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Sailing in Yakutat Bay
Tue Oct 18 18:15:59 EDT 2011, Yakutat Bay, Alaska

Yakutat Bay is beautiful. As could be expected for Alaska in October, it rains a lot.

The Facnor furler was giving problems (it is fixed now), so we weren't using the main staysail.

Fri Oct 21 1:41:33 EDT 2011 | yann
nice boat, isn't she? :)
Fri Oct 21 4:23:47 EDT 2011 | george ray
What problems with the Facnor??
Mon Oct 24 12:59:50 EDT 2011 | Amos
Currently(10-24) high-wind advisories:



Stay safe!

Mon Oct 24 20:19:45 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Thanks for the comments. Yes, she is a nice boat :).

The problem with the furler was that the stay needed tightening. The way they made the furler, adjusting the stay requires disassembling the drum (six pieces), so it is a job that tends to get delayed.

The weather in the Gulf of Alaska is generally windy, so waiting for a good time to move south is taking quite a while :).
Sailing in Yakutat Bay
Mon Oct 17 18:08:51 EDT 2011, Yakutat Bay, Alaska

We are waiting in Yakutat for a change in the weather. My friend Ralf on Imvubu ( has been doing the same. We went sailing up Yakutat Bay to have a look at the glaciers (the weather in Yakutat Bay is often much different than the weather outside), so Ralf took this picture from his boat.

Fri Oct 21 4:22:33 EDT 2011 | george ray
Thanks to Ralf for his great website!!
Sun Oct 16 20:04:03 EDT 2011, Yakutat, Alaska

Being a very rural place (population about 500), there is lots of wildlife around Yakutat. The pipeline behind the deer is used to pump fuel from fuel barges to the fuel storage tanks.

Sat Oct 15 19:45:28 EDT 2011, Yakutat, Alaska

Yakutat is a cannery and sportfishing town in the eastern part of Yakutat Bay. This train was used to haul fish from the cannery along the Yakutat and Southern Railway.

Maggie met me in Yakutat to continue the trip south.

Wed Oct 19 8:05:06 EDT 2011 | Amos
Glad you're safe and glad Maggie's there!!

History of the Fish Train railroad:
Wed Oct 19 20:32:48 EDT 2011 | Doug
KUDOS on the Fish Train railroad URL and Maggie helping out - definitely keepers!
Thu Oct 20 18:14:53 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, Amos and Doug.

That history of the Fish Train Railroad is great reading.

Sun Oct 9 19:10:42 EDT 2011, Gulf of Alaska, Alaska

While it looks otherworldly, this buoy transmits weather conditions for use in forecasting. This is called an ODAS (Ocean Data Acquisition System) buoy. I'd been listening to weather conditions from this buoy on the VHF weather channel for a while (wind direction, wind speed, wave height and barometric pressure from these ODAS buoys are reported hourly).

Tue Oct 18 13:05:59 EDT 2011 | Amos
Great progress. Given the lag, you must be perhaps 500 miles from Vancouver now? Persevere and Prosper!! The Oregon coast is up to 9 deg. C.!! Balmy weather ahead.
Tue Oct 18 13:07:42 EDT 2011 | Amos
Great progress, Richard!! You must be half-way to Vancouver by now. The Oregon coast is positively balmy--9 degrees C.! Hope you are getting some sleep occasionally. Persevere and prosper!
Tue Oct 18 13:08:59 EDT 2011 | AMos
Sorry for the double post--no editing allowed! :
Tue Oct 18 19:34:12 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
9 degrees C certainly sounds nice :). Some favorable winds of less than storm force for a while would also be nice, but I have no complaints--am in a safe harbor.

Across the Gulf
Sat Oct 8 18:55:37 EDT 2011, Gulf of Alaska, Alaska

I had a reasonably good weather forecast to leave Kodiak with. There was a big low with storm force winds nearby, forecast to stay far south of me. I wasn't completely convinced it would do as forecast, so I took a longer route, more around the Gulf of Alaska than straight across it, so I would be able to get shelter somewhere if conditions changed.

This is Cape St Elias, at the end of Kayak Island on the eastern side of the Gulf of Alaska. I came close to shore here to use the Iridium satellite phone. The satellite airtime plan I am using is for Alaska and Canada. I didn't realize when I bought the airtime that the Gulf of Alaska would not be considered Alaska (which is reasonable, if not advertised), I sailed close to Middleton Island (in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska) to use the phone also, but Iridium doesn't seem to consider Middleton Island to be part of Alaska, so the connections were rejected.

Several hours after Cape St Elias, the wind went against me, and I hove-to for most of a day, waiting for the wind to change and catching up on sleep.

Thu Oct 20 14:05:32 EDT 2011 | AMos
The Dixon Entrance is only about 400 miles on course 137T. Good sailing to the two of you!
Thu Oct 20 19:02:07 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
So near and yet so far :)

Getting a few days of favorable winds for a straight-line course isn't so easy this time of year ;)

Patience seems best for sailing coastwise now...lots of waiting for a break and being prepared to take advantage of whatever shelters the coast provides.
Kodiak Harbor
Wed Oct 5 16:08:27 EDT 2011, Kodiak, Alaska

Kodiak is the largest city we've been to since leaving Quebec. Kodiak has a big harbor, though it was pretty much full when we arrived, as most of the boats were waiting for a fishing season to open. Pretty much everything one needs is available in Kodiak.

The new battery for the Iridium phone didn't work out. Douglas Pohl of very kindly lent me an Iridium phone for the rest of the trip. Thanks Douglas!

While the weather in Kodiak was quite pleasant, the real stormy season is coming quickly, so it is time to be moving on.

On the crew front, Jordan had always said he could stay only until the end of September, so he left the boat in Kodiak. Lin also left the boat in Kodiak.

After a couple of busy days in Kodiak, with a reasonable weather forecast for getting across the Gulf of Alaska, Jordan cast off my lines from the dock and I motored out of Kodiak singlehanded again.

Sat Oct 15 17:19:40 EDT 2011 | will
wow!! i can't believe how far you have come since last october! congrats and safe sailing!
Sat Oct 15 18:11:39 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, Will.

Sat Oct 15 18:39:01 EDT 2011 | Amos

Impressive progress. Hope the Wx is holding up fairly well. How long will you be single handing? OK, I promise not to call the Coasties. Sorry for the misplaced humor. Fair winds and a good passage. We're rooting for you.
Sun Oct 16 0:00:10 EDT 2011 | george ray
Go Richard, be well and be safe, hope you will write an article on your single handed sailing experiences and techniques and how they have evolved and who you have learned from and what they taught you. I'll bet that Yann is proud of what you have done with Issuma and thinks he sold her to the right person.
Sun Oct 16 2:35:56 EDT 2011 | Yann
you are right, Georges, I am very happy to read what Richard is doing
congratulations Richard
Mon Oct 17 19:02:09 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Amos, George and Yann, thanks very much.

The biggest trick to singlehanding is sleeping effectively. When I figure out how to do that, I'll definitely write about it :). But thanks for the compliments anyway.

Moving Along
Mon Oct 3 2:00:00 EDT 2011, Afognak Strait, Alaska

From Chignik we made our way up Shelikof Strait between Kodiak Island and the Alaska Peninsula. With a forecast for moderate headwinds and a current against us, we stopped for a day in the well-sheltered Larsen Bay. There is a village in Larsen Bay of the same name with a winter population of (I think) about 40. The whole area is full of hunting lodges, as Kodiak Island is a great place for bear hunting.

The cannery (which had closed for the season) let us tie Issuma alongside their pier to dry out. This let us replace the zincs on the propellers and shafts (they were worn/missing) and scrub the bottom of the hull. We ended up doing this work at night (so no picture of this) because the weather forecast changed and it seemed like we would have good enough weather for leaving the next morning, so didn't want to be aground during good travelling weather.

After the tide floated us, we left the pier and made our way to Kodiak City. To get to Kodiak City from Shelikof Strait one has to get around Whale Island. There are two choices, go south of Whale Island through Whale Pass, or north of it thru Afognak Strait. Whale Pass is the route almost everyone takes--it is marked (has buoys marking the rocks) and it is shorter. Whale Pass also has currents twice as fast as in Afognak Strait, and much more traffic. I wasn't keen on strong currents, rocks and traffic all at once, so it seemed better to take the unmarked Afognak Strait route instead of Whale Pass. As Issuma has a GPS connected to the computer for chartplotting, and the charts for the area were based on recent surveys (so accurate), I figured it was safe to rely on the GPS and chartplotting software to keep us off the unmarked rocks.

So we had a pleasant trip through Afognak Strait towards the end of the day. The fishing boat in the picture passed us as we entered the strait.


Thu Sep 29 10:02:00 EDT 2011, Chignik, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska

Chignik means 'strong wind'. While the settlement of Chignik is in a bay (Anchorage Bay) with good shelter from most directions, it is subject to williwaws. It was sad to see the remains of a fibreglass sailboat on the beach. We were told it anchored in the bay one night, a wind came up and drove it ashore.

Chignik is basically a cannery settlement--during the off-season--when we arrived, about 70 people live there. We tied up to the cannery dock to take on fuel, refill the propane bottles and use the telephone.

Wed Oct 12 23:52:16 EDT 2011 | Victor
I can see good tides there, 4 mtr. ? or so.
Keep on going, the freeze up is coming.
Thu Oct 13 20:07:36 EDT 2011 | Doug
I don't need to tell you since you have all the related equipment and GRIB files to know the weather is building... you better be heading for a protected harbor - if you need suggestions ask - how about keeping your blog updated so everyone knows where you are - its so far behind and we know you are near making SE Alaska or more at this time. (20111013-20:00)
Thanks and God Speed,
Fri Oct 14 13:31:37 EDT 2011 | AMos
EIght days is a long run of silence; trust you are okay. Look forward to hearing from you. Should we call the Coasties?
Fri Oct 14 16:53:25 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Thanks for the comments. Yes, Chignik has good tides for drying out boats.

Thanks for the thought, but please don't ever think of reporting me late due to blog inactivity.

I've been keeping the dates on the postings close to the dates the pictures were taken, and the blog is behind (I'm in Yakutat today Oct 14), so please be patient as it is slowly getting up to date.
Castle Cape
Wed Sep 28 17:02:00 EDT 2011, Castle Cape, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska

Alternating layers of light and dark colored rock make Castle Cape interesting to look at.

We sailed past Castle Cape, then spent much of the night sailing to windward in Force 5-6 winds in Chignik Bay, before heaving to for several hours to wait for daylight to enter Chignik.

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