Clouds, Wind & Heavy Weather Sailing

November 10th - 11th 2018, Portland

Saturday's Clouds: A Sailor’s Telltales in the Sky and Gusts and Lulls: Helm and Trim Response seminars teaches sailors the critical skills of how to predict changing conditions by reading the cloud patterns, and how to apply sailing skills to making the most of gusts and lulls.

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.

register now for sailing classes, courses and clinics

Clouds: A Sailor’s Telltales in the Sky

When: Saturday Nov 10th
Time: 10:00am to 11:30am
Price: $50 per sailor
Instructor: Marine Meteorologist David Wilkinson

Synopsis: Clouds tell us a lot about the weather to expect very soon and over the next few days. Will winds be strong or light and from what points of the compass? Will the wind be steady or gusty?  Learn the basic cloud types and the weather they foretell; how to judge cloud movement and growth; and potential sailing strategies around clouds. Evaluate weather data for cloud types, what they tell us about the wind, and how it will change.

Gusts and Lulls: Helm and Trim Response

When: Saturday Nov 10th
Time: 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Price: $50 per sailor
Instructor: Marine Meteorologist David Wilkinson

Synopsis: The wind is ever changing, sometimes chaotically and sometimes in more predictable ways. The atmosphere holds clues as to the strength of a gust and what direction it will come from or if there will be any gusts at all. Foreknowledge of gusts lets us optimize boat speed and course while avoiding dangerous jibes and knock-downs. The changing direction and speed of wind in gusts and lulls is evaluated for effect on apparent wind, sail trim, and helm response.

Applied Heavy Weather

When: Sunday Nov 11th from 10:00am to 2:00pm
Where: Island Sailing Clubhouse, Portland Oregon
Price: $100 per sailor
Instructors: Marine Meteorologist David Wilkinson and Capt. Alan Somervell

Heavy Weather Slide

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.

sailing weather and galley seminarPractical 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.

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, November 10th

• Clouds: A Sailor's Telltales in the Sky: 10:00 - 11:30, $50 per person
• Gusts and Lulls: Helm and Trim Response 2:00 - 3:30, $50 per person

Sunday, November 11th

• Applied 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

Locate on Google Maps »


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

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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.