Start Sailing Now: Meet Shawn Owen

Shawn Owen


Tell us about how you got started sailing.

I grew up in West Virginia away from sailing, but I did a few charters as a kid with my family. We sailed around Florida and the Bahamas a couple of times, and I loved it. It wasn’t until I moved to Annapolis in 2006 with my wife that I went sailing again. I didn’t go very much at first, maybe just a few times in a few years. I’m a professional musician, and I got more involved in the past few years after performing for a local catamaran brokerage company, Sail Away Catamarans. They offered to take me out on daysails around the Bay. I ended up performing music a few times in the Bahamas, and they put me up on a boat while I was there. I did a few deliveries with them in the next year and then came to work for them in their charter department here in Annapolis. 

Did you have any preconceived notions about sailing that proved true or untrue?

Not really. I guess the obvious is that sailors definitely do drink a lot! But as a musician, I fit in well. So no worries...

What has been your sailing experience thus far?

I’ve helped deliver a few 40- to 45-foot catamarans in the Bahamas and Caribbean. I took the ASA 101-104/114 program through The Sailing Academy in Herrington Harbour, and this summer I passed the U.S. Coast Guard Master License test. I’m currently in the process of applying for my license now.

What are your future sailing plans?

I’d like to get more involved in the local racing scene to gain some more experience and knowledge. At some point I’d love to be a boat owner. With my license I hope to do more chartering in the Caribbean and Bahamas. I plan to keep working with Sail Away locally, so I know that will keep me involved.

If someone were interested in learning to sail, what would you tell them?

Start wherever you can. Find a friend who knows a guy with a boat and jump on any chance to get out on the water. It can be a tough thing to get into being so expensive, but I’ve found most sailors are more than happy to take people out and introduce them to their passion. 

Did you encounter any obstacles or barriers when you began sailing?

Just access I guess, but once I met people to go with and started to learn more skills it began to make sense. Although it’s a very difficult skill to master, I found it comfortable at an entry level.  

Any stand-out sailing days or experiences you’d like to share?

One of our delivery trips from Guadaloupe to Puerto Rico is probably the highlight of my sailing days. We passed these steep mountain islands climbing out of the sea every few hours heading north. The scenery was amazing everywhere you looked all day, and the sky at night in deep open water like that is incredible. It’s very humbling and inspiring at the same time. I think that’s probably my favorite thing about sailing in general. 



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