Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sail Alaska (in winter)

We had grand plans to continue sailing throughout the winter here in Alaska.  The weather is somewhat daunting, but with numerous great all-weather anchorages it is a reasonable possibility.  The first difficulty to this plan came when we ran out of money and decided we needed to work for a while to build back our bank account.  It seems a shame that people expect you to be certain places and do certain things in order for them to give you money, but we have found no other alternative.  Instead, we are at least hoping to be able to get out on occasion for short sailing trips around Sitka.  The two factors making even this a difficult prospect are the hours of daylight this time of year and the weather.  With only about 8 hours of daylight on a clear day, it limits our options of where we can get to, and back, in a weekend on a slow moving boat.  Thankfully there are options, and we hope to be able to explore at least some of them over the winter.  The other factor, the weather, is harder to get around.  Finding a two day (or longer) forecast that is benign enough to get us back to the dock without issue is hard enough, but having that forecast coincide with the weekend is even harder.  Add to that the possibility of the harbor looking like the included picture and you add ice breaking to the issues you have to overcome for a weekend sail.  We had good intentions of getting out over the Thanksgiving weekend, possibly anchoring up at the nearby hot springs for a couple good soaks and some relaxation.  A forecast for 55 mph winds and another 6 inches of snow the night before Thanksgiving made us reassess plans and stick to the marina instead.  We will continue to watch the forecasts and hopefully get away on occasion this winter, but we are also enjoying small town life and are meeting some interesting people as well.


  1. As a Sourdough and boater, there is plenty more winter and the best winter boating is many times in March and April; long days, mild weather and wildlife that we beginning to move. Have fun!

  2. Having lived in Southeast Alaska 40+ years, in my opinion the only kind of sailing to do on a confined time (e.g. week-end) in winter here is day-sailing. You must allow one nice day to get where you want to go and make sure it is ice-free, etc.; then wait for the next nice day to come back. It might be the next day, but it might just as well be in a week. You don't want to "have to" be somewhere else on a specific day in Alaska, particularly not in the winter. It can get very ugly very quickly. But if you take the time to be careful it is absolutely spectacular! Enjoy!

  3. I had to put on socks yesterday and I thought I had it bad ;)

    From La Paz, Mexico, Livia