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About Ocean Planet Explorers

We are a collection of marine science educators, scientists, boat builders, designers, and sailors.
During our combine decades of experience on the water, along the shoreline, and in the marine science community, we have seen a rapid decline in the health of our oceans. The clear need for an organization that brings diverse problem-solvers together to slow and help reverse this trend, inspired us to form Ocean Planet Explorers.
Although our purpose is an ambitious one, we are fully motivated and committed to see future generations live in an environment where they coexist more harmoniously with the oceans that give us the air we breathe, the food we eat, and even the water we drink..

The Core Team

Stanford graduate - named to first Intercollegiate All-American sailing team. Racing, cruising, return delivery skipper around the Pacific.  Owned North Coast Yachts for 20 years - built Hawkfarms, Wylie 34’s, and Wylie Wabbits.  Boat yard project manager for 21 years.

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Kim Desenberg
Sailing Community Outreach

Over the last 45 years the world renowned Zan has built and raced some of the fastest sailing machines on planet earth, sailed over 200,000 miles and witnessed the oceans rapidly deteriorate.

Zan Drejes

Sailing Vessel Design Consultant

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Tom Wylie has been called the "John Muir of the sea," and with 40+ years of experience, he helped develop the technology of cold molding, pioneered ultralight displacement boat design, and earned a reputation for generating fast, elegant, and easy to handle boats.

Tom Wylie
Designer/Naval Architect

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Born on the V-berth of a 30’ sailboat in Road Harbor, Tortola, Jody has worked in four countries in the marine trades for a total of 25 years as a Composite Boat builder, wooden vessel shipwright, marine plumbing, electrical and propulsion systems technician. Built and managed a charter business which involved marine science research, marine science education and corporate charters.

Jody Watt
President/Executive Director

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He grew up dinghy racing and live-aboard cruising and visited 23 different countries by boat. At age 16 he did an internship with Robert Perry, followed by the “Elements of Technical Boat Design” course from the Westlawn Institute. He then studied “Yacht and Powercraft Design” at Southampton Solent University in the UK Currently working as the in-house designer for James Betts Enterprises in Anacortes, WA.

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Will Porter
Naval Architect

Sharpe Surveying & Consulting is an independent marine surveying and consulting company based in Alameda, California and has been in operation for over 20 years serving the greater San Francisco Bay Area. A former Coast Guard office, Randell provides clear information on compliance with Coast Guard regulations and serves as an effective liaison with the Coast Guard.

Randell Sharpe 
USCG Compliance Consultant

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A lifelong sailor and boater and US Coast Guard 500 GT Ocean Master, Brian worked for 16 years as a bosun, mate and captain for MBARI. He was a Project Manager for the conversion of the P/V San Francisco and the OSV Team Ocean to research vessels. Currently he is a marine operations manager for MLML.

Brian Ackerman
Construction Consultant (OPE111)

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Practicing Naval Architect/ Principal at Herbert Engineering Corp, a commercial naval architectural firm based in the San Francisco Bay area. His areas of practice include stability analysis, structural engineering, software development, and risk assessment. He is author of the "Intact Stability" chapter of the Principles of Naval Architecture.

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Colin Moore, PhD,
Naval Architect

James Bender has a Masters in Education with a focus in Curriculum Development, a PhD in Cultural Studies, and years of experience as a classroom teacher, James' unique skills and abilities help shape the programs and the projects we do on the water.

James Bender
Curriculum Development

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Lifelong sailor who also has worked in the marine industry his entire working career. His love for the environment and oceans in particular was sparked by watching bottlenosed dolphin play in the bow surge of various sailboats as he cruised and raced around Florida, the Caribbean, the East Coast and New England.

Michael Tamulaites
Communications director