Marc’s boat handling skills throughout the trip, especially in the 30 knot plus winds. Marc is knowledge and easy to approach with any questions you might have. On the slow cruise you can be as involved as you want in sailing the boat. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn to sail.

There were kayaks and a dingy for guest use, along with snorkel equipment. The meals were delicious and always plenty to eat. If you’re looking for a relaxing sailing adventure in the Sea of Cortez, contact Marc.

Susan O, February, 2019

As I am planning a multi-day Catalina trip (in addition to my 1-week Channel Islands trip) I found your book “Anchoring at Catalina” today, and I bought it. In my opinion, your book has the very best instructions for bow+stern anchoring of any of the other books about anchoring that I have read. Thank you!

Gerhard B, February, 2019

I enjoyed my sailing experience with Santana Sailing on Saturday. Every time I go on one of your spinnaker classes, I learn something new or have reinforcement of prior knowledge. I hope to do it again when you have another class offering.

Marc B, November, 2018

That was an awesome trip!! I hope you enjoyed your time in LAPAZ as well after the trip. Thanks again for getting us around safely and your hospitality.

Travis F., November, 2018

Our Sea of Cortez Trip with Santana Sailing
For those who seek seagoing adventure and discovery, there may be but a precious handful of adventure trips that compare with sailing the Sea of Cortez, perhaps the most unspoiled, uncrowded cruising waters anywhere….Having long admired Marc’s professional teaching skills and easy-going, gentle disposition, I jumped at the chance to join him on a week-long trip from La Paz to Loreto, Mexico. (We signed on for the one-week return leg as well.)  Read the full review here

Larry Lake, President
Western River Expeditions
April, 2018

I want to thank you and Chrissie for the first leg trip.  I have a charter coming up in about 3 weeks, and I joined the week in Mexico to get more experience as a charter captain.  When you realized that that was my intentions in joining you from La Paz to Loreto, you allowed to participate in your role as Captain.  I am very grateful and I am feeling confident in my role in May as charter captain.

I’d like to thank Chrissie, as well, for showing me and teaching me the difficult task of provisioning.  I took her suggestions and tips home, and I have made my own spreadsheets to chart the provisions for my charter.  It is a daunting task, but has been made easier by her help.

Thanks to everyone.  I hope our paths cross again in the future.

Leanne T., April 2018

On the Sea of Cortez trip, I had a wonderful time.  Another learning experience.  In winds of 25-30 knots, when the reef one & reef two clue strap broke, we had to get the mainsail down.  Marc handled this stressful situation perfectly, did a jerry-rig repair at Bahia SF, and once again I learned a great deal on this trip.

I keep returning to these experiences because it is the best way I know to see these boats in use, hard use, and how they hold up both from a design point of view as well as equipment failures.  Someday I hope to own a catamaran so these trips are invaluable lessons learned.

Jeff G., March 2018

Marc is a very competent, friendly, and supportive instructor. He never lost his patience with his students, even when things got stressful. You can tell that Marc loves sailing and loves teaching others about his passion. I look forward to sailing with and learning more from Marc in the future. 5/5 Stars.

William B., March 2018

I can recommend a sailing trip with Marc on the basis of professional organization and continuous learning opportunities. He is a very thorough skipper, with a deep background and a lot to offer the wannabe sailor. He also works very hard to make a voyage successful – on our trip to the Sea of Cortez, he took on the planning, provisioning, navigation, instruction and the majority of the cooking. He even bludgeoned a fish when we were able to haul one on board!

Steve C., December 2017

I just got back from a 4 day trip with Marc to the Channel Islands and Santa Barbara out of Newport.  He’s an incredible sailor, great guide, and good company for the trip.  On our trip the passengers were there to crew the boat, and Marc helped each of us elevate our skills and gain confidence.  I highly recommend Marc to anyone that is looking for a safe, fun charter or who just wants to become a better sailor.

Jeff M., August 2017

I just returned from a sailing trip with Marc to Catalina over the weekend and had a wonderful time. I have taken a few sailing classes through OCC but this was my first time doing an overnight trip on a sailboat. I was a little bit nervous about it, but Marc and his first mate Eric made all of us very comfortable. Although most of us were strangers at the start, we returned to the dock in Newport as friends. The meals were fantastic and the whole crew learned a lot, while having a great time.  Sailing through a pod of over 100 playful dolphins was an experience I’ll never forget!  I would definitely recommend sailing with Marc if you want to learn to sail, or just relax on board a sailboat!

Madison M., April 2017

Marc is a fantastic instructor and an even better sailing mate. I was fortunate enough to join Marc on a Lagoon 400 Catamaran from Oxnard to Santa Cruz and Anacapa Island and back. The sailing conditions around Santa Cruz Island are great and we had 20 knots of wind for much of the trip. Marc knows the islands like the back of his hand and knows the perfect places to anchor and explore. Marc’s excitement for the islands and sailing is infectious and each day away is adventurous and relaxing. I’m looking forward to many more trips with Marc and Santana Sailing. Besides the sailing – Marc’s cooking and culinary skills made the trip to die for. The food was the icing on the cake with this trip.

Ryan J.,  March 2017

I had a great time sailing the Sea of Cortez in December 2016. Marc is an excellent Captain and had lots of great things planned, as well as, went with the flow of the group. I highly recommend traveling with Marc. Even if its your first time sailing, its a great way to “get your feet wet”. PS-Single ladies- I met my boyfriend on one of Marc’s boat adventures. :)

Maria M.,  March 2017

Marc may quite possibly be the best instructor I’ve ever experienced. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable about sailing, boating, and the theory behind it all, he’s incredibly skilled at laying everything out in a clear and concise way, and being able to put things in a way that is easy to understand, take away, and use in the future. I swear I’ve learned more in his classes in a very short time than I’ve ever learned from any other teacher, in any other class, ever in my life. He’s always upbeat and willing to answer any question you might throw at him with a well thought out and knowledgeable answer based on real life experience. All that, and his classes are amazingly fun too! I’ve taken some of his classes three or more times just because of him and the cool people I meet on our adventures.

Because of Marc, I currently own my own boat and am working on sailing it around the world. I would not have the knowledge to take on a challenge like that were it not for him. Thanks Marc!!

Jimmy C.,  February 2017

I met Marc Hughston via my sailing school in Orange County.

I have sailed three Santana Charters with Marc and will sail again April 2017, from La Paz, BCS, with many more excursions planned.

Marc’s sailing skills and knowledge are excellent, as is his ability to teach those skills to a novice.

His patience with students or malfunctioning equipment is remarkable and he handles the unexpected in stride. Safety is of paramount importance with Marc. I know I could trust him with my life at sea.

He excels at meal planning and preparation and his trip planning for things to do while sailing, on-shore excursions, or sundowner activities are things I’ve added to my own sail planning.

In short, whether one is new to sailing or experienced, I believe my time and money spent with Santana Sailing has made me a better sailor. Marc can also make it just a fun time if that’s what one wants.

Jeff G.,  February 2017

I have been on several sailing vacations with Santana Sailing.  Have done Santa Cruz Island, Catalina, Sea of Cortez and Spanish Virgin Islands.  The sailing adventures are great fun!  You can work as much as you want on the sailboat, or just kick back and enjoy the beautiful scenery!  Capt. Marc is a knowledgeable and thorough certified sailing instructor as well as being familiar with the areas he charters to, ensuring a positive, safe, and fun experience.  I highly recommend sailing with Santana Sailing.  The trips tend to fill up fast, so it is good to book in advance!

Beth O., February 2017

I truly enjoyed our class.  I greatly appreciate your incredible knowledge and passion you show to teach sailing to others.  I am so looking forward to sail with you again.

Shaz S., October 2016

Was the most fun sailing day EVER for me!!!!!! Couldn’t get enough of it! The highest class I had before this though was Shields 1, so everyone else was much more experienced and credentialed than me. Thanks for putting up with the newbie! I found you to be a very patient and easy to understand instructor. Thanks for taking the extra time to explain things to me that most people already knew.

Linda M., March 2016

I have taken sailing and boating classes at multiple schools across the country and Marc is the best instructor I have found which is why I keep coming back to take classes at Orange Coast College. He has a deep knowledge on the subject of sailing and is an excellent teacher. A great quality of his is that he is always willing to teach things in challenging situations which other instructors might shy away from. On top of all that he is an accomplished cook. I would definitely recommend taking a sailing class from Marc.

James W., October 2015

I have had Marc as my instructor for Saddleback Vessel Command class and also have sailed as first mate with him at Orange Coast College in his anchoring at Catalina class. Marc has taught me more about heavy weather sailing than anyone I know. I have my captain’s license, so I know something about sailing and seamanship, but Marc is sailor’s sailor, the one I would go to push me to the limits. After sailing with Marc in some tough conditions I now know that I can handle difficult circumstances. I would not have learned this without his calm and confident command.

Jeff M., November 2012

Marc is a squared away sailor who immediately instills a sense of capability and confidence in his clients. One knows that the voyage will be successful. no matter what conditions prevail or what Mother Nature brings. All done with a cheerful, professional demeanor but never a sense of superiority. Would sail with him anywhere anytime as client or crew.

Ned T., January 2012

I had the pleasure of working with Marc as he was writing his excellent guide to Catalina Island, entitled ” Anchoring At Catalina. No Moorings. No Problem”. This consisted of a several day trip around the island in a 30′ sailboat, anchoring and getting photographs at all the sites. I learned more in that weekend than everything else combined.

Subsequent to that trip, we collaborated on a class for the sailing club, and feedback from attendees reinforced my strongly held opinion that Marc has a wealth of practical knowledge from his extensive experience, and he is a master at communicating it.  He is an excellent instructor, and truly a pleasure to work with.

Art A., January 2012

Very impressed in all categories.  A rare combination of natural teacher and seaman.  Exceeded my expectations.

Scott S., October 2011

Fantastic communicator; extremely knowledgable.

Carlos D., October 2011

April 4, 2010

The School of Sailing & Seamanship
Orange Coast College
Brad Avery, Directoer
1801 W. Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Brad Avery,

My name is Tom Barclay, and I attended my first OCCSA course when I signed up for the March 26 – March 29 All About Anchoring course with Marc Hughston as our instructor.  The purpose of my letter is to recognize the people at OCCSA for delivering such a great program and to thank Marc Hughston for an incredible learning experience.

I would like to let you know what a great value I think this class was.  It became clear to me from the moment we were to depart the dock that this class and Marc had a lot more to offer than just anchoring.  Marc studied the dock lines, the wind, the other boats end tied to the dock, and then he discussed with us the natural tendency for the boat to walk to port in reverse.  About the time when I thought to myself this is overkill, Marc looked at me as though he read my mind and said, “The only time I have ever gotten into trouble leaving the dock was when I did it in a hurry.”  Over the next few days with the same type of discipline we reviewed navigation, kept hourly logs, changed head sails under sail, reviewed sail trim, set a spinnaker, learned to survey anchorages and learned how to set bow and stern anchors in several of the coves on the North side of Catalina.

Marc’s subject knowledge, experience and his ability to relate to different personalities on the boat made for a terrific opportunity to learn.  I highly recommend this class to anyone who is interested in developing their boating skills.  I also received an email from Marc detailing the steps of anchoring that I will keep on my boat for future reference.

Thank you to you and your staff.


Tom Barclay