Wind & Heavy Weather Seminars

A weekend of weather seminars by NW weather and sailing experts.

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Contact Josh at with questions.

details below...

Attend any or all of the seminars. 

Saturday's Understanding the Wind and Coastal Winds seminars teaches sailors the critical skills of how to predict and plan for Wind, whether by reading forecasts and weather charts, AND how to incorporate the land effects of local terrain into your planning.

Sunday's Heavy Weather seminar is an annual favorite and recommended for all sailors. The seminar begins with a weather discussion that's followed by practical heavy weather sailing strategies and techniques.

Understanding the Wind

Wind analysis starts with obervationsInstructor: Marine Meteorologist David Wilkinson
When: Saturday Oct 7th from 10:00am to 11:30am
Where: Island Sailing Clubhouse, Portland Oregon
Price: $50 per sailor*

Wind affects all boaters whether power or sail, on inland waters or offshore. A boat's course and speed, lee shores, and safe anchorages are all determined by the wind. This introduction to the nature of wind, from global circulation to local patterns, will help you factor the weather into your boating plans.

Learn the basic forces that cause the wind and how to read a weather chart. Some NOAA weather forecast sites will be reviewed to help you find favorable winds for your next day sail or know what to expect on race day.

Coastal Winds: Sea Breezes, Corner Effect, Dirty Air, and More!

Instructor: Marine Meteorologist David Wilkinson
When: Saturday Oct 7th from 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Where: Island Sailing Clubhouse, Portland Oregon
Price: $50 per sailor*

Learn how to use your knowledge of local terrain to better interpret and apply the general area forecast. Land affects wind speed and direction over coastal and inland waters in predictable ways.

Use a few basic weather principles to predict the winds and plan for their effect on sea state for your next race or cruise.  

Applied Heavy Weather

Instructors: Marine Meteorologist David Wilkinson and Capt. Alan Somervell
When: Sunday Oct. 8th from 10:00am to 2:00pm
Where: Island Sailing Clubhouse, Portland Oregon
Price: $100 per sailor*

Strong Wind Systems: The first section will describe strong wind systems you will find at home in the Pacific Northwest and cruising in the tropics. Learn how to read a weather chart and get the data you need to prepare both your boat and crew for heavy winds. Identify the telltale signs for high winds that may come in the next few minutes and in the days ahead. Learn how to avoid high wind conditions on your day sail, coastal cruise, or even ocean passage. Knowing the weather is key to sailing safer, faster, and with fewer surprises.

Practical Seamanship: This section will showcase the practicalities of sailing in stronger winds and higher waves so that you can make your sail safer and more enjoyable for your crew. These techniques include: reefing, tacking, jibing, heaving to, as well as boat selection and personal preparation.

Open Q&A and discussion will follow.

sailing weather and galley seminar navigating a storm sailing Lake Washington storm Heavy Weather Slide

Meet the Instructors

Dave Wilkinson ASA Starpath Island Sailing InstructionDave Wilkinson
Marine Meteorologist, Sea Grant and ASA Instructor

Dave got his start at Island Sailing Club over a decade ago. Since then he has built an impressive sailing resume with charters in Mexico, the Caribbean, Maine, New Zealand, and throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Dave has a Masters in Atmospheric Sciences from Oregon State University where he used his knowledge of wind in complex terrain to find wind power sites along the Oregon Coast and Columbia River Gorge. He uses his understanding of weather to make his sailing safer and more enjoyable. He now shares this talent at ISC as a certified ASA Instructor for the ASA Marine Weather Endorsement class, Intro to Weather class and Heavy Weather instruction.

capt-alan-somervellCapt. Alan Somervell
ISC Operations Director, Lead Instructor, NauticEd & ASA Instructor, and Virginia Waterman

Growing up in a “water family” on the Chesapeake Bay, his Dad a Champion Snipe sailor and his Grandfather a waterman, instilled into Alan a love of the water and boats. He placed second in his first sailboat race at the age of 8. He has sailed extensively back East on the Bay and the Sounds of North Carolina. “The creeks and bays were my backyard, my playground … my teachers”

Alan started working on Northwest boats part-time in 1993. He started teaching full time for ISC in 1997. He is a USCG licensed captain, a NauticEd and ASA Certified Instructor, and is First Aid First Response Trained. He has trained hundreds of sailors some of whom have sailed the oceans as well as many Northwest instructors. He is always willing to share his wit and wisdom with his fellow sailors and beams with pride when one of his pupils sets sails on their own.


Purchase individually or all three for $175/person ($25 savings)

Saturday, October 7th

• Understanding the Wind: 10:00 - 11:30, $50 per person
• Coastal Winds: Sea Breezes, Corner Effect, Dirty Air, and More! 2:00 - 3:30, $50 per person

Sunday, October 8th

• Heavy Weather: 10:00 - 2:00, $100 per person


These seminars are hosted at Island Sailing's Clubhouse

515 NE Tomahawk Island Drive
Slip D85
Portland, OR 97217


To register online, select the seminar to begin registration. Please complete the form and process for each seminar.

If registering for all 3 seminars ($25 discount), please contact us directly at (503) 285-7765 or to sign-up over the phone.

Select a seminar below to register

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Need Help? Contact Island Sailing  Contact us at or (503) 285-7765 and we'll certainly answer any questions you may have.