Staff of YSF Community Sailing Vero Beach

Chris Drake
Executive Director

chris drake

Chris and Marcia Drake, with their son CJ, moved to Vero Beach from Shelter Island New York in 2018. Like Vero Beach, Shelter Island is a seaside resort community. CJ started sailing at a summer camp on Shelter Island, enrolled in YSF’s Opti program in the fall of 2020, and continues to sail in the intermediate class.

Chris had a 23-year career in law enforcement at the New York City and Shelter Island Police Departments. He spent the majority of his career in his hometown police force rising to second in command. Chris worked in community policing, as well as serving as a task force detective investigator and later performed administrative and leadership roles. Chris managed police operations, marine patrol operations, dive team, community engagement, and emergency operations. He holds numerous law enforcement commendations and awards. Chris was an active volunteer firefighter and assisted with fundraising activities.

Chris has worked in his family’s business in senior leadership positions managing the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of multi-million-dollar defense industry projects. He personally holds nine US patents. Chris has spent his entire adult life in service to his community and the nation. A graduate of Suffolk County College, Chris is currently pursuing an MBA.

You can reach Chris at

Leslie Brown
Office Manager

As a Vero Beach native, Leslie Brown is the Office Manager at YSF Community Sailing Vero Beach, where she adeptly handles office administration and oversees daily business operations. With extensive experience in customer service and business management, Leslie brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role. Her meticulous attention to detail and organizational skills ensure seamless operations within the organization, contributing significantly to its success.

You can reach Leslie at

Stuart Keiller
Project Manager

Stu Keiller

Stu Keiller joined the Youth Sailing Foundation in 2016 as Executive Director, bringing with him a strong background in sailing, business and leadership. A graduate of Dartmouth College and the Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth, Stu was a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp scholarship recipient and served in the Navy on destroyers deployed worldwide. Billets included navigator, nuclear weapons officer, senior watch officer and acting Executive Officer. He continued serving in the Navy Reserve for twenty-two years, retiring as Captain after commanding a unit with fifty-five officers that deployed worldwide in support of the Military Sealift Command.

Stu spent forty years in the ski and tennis apparel business. He was President of AMF Head Sports Wear before co-founding Kaelin Sports Wear. As CEO he grew the company to a national brand, selling to over one thousand specialty and chain retail stores nationwide. After the sale of the company Stu consulted to the ski industry, pioneering the use of data mapping to analyze market share and unmask opportunities for growth. Stu served as Chairman of the Board of SnowSports Industries America, the trade organization representing the manufacturers of ski equipment and apparel.

After moving to Maryland in 1976, sailing became the Keiller family’s passion. With a succession of cruising sailboats culminating in the acquisition of STAR, a Bristol 47.7, the Keillers cruised the East Coast from Nantucket to Vero Beach. After spending two winters at Loggerhead Marina in Grand Harbor, and several more ashore, Diane and Stu relocated to Vero Beach in early 2016.

Recent activities have included chairing a committee of Dartmouth alumni to raise funds and build a bunkhouse at Dartmouth’s White Mountain camp, and serving as President of the Eastern Shore Council of the Navy League of the United States in Easton Maryland.

Now, as Project Manager, Stu oversees the capital campaign at YSF, including management of the fundraising efforts for a new Community Sailing Center building on our Vero Beach waterfront campus.

You can reach Stu at

Clark Lewis
Director of Sailing

Clark Lewis

A Florida native, and life-long boater, sailor, and watersports enthusiast, Clark grew up exploring the Indian River Lagoon and beaches on the Treasure Coast. When he was 12, his father took the family on a week-long learn to sail course at Annapolis Sailing School, bought a Watkins 27, and thus a passion was born. Sailing with his father every weekend, Clark learned to sail keel-boats and sailed Hobies and Sunfish at every opportunity. He would later become a camp counselor at Camp Laurel in Maine, teaching kids to sail and waterski.

Trading the ocean for mountains, Clark moved to Durango, Colorado to study at Fort Lewis College. After graduating with a bachelor’s, he then went to Japan where he taught English for 3 years. Upon returning to the States he obtained a Master of Arts in Education from Dominican University, and began teaching at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce and became Program Coordinator for their Adult Education Program.

After 10 years at the college, Clark made a pivot in his career to get more time out on the water, and now teaches our Opti, Siebel, and Beginner 420 sailors. He also assists Jabbo with the Community Sailing Program, and will be director of this year’s youth summer camp. Working with both children and adults, he’s a friendly guy, so if you see him, be sure to stop and say “hi!!”

You can reach Clark at

Jabbo Gordon
Assistant Adult Sailing Director

Jabbo Gordon

John B. “Jabbo” Gordon was in born in San Diego, California, but moved to Dunedin, Florida, at an early age. He graduated from Clearwater High School and the University of Florida. Gordon is retired from the U.S. Navy where he spent most of his career aboard submarines in the navigational field. He has been a US Sailing certified sailing instructor since 1995 and an instructor trainer since 1999.

Jabbo is a resident of Vero Beach and has a daughter, Jeannie, who lives in Redding, California. He has three grandchildren, two of whom are in the Navy.

Jabbo currently provides private lessons and sailing courses to youth and adult sailors. He also manages the YSF Public Sailing membership program.

You can reach Jabbo at

Herminio "Luke" Agront
Opti Coach

Herminio Agront

Herminio Luke Agront grew up in Navarre Beach, Florida, and spent his teenage years in Gulf Breeze Florida. He graduated from Gulf Breeze High school and moved south to attend Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He joined the school’s varsity sailing program and would become the team captain for his final years. He has competed in regattas throughout the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (SAISA) and has joined YSF as an instructor to share his knowledge and love of sailing with others.

You can reach Herminio at

John Mark Gaponiuk
Sailing Instructor

John Mark grew up in central Pennsylvania before moving to Vero Beach, where he learned to sail 420s with YSF. He sailed with the varsity team throughout high school, traveling to SAISA events and other 420 regattas. He also spent a lot of time sailing on keelboats, sailing a Capri 25 from Vero Beach to Saint Petersburg, FL over the course of a few weeks. He studied Creative Writing at the University of South Florida, and has now come back to YSF as a full-time instructor.

You can reach John Mark at