Eric Bardes – Head Coach
Eric Bardes is a well-known and respected youth sailing coach. He has introduced hundreds of young people to competitive sailing, many of whom have gone on to become top sailors in their class including three Olympians. During his time as head coach for the United States Optimist Dinghy Association National Team, Eric worked with the best sailors from around the world. He is excited to have joined Team Lima as head coach and is looking forward to working to bring new sailors to the highest level they which to reach.
In addition to being a sailing coach, Eric is also a middle school Marine Science teacher in St Petersburg Florida and a father of two teenagers; Noah, 13, and Isabel, 16. On his off days, Eric enjoys fishing, snorkeling, and restoring a 1978 Potter-built SeaCraft.
“I think a good coach needs to be a counselor and a tactician, in addition to being a tough football coach. You have to be able to be any of those things at any given time and ready to switch those modes depending on the needs of each child.”
Leigh Kempton Brown
I began sailing optis at 8 years old in New Jersey. During my opti career I competed in a Eurpoean Championship, 2 World’s Championships and won the USODA Nationals. After Optis I moved on to 420s where I continued to sail nationally and internationally, competing in the ISAF Youth Worlds in Poland. I attended Boston College where we won Women’s Nationals and I received Honorable Mention All-American twice.
I started coaching Optis at Bay Head Yacht Club 11 years ago. I then coached an opti travel team for two summers out of Long Beach Island, New Jersey. For the past 7 years I have been coaching for first Gnarly, then SailStrong, and now finally LIMA. I am currently living in New York City where I am entering my 6th year as a teacher and am currently teaching the 5th grade. I was a finalist for the Big Apple Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014.
I received a business degree from Boston College where I graduated in 2009 but through my time coaching youth sailing I realized a passion for teaching. I obtained a Masters in Education from Brown University in 2010 and a 2nd Masters in Special Education from Fordham University in 2013.
I started coaching sailing 10 years ago as an Opti Coach at Bay Head Yacht Club. After working at Bay Head and Brant Beach Yacht Clubs coaching both Optis and 420s for 5 summers, I had graduated from Brown University, and I began coaching full time as the Head Coach of the Columbia University Sailing Team. In the summers when Columbia was not in session I coached 420s and optis, leading Gnarly for 1 summer before coaching for SailStrong and then subsequently LIMA. Once I had graduated from Fordham Law I stepped away from collegiate coaching and started coaching LIMA full time.
I grew up in Wyckoff, NJ and began sailing Optis at Barnegat Light Yacht Club on Long Beach Island when I was 6 years old. After a successful opti career culminating in competing for the US in Optimist North American and South American Championships I began sailing 420s where I continued to sail nationally and internationally. I attended Brown University and graduated in 2010 as an All-American. When I can find the time to race my own boat I sail Lightnings, finishing 7th in the 2011 Worlds and 5th in 2013 Worlds. I currently live in New York City with my wife, Leigh, and our dogs Tiller and Bear .
I have been involved in teaching and running sailing programs for over 15 years. During high school and college I taught in summer programs in Florida and Connecticut. After college, between several other jobs, I started coaching high school sailing part time in Florida. That led me to eventually becoming the Executive Director of the US Sailing Center of Martin County(USSCMC) in Jensen Beach, Florida. As Direcor at USSCMC, I coordinated various programs including a 300+ kid summer program, year round racing programs for Optimists, Club 420 / Laser and High School racing, adult learn-to-sail, and numerous outreach programs in the surrounding community.
During my time at USSCMC, I developed my love for coaching in the Optimist Class, building a team at a facility that had never provided high level Optimist training. In a few years the program went from a few green fleet sailors to consistently placing sailors on the US National Team and international regattas with USODA, including multiple IODA regattas.
I have been working predominantly with Optis since 2006. In that time, I have done a significant amount of coaching with USODA, including working with the USNT and attending several international regattas with the US team.
I have a passion for working with young sailors and helping them expand and reach their goals in sailing and life, as well as developing a love of the sport and being on the water.
Scott Norman is currently the Southeast Aftermarket Manager for Harken Yacht Equipment. He received his B.A. in Communications in 1994 from the University of South Florida and went on to be the Sailing Director for Lauderdale Yacht Club for 5 years. In 2000, Scott moved back to his current hometown of St. Petersburg, FL to become the Intercollegiate Sailing Director at Eckerd College. After 5 years leading a college sailing program, he was offered a position with Harken, Inc and has been a SE Territory Manager for 9 years. In 1995, Scott was one of the founding coaches of the US Optimist National Team and later became the Head Coach of the program for 8 years. During this time, Scott started and led the U.S. Optimist National Development Team which served as a skill building platform for future aspiring USNT sailors. Over the past 19 years of coaching Optimist Sailors, Scott has coached a number of successful Optimist programs including CBOT, MOST, FAST, P1, SailStrong Youth Racing, and now LIMA. Also during this period, Scott has coached 18 USODA International Teams, 11 of which were IODA Championships. Scott’s coaching philosophy is simple; Encouragement, enthusiasm and consistency to personal attention in finding a sailor’s strengths and weaknesses is the key to a positive experience.
I got my start coaching sailing with teaching optis to my many younger cousins. From there, I have worked as a private coach for optis, lasers, club and international 420’s. I worked as the racing 420 and optimist coach for Shrewsbury Sailing & Yacht Club (Shrewsbury, NJ) in 2010, and I was the head coach of the Point Pleasant High School Sailing Team (Point Pleasant, NJ) in 2010. I have also coached sporadically for teams such as Bay Head Yacht Club, LISOT, and the Columbia University Sailing Team. Mainly, I’ve worked for private teams, trying to fit as much coaching in as possible between school and my “inside jobs” working in brain research.
I started sailing in Bay Head, NJ, where I raced optis. I then trained with Leigh and Will in high school, racing club and international 420’s. I competed in the Co-ed i420 Worlds in Brest, France and in the Women’s i420 Worlds in Canary Islands, Spain. I currently live in Manhattan. Sailing now, I mainly race E Scows (either skipper or trim spinnaker) out of NJ.
I graduated from Yale University in 2013 with a BS in Psychology. At Yale, I was on the varsity sailing team (freshman captain, 2007-2008) and also worked in neuroimaging research, mainly working with children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as people with addiction. In 2015, I completed a Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program at Columbia University. I’m currently in my last year of a Master of Science program in Bioethics also at Columbia University. After this, I’m working to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience.