ASA is encouraging women to get out on the water and, with that, we are highlighting the adventures of our women instructors as they lead expeditions around the world and spread the love and joy of sailing to as many people as possible. Captain Anne Alberg is currently sailing from Seattle to New Zealand aboard S/V Arctic Loon and we have profiled her journey in Women on the Water – The Journey of the Arctic Loon.
ASA asked Captain Anne Alberg of San Juan Sailing about sailing and her history with the lifestyle. She is this month’s Featured Instructor.
Our Featured American Sailing Association Instructor: Anne Alberg
At age 10 my love of sailing had started early as I drew a pastel drawing of a sailboat at sunset probably influenced by my daily view of watching sailboats out on Puget Sound in North Seattle. Additional influences include my oldest brother Tom and his family who introduced me to sailing on their Cal 34, my neighbor Janet Erken who built an offshore sailboat when I was 14 and for 30+ years sent me letters from around the world describing her adventures, and my cousin Scott’s family who had a beautiful Taiwanese sailboat at the marina near my house in high school. I am lucky that sailing has always been an active part of my lifestyle.
Over the last seven years, I am blessed to have enjoyed unique moments with my ASA classes. My students create amazing memories and celebrate accomplishments together during their 6 day Learn N Cruise in the San Juan Islands; such as being at the helm in 20+ kt winds, negotiating the current between islands, docking a 40’ sailboat, setting an anchor for the 1st time, Orca whale encounters, hiking to the lighthouse on Stuart or Cascade Lake, catching fresh Dungeness crab, watching stunning sunsets/sunrises and making new sailing friends. However, as I said earlier, my favorite is when I see a student’s “aha” moment when they connect to the magic of sailing.
Locally, the Pacific Northwest. I love exploring the inside passages of British Columbia, and of course, our own San Juan Islands in Washington State. My favorite charter experience was in 2005 in the Myeik Archipelago in the Andaman Sea in Myanmar/Burma – I want to go again. Croatia is also high on my Bucket List.
Sailing to me has always been about freedom, adventure, exploration, and discovery. In addition, it is a magical feeling being at the helm and connecting as one with myself, the boat and the wind. Not sure I can explain how that feels. Being on the water is in my DNA. My great great grandfather Anders Persson’s boat is displayed at the harbor in Boren, Sweden. I also love the social side of spending time with like-minded people sharing stories, learning from their experiences and connecting over our love of sailing.
Boat owners need crew and especially motivated crew that reduce the work for the Captain. Over the years, I have heard boat owners say they would sail more but it is lots of work to find crew/family to go out for the afternoon. I have thought about offering a 3-hour training for friends and family of boat owners where I teach their crew members how to support the Captain with prepping the boat, leaving the dock, basics of raising/dropping sails, proper knots and returning to the dock. Learn to be a great boat guest so you get invited back! The risk – you might fall in love with sailing and buy your own boat!
Sailing is not for everyone, but worth exploring if you find yourself curious. My favorite experience with my students is that moment when they connect with sailing. Why people sail is different for everyone; it might be to make new friends in a sailing community, to challenge yourself by learning a new sport, for adrenaline in competitive racing or just relaxing on a Sunday afternoon sail with friends or family. It is a sport with a level playing field, women are equal to men. And you can take it to any level, like buying a boat for offshore cruising or competitive racing. The benefits might surprise you. I had a student who developed polio as a child; he said sailing gives him freedom that he does not feel trying to negotiate his life on land. I have seen the transformation in students from the military with PTSD. I have gotten children off their devices and participating with the family. I personally want to see more women boat owners and more women at the helm. We are definitely the minority out here.
Captain Anne Alberg can be found at San Juan Sailing School when she is not on a sailing adventure on the other side of the world.