Connor Vliet grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and got his first taste of sailing on a Hobie Cat on Lake Michigan. In high school, he started racing 420s, 470s, and a J/130. Throughout his teens, Connor taught sailing at Milwaukee Community Sailing Center. His passion for sailing instruction has been a constant ever since.
After working a few summers with Hoofer Sailing Club in Madison, Wisconsin, Connor joined the delivery crew for the Appledore II and spent time in the tall ship and delivery scene. He also taught sailing in Key Largo, Florida, before moving to San Francisco to teach at Treasure Island Sailing Center, where he ran sailing courses for youth, adult, and physically and visually impaired people.
San Francisco Bay provided one of the best sailing playgrounds possible, and Connor ended up securing crew positions on a variety of luxury yachts and other big boats. His favorite gig was as a crew member on Oracle's America's Cup Class yacht USA 76 during the company's corporate team-building trips. While living in the Bay Area, Connor received a business degree from the University of San Francisco. After graduation, Connor secured a summer sponsorship for Oakcliff Sailing in Long Island, NY.
At Oakcliff, Connor participated in match racing, high-performance dinghy training, and, his favorite, offshore racing. Over the summer, Connor developed an appreciation for the idea that 80 percent of offshore sailing is preparation: getting the boat, rig, and sails ready, provisioning, and weather routing. In particular, Connor focused on emergency preparedness, which has continued to be an interest of his. "I switch into high gear when something goes wrong on the water, whether out with friends on an inland lake just messing around or 500 miles from land preparing for a nasty storm on the horizon. When it 'hits the fan,' my mind clears and I can focus on the whole situation while triaging problems and coming up with solutions on the fly."
Connor eventually found Quantum after visiting the Quantum booth at a boat show. He currently wears a few hats at the company, including sailmaker, sales representative, and manager of Quantum's ReSail Store.