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Bergy Bit
Wed Oct 26 21:16:46 EDT 2011, Yakutat Bay, Alaska

Bergy bit from Hubbard Glacier.

Wed Oct 26 21:14:59 EDT 2011, Yak

Growlers in front of the Hubbard Glacier.

Thu Oct 27 8:16:54 EDT 2011 | Amos
Wow--makes me nervous just looking at it. How thick is Issuma;s hull?
Thu Oct 27 19:03:08 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Issuma's hull is 6mm thick below the waterline, and 4mm higher up. The plates are overlapped, and fully welded, so the hull is quite strong.
Hubbard Glacier
Mon Oct 24 19:41:52 EDT 2011, Yakutat Bay, Alaska

The Hubbard Glacier is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska. We sailed and then motored up Yakutat Bay to have a look at it.

Tue Oct 25 17:04:14 EDT 2011 | Timothy
Super cool that you have shots of the boat underway without having to park yourself on a stray iceberg and then swim fast to catch up.

And are those growlers or bergie bits in the foreground? (the white pieces in the water, not the humans aboard)
Tue Oct 25 22:23:57 EDT 2011 | Victor
So you were only 10 nm from Canadian border. Turner, Hoenke, Hubbard Glaciers and some more off Russell Fiord contribute to that. Didn't mention ahead of time of real dangers there e.g. "Extreme currents occur at the pass between Russell Fiord and Disenchantment Bay. These currents are extremely fast and treacherous carrying large icebergs. The pass is deemed unsafe and not navigable by mariners." NOAA US Coastal Chart 16761.
Tue Oct 25 22:31:47 EDT 2011 | Andy
We seem to have lost track of you. Nanci Sez it's howling right now in Hoonah so I expect that you are.... where? Grays harbor?

Looks like Ralf is in Juno giving a talk at the Prospector on Wed. If you go to Juno, I have a 5000# anchor/buoy/dock you can use.

I'm in Arizona 'til 11/17 so I'll miss you.
Wed Oct 26 15:49:59 EDT 2011 | Brian Lumley
Good to see you are making progress down the coast before the winter sets in. Are you planning on wintering in BC? My friend Bob McDonald, I believe you met him at Bluffers last year, is now living in Victoria. I will be seeing him soon and will let him know about your successful journey. Let me know when you are in good email territory and I will send you my latest horrific tale from Lake Ontario.
Wed Oct 26 16:50:05 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Thanks for the comments.

Timothy, thanks, the small ice pieces in the foreground are growlers. Growlers are pieces of ice less than 5m (15') long, bergy bits are 5m to 15m(49') long.

Victor, yes, Canadian border is quite close by, but not by water. That pass between Russel Fjord and Disenchantment bay is something I was trying to avoid, as it certainly does seem difficult.

Andy, sorry I will miss you when I do get south. I am still in Yakutat--weather hasn't been quite good enough for Issuma (Ralf has a significantlyfaster speed under power, so he was able to make it out when I was not) to make it past Cape Spencer before the next lows yet. I came close to being in Graves Harbor for the current storm, but didn't feel I had enough time to prepare for the storm in an anchorage I'd never been to before. Thanks very much for the offer of your mooring.

Brian, I'm actually just late enough that winter seems to have set in :). I have pretty good internet access at the bar here most days, and would like to hear your story.
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.


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