Susan Allen is one of the most knowledgeable DNG members when it comes to traditional deep-ocean, wind-and-sail seafaring experience.
Beginning her association with the DNG as a child, Allen accompanied her father, Robert Allen, on many of his DNG related adventures. Side by side, she stuck to her dad as they collected and surveyed conie specimens, and she was also his constant companion as they gathered the copious amounts of tule reeds needed to help him construct the Coast Miwok, replica canoe which her father rowed across Racoon Strait within San Francisco Bay. This authentic canoe was based on the canoe Drake’s chaplain, Francis Fletcher, described in The World Encompassed.
It was only natural that as a young woman, Allen would continue her interest in maritime matters. She joined a team on the Sacramento River that constructed a scratch-built, authentic Polynesian proa, the Huka Niva. After months of construction, she joined the crew as they navigated both the Spirit of Huka Niva and the Ahwahnee II—a ferrocement cutter—from West Sacramento, out the Golden Gate, and down the California coast to Coronado Island. From there, Allen continued on this select crew as—by using celestial navigation—they successfully navigated the boats across the Pacific Ocean and to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia.
Later, Allen pursued her sailing passion with both sailboats and sailboards. Eventually, she became a recognized windsurfing authority who became a master-instructor, developed instructional curriculum, and certified master-instructors.