Meet Our Crew

at MBJA

Marie Mell Colville MBJA Sailing Director

Marie Mell Colville

Director

Marie joined us again at the start of 2021 as our new Sailing Director! Having previously served a 6-year term as Director of the MBJA, Marie comes to us with a ton of experience. Not only that, but Marie is also a winning collegiate athlete and coach, a top women’s sailor and organizer in MBYC’s JY15 ladies racing programs, and in recent years, she campaigned her own Melges 24 in Holland-area races.

Marie retired from her a long career as a teacher, most recently serving as the Reading Specialist at Orchard View High School since 2015 in Muskegon and prior to that teaching 1st grade at Eagle Crest in Holland.

email: marie@mbja.org

Hannah Hopf

Assistant Director

A graduate of Saugatuck High School and Northern Michigan University, Hannah raced on the sailing team at both schools and has her bachelor’s degree in outdoor recreation and leadership management.

We have Hannah’s older cousins to thank for getting her into sailing at a young age. Someday, Hannah hopes to sail in Greece.

As Assistant Director, Hannah enjoys working behind the scenes, to make sure our kids are having the best experience possible. They entertain her all day long.

Marie Mell Colville MBJA Sailing Director

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Read About Our 2023 Crew Below

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Sydney Lewis

This is Sydney’s 6th summer coaching at MBJA and she has been sailing for 12 years! She is entering her junior year at Butler University.

“I just want to help kids find a love for sailing that my instructors helped me find growing up.” One of the most important life lessons Syndey learned from sailing is that, “things aren’t always going to go the way they want them to because you cannot control everything. You just have to keep going and it will all work out in the end.”

“Everyone that works at MBJA loves sailing and just wants to help the kids have fun and enjoy their time while also getting an educational experience.”

Eden Nykamp

Eden is an esteemed MBJA alumni and has been coaching here for 4 years. Eden’s dad had sailing lessons as a kid and encouraged her to sign up for summer camp 10 years ago and she’s been crushing it on the water ever since.

Eden attends University of South Florida and races for her school’s team, in addition to racing her bicycle. 

The biggest life lesson Eden has taken away from sailing is that “stuff happens. You just gotta embrace every moment and roll with it.” A note to future students based on an experience she witnessed with another student is, “don’t overeat before sailing, especially not pure sugar.”

picture of ali swets
picture of ali swets

Anneke Hackney

Anneke is a junior at Black River High School and a first-year member of MBJA’s coaching team. On Wednesday nights, you can find her racing on the J29, Ignatz.

In addition to her love of sailing, Anneke loves connecting with the kids at MBJA. Witnessing their passion for sailing blossom and seeing them embrace the sport brings her so much joy.

Never too young to be dreaming of the future, Anneke thinks she may pursue a career in nursing, given her compassion and desire to care for others. 

Jack Bergman

Jack is a senior at Hope College majoring in Mechanical Engineering, and an esteemed alumnus of MBJA. Born into a sailing legacy, Jack’s grandparents are well known in the sailing community for their passion for the sport and lifetime of competitive racing.

Having grown up in Chicago, Jack started sailing at Lyons Township High School, where he raced out of Columbia Yacht Club. Jack takes pride in watching kids learn and grow, finding inspiration in their excitement and enthusiasm.

picture of ali swets
picture of ali swets

Lauren Siegers

Lauren is a 3rd year coach at MBJA who does not come from a sailing family, but now has 5 years of sailing experience from MBJA and racing with the Holland Christian team. She will be a sophomore this year at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Sailing has taught Lauren, “how to let things go. When I get hard on myself after a bad race, I usually sail bad the next race. Being able to move on from something bad and focus on what’s ahead, instead of what’s already happened, makes life a whole lot more enjoyable.”

Lauren wants future students to know that, “we have the best coaches ever. I learned everything I know about sailing from MBJA, but our coaches have had impacts on my life outside sailing.”

Kiarra Bracelly

Kiarra is a 2nd year coach at MBJA! She has 8 years of experience sailing a boat even though no one else in her family sails. 

Sailing has taught Kiarra, “Nature will always win. Expect the unexpected. It taught me perseverance, patience, hard work, self improvement, keep a focused mind in all circumstances.”

Kiarra wants future students to know that, “Sailing teaches you memorable lessons that you will use for the rest of your life.”

picture of ali swets
picture of ali swets

Taylor Rode

This is Taylor’s 2nd year coaching at MBJA, and she has been sailing for 9 years!

“[My favorite sailing memory] was when I got to sail with my sister at a regatta in Chicago. We had so much fun and made lots of good memories together!”

“I loved my time sailing opti’s, but I’ve also loved sailing 420s in high school! I cant choose!”

Work hard! I remember one of my MBJA sailing coaches telling me “Work harder than those in front of you, until there is no one in front of you at all.” This quote has really stuck with me in my life even beyond sailing.

Johnny Hessler

Meet Johnny Hessler, a senior at East Grand Rapids High School and a second-year coach at MBJA.

Johnny’s sailing journey began as a summer camp kid where he eventually joined Team Mac and has raced all over the Midwest.

The interactive nature of sailing is what keeps Johnny coming back. He enjoys connecting with parents, kids, and coaches. Johnny loves to pass down “signature tricks” to the kids to make lessons more memorable.

picture of ali swets
picture of ali swets

LJ Nykamp

A third-year coach, LJ started sailing with the MBJA at seven years old and now has seven years of sailing education and practice. He races on the Black River sailing team where he will be a Junior this year and is also on the ski team in the winter.

His proudest sailing accomplishment (so far) was getting the opportunity to race a VX One with two other MBJA alumni in the 2022 Chubb U.S. Junior Sailing Championships for the Sears Cup, hosted right here at Mac Bay. The trio got 4th place out of 10 boats amongst some of the top sailors in the country and also took home the Sportsmanship award.

LJ’s favorite part about coaching is seeing his students’ progression within the program and showing them how far sailing can take them.

Matthew Tevelde

This is Matthew’s first year coaching at MBJA.

A sophomore at West Ottawa High School and member of the sailing team there, Matthew started sailing at the young age of 7 through the MBJA, and racing since he turned 11.

For Matthew, coaching is all about being on the water and enjoying the outdoors. The fun and energetic environment at MBJA makes it the perfect place to share his enthusiasm and experience with young sailors.

Last year, Matthew started getting into laser racing, and it quickly became his new favorite. His favorite sailing destination so far has been Chicago.

picture of ali swets
picture of ali swets

Toren Elmer

Meet Toren Elmer, a junior at Black River High School and a proud MBJA alumnus. Not much into racing, Toren prefers cruising with his family.

In the future, this young man can see himself following the family tradition of becoming a lawyer, specifically real estate law, or maybe joining the Coast Guard.

Toren’s favorite part about coaching is meeting people.

Cameron Bert

Cameron Bert joined as a new coach this year after participating in MBJA programs for 5 years. He’ll be going into his sophomore year and is the sole member of the sailing team at Zeeland High School.

This adventurous young man has done three Port Huron to Mackinaw races on his grandfather’s Benetau 42 First, Liberty, and races aboard Farr 30, Quiet Storm, out of Macatawa on Wednesday nights.

Cameron’s favorite part about coaching is being out on the water all day (who wouldn’t love that?) and his proudest sailing accomplishment was coming in 3rd place in last year’s PH to Mac race.

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