The Nautical Science Program is staffed by individuals with advanced sailing knowledge. On campus, experienced instructors teach the classroom portion of the courses. On the water, the course is taught by highly skilled and dedicated sailors. All Nautical Science Program staff are U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captains and the boats have been certified by the Coast Guard for use as training vessels in the Nautical Science Program.
Our staff’s experience at sea varies from racing, cruising, ocean passage-making, commercial shipping, and even boat construction. Our instructors have sailed worldwide and bring with them a wealth of teaching experience seldom found in seafaring programs.
Captain Lars P. Harding, Program Director, Nautical Science
Captain Lars has been teaching nautical science for USC since 1988. He received his B.S. in Business Administration from USC in 1989. Licensed since 1985, he has shipped out as captain or 1st mate aboard vessels of all shapes and sizes including, offshore supply ships, WW II amphibious landing ships, hazardous cargo towing vessels, and sailing vessels of all types. Additionally, Captain Harding has experience in containerized shipping, offshore oil drilling, oil spill recovery and managing yacht charters/yacht sales companies. He now happily spends his weekdays in the classroom at USC and weekends aboard the wooden sailing schooner Atlantas sailing with USC students. Although Captain Harding enjoys sharing experiences, funny anecdotes and humorous sea stories with all his classes, past students will tell you that he takes the responsibility of preparing all USC students for their sea voyages very seriously and expects the same from them.
Captain John Ugoretz, Lecturer and Vessel Captain
Captain Ugoretz received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1991 (yes, that other Cal). He’s a marine biologist working for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife but sailing has been a passion for him from sailing sabots and lasers as a child in Southern California to sailing onboard the Brigantine Schooner Corwith Cramer in the Sea Education Association’s Sea Semester program to ocean passages from California to Hawaii and Costa Rica to the Galapagos Islands. Captain Ugoretz can not only show students the ropes, but also ensure that they know what fish they see in the ocean around them, even when the fish is a whale.
Captain Paul Prioleau, Lecturer and Vessel Captain
Paul Prioleau has a lifetime of sailing and boating experience, having cruised extensively from Alaska to Mexico, between California and Hawaii, through the Caribbean, and across the South Pacific to Tahiti, Tonga and New Zealand. He has a USCG 100-ton Master’s License, and is certified as a USCG Licensing Instructor as well as an Instructor Trainer for USPowerboating. He has taught sailing and seamanship courses for over 25 years at Orange Coast College, and has captained numerous sail training vessels for them. A graduate of UC Berkeley, he also holds an MBA from Chapman University, and spent 15+ years in the computer software development field. Currently, he is the captain of a 60’ luxury power yacht based in Newport Beach.
Captain David Monk, Lecturer and Vessel Captain
Captain David Monk is not only a USC alum, but is also an alum of the Nautical Science program! After completing the program’s five-course sequence, Captain Monk successfully passed the USCG Captain’s License exam. Captain Monk’s sailing experience is comprised of racing and cruising throughout Southern California – aboard all kinds of traditional and modern vessels. In addition to his work with USC, Captain Monk is a member of the Maritime Preservation Trust – a non-profit organization based in the Port of Los Angeles. Currently, he serves as President of the Rose of Sharon Syndicate. Rose is a sixty-five foot racing schooner constructed in 1930. Captain Monk’s passion for safe, high-quality seamanship is well-complimented by his enthusiasm.
Captain Wendy D. Sarnoff
Wendy encourages her students in all aspects of sailing and sea(wo)manship, including confidence building and creating unique career pathways. Captain Wendy Sarnoff is a licensed 100 tn. Merchant Mariner. She co-moderates U.S. Sailing Safety at Sea Seminars, teaches and writes U.S. Coast Guard licensing courses, works with the American Sailing Association (ASA) as a Senior Master Instructor/Evaluator. She races regularly, including crossing the Pacific Ocean on “Transpac” and return. She is passionate about boats and education.
Wendy holds a B.S. in Music and a Teaching Credential in Education. She loves working in the garden, cooking and the color yellow.