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Alaska 2009
  • Territory: Washington State, British Columbia, Alaska
  • Time: April - August, 5000 miles traveled
  • Vessel: "Teacup", Nordic Tug 37
  • Primary Activity: Deal with equipment breakdowns.

Copyright © 2009, P. Lutus. All rights reserved.   Message Page

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This article set is part of a larger work:
Alaska 2002 | Alaska 2003 | Alaska 2004 | Alaska 2005
Alaska 2006 | Alaska 2007 | Alaska 2008


This year I saw more equipment failures than during any outing in my long career as a sailor, including my four-year around-the-world solo sail. While creating a repair list I realized I would save paper by only listing the systems that hadn't failed yet. I repaired or replaced the autopilot computer, much of the freshwater plumbing, the engine cooling system, the house-current inverter and battery charger, the anchor winch, the satellite dish ... oh, well, you get the idea. In this article's pages I discuss some of the more interesting or educational repairs.

I also grounded my boat, an experience I've managed to avoid in 22 years as a sailor. I tell that story in greater detail later on, but briefly, I was anchored in Icy Bay at the base of a huge glacier, the wind blew much stronger than I had expected or prepared for, and my anchor dragged as I slept. When I woke up I knew right away something was wrong: the boat's cabin was tilted.

But I also took on some new adventures, including a new way to get to a wilderness lake by way of a fast-moving river in my kayak (something that tore up the kayak's bottom, now on my long repair list). Until this year I had walked a rather rough trail, thinking that an adjacent river might be an easier way to get where I was going. This year I tried the river approach, and, in spite of the strong currents, it was easier.

More highlights — I crossed paths with a very big bear who was on the same trail and we managed to navigate past each other amicably. I met a nice-looking fox who fearlessly posed for me. I rescued a disabled boat with an entire family aboard. And because of a spectacularly bad weather forecast I ventured forth into the roughest conditions I've ever seen in the Gulf of Alaska, such that every cabinet and storage area explosively disgorged its contents into a huge pile on the cabin deck.

What can I say? — it was an Alaska adventure. It was another reminder that nature is in charge. It was at times frustrating, but in retrospect I would do it all again.

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