Captain Thom Burns

Thom Burns

Thom is a retired Naval Officer who came up through the ranks. He drove ships for five years and spent another three years aboard them as an enlisted sailor. After retiring at the first opportunity, in January 1992, Thom and two partners started Northern Breezes Sailing Magazine. In 1997, he added Sailing Breezes Internet Magazine.

Thom is a very experienced sailing coach and instructor. He first taught sailing in 1975 in Newport, Rhode Island at the Naval Base. He continued teaching at Great Lakes Naval Training Center on Lake Michigan and, San Diego Training Center, Coronado, CA. He began teaching sailing on Lake Minnetonka in 1993 for the now defunct Northern Maritime Institute. In 1999 he started Northern Breezes Sailing School. He soon expanded it to include everything from a Youth Day Camp for Sailing to Offshore classes on Lake Superior and the Caribbean. Northern Breezes currently offers sixteen courses in nine locations.

Thom Burns using a sextant

Thom is a Nationally Certified Instructor Evaluator for the American Sailing Association where he “trains the trainers”. He is also on the Advisory Board of the American Sailing Association. Recently, he edited the official Coastal Navigation book of the American Sailing Association written by Captain Mike Pyzel. Thom has continued his own sailing education earning Instructor Docking Endorsement, Instructor Basic Celestial Navigation and National Facility Evaluator within the last year.

Over the last fifteen years, Thom sailed out the St. Lawrence Seaway to St. John, Newfoundland and onto Dingle Bay, Ireland before cruising the west and south coasts of "The Emerald Isle." He went back to Europe and sailed across the Bay of Biscay from Brest, France around Cape Finisterre in Spain onto Porto, Portugal. Michele and Thom returned to Europe, specifically, Croatia last year for the Croatia flotilla.

Racing sailboats is a passion but not all consuming. The highlights: Three firsts and a third in the TransSuperior biannual race; first in the Heineken Cup out of St. Martin in a sixteen-boat class which was part of a 302-boat fleet; two thirds and a second at the WindRider Trimaran Nationals; twenty-one firsts in one season at Wayzata Yacht Club aboard his Wilderness 21 keelboat.

Over the years, Thom has volunteered his time and expertise on numerous occasions. He was instrumental in launching the American Diabetes Association’s, ADA Regatta, which is a fundraiser. He served four years as the Commodore of Sailfest in Bayfield, Wisconsin.