Bookmark and Share
Tug Adak Tachometer
Thu Jan 5 12:43:48 EST 2012, Sitka, AK

This is the tachometer in the engine room of Adak.

As it is a big, slow-turning engine. the redline is about 350 rpm in either forward or reverse.

Tug Adak
Wed Jan 4 12:52:02 EST 2012, Sitka, AK

The starboard side of the engine. As I understand it, this is both the intake and exhaust manifold.

Tug Adak
Mon Jan 2 15:08:32 EST 2012, Sitka, AK

Brendan, the owner of Adak, stands on the port side of the engine.

The engine is connected directly to the prop shaft, there is no transmission (marine gear). The engine is air started. Changing from forward to reverse involves stopping the engine and restarting it in the other direction. One cannot frequently change from forward to reverse and back again because it takes time to build up enough air pressure to stop and restart the engine.

This makes for interesting boathandling.

Tue Jan 3 8:38:45 EST 2012 | Joe Berta
What a fun project restoring such a boat must be!
Interestingly, we still see quite a few vessels with direct coupled shafting.
Mariposa Cruises' 144 foot dinner-cruise boat the Captain Matthew Flinders, docked at the foot of Bay Street at TO's Harbourfront has such equipment, albeit with DC electric engine cranking.
In more modern engine applications with reverse gears, air cranking of the larger engines is actually a preferred and sometime only viable method.

Wed Jan 4 9:20:15 EST 2012 | Richard Hudson
Joe, thanks for the info. I didn't know direct coupled shafts were so common.
Wed Jan 4 13:44:00 EST 2012 | gjberta
No, not so common nowadays Richard, the Captain Matthew Flinders is just an old boat. Doesn't look like it, but she is.
Air or pneumatic cranking is common however. Some large engines even have a smaller diesel engine dedicated to cranking - there are some pretty big internal combustion engines out there in commercial shipping....
Thu Jan 5 14:18:38 EST 2012 | Amos
Harland and Wolf made diesel cylinders taller than a small house which reversed by air that way. They had enough reserve air to assure harbor manuvers, but the snipes had to be very much alert to execute bridge commands fast.
Fri Jan 6 6:51:15 EST 2012 | Richard Hudson
What (or who) are snipes?
Fri Jan 6 11:31:18 EST 2012 | AMos
Sorry--engine-room personnel. They would stand watch by the throttles and respond to engine commands rung down from the bridge by means of a telegraph.
Sat Jan 7 22:58:58 EST 2012 | bowsprite

xoxo c!
Sun Jan 8 12:06:25 EST 2012 | Richard Hudson
Amos and Bowsprite, thanks for the explanation. Interesting history lesson in that link about snipes.
Tug Adak
Mon Jan 2 14:00:00 EST 2012, Sitka, AK

Built in 1944, the wooden tugboat Adak is quite an interesting vessel. More to follow.

Mon Jan 2 14:20:06 EST 2012 | Joe Berta
What a lovely boat Richard! Looks to be a real surviver too. Is she still working? Looks like they are taking good care of the face of her wheelhouse, all covered up. Helps those wooden structures to be in the colder salt waters. Don't imagine the worms are an issue in those climates?
Mon Jan 2 16:19:58 EST 2012 | Richard Hudson
Joe, thanks for your comment. Yes, a very nice boat. She is not currently working, but is being restored. I don't know the whole history yet.
Presentation on Sailing the Northwest Passage
Sun Jan 1 12:01:03 EST 2012

For those readers in New York, I'm giving a talk about Sailing the Northwest Passage on Wed January 18. Details are at

Today in Sitka there is a storm. It is pleasantly warm and dry below on Issuma, tied to the dock, listening to the wind howl in the rigging and heeling over in the gusts.

The picture:
In July, we spent two weeks at the dock in Cartwright, Labrador, fixing the engine and converting the forestaysail from (broken) roller-furling to hank-on (shackle-on actually, as I could not buy hanks in Labrador).

For our departure, the wind was favorable, so we sailed off the dock, out of the harbor, and on to Greenland. Blair Gillis took this picture as we sailed through Cartwright harbor.

Mon Jan 2 19:35:38 EST 2012 | AM Namee
Hey, Richard! Its been great following your voyage since I departed. There's a chance I may be in New York at the same time you are (I've been in and out of New York sporadically lately). Would love to have the chance to see you if I'm around and you have time. We'll stay in touch!

hope all is well,
Tue Jan 3 6:54:25 EST 2012 | Victor
Here's AM, a good ghost of Issuma. We will have meeting with Richard as well in Toronto.
Tue Jan 3 15:18:15 EST 2012 | Amos
Good luck in New York, Richard, they're lucky to get you!! WIshing you a prosperous year ahead with fair winds and following seas!
Wed Jan 4 9:01:45 EST 2012 | Richard Hudson
AM, good to hear from you. Email me when you are in NY.

Amos, thanks very much. Best wishes for the new year.
Sat Dec 31 14:58:32 EST 2011, Sitka, AK

Sun Jan 1 4:09:32 EST 2012 | yann
happy new year! fair winds and gentle sea!
Sun Jan 1 8:18:18 EST 2012 | Joe Berta
Health & Happiness for 2012 to all who sail aboard Issuma!
Sun Jan 1 11:24:06 EST 2012 | Richard Hudson
Yann and Joe, thank you. Best wishes for 2012 to you as well.
Sun Jan 1 12:35:54 EST 2012 | Peter
Happy New Year Richard! Miss sailing with you the first of the year! Fair winds and following seas.
Sun Jan 1 13:06:47 EST 2012 | Richard Hudson
Peter, thanks, Happy New Year. I miss those daysails on New Years Day in New York also! I had hoped to do a New Years Day Sail in Sitka, but there is a storm, so no sailing today for me.
Fri Dec 30 16:08:08 EST 2011, Sitka, AK

Side view of sailing fishing boat.

Fri Dec 30 22:10:14 EST 2011 | michael
That boat has seen some action. Definitely fiberglass and I assume the add-ons are aluminum?

Looks like some ice forming.
Fri Dec 30 22:39:35 EST 2011 | Richard Hudson
I'm told the builder was Skookum Marine in Port Townsend, WA. I think the add-ons are aluminum (and some plywood), but I'll take another look at it in the light tomorrow to confirm.

It got a bit chillier the last couple of days, so there is now a little ice in the very sheltered sections of the marina.
Sat Dec 31 10:34:56 EST 2011 | Douglas
Skookum boat hulls are well respected in the PNW as being built to last several lifetimes or more... here is a good example of a Skookum motorsailor -

Burrr... the Sitka harbor ice make it look cold ! Keep warm Richard. Wishing you a great 2012 New Year.
Sat Dec 31 13:34:10 EST 2011 | michael
I've seen other Skookum vessels rigged for fishing, though I would never have been able to ID this one. They are a very deep draft boat with a thick hull and can take a lot of punishment.
Richard, are you going to winter over in Sitka? There is no ice here in Newport, OR. (hint)
Sat Dec 31 14:57:27 EST 2011 | Richard Hudson
Doug, thanks, Happy New Year to you as well. I followed the link and then found a few more Skookums with sailing rigs.

It has been a bit chilly of late here in Sitka. It is forecast to warm up when tonight's gale becomes tomorrow's storm, so I expect the ice will melt.

Michael, thanks, I took another look at the add-ons and yes, they are aluminum. While I'm sure it would be nice and warm in Oregon now, the short hours of daylight this time of year are making me want to delay traveling for a bit. Happy New Year.

Sat Jan 7 23:09:17 EST 2012 | bowsprite
i like this Skookum. Looks so rugged. Beautiful color, with the ice and the sky.
Fri Dec 30 16:02:22 EST 2011, Sitka, AK

Stern view of sailing fishing boat.

Thu Dec 29 12:08:17 EST 2011, Sitka, AK

This is an auxiliary sailboat converted for fishing. I believe there is also a sister ship to this vessel farther down the dock.

Ive seen several auxiliary sailboats used for fishing in Alaska.

Thu Dec 29 22:22:33 EST 2011 | Victor
I like ACE at least something to play with or whatever the acronym is. Steel hull ?. Bobstay still in place which means no ice. I bet in the old days it didn't have an engine.
Fri Dec 30 0:19:08 EST 2011 | Richard Hudson
I'm pretty sure the hull is fibreglass, and it was built as a sailing yacht and converted for fishing with.
Tue Dec 27 14:36:21 EST 2011, Sitka, AK

Tue Dec 27 15:25:32 EST 2011 | Minh
Hi Richard, Wishing you a safe, warm, and happy New Year.
Tue Dec 27 21:13:59 EST 2011 | Richard Hudson
Minh, thank you, I wish you a great 2012 also.
Thu Dec 29 1:03:49 EST 2011 | michael
I see that your neighbors in Sitka are similar to mine in Newport, Oregon. In fact may even be the same.
I love these fishing boats, though I wish for a more fuel efficient industry. One day, they might realize fishing from a sailing vessel is viable.

Thu Dec 29 9:48:55 EST 2011 | Richard Hudson
Michael, thanks, you just gave me an idea for the next post.

Alaska is about the only place I've seen auxiliary sailboats used for fishing. I dont' think they use sail alone very often, but I believe they do when winds are favorable to save fuel (someone with more knowledge can correct me on this).

Speaking of sailing fishing boats reminds me of the sail-only fishing boats that are still used in Brazil (

Thu Dec 29 17:37:20 EST 2011 | Terry
hmmmm .... "sailboat - fishing" ... i think there was ... a boat built for that .... called "Bluenose"
Thu Dec 29 22:34:48 EST 2011 | Victor
Talk about fishing and "Bluenose'. It didn't have an engine in early days. And I used to get bluenose at Inuvik in '70th with -55ºF.
Fri Dec 30 0:15:51 EST 2011 | Richard Hudson
Ahhh, yes, the schooner Bluenose (and the rest of the Grand Banks fishing schooners). No engine and fishing from dories by hand, way out at sea on the foggy, windy Grand Banks. Not so many people want to do that nowadays :).

Newer ]  |  [ Older ]


Powered by SailBlogs