Eight Bells: Kevin Eley

Published on September 27th, 2023

Captain Kevin Peek Eley passed away on September 4, 2023, at the age of 64. Kevin was the son of Virginia von Schilling Eley and Claud Erambert Eley, Jr.

Kevin graduated from Maine Maritime Academy and embarked on a 42 year sea-faring career, circling the globe. He achieved his Master of Ocean Steam and Motor Vessels of Any Gross Tons License. Kevin joined McAllister Towing as a Tug Captain in 1991 and in 1992 began his career as a Docking Pilot where he served as President of Independent Docking Pilots, Inc.

Kevin was not just an avid sailor; he was a guiding light in the sailing community. He embarked on a voyage of dedication and passion that led to the establishment and growth of Youth Sailing Virginia.

Seeking a practice venue for his sons’ high school sailing team, he discovered a promising location on Mill Creek at Fort Monroe. With boundless enthusiasm, he reached out to the Fort Monroe Authority and tirelessly worked to secure the site. The city of Hampton rallied behind the mission, and thanks to Kevin’s leadership, a pier was constructed that soon became the home of the YSV fleet of FJs.

Kevin’s vision transformed YSV into the thriving hub it is today – a place where high school and college teams converge to practice and a host for regattas. YSV’s growth didn’t stop there; it evolved into an accredited US Sailing Community Sailing Center and a REACH Education Center. Kevin’s legacy extends to the countless youths who, through his dedication, discovered the joys of sailing – many of whom might not otherwise have had the joy of experiencing.

Kevin loved life, his family, his colleagues and being on the water with his many dear friends. His lifelong love of the water never missed an opportunity to share that love with others.

He leaves his wife of 31 years, Sue Manley Eley; his sons George, Will, and Henry; his sister Prentiss “Kix” Nottebohm, (Tommy); his brother Lex Eley (Beth); sister-in-laws Patty Manley (Eric); Nan Moss and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Kevin lived life to the fullest with no regrets or deeds left undone. He will live on through George, Will and Henry who embody his passion for the water, love of the mountains and kindness to all. Kevin will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

To make a donation to Youth Sailing Virginia in memory of Captain Kevin Eley, click here.

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