Flag Officers and Chairs

Chuck Cihak
Chuck, an almost San Francisco “native” growing up in Noe Valley, minus his first 5 years in Perth Australia, has been an active member of the SYC since 1992. He has had a long-standing love of the water, sailing, in particular, starting with the Sunfish. His racing bug was developed on the Ranger 23 and IOR boats, but for the last 15 years, he has been campaigning his J105. He enjoys the concept of bringing nature and team work together. Married to Stephanie since 1979, they have two children. He made a career as a building contractor primarily in San Francisco while Stephanie was a banker. Now that both of them have successfully escaped work life, they enjoy the Bay, bareboat charter opportunities, and time spent on Kauai.
Vice Commodore
Tom Kowalski
Tom Kowalski is a Buffalo, New York Native. With 4 decades of practice in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, his work has been peer-reviewed published in numerous International Journals on Hand Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Microsurgery. Outside of his professional efforts, he has sailed and owned many boats on San Francisco Bay along with the Caribbean. Currently, he resides Part Time on a 44 Defever in Sausalito and on land in Mill Valley, California Condo. He is an avid rower / Sculler on San Francisco Bay. Tom is resposible for the SYC Wednesday Night Speaker series.
Rear Commodore
Mary Wand
Mary is a San Francisco native who learned to love sailing while growing up in Melbourne, Australia, where she learned to sail on small boats. Back in the US, Mary continued to sail and started racing on Thistles, always as crew and never as skipper! When she started sailing regularly on the Bay it was clear that formal training seemed like a good idea, which eventually lead to her co-owning an Islander Freeport. Mary has been involved with the SYC Race Committee for many years and served as its chair in 2018. She continues to occasionally crew for races, both in San Francisco and when back in Melbourne, and tries to get out on her own (non-racing) boat as much as possible.
Junior Staff Commodore
Jock Rystrom
Jock started sailing as a teenager on a Sunfish on Lake Michigan. He moved from Chicago to Sausalito in 1974 and has been racing on the Bay ever since. He joined the SYC in 1984. He and his wife, Linda, enrolled their son, Erik, in Junior Sailing, and Jock soon became a strong supporter and advocate for the program. In 2006 he was asked to be a director of the Sausalito Youth Sailing Foundation Board and three years later was elected an officer. Jock is a licensed electrical contractor and works for a manufacturing company in Benicia. He and Linda reside in Novato. When on land, Jock enjoys motorcycle riding with the Montgomery Street Motorcycle Club, golfing, and skiing at the family’s cabin near Bear Valley
Karen Tischler
Karen has resided in Sausalito since 2010 after having moved to the Bay Area from Florida to open and manage the Western Division of her marine insurance company. She has been an active member of the SYC since joining and enjoys volunteering as the Ship’s Store Captain and Buyer. Karen’s love of sailing in the Bahamas and Florida led her to take the plunge in the Bay waters co-owning a 36’ Islander Freeport. Traveling extensively, Karen visits the Yacht Clubs around the country exchanging burgees and extending SYC’s Friendliest Club on the Bay welcome to all.
John Wales
John has been a CPA since 1972 having started his career with Price Waterhouse & Co. He moved to Sausalito in 1972 and raced a Ranger 26 for many years. He has been a member of the SYC for almost 40 years. With experience in public and private accounting, he started his CPA practice in 1981 in San Francisco. In 2015 he relocated his office to Sausalito. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of CPAs. John and his wife Diana reside in Sausalito.
Port Captain
Russell Croce
Membership Chair
Renee Linde
Renee lives happily in Sausalito with her husband Nick. They joined Sausalito Yacht Club in 2007. In her professional life, she was a sales executive for several technology companies during her twenty-five years in Silicon Valley. She has happily left that behind and is now exploring her creative side. Renee has been in and on the water her whole life. Her first sailing experience was in summer camp. Unfortunately reading wind direction thwarted her and she had to be towed back to base each afternoon. Limited by the ability to sail in only one direction, she turned in her PFD and didn’t sail again until she turned 45. Enrolling in Modern Sailing, she learned to sail so she could serve as trusty crew for Nick once he began racing their Sabre 40 in SYC’s Tuesday Night and Twin Island races. She has sailed extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest and the Caribbean. Sailing the Dalmatian Coast is on the top of her bucket list.
Race Committee Chair
Mark Kamen
Mark is from New York City where he was born, grew up, raised his family, and worked until 5 years ago when he and Rhonda retired (both for the second time) and moved to San Francisco to be with their two sons and grandchildren. As a member of the racing-focused Nyack Boat Club on the Hudson River, Mark owned and raced his Ensign one design sailboat for 27 years. In 2003 his boat came in 2nd in the 45 boat Ensign Nationals held at Nyack. Of course Mark was NOT on the boat as he chartered it to the Ensign National Commodore for the Regatta. At the Nyack Boat Club Mark was active on the Race Committee, served as Senior Fleet Captain, a Board Governor, and two terms as Rear Commodore. Here on the Bay, Mark and Rhonda sail their Nonsuch 30U, which Mark sporadically races (poorly). When not on the water, Mark had a successful 37-year career in advertising.
Sailing Instructor Chair
Al Groh
Al was born and raised in San Francisco (Lincoln HS). Growing up in the City he crewed on an variety of sailboats. Cal 20 , Cal 25, Bear, Folk Boat, Spaulding 33. Professional seafaring life in the US Merchant Marine. Sailed as a Deck Officer aboard American flagged ships homeported in San Francisco. Studied as a deck cadet at Texas A M Maritime Academy (Sea Aggie). After years at sea elected to serve with the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots ( Vice President Pacific Ports ). Leaving the Maritime industry appointed to the Union of American Physicians and Dentists. Retired 2016 as Executive Director. Joined the SYC in 2011. Currently serving on the Sausalito Youth Sailing Foundation Board. Owner of a Islander Bahama 30 sailboat berthed at Sausalito Clipper YH. Al and his wife Terry (a native San Franciscan Mercy HS) spend leisurely time with children and grandchildren as well as regular travelers and vacationers aboard mid size cruise ships
Cruise Chair
AJ Busta
AJ has a strong affinity for the sea and is most content living near the water. Her desire to learn how to sail came about when she connected with a group of avid racers. They invited her to join their race team out of San Francisco. The thrill of racing motivated her to take sailing lessons. She was soon participating in more regattas on the San Francisco Bay and offshore. AJ also enjoys being part of the SYC Race Committee. As Cruise Chair, she looks forward to inspiring others to go boating and exploring.
Entertainment Chair
Alexandra Maguire
Alexandra grew up in Tiburon, California. Her family was active members of the San Francisco Yacht club, where she and her brother participated in the Junior Sailing Program. She also spent a great deal of her time caring for and riding her horse through the Tiburon hills and skiing and vacationing with her family in Lake Tahoe. When in high school, Alexandra moved with her family to Switzerland and attended an international boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland. Subsequently, she lived and attended college in Paris. After college, she returned to Marin, married, and raised two daughters. Alexandra owns and operates a Personal Assistant and Home Management Business serving Marin and San Francisco. She joined the Sausalito Yacht Club in 2005 and became an active part of the SYC Entertainment Committee in 2014, where she works with the team help create enjoyable events all year.
Auxiliary President
Heidi Engelbrechten
Although Heidi is not a sailor, she is a mother of two sailors who have learned their craft here at the Sausalito Yacht Club. The two are a brother and sister team, Sean and Megan, that have competed for the Club for two years. Her son continues to support the Club’s Youth Sail Program as an Instructor. Her husband, Hugh, was a competitive sailor in Europe as well. Heidi has been a full-time mother and a volunteer in many community groups through the years. Recently she joined the workplace again as an Office Administrator in Sausalito. She has spent the last three years volunteering with the SYC Auxiliary and loves the group she gets to work with and the events she helps bring to the Club.
Communications Chair
Tammy Blanchard
Tammy has been boating since her dad bought a 24' Skipjack when she was sixteen. She grew up in Santa Cruz where she spent a lot of time in and on the ocean, diving, surfing and sailing. Tammy has been a member of the Sausalito Yacht club since 2005. She and her husband Ross have six children four grandchildren, they live in Sausalito on their motor yacht, Nomata.
House Chair
Courtney Goff
Courtney became interested in boating, sailing in particular, when he was living on a houseboat in the Berkely Marina in the early 1970’s and bought a 10 foot lap strake, cat rigged sailboat, occasionally attempting to sail it to Angel Island, always unsuccessfully. He continued this interest in sailing in Santa Cruz from the mid-1980’s until moving to Sausalito with his wife Mary in 2010, and eventually bringing his SF based sailboat to Sausalito. Courtney had a career as a general building contractor for 34 years in Santa Cruz and the South Bay before retiring to spend time closer to 4 of his now 6 grandchildren. He loves the boating community and looks forward to many more times on the water with friends and family