He Owes It All to a Garbage Bag

By: Instructors, Schools

Outstanding Instructor Spotlight

Outstanding Instructor Steve Klump

Few men can credit a garbage bag for leading them towards the career of their dreams, but Steve Klump does just that.

“I became instantly hooked on sailing through an ‘ah-ha’ moment while canoeing downwind in Everglades National Park using a garbage bag as a sail,” Steve says of the inspiration. “From that day forward I progressed through all sorts of sailing craft.”

Always an outdoorsman, Klump is a former Ranger with the National Park Service where he spent many an afternoon hiking in the serenity of the deep woods and mountains. Today, he still finds that peace and serenity, but these days it’s upon the gorgeous waters of the Puget Sound.

For the past three years Steve has been teaching at Puget Sound Sailing Institute in Tacoma, Washington and was recognized recently as one of the American Sailing Association’s outstanding instructors. With humility, he said of the honor:

“Hard to say what makes me an ‘outstanding instructor’. For starters, thanks to all the students who took the time to complete the ASA instructor evaluation! I also believe the course curriculums of the Puget Sound Sailing Institute and the student-focused philosophy and passion of PSSI owner Mike Rice sets the foundation for success.

“I always do my best to thoroughly cover the course curriculum while tailoring it to the individual needs of each student, all while trying to keep it fun.”

Steve says he likes to teach 101 classes with the Martin 242, a Canadian one-design that is pretty fast and responsive, with a small cabin for overnight trips.

“It is a very responsive boat in all conditions and can accommodate the student’s needs very well,” Klump said.

Like any good educator, Steve still makes sure he is learning himself. He is an avid sailor beyond what his work requires, and finds his way to some pretty cool places.

“I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to complete many passages, each with its own excitement and adventure, but sailing to the Galapagos Islands is a personal highlight.”

Asked where his chosen cruising grounds lay he said:

“My favorite place in the world to sail, from a cruising perspective, is without a doubt, the Pacific Northwest and Inside Passage.

Klump clearly has a deep love for sailing. Although he’s sailed on boats of all kinds, including well-appointed blue-water cruisers loaded with all the goodies, he still is happy to pull out the trash bag and canoe and hit some little sweet spot on the Puget Sound.

“The beauty of sailing is that you can find your personal bliss  anywhere from a canoe and a garbage bag to a world cruising/racing boat. You can get as in-depth with the many facets of sailing as you like and there will always be something new to learn if you want to.”