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Good Jibes #74: Alan Olson on Building Tall Ships

This week’s host, Moe Roddy, is joined by Alan Olson to chat about a lifetime of thrills on and off the water. Alan is the project director for the Bay Area’s brigantine Matthew Turner. He built his first boat at age 22, has over 60 years of maritime experience in construction and sailing, and won the 2018 Leadership Award from Tall Ships America.

Alan Olson
How many boats has Alan Olson built?
© 2023 John Skoriak

Hear what goes into building a tall ship, how to sail from Minnesota to the Caribbean, abandon ship, and dodge hurricanes and winter, and about Alan’s five years at a Buddhist monastery. This episode covers everything from tall ships to sailing down the Mississippi.

Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • What kind of horses did Alan’s family ride?
  • How did Alan get into sailing?
  • What brought him to California?
  • How big was Stone Witch?
  • What is a brigantine?
  • Why did Alan join a Buddhist monastery?
  • How many hours did it take to build Matthew Turner?
  • Short Tacks: What’s the best gift Alan’s ever received?

Learn more about Alan and Matthew Turner at

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots — follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re feeling the Good Jibes!

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From the Archives
Today we're taking a step back to January 18, 2013, when the day's news included snippets of ocean racing, kiteboarding (no foils yet), and seeing the light.