Capt. Alan Somervell is a Flagship trained and USCG licensed Captain, leading NauticEd and ASA instructor, expert in boat systems and otherwise one of the most experienced sailors in the Northwest. As Director of Operations at Island Sailing, he advances sailing in collaboration with many maritime organizations across the Pacific Northwest.
Alan Somervell’s sailing roots are traced back to Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay, where as a young boy Alan explored back-water coves and salt-water creeks while being taught the ropes and Zen of sailing by his father, a champion Snipe racer. Meanwhile his grandfather, The Captain (a hardened waterman), instilled in him the family heritage of fishing, boating and outdoor skills. For most boys, the first bike is the promise of freedom. For Alan, it was learning wind shifts, shallows and sailing skills that freed him to experience a new world of adventure and exploration comparable to a modern day Tom Sawyer.
“Exploration became my teacher. By 10, when I first soloed on the Chesapeake Bay with its big winds, waves and vast distances, I realized that a small mistake this far from shore can be… educational.” Alan reminisces.
Alan soon began teaching and discovered the joy and rewards of sharing his passion for sailing and a “love of the water to others.” “I was addicted,” he says, and as a teenager took charge of teaching sailing and rowing at summer camps at the locally renowned “the Beach.”
Modern sailors are rarely just sailors, but come from a diverse mix of professions. Alan grew to become an accomplished Chef managing world-class kitchens. His attention to detail and improvisation skills earned Alan the distinction of cooking for two sitting presidents - not surprisingly, those skills are cherished in sailing by his students, fellow maritime professionals and crew.
Alan returned to his passion and love of water, except this time as a professional mariner. He explains, “I enjoy addicting others to sailing, whether it's new sailors, racing, exotic charters, open ocean adventures or, best of all, simply messing about in boats while exploring the wonders of Northwest waters.”
When not teaching sailing or “messing about” with boats, one often finds Alan sailing. As he describes his sailing addiction in an understated, Southern way, “it’s a great hobby as well.”
A spirit for exploration and love of the outdoors leads many to the Northwest, and each passionate soul empowers that spirit. Whether by sailor or chef, Capt. Somervell empowers us with the finer points of living.