NauticEd Authors and Contributors

There have been dozens and dozens of contributors who've helped NauticEd's sailing courses and education plaform become the world's most advanced sailing education. Listed here are a world class group of sailing educators - sailors and academics combined to create the best of the best.

Grant Headifen, MSc Eng., USCG Captain Master Mariner

Grant HeadifenOriginally from New Zealand, Grant Headifen has more than 20 years of boating experience. As a captain, he has logged many miles on voyages around the world and has led dozens of sailing adventures through the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Sea of Cortez and South Pacific.

In 2001 Grant founded the Sail Time company and grew it into 30 franchises worldwide. He sold out in 2007 at the height of the boom years. Grant was then asked by many to apply his internet, sailing and marketing skills to reinvent the existing outdated sailing education programs. Seeing the opportunity, he assembled a knowledgeable team of experienced sailing professionals, a bunch of programmers and designers and launched NauticEd late in 2007.

Grant holds a Master's degree in Engineering from the University of Texas. His wide range of business experience includes oil, defense, computer hardware, restaurant, marketing, legal and Internet application industries. Now, Grant's expertise and passion for sailing has successfully lead NauticEd to a renown worldwide sailing education brand.

Grant contributes to the NauticEd Blog Site which is loaded with sailing tips, and free sailing education. He reviews all the NauticEd courses and applies his passion and practical knowledge as a Certified Instructor and USCG 50 Ton Master Mariner to the theory courses. He is also the brains behind the technology of the online sailing resume building function of NauticEd and the NauticEd boat sharing software.

The Navigation Rules, Basic Sail Trim, Maneuvering and Docking Under Power, Electronic Navigation, Introduction to Sailing, Skipper Large Sailboat, and Skipper Small Sailboat have all been written by Grant as well as co authoring the Catamaran Sailing Confidence, Coastal Navigation, British Virgin Islands Fast Check out Chart Briefing, Getting Started in Dinghy Sailing, and Bareboat Charter Courses.

NauticEd’s Virtual Reality Sailing Course and training program has been spearheaded by Grant who worked closely with the developers, MarineVerse. Grant believes that by giving easy and low cost access to consistent training via VR, people will become more competent real on-the-water sailors.

You can meet Grant at many of the sailboat shows he attends worldwide, on his Jeanneau 410 on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas or somewhere in the Caribbean, Pacific, or Mediterranean and on occasions zipping around the Hauraki Gulf with his family in New Zealand.

Read Grant's latest kids sailing ebook is about a boy Alex who's dinghy comes alive and teaches Alex how to sail a dinghy.


Books and eBooks by Grant Headifen:

Maneuver and Dock Your Sailboat Under Power:
High Winds, Current, Tight Marina, Backing In? No Problems!


Successfully Skipper a Sailboat:
Modern Lessons From the Fastest-Growing Global Sailing Education and Certification Program

Skippering a Small Keelboat:
Skills from the Masters: Modern Lessons recognized by the US Coast Guard as meeting the American National Standards for Sailing Training

NauticEd Navigation Rules:
The easiest explained ever "Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea"

Alex Learns to Sail
The cutest story of a boy, Alex, who is learning to sail and being taught by a surprizing guest. A cameo appearance of a striking and talented girl joins in and a friendship is born.


Brave Lion In 2022, sadly, Grant lost his 13 year old daughter, Alexandra, to childhood brain cancer. Alexandra loved sailing. In her honor and adventurous spirit, Grant dedicated the NauticEd youth program to help fund a cure as well as creating a shopping cart check out for all NauticEd students to also help fund the same. Alexandra makes a cameo appearance in the Alex Learns to Sail book. Her brave lion spirit lives on. The call to action for this fund is “Children should be going sailing, NOT going through cancer”You can also help directly here.


Grant’s passion for helping others become competent sailors, has driven NauticEd to become the very best and most comprehensive sailing training program in the world.


Ed Mapes, USCG Captain Master Mariner

captain ed mapesEd Mapes is a Licensed USCG Master Mariner and founder of Voyager Ocean Passages where he provided instructional offshore sailing voyages on which more than 200 sailors learned ocean sailing.  His vast experience in sailing education comes from offshore yacht deliveries, racing, sail training, and cruising on which he’s amassed over 97,000 miles on the water.  Ed also provides offshore sailing and cruising seminars at events and major boat shows throughout the country.  Ed is one of only a handful of sailing instructors certified to train students in the most advanced levels of Celestial Navigation and Offshore Passage making and has instructed at all levels of sailing education courses.  He also provides voyage planning consultations to assist those preparing for their own voyages and cruising.  

Ed is the author/co-author of NauticEd's Coastal Navigation, Safety at Sea, Storm Tactics, Introducation to Celestial Navigation, SailTrim, and Bareboat Charter Courses. He has published the books, Ready to Sail and Further Offshore, and his latest book, Safer Offshore, has just been released.  Ed has contributed articles to Sail, Practical Sailor, Latitudes and Attitudes, and he is a Contributing Editor at Sailing magazine.

Captain Mapes has provided the biggest contribution to the the NauticEd sailing academy group with his hand in most of the courses. He is also Dr. Mapes, a doctor of Veterinary Medicine.  He is head of the surgical department at Animal Medical Center of McKinney, Texas.

Captain Mapes has provided the biggest contribution to the the NauticEd sailing academy group with his hand in many of the courses. He is also Dr. Mapes, a doctor of Veterinary Medicine.  He is the retired head of the surgical department at Animal Medical Center of McKinney, Texas.

You can meet Captain Mapes at the many seminars he gives at sailboat shows and see his sailing education web broadcasts courtesy of Seven Seas Cruising Association. Also, please enjoy Captain Mapes' books.

Alex Blackwell, USCG Captain Master Mariner and Daria Blackwell, USCG Captain

NauticEd Faculty Captain BlackwellAuthors of the NauticEd Anchoring a sailboat course, Daria and Alex Blackwell are lifelong sailors and passionate cruisers. They have completed three Atlantic crossings and have spent years cruising the coasts of the Americas and Europe, as well as the Bahamas, the Caribbean islands, and the Atlantic islands, most recently double-handing on their vintage 57-foot ketch, Aleria. Alex holds a USCG Master’s license with sailing and towing endorsements.  Daria holds a USCG OUPV Captain’s license. The Blackwells are members of the Seven Seas Cruising Association, American Yacht Club, Mayo Sailing Club, and the Irish Cruising Club. They are also the organizers of the SSCA cruising station for Ireland.

Daria and Alex are frequent authors writing about technology as well as their sailing adventures and contributing to Cruising World, Classic Boat, Latitudes & Attitudes Seafaring, Practical Boat Owner, Ireland Afloat, Offshore, Windcheck, and elsewhere.  For many years, they served as the webmasters for the website of American Yacht Club and launched the popular, “The boaters’ resource for places to go and things to know”. As founders of Sail4Kids Make a Memory Cruise, the Blackwells were recognized with prestigious awards by both American Yacht Club and the International Society for Perpetuation of Cruelty to Racing Yachtsmen.

Sailing Education is certainly a passion of the Blackwells. They are coauthors of the popular book Happy Hooking - the Art of Anchoring, which has received excellent reviews in the sailing press. Their seminar on anchoring has drawn large crowds and delivered exceptional attendee critiques and comments (Reference: SailAmerica, GLCC School and SSCA University).

Samantha Burrough and Neil Collier, RYA Yacht Master Mariners

NauticEd Authors and Instructors Samantha Burrough and Neil CollierSamantha Burrough and Neil Collier are true Mariners and are ideally positioned to write the Yacht Charter Crew Course. They owned and ran their crewed yacht charter company in the Caribbean. Their yacht "Nemo" a Gib'Sea 51 foot monhull hosted hundreds of guests from newbies, intermediate sailors, and experienced sailors for 1, 2, and 3 week long Caribbean length adventures. This gave them the unique experience of seeing what people did not know and thus what they needed to know to stay safe when going on a yacht charter adventure.

Neil is an accredited RYA Yacht Master Ocean, RYA Cruising Instructor, and NauticEd Captain Level V instructor. Samantha (Sam) holds an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore accreditation. They consistently taught folks how to enjoy their time afloat and learn (if they want to learn) or how to just safely kick back if they wanted. Come join us with Sam, Neil, and Nemo in this online course and learn how to be a great yacht charter crewmember.

Nick Harvey, Beneteau Group Director

NauticEd Author and Instructor Nick HarveyNick was the North American Manager for Lagoon Catamarans. He co-wrote the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Course with Captain Grant Headifen. His vast experience with sailing and selling catamarans led him to be the perfect candidate to join the NauticEd sailing author team. He now has moved up in the ranks to join the Group Beneteau team and be the Brand Director for WellCraft and Four Winns line of power vessels.

Greg Dziemidowicz, Lead Developer

NauticEd Author and Instructor Greg DziemidowiczGreg Dziemidowicz, a passionate sailor and tech enthusiast, established MarineVerse in 2016. This virtual reality sailing app aims to make the sport of sailing accessible to all. As a member of two Melbourne sailing clubs, Greg enjoys dinghy racing and regularly crews on a yacht. He has been immersed in programming and sailing since his teenage years.

John Brosius, Weather Expert

NauticEd Author and Instructor John BrosiusJohn Brosius, a true professional and expert in many fields; including over 40 years experience in Weather, Communications, and Geopositioning Engineering. He authored NauticEd's Weather Course based upon his professional experience as well as many years of offshore experience with seamanship, navigation, and weather analysis and practical weather applications.