Alan brings over 50 years of maritime experience in boat construction, engineering, restoration and sailing, to his vision of building a historic educational tall ship for San Francisco Bay. With this passion, he founded the non-profit organization Call of the Sea in 1985 to provide hands-on, educational experiences for youth and adults aboard traditional sailing vessels. In 2005, Call of the Sea merged with another local group, led by Ken Neal, with a similar mission. The newly merged organization purchased Seaward, an 82 foot schooner to operate year round sailing programs in the Bay, and educational expeditions along the California and Mexican coasts. As of 2017, over 60,000 youth and adult students have sailed on day and overnight educational programs.
Alan’s maritime career began in 1962 when he built a 40ft catamaran in Minneapolis and sailed down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Along the way, he worked in boat yards and was lead carpenter on the construction of an 85ft catamaran. In 1971, he began construction of the 70ft brigantine, Stone Witch. After its completion in 1977, Alan sailed Stone Witch over 40,000 miles, operating educational sailing programs for youth and adults, along with public charters, on San Francisco Bay, Mexico and the Pacific Islands. Stone Witch was the flagship for Greenpeace and was involved in environmental missions along the California Coast. In the 1980’s, Alan restored the 54ft wooden staysail schooner Maramel which was used in youth educational programs for Call of the Sea and made several educational expeditions with adults including seven trips to Mexico, and a 15,000-mile, 12 month Pacific Rim voyage.
Alan took a five year sabbatical from sailing at a Northern California Buddhist monastery (Odiyan). His experience there, living and working with an all volunteer crew tasked with building complex monumental art and temples, helped prepare him for building Matthew Turner.