Featured Instructor: Captain Chris Cooper

By: Instructors, Schools

Captain Chris Cooper of Anchors Aweigh Sailing School is a waterman. He has been sailing for more than 40 years on all styles of boats, from a 14-foot Sunfish to a 48-foot catamaran. He has his 100-ton Near Coastal Captain’s License, and he is a retired Navy Commander (submarines). Captain Chris has sailed on lakes, rivers, sounds, and open ocean. His longest trip was a 39-day voyage from La Rochelle, France to Annapolis, MD. He has been teaching ASA classes for 13 seasons.  

Captain Chris Cooper is this month’s Featured Instructor.

American Sailing: What got you into sailing?

Captain Chris Cooper:
My family with seven children grew up without television because my mother said there was nothing but junk on it (circa. 1965), so we read, a lot. Stories of people sailing the world enraptured me. I joined the Navy and within a few years had my own 14-foot Sunfish. This little boat was traded for bigger and bigger boats; I raced in regattas; I taught my sons how to sail; I cut teeth on open-ocean sailing (came in 2nd in the Newport to Bermuda in 2012); and finally crossed the ocean from France to the US. I am still a pollywog; I hope to fix that someday.

American Sailing: What was your most memorable student or class?

Captain Chris Cooper:
A family of three — a father, mother, and 15-year-old son — took their first sailing adventure with me. All three immediately recognized the magic of sailing and they enthusiastically pursued more knowledge and experiences. Since that first class, they have bought their own boat and have brought me on board to teach them how their boat responds. It has been an amazingly wonderful experience helping them get to where they want to be.

American Sailing: What is your favorite place to sail?
Captain Chris Cooper:
The Caribbean, of course. My first port-of-call in the Navy was St. Thomas, USVI.  Those islands will always hold a special place in my heart.
American Sailing: Why do you sail?
Captain Chris Cooper:
For the Zen of it. If a person wants to cleanse their mind of the daily troubles and worries, nothing works better than a sail that lasts for days.  Even a few hours on the water can lift one’s spirits.
American Sailing: What do people not know about sailing that they should?
Captain Chris Cooper:
Downwind sailing is the slowest point of sail; it is most the most comfortable, but it is not very fast.  I am constantly reminded of this misconception in the ASA-101 courses when nearly every sailor discovers that sails acting as kites are not nearly as fast as when they act like airplane wings.
American Sailing: Why should people sail?

Captain Chris Cooper:
For the adventure of it and to have stories to share with their friends.  All good sailing stories start with:  “There I was….”.

Anchors Aweigh Sailing School, New London, CT

You can find and sail with Captain Chris Cooper at Anchors Aweigh Sailing School in New London, CT.


Anchors Aweigh Sailing Schoolanchorsaweighsailing.com(860) 514-0137 Anchors Aweigh Sailing School 70 Howard StreetNew LondonCT06320USA
Courses Offered:
101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 114, 116, 117, 118, 119