South From Alaska

It’s been a hard two-week cruise from Wrangell to Seattle . 15 days at the end of fall are prime season for Gulf of Alaska storms to bring strong southeast winds and rain to the entire SE AK panhandle and British Columbia almost continuously.

Dauntless’ Pilot House underway south

And they did.

The Infamous Dixon Entrance. We had to do an overnight since the winds were westerly and northwesterly and needed to take advantage of that

So being on a boat trying to go southeast is problematic, as one would say when they do not want to sound too negative. Needless to say, we only saw one day with winds of less than 15 knots.

Waking up in Friday Harbor this morning as the winds howled to 30 knots, sure made our decision to push press on to Northwest Bay at midnight a couple of nights ago a sound choice. Even though we were surrounded by barking sealions all night.

It was windy

This all started even before I left Wrangell because I ruined my laptop and thus had no easy way to write. But not being able to write enabled me, no, forced me to reflect on a whole litany of things. The equipment list below was pretty much complete before my laptop debacle. That I had spent almost $60,000 on upgrades was not so much a surprise, as it had been in the original plan, but I needed the reminder that the money was not wasted and in fact, 8 years later is still paying for itself in spades.

Roll before and after paravane deployment

That sum does not include the money for spares and expendables,  so that’s probably another $ 8 -10k.

Ti at the helm with moonrise and the moon

Having been two weeks underway, 10 days through Canada, with no contact allowed, remined me what a proven worldwide cruiser is really about. While in this case, we could anchor at night, we made no stops for food, fuel, water or anything else. We didn’t need to. And we didn’t need to because of how that money had been spent before we crossed the Atlantic for the first time seven years ago.

A true world cruising boat is about Simplicity & Independence.

The idea of keeping it simple was the foundation.   It has paid off numerous times. On this trip alone, we’ve met two American boats going south like us:

  1. One was a smaller boat, with a Yanmar engine,  which was stuck in Thorne Bay Alaska for 4 months!!! Waiting for a fan belt. I carry two, but more importantly,  I’ve never needed them.
  2. Second was a Nordhavn 62, limping along at 2 knots. I asked him if he needed anything. He had a fuel leak too his main engine, so was motoring south with his wing engine. He said he tightened the fitting, but it wouldn’t stop.
  3. A friend, also with a KK needed a damper plate while passing through Mexico on the way to the east coast. We met in the Panama Canal in fact, as I was going west and he, east. He had spent a month in Mexico waiting for his part to clear customs. I’ve lived in Europe long enough to know that even with a boat, you can never depend on getting anything in a timely manner through customs. It’s been that way forever. After trying with UPS and then Fed EX, both promising delivery, he finally got on a plane, flew to the US, got the part and put it in his suitcase. Just like I did when I brought parts for Dauntless while in Ireland or needed stuff in Vietnam.

The three above examples show why it’s important to keep it simple and having the right spares. I can repair or replace any fuel hose or fitting on the boat. I chose an older KK42 because I wanted the simplicity of the Ford Lehman, no electronics, no special fuel hoses. I do have a spare set of injector pipes, but I don’t have an injector pump. So, I carry the spares that I think may be needed for repair or for those items that just may eventually need to be replaced while . Thus, my spare parts were not so much in anticipation of needing them in the middle of the Atlantic, but needing them while in Amsterdam, Hamburg, Riga or even Wrangell.

Mechanically she’s in great shape and one could set across the Pacific tomorrow or more likely down the coast to Mexico tomorrow if one so desired.

Cosmetically, on the outside, she needs a lot of elbow grease and paint. Something I don’t like doing and it shows. All the outside teak needs work. Thankfully, the foredeck was replaced in 2012, so it’s just the side and aft decks that are teak. While the teak itself is in good shape, it clearly has leaks, as water makes it down into the engine room on rainy days. The cap rail and bow pulpit are two teak pieces that don’t paint well. The new owner needs to decide the look they want. Same goes for hull color, though overall the paint, in my mind, could happily get by with touch up, filling scrapes, light sanding and a few new coats, without having to go all the way to the base.

If I were to keep her, I’d probably bring her down to Ensenada where such work will cost a quarter of what we’d pay here and probably be better quality.

I’ve vacillated greatly on the asking price these last few months. I see her flaws and strengths so well. We pressure washed her in June, yet when we got back to her a couple of weeks ago, one would think her color is green.

I’m not so much selling my baby, as much as selling a product I believe in with life and limb.



Author: Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

2 thoughts on “South From Alaska”

  1. My best to you (and Ti) and Dauntless, before and after you bid each other farewell. I enjoyed the ride!

    Best Regards, Karl

    Sent from my iPad


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