Professional Captains

Professional Captains

Someone wise once said “you are known by the company you keep”. Pinnacle is honored to keep company with USCG Licensed Captains that are the best in the business. They are deeply skilled mariners that are highly educated with remarkable careers, life experiences, and inviting personalities.

Each Professional Captain has had vast time at sea and underwent rigorous screening and testing by the United States Coast Guard to achieve and maintain their Master license.

Every course offered by Pinnacle Yachts is taught exclusively by these highly skilled USCG Licensed Captains. Using Pinnacle’s renowned curriculum, they deliver top-quality instruction in a way that builds skill and confidence.

Professional Captains are also available for hire directly by Pinnacle Members to assist with operating the yacht so that the Member can focus on entertaining business associates, friends and family. These Captains are wonderful people that make your yachting event truly special and help you shine as the host.

Captain Mitch
USCG Licensed Master
Sail and Power

Mitch has explored the waters of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines and has sailed both coasts of the U.S. He has a friendly, attentive style that fits well in both the charter and instruction environment. As a full-time professional mariner, Mitch provides instruction and charter captain services on a large variety of both power and sail vessels. He has previously served as a partner in a private equity firm and was a consultant at a major firm in Chicago. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Captain Rich
USCG Licensed Master
Sail and Power

Growing up on Long Island Sound, Rich was drawn to offshore sailing. It was this great enthusiasm for the sea that led him to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and later to serve with the Coast Guard. A twenty-year corporate career followed, and now in addition to his commitment to Pinnacle Yachts, Rich is a dedicated middle-school math teacher and athletic coach. He owns a fine sailboat in Chicago, vacations on his second boat in Florida, and frequently sails the blue waters of the Caribbean. Rich holds a BS in Ocean Engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, an MS in Education from Lewis University, and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

Captain Pam
USCG Licensed Master
Power

Friendly and energetic, Pam pilots and teaches yachting with confidence and finesse. She is known for her ability to use varying techniques to match the unique learning needs of her students, which makes her a very popular among people new to boating. Enjoys piloting charters whether it is a business/client event or a family outing. Pam is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a Bachelor degree in Science.

Captain Dave G
USCG Licensed Master
Sail and Power

Dave has been following his passion for connecting people with the water by working in the charter and tour boat industry for more than twenty years. He has held USCG Captain’s positions with some of the most prestigious large ships in Chicago and Key West including both of those city’s flagships. A very thorough and patient instructor and former docent, Dave is also known for using his love of Chicago architecture and history to create informative and memorable on-the-water experiences. With more than 10 Chicago Mac races to his credit Dave hopes to one day achieve Island Goat status. Dave holds a BS in Financial Management from DePaul University.

Captain Russ
USCG Licensed Master
Sail and Power

Russ was born with a love of the water. As a boy he wandered the harbors of Chicago and built his first sailboat at age twelve. He has since honed his skills and has emerged as a highly sought-after racing and cruising skipper. Russ is an “Island Goat” with over 30 successful Chicago Mac Races to his credit. He is passionate about the importance of lifelong learning with teamwork. This attitude is manifest in his yachting, musical and distinguished civic service endeavors. Russ holds a BS in Business Administration from Western Illinois University.

Captain Dave R
USCG Licensed Master
Sail and Power

Dave has a true passion for travel, adventure, and education. Raised near the shores of Lake Michigan, he became involved with boating at a young age. These days he spends his free time on powerboats and racing his sailboat. Dave is an educator at heart, he teaches high school and college aerospace courses. He also teaches sailing and powerboat classes at Pinnacle Yachts and is a US Sailing/Powerboating Instructor. When not on the water he can be found in the air as a commercial pilot and flight instructor. Dave holds a BS in Aeronautics from the University of North Dakota and graduate degrees in Education from Eastern Illinois University and Concordia University.

Captain David L
USCG Licensed Master
Power

David is eclectic, adaptable and sincere. Life motto is ‘Carpe Diem’. Captaining US Coast Guard vessels, the Amistad, private yacht charters, commercial charters, in the Great Lakes, Atlantic, and Virgin Islands for nearly 20 years. Professional works include engineer, adjunct professor, ski instructor, tennis instructor, adaptive scuba diving instructor, lobbyist, mentor, and business owner. Born in Chicago and a man of the world, he enjoys sharing his love for aquatics and respect for boating. David is a fun loving, outgoing, friendly spirit who gravitates to young and old alike. He holds a BS from IIT and an MS from Grantham University.

Captain Rosalie
USCG Licensed Master
Sail

Rosalie Johnson, originally from the bayous of Venice, Louisiana is a world traveler and lifetime sailor. Her family left Louisiana and moved to the United Kingdom where her father built a 42’ ocean going catamaran. Rosalie and her family lived aboard and traveled Europe, Caribbean, and US Coast for several years. At the age of 16, Rosalie moved ashore and attended college in New Orleans studying to be an elementary school teacher. After marrying, she and her husband traveled through Central America doing humanitarian work for ten years before settling in Chicago in 1996 where their 3rd child was born and Rosalie began teaching for a small private school. Living on the shores of Lake Michigan revived her passion for sailing and she began working with Chicago Sea Scouts and the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing programs and in 2015, she completed her second Atlantic crossing back to the U K as crew on a tall ship. Upon return to Chicago, Rosalie completed her USCG Masters Exam and US Sailing Keel Boat Instructors Course and is a now a charter captain and sailing instructor.

Captain Jerry
USCG Licensed Master
Sail

Captain Jerry is a seasoned, Coast Guard 100 Ton Licensed Captain, with additional Coast Guard Licensing Certifications of Able Body Seaman and Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW.)  He also holds Coast Guard Endorsements in Sailing Operations, Towing Service and FCC Marine Radio Operations

Captain Jerry, is well known on the Chicago Sail Race circuit, having captured three, consecutive First Place Overall, finishes and placing  in the top three section finishes in 19 of the Internationally known Chicago to Mackinac Island Sailboat Race.  He campaigns his family boat Providence, an Ericson 35, in the Mac and in local competition throughout the summer.  He has extensive experience in operating Sail and Power Vessels to 49 foot in length, for over 40 years. He holds a Masters in Business Administration, from DePaul University’s Kellstadt School of Business.  In addition he an Internationally Certified P.A.D.I Divemaster, a National Safety Council First Aid, CPR and AED  Instructor, a Coast Guard sanctioned Merchant Marine Course Instructor, a US Navy Veteran and Member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Captain Mark
USCG Licensed Master
Power

Captain Mark began living his dream as a five year old boy who raced popsicle sticks down the gutter with a water hose. They were popsicle sticks to anyone else, but to Mark, they were boats. Growing up in the Chesapeake Bay Area meant that Mark was always surrounded by boats.  As past President of the International Shipmasters Association and recipient of their prestigious 2016 Ludington Award, Mark has always know that his destiny was to become a boat captain who delivered the most fun.  Holding a 100 ton USCG license, safety is his second name and helping others to enjoy boating while being safe has become his trademark.  He is known as Chicago’s premium party boat captain who everyone wants to have as their guide and instructor.   He holds a Bachelor of Science from Chicago State University in Biology.

Captain Paul
USCG Licensed Master
Sail and Power

Captain Paul holds a USCG Master Captains License and operates both sail and power boats. He holds sailing and towing endorsements, is First Aid/CPR Certified, and is U.S. Sailing Offshore Safety at Sea Certified. A frequent speaker at the Chicago Boat Show, Captain Paul teaches long distance Offshore Passage Making classes, women only classes, and volunteers as a beginning thru Advanced Adult Sailing and Racing Instructor at Columbia Yacht Club in Chicago. For more than 30-years, he has owned and operated several sailboats, and has cruised and raced extensively on the Great Lakes with more than 16 Chicago-Mac Races and more than 35,000 sea miles. A calm and patient teacher, Paul has inspired many to become skilled and confident sailors, and set off to pursue  their own adventures and extended passages. When not on a boat Paul spends his time enjoying the outdoors and pursues his passions for skiing, iceboat sailing, traveling, hiking, and biking.

Captain Patrick
USCG Licensed Master
Sail

Patrick is an avid outdoor enthusiast and sailor.  He was the former Racing Committee Regatta Chairman for Columbia Yacht Club.  Besides actively racing on Lake Michigan, including the Chicago to Mackinac Island race, Patrick is long-distance backpacker having hiked the entire 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail, author of a book entitled The Green Tunnel, A Hiker’s Appalachian Trail Diary, a professional presenter at seminars, and a photographer.  Selected pieces of his art are on display at the Illinois State Museum.  He is a retired Federal Bank Examiner and Certified Fraud Examiner.  His former career required extensive travel and he lived in Texas, Eastern Europe and on the east coast.  Patrick holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and Banking from the University of Wisconsin and BS Degree from Indiana University.

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“I just wanted to take a minute and compliment you, your team and your systems… Everyone is very professional to deal with, replies promptly and works with their Captain’s vs. against. You find a way to say yes (when appropriate of course) instead of no. [Captain] Pat’s a great guy and instructor. What I would give to have just 10% of his patience! I observed that the other instructors had similar relationships with their trainees. Good management, good people, good systems and a pleasure to work with. You deserve nothing but success. Job well done.”

D.B.
Small Business Owner
Captain, Independence Day