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Old 07-09-2022, 11:42 AM   #1
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Single Handing Alaska to Mexico

I departed Seward Alaska following my good friend Kevin by almost two months on July 3, spent the night of July 4 on the Eastern tip of Montague Island after a 14 hour day cruising at 7 knots.

The following morning I headed for Kayak Island, hoping to get a nap in the lee side of the island, which didn't happen due to there not being a lee side... the weather was running right down the tip and splitting off both sides pretty much equally. So it was push on to Icy Bay in what was pretty much a 24 hour run from Montague.

Than goodness for coffee! The seas were mild, about 2' with the swell on the beam. The autopilot had no problem keeping me on track, and once away from Kayak Island there was very little debris in the water. The Copper River spits out quite a bit of debris, so the stretch from Montague to Kayak was a constant lookout for debris.

Once past Kayak Island, the currents kept the debris further offshore and the waters were clear, which was a good thing running in what passes for the night in Alaskan summers (darker, but not dark). I pulled into Icy Bay about 9 AM and took a nap, then went beach combing. Lots of bear sign on the beach, a few moose tracks, and more strawberries than you can imagine. The beaches were pristinely clean, no fishing gear or plastic water bottles, a pleasant change from most beaches I have been on in a long time.

I am getting weather forecasts by text on In Reach from a friend when the vhf doesn't have me covered, and word had it that a bad spell was coming. So rather than explore Icy Bay, which has marginal anchorages in strong weather, I pushed on into Yakutat, where I currently am waiting until the weather allows me to cross into the Inside Passage.

I am contemplating Lituya Bay, which is a 90 mile run from Yakutat, a comfortable but long days run from Yakutat. If I push to Cape Spencer it would be another all nighter, which I don't find particularly pleasant but also not a hardship.

Everything is running perfectly, making water on a schedule to keep my equipment in good condition, and eating well. I have to admit I will be happy to have more anchorage choices at my disposal once I am inside the islands South of Cape Spencer.

I have a lot of friends following my trip, including Kevin, who has parked his boat for a couple of weeks and traveled back to La Paz. Texting friends has been fun and keeps me engaged while looking out the front watching the ocean go by.

There have been no surprises, no problems, and my weather choices have so far been all good. Likewise anchorages, and equipment choices. As Kevin said, "a long trip is just many day trips joined together". As long as you get enough rest between stretches to keep your focus.

I have heard many times my 30' Willard is too small for a trip this long, this far, but no one would say that if I were in a sailboat. It's odd where people draw their lines about what's large enough and what's too small. With careful preparation and good weather and equipment choices almost any boat is large enough. I have over 1000 miles of range on my 150 gallons of fuel, so range isn the least of my concerns.

I will keep updating my post as I travel, here you go Kevin :-)
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Old 07-09-2022, 11:58 AM   #2
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Looking forward to following your trip. Safe travels.
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Old 07-09-2022, 12:22 PM   #3
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Cool, thanks for sharing your trip, hope you will share more updates. I I graduated Seward High School 1990. I have a goal of being back to Seward on my own boat.
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Old 07-09-2022, 12:23 PM   #4
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Glad you got off, and it was great visiting in Seward. We are tucked away in Kayak Island while this blows through, then will head south too.


Keep us posted!
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Old 07-09-2022, 12:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I have heard many times my 30' Willard is too small for a trip this long, this far, but no one would say that if I were in a sailboat. It's odd where people draw their lines about what's large enough and what's too small. With careful preparation and good weather and equipment choices almost any boat is large enough. I have over 1000 miles of range on my 150 gallons of fuel, so range isn the least of my concerns.
I owned W30 Hull #5, a 1972 Searcher model. 3-years ago, the then-current owner moved her from Ventura CA to Olympia WA. Pretty sure that's close to 1000 nms ---- uphill/wrong-direction. He may have been modest, but sounded like he was just an average weekend boater. He was held-up by weather a couple times, but that was it.

I would also remind TF that Steve d'Antonio along with Bill Parletore (Steve was long-time yard manager of Zimmermans; Bill was publisher/editor of Passagemaker Mag) took a W30 similar to AKDoug's from Cheseapeake Bay to Bermuda. The boat had paravanes.

There is always a reason to not go, always a reason to wait until next week. There is no reason a W30 can't make this run, albeit slowly due to full-displacement short waterline.

Good luck-

Peter
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Old 07-09-2022, 03:02 PM   #6
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Awesome. Keep us updated.
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Old 07-09-2022, 04:43 PM   #7
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Have a great trip and be safe. Keep the updates coming.
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Old 07-09-2022, 05:06 PM   #8
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Sounds like the beginning of a great trip! Hopefully we'll get to hear all of the updates.
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Old 07-09-2022, 05:18 PM   #9
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Doug, you are doing what others dream about!!! Fantastic!!!

Keep up the safe travels, and we will see you at Hotel Coral in Ensenada in a couple of months!

FYI, for the TF folks

I made it to Crescent City California where I left my boat and am currently in La Paz Baja relaxing in my Condo for a couple of weeks.

When I return, the adventure will continue to Ensenada where I'll stay for a couple of months waiting for hurricane season to end.
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Old 07-09-2022, 05:19 PM   #10
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Congrats on your departure and best wish’s for a safe and enjoyable voyage. Our trip south was a memorable one and the stretch along the West Coast was one of our favorites. Catch up on sleep when and where you can.
Cheers!
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Old 07-09-2022, 08:15 PM   #11
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Jealous! Safe Travels.
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Old 07-10-2022, 11:39 PM   #12
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Twisted Tree, wondering if you tucked in between Wingham and Kayak on the North end? I considered that, but it would have added almost 40 miles to my route so I opted for Icy Bay instead and went to coffee instead of sleep.

Yakutat is a very friendly little town, everyone waves, no particular town center though and everything is too spread out to walk. There is a car rental, $100 per day no matter what kind of a car you rent... I understand you can drive the entire road network in a couple of hours, I have been considering doing that just so I can say I have seen the whole town.

Dock fee for transients is $.49 a foot, but I am not sure anyone even counts the boats at the dock daily. Currently it looks like the weather will break Wednesday if not before, the weather forecast is being downgraded according to a local guide. Fingers crossed!

The wind is forecast to be offshore on Thursday, so traveling may be both possible and comfortable, last forecast was back up to 20 knots Thursday, only 10 on Wednesday and variable. Fingers crossed :-)
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Old 07-11-2022, 05:22 AM   #13
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Yakutat is an interesting town, I never got to explore more than a few blocks around the harbor area.

It's also the closest I've ever gotten to Southeast AK.
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Old 07-11-2022, 08:37 AM   #14
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Definitely following.

If I could add- pictures would be swell.
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Old 07-11-2022, 11:19 AM   #15
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Twisted Tree, wondering if you tucked in between Wingham and Kayak on the North end? I considered that, but it would have added almost 40 miles to my route so I opted for Icy Bay instead and went to coffee instead of sleep.

No, I haven't. All my crossings have been direct, non-stop. We have had weather windows, and just plowed through, but also had two people so could do shifts and get sleep.


We are likely departing tomorrow back to SE, so only a day or two behind you. I don't think it will be the greatest conditions, but shouldn't be terrible either. As long as the system off SE doesn't push further north than expected, we should get to Graves Harbor early Thursday AM. Otherwise we will duck into Yakuta as well. Whether we stop in Graves, or continue on will depend on conditions, but based on forecasts we will stop for 24 hrs or so, then continue on.
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Old 07-11-2022, 12:25 PM   #16
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There have been no surprises, no problems, and my weather choices have so far been all good. Likewise anchorages, and equipment choices. As Kevin said, "a long trip is just many day trips joined together". As long as you get enough rest between stretches to keep your focus.

I have heard many times my 30' Willard is too small for a trip this long, this far, but no one would say that if I were in a sailboat. It's odd where people draw their lines about what's large enough and what's too small. With careful preparation and good weather and equipment choices almost any boat is large enough. I have over 1000 miles of range on my 150 gallons of fuel, so range isn the least of my concerns.

I will keep updating my post as I travel, here you go Kevin :-)
Doug,

Sounds like you have a great adventure ahead of you and a superb vessel beneath you! Leave the naysayers behind and follow your dreams.

Long distance cruising solo is like eating an elephant, just do it one bite at a time.

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Old 07-11-2022, 07:11 PM   #17
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Following your journey with interest, and grateful you're posting about it. If there's any way I can help (weather, parts, etc) call. I'm in Bellingham (NW Washington state).
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Old 07-12-2022, 11:35 AM   #18
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Doug, do you still anticipate departing Yakutat on Wednesday? We should be passing by early AM.
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Old 07-12-2022, 01:45 PM   #19
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Doug, do you still anticipate departing Yakutat on Wednesday? We should be passing by early AM.
Are you continuing south???

I'll be leaving Crecent City California on the 24th or 25th and plan on being in Ensenada a couple weeks after that.
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Old 07-12-2022, 05:09 PM   #20
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Are you continuing south???



I'll be leaving Crecent City California on the 24th or 25th and plan on being in Ensenada a couple weeks after that.


Only as far south as Puget sound
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