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Thread: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

  1. #1
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    Default Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    With my new boat launched and sailing (but not yet named), I guess it's time to move on out of the Building/Repair section into People & Places. The first launch was rowing only on a local creek:



    Rowing solo is really nice--transom stays well out of water:



    Noticeably heavier with passengers, but the transom still doesn't drag:



    If I had bothered to install the forward oarlocks, it would balance better with a passenger. Most likely I'll be solo 90% of the time anyway, though, so no big hurry on that.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-01-2017 at 02:52 PM.
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    Default Re: Sea Trials and Outings in my Kurylko Alaska

    But of course "oar" is only half of "sail and oar," so the next day included some sailing:



    I hadn't really rigged anything for sheeting, or figured out the ergonomics, but no disasters, at least:

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    Default Re: Sea Trials and Outings in my Kurylko Alaska

    After lots of rainy cold days, I finally got the chance to do a couple of all-day outings on a local lake:



    Sailed about 4 miles down to a local island on a gray, cloudy weekday when no one else was out:



    Anchored off a small island (sadly, about the only island on the lake) for lunch:



    Then sailed back to the far downwind end of the lake (actually more of a river channel), thinking that short-tacking my back out would provide lots of time to get to know the boat:

    Last edited by WI-Tom; 06-30-2017 at 04:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Alaska is designed to be ketch rigged (two standing lugsails), but based on feedback from other Alaska sailors, I figured I would do well enough with just the 85 sq ft mainsail in the center mast step instead--the entire rig has 134 sq ft, and in my typical cruising winds, that would be way too much about 80% of the time. But I had been puzzling over how to handle sheeting the boomless sail and get the right sheeting angle. Here's what I came up with:



    The "sheet hauler" line, in theory, would haul the sheeting point outward to the rail after each tack--there was too much slack in the traveler (necessary to fit over the tiller) for that to happen on its own.

    In real life it worked pretty well once I had added a couple of jam cleats for the sheet hauler line:



    I was happy to have a couple of long days in the boat. Turns out I like to sit on the aft-most thwart, facing mostly forward. The swiveling tiller extension makes steering from here easy and comfortable, and it puts more weight forward, better for windward work especially.

    I also got the hang of slowly sailing the boat around to tack, a VERY noticeable difference from my brother's Phoenix III. In the Phoenix III I'm used to tacking so quickly that you can sail right up to an obstacle to windward, put the tiller over, and tack without worrying about hitting it. The Alaska, with a long straight keel and no rocker, has a MUCH wider turning radius. I found myself using very little rudder angle, letting the boat steer itself in a wide circle--at some point, the tack happens, but it takes a lot more space and time. I'm still getting the hang of it, but I made it back up a 3-mile narrow river channel in fluky (sometimes almost entirely blocked) winds without missing a tack. So far, so good.

    I also discovered that my Alaska has excellent directional stability--let go of the tiller for a few moments (or a minute or two) and it'll pretty much keep going straight. Slight weather helm when reaching or running, more weather helm when close-hauled. A slight tendency to lee helm when broad reaching in light winds--I'll have to sort that out, as I'm not keen on lee helm.

    As with any lug-rigged boat, it parks itself about broadside to the wind when you let the sheet fly--a simple way to stop for a quick break when waves aren't bad.

    My usual cruising gear fits in two large duffel-type dry bags, which will fit side by side at the forward end of the centerboard--that's also where I have 100 lbs of ballast (4 bags of steel shot), which seem like a very good idea--not a lot of freeboard, and more heeling than I'm used to in the Phoenix III. In fact, I was able to sit comfortably on the rail just behind the oarlocks to help keep the boat flat. Oars store well out of the way forward, slid all the way up to the bow.

    So far so good--I should have some time soon to get away for a longer trip or two, which will (I'm sure) teach me a lot more about my new ride.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 06-30-2017 at 04:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Looks great. A boom might be a good addition?

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    That was my question too! A sprit-boom works nice with a standing lug- high and light.

    Look at me in my Monday Morning Quarterback Chair!

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Beautiful job, Tom! Really nice. Very slick.

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Congratulations! She looks great, and having the option to sail, or row, a real plus.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Beautiful boat. Love that color.

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. Yes, I'm musing over a boom or sprit boom. Too lazy to actually try it yet, but I probably will. The sail comes VERY low when not reefed, so that might point toward a sprit boom instead of a conventional one.

    But enough chit-chat for now--I'm going out sailing again! I'm finding out that 1 reef tied in seems to be my working sail area, with the full mainsail for lighter winds.

    Cheers!

    Tom
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Very good job. Finastkind.

    I'd rather have a boom but see the value of boomless given how low you carry the sail with one reef, which is about where it would have to be full.

    I'm surprised you need hauls on the sheet. The ring should get over the tiller fine when you tack and you'll always want the sheet anchored about as far out as it can go.

    There can be an advantage to a slow tacking boat if you can carry way through the turn. Basically you get a boat length or two straight to weather. All boats lose speed tacking, some rather fatally. Fast tacks lead to a major loss of momentum but in the boats that tack fast that's not so important as they also accelerate fast. In your boat, you'll want to practice what arc in the tack for given wind and sea maximizes the product of gain to weather versus loss of speed. I'd start trying to go into a tack at four and come out at three. Many slow tackers benefit from starting the sheet a few inches, over-tacking by a point, and then trim and bear up as you have speed.

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Ian,

    thanks for your thoughts--I agree about the slow tacking so far, but it's all new to me so I appreciate your insight. I'm finding that when I get it right, that wide slow circle gets you some ground directly to windward, just as you say. You need a little more room, but it seems to sail/coast around to the new tack without losing too much momentum. I'll keep the overtacking idea in mind next time. It already seems to me that I'll want to sail a bit freer rather than pinching anyway, with the extra speed making up for the extra distance.

    As for the ring on the traveler, it gets over the tiller on its own, but there's too much slack to get the ring all the way outboard without hauling it there. So I'm using this system to haul the sheet to the leeward side to get it far enough outboard for proper sheeting angles--not hauling the sheet to windward to sheet in tighter as you might on a big boat. Seems to work ok so far.

    Four days of sailing this week (so far, with maybe one more tomorrow)--that's more like it!

    How's your new boat coming along these days? It's been a while since I checked your thread.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-05-2017 at 12:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    I try and avoid Sheet Haulers unless I'm hauling a big load of sheet.

    I've found the easiest way to get a boom to leeward is often to sheet it there. I did not have an issue with the traveler on the Alpha dory, there was none, just a eyebolt in the transom, to get a nice flat sail to leward I ran the sheet from the boom to a cleat on the leeward side, under a horn of the cleat then to my hand... this will draw the boom down and to leward... possibly eliminating the need for your... Sheet Hauler.

    nice lines. she certainly looks different with the Una rig. probably more room with the one sail as well.

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    I try and avoid Sheet Haulers unless I'm hauling a big load of sheet.

    I've found the easiest way to get a boom to leeward is often to sheet it there. I did not have an issue with the traveler on the Alpha dory, there was none, just a eyebolt in the transom, to get a nice flat sail to leward I ran the sheet from the boom to a cleat on the leeward side, under a horn of the cleat then to my hand... this will draw the boom down and to leward... possibly eliminating the need for your... Sheet Hauler.

    nice lines. she certainly looks different with the Una rig. probably more room with the one sail as well.
    Yes, with a boom the sheeting would be simple, with no need for a sheet hauler or any of that nonsense. But with a boomless standing lug mainsail the way Alaska is designed, the sheeting angle is critical--the sail needs to be sheeted as far aft and as far outboard as possible (conflicting demands, really, with a boat like Alaska with such a narrow transom). So, the optimal sheeting point is too far back and too far to leeward for me to want to shift it there at each tack, especially since I'm finding myself steering from well forward, on the aft thwart, with tiller extension.

    How's your dory--launched yet? I'll check out your thread next--hoping there's some sailing photos.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Yes, with a boom the sheeting would be simple, with no need for a sheet hauler or any of that nonsense. But with a boomless standing lug mainsail the way Alaska is designed, the sheeting angle is critical--the sail needs to be sheeted as far aft and as far outboard as possible (conflicting demands, really, with a boat like Alaska with such a narrow transom). So, the optimal sheeting point is too far back and too far to leeward for me to want to shift it there at each tack, especially since I'm finding myself steering from well forward, on the aft thwart, with tiller extension.

    How's your dory--launched yet? I'll check out your thread next--hoping there's some sailing photos.

    Tom
    ahhh... no boom, which is why CS222 suggested one... hmmmm... I think taking a turn on a leward cleat may still help.take the sheet from the traveler block on the transom forward, hook it under a cleat or around an oarlock on the leward rail up near where you sit, and thence to your hand...

    also...



    a rod traveler is better at getting the mainsheet block to leward, or you could try tightening up on the rope traveler untill it is taught this will alow the block to traverse the greatest distance on the rope.

    dory Launching July 4.

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Next decision: where to install a cleat for the centerboard so it's convenient to use but also out of the way. The obvious place--on top of the centerboard case--would leave a cleat sticking out right where I don't want it, on the centerline of the sleeping platform:



    Ouch.

    So, perhaps two cleats--one on each side of the centerboard case, mounted vertically rather than horizontally. Except, no--I designed the filler planks for my sleeping platform to stow neatly alongside the centerboard case when not in use, making this a bad place for a cleat:



    Or maybe mount a jam cleat vertically, on the aft side of the aft-most thwart. Except I seem to spend most of my time sitting on the aft-most thwart, facing forward and steering with the tiller extension, which would make this an awkward reach. So, no.

    But this morning I hit upon a fairly simple solution. And in the middle of creating the necessary bits to make it work, I found that it was even simpler than I first planned. Photos in the next post after I get the necessary 2 screws from the hardware store...
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-05-2017 at 02:30 PM.
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Great looking boat Tom. One of my favorite designs.

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    That's just lovely. Well done!
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Nice cliffhanger.
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by minuteman View Post
    Nice cliffhanger.
    Sorry--more coming tomorrow. I had to get new batteries for my camera.

    Leaning toward a rigid bar traveler over the tiller instead of the sheet haulers, but it'll be a while putting that together.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Looks great. A boom might be a good addition?
    My boat (a Vivier Ilur) is rigged exactly like this one, and I've received similar comments. My answer is: she would absolutely sail better with a boom—in light air, downwind. In all other conditions, there would be no difference. As soon as you need to reef, the advantage of the boom goes away.

    Also, the lack of a boom has advantages:
    1. one less spar in the boat
    2. no spar to trip in the water on an ocean swell
    3. simpler reefing

    Its quite simple to set up an oar as a temporary bearing out spar. This is useful on those occasions where you are trying to get downwind in a dying afternoon breeze, and have to choose between ghosting along, or rowing. I've done this a couple times.

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    Default Re: Sea Trials and Outings in my Kurylko Alaska

    I really love your boat! I thought I'd share how I rig my Ilur. Its all very simple and powerful.

    One thing that helps is to have the tack led by a strong line to a 3 part purchase on the side of the centerboard case. That way you can crank on the downhaul while under way easily. It makes all the difference. I don't have a good pic right now.

    For the sheet, Francois Vivier advises to just hook the main sheet on the rail by hand. No horse needed! Since this pic was taken I've replaced the rope grommet with a bronze ring. That's even easier to hook to the half-cleat. The sheet has a block, so it has a two part purchase.

    This pic also shows my Helm Impeder, but that's a different story.
    Last edited by photocurio; 07-11-2017 at 08:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    photocurio,

    thanks for posting. I agree that the advantages and simplicity of a boomless rig (and the irrelevance of a boom in many sailing situations) tend to get overlooked by boom enthusiasts.

    I really really like the simple "hook the sheet over the cleat" style of rigging as personified in your Ilur (great boat, by the way!) I would use it in a heartbeat except for the distance involved. I'm usually sitting on the aft thwart (i.e. just ahead of the mizzen step for the ketch rig), facing forward or sideways, for solo sailing, which means I would have to get up and move far enough aft to be able to reach the cleats at each tack. I think that will prove to be a deal-breaker for me. However, since I won't know until I try it, I'm going out sailing right now with that system rather than my sheet hauler to see if it's as bad as I expect.

    I agree that I'll want to lead the downhaul aft for easy adjustments. In Jagular I could actually reach the downhaul from the helm, but it's a long walk up to the mast in my Alaska. I've already found more than a few times when I wanted to adjust downhaul tension but couldn't be bothered to move up there to do it.

    More in a bit.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan H View Post
    That's just lovely. Well done!
    I would second that. Beautiful design and nicely done.
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    I finally got around to taking a photo of my centerboard cleating--a way to have a cleat for the board without interfering with a nice flat sleeping platform. I just screwed a jam cleat to a wooden block, after rasping a slot in the block under the cleat for a strap, and voila:



    As an added bonus, the strap holding the centerboard cleat down doubles as a secure strap for the extra platforms for the sleeping platform. I only need to unstrap the cleat and move it when I actually want to sleep aboard. Seems to do the job.

    One advantage of my Alaska is how easily everything fits inside the boat for trailering:



    Three straps, two cushions, and everything's all set to go. Two of the extra planks for the sleeping platform are strapped under the side benches, which nicely holds the benches themselves in place, too. And the straps across the benches will be a perfect place to tuck a chart while underway.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-18-2017 at 04:46 PM.
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    So, today I went out around noon, planning to get in some sailing before the forecasted afternoon thunderstorms. I spent the day sailing closehauled down to the end of the lake, and then sailing back closehauled (again) as the wind veered from southerly to westerly. Along the way I had the chance to do plenty of tacking, using the "hook the block over the aft cleat" system posted in #22 above.

    I had been skeptical, but I'm glad I tried it--it works better than anything else I've tried yet. Yes, I do have to leave my seat midway through each tack to step back to the tiller and manually shift the block to the new leeward cleat, but the Alaska tacks so slowly that there's plenty of time to do this. So, lots of clutter and extra lines are no longer needed. Thanks again, photocurio.

    The boat really does sail well (you can see my 100 lbs of steel shot ballast in small dry bags alongside the front end of the centerboard, which helps for solo sailing):



    Here's the view from an alternate steering position, sitting on the keel just aft of the aft-most thwart:



    You can see my anchor (an old Northill) on a foam pad on the platform just forward of the mast. That's where it'll stay, I think, but in a padded bag that's strapped securely (and tightly) to the platform. I have enough chain and anchor line backfed and piled under the anchor for my typical near-shore anchoring system (anchor off the stern, bow line tied off ashore), with the remaining 100'+ of line hanging on a spool under the tiny foredeck (just visible in the photo above). In my imagination this seems like a clever idea. Reality may prove otherwise.

    Apart from the absence of two large dry bags just aft of the mast (forward of the rowing thwart), this is pretty much my set-up for cruising. I do need to rig a couple of straps to hold the oars in place, but that's where they'll be stowed.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-18-2017 at 04:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    So, I think I have things generally figured out. Tacking goes smoothly in this sequence:

    1. First, fall off a touch and harden up a bit on the sheet.

    2. After about 2-3 seconds to gather speed, nudge the tiller over a tiny bit to begin the turn.

    3. When the boat starts turning, gradually but steadily increase the rudder angle. Getting this right seems to be crucial for making it through the tack and maintaining some momentum without coming to a dead stop.

    4. When the sail luffs, shift the sheet block to the opposite side cleat.

    5. Let the boat fall off a bit more than usual on the new tack, gather some speed, and then head up to your heading.

    That's it--I was much smoother tacking today. I was also sailing with the full mainsail up, which makes the boat tack noticeably better than a reefed main, which seems obvious, after all.

    It's very simple to just rig a shock cord to the tiller for hands-free steering. This works well closehauled, but also works ok all the way to a broad reach as well, though you have to nudge the tiller now and then. In time I'll have something a bit more elegant than a ratty old bungee:

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    So, I sailed across the lake, around our one island, and headed back. Winds were now westerly, putting me closehauled again. The closer I got to the ramp, the closer the approaching thunderstorms got. I could feel our wind fading away, with the water looking all glassy and ripple-free between waves, but we kept going at better than rowing pace.

    Ran into the first raindrops about a mile from the ramp. Kept sailing. After a few minutes the wind picked up--too much for the unreefed main, and a dead beat to the ramp as well. So, I dropped the sail, dropped the mast, raised the rudder, and started rowing in. Just a couple of minutes after I started rowing, the WIND and rain arrived for real--wind so windy that the rain drops felt like needles being shot into my skin. I think if I had still had the sail up, I would've had my first capsize test!

    As it was, I casually kept rowing (having the centerboard down helped hold me into the raging wind) as the wind and rain kept up so heavily that I couldn't see more than 10 yards. Half a mile from the boat ramp, the wind and rain died away completely, letting me row easily to the ramp, where I beached the boat in a flat calm to bail out the rain:



    A perfect day! Yep, I like this boat. A lot.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-18-2017 at 05:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Final post from today--a bit of video:



    This is hands-free, with tiller tied off and sheet cleated with a slipped half hitch to the oarlock for quick release if necessary. Nice to be able to have both hands free for a little while when sailing.

    First camping trip aboard later this week.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Nice.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    A small becket rachet block for the main sheet lower end wouldn't be the worlds worst investment. I wonder if you couldn't have a turning block for your downhaul next to the mast with the lead back to the forward edge of your forward thwart, gear bags stow underneath it. Have a look at some of the clever cam cleat leads. I run mine to a cam cleat on the underside of my forward thwart with the fall coming back to me. Everything is out of the way come sleeping platform time. In fact I run my halyard the same way so I can reach everything from amidships.
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Ben,

    thanks for your thoughts. Indeed, a ratchet block for the sheet will be my next purchase, which may allow me to get rid of the multi-part sheeting altogether.

    A turning block and aft lead for the downhaul should be simple enough to rig as well. I'm thinking a cleat at the aft end of the forward thwart, which would put it in reach of my usual steering position seated on the aft thwart. Since my thwarts are boxed in, I'll have to lead it over the forward seat, but with the sail down at anchor anyway that won't be a problem for the sleeping platform.

    Leading the halyard aft seems like less crucial to me, but given how easily the sail hoists (the yard is very lightweight and easy to manage), maybe I should think about that; it would be easy enough to do that, too--same lead as the downhaul, but on the starboard side.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-19-2017 at 11:25 AM.
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Nice.
    Thanks--that's what I think, too. How's your sail-and-oar Whisp treating you?

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    7,669

    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Thanks--that's what I think, too. How's your sail-and-oar Whisp treating you?

    Tom
    Working on it. As I half suspected, the blade I had on hand and so tried for the rudder is not big enough. So I'm making a bigger blade, which will fit the new cassette just fine. I kinda saw that coming. I suspect there will be some ballast experimentation, too. That aside, it is a much handier and more secure boat than it was before.
    -Dave

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    northwestern Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,722

    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    OK, just had my Alaska out for a 4-day cruise in northern Wisconsin and can't resist posting a photo or two:



    The other boat is my brother's Phoenix III--fun to have a cruise with two boats again:



    If all goes as planned, I'll have time for a September cruise in Georgian Bay. Yee-hah!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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