Sweet Ann Marie
Crew profile

Captain: Alan (Al) Owen (South Africa)
Chef/First Mate: Eleanor Thomson (UK)

Captain: Alan (Al) Owen
Al was born in South Africa. A country with an agreeable climate, warm water and therefore it should come as no surprise that at the age of 8 he was a regular at the local yacht club. That came in the form of racing in Optimist dinghies and so began his long association with boats and with water sports.

He moved to Ireland in 1997 and spent the next 8 years as an outdoor instructor. Disciplines covered included sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and paddle sports. Archery, indoor climbing, orienteering, mountain biking and swimming.

As a slight distraction he spent 13 years as a police officer where he honed his skills in the art of dealing and communicating with people and their problems before returning to the world of boating.

Al has competed at national and international level in both dinghy and keelboat racing , and represented his country in kayak surfing at World Championships.

Offshore racing in J24’s had whetted his appetite to pursue a career in a maritime setting and he enrolled on a Professional Offshore Yachtmaster course. He then worked as Flotilla Lead and bareboat Skipper for Sunsail, Dubrovnik, Croatia, before setting his sights on the Caribbean and fulfilling a lifelong dream to captain a yacht in paradise .

When at home you’ll find him hunting surf along the West coast of Ireland, either on a board, windsurfer or more recently his wing foil.

Chef/First Mate: Eleanor Thomson
Eleanor grew up in the small seaside town of Dover in the Southeast of England. I grew up with a great appreciation of the outdoors, nature and adventure. My mother, born and raised in Africa, and my father, having a military background, have lived, and worked internationally. As such, trotting round the world on my own adventure is something that has come very naturally to me!

At nineteen I left the UK to study Mandarin at Nanjing University in East China, a real-life highlight and a great food tasting opportunity. Since graduating I have travelled most of Far and south east Asia and worked in China organising cultural programmes for westerner students – a very rewarding role. I am passionate about authentic experiences and the best of local food and culture.

During the pandemic, I took a corporate travel job in London. It gave me a detailed understanding of the travel and hospitality industry, but I needed to get back to the frontline. I was keen to do something that combined all the things I loved most; cooking, meeting great people, good weather, and an adventure! Since starting my dream job, I have worked as a chef on private charters in Greece and Croatia, and now the U.S. Virgin Islands.