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Thread: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Looks really nice.

    I know you're still getting used to your new Alaska, but how do you find it compared to the Phoenix III. Is that your brother in the Phoenix? There's got to be some friendly competition going on.

    That's a beautifully set sail, by the way. How do you like the loose foot?

    Travis.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Travis,

    the Alaska (with only the mainsail as I'm sailing it) and the Phoenix III (yep, that's my brother sailing it) don't seem too far apart in performance so far, but it'll take more sailing side by side to know for sure where each has advantages. The Alaska might have a SLIGHT edge over the Phoenix III in rowing (maybe that's mostly that the oars are more than a foot longer), but not enough to be really discernible with a single person aboard each boat. It would outrow the Phoenix III if each boat had two people aboard, and it certainly has a lot more momentum once it's moving. But overall, it seems like the two boats will be a good match for cruising together.

    The Alaska sure heels much more readily, and (being more than 100 lbs heavier even without the 100 lbs of ballast I'm carrying) accelerates more slowly. But it seems to have a good reserve stability. Windy conditions seem to demand much more attention to using your weight to keep the boat flat--the Phoenix III is much firmer and less sensitive to weight shifts. The Alaska is a little slower at tacking, and maybe doesn't keep as much momentum coming about, so I'd expect to lose ground to the Phoenix III if short-tacking up a channel.

    And yes, I'm really happy with the sail--best sail I've ever used (by Stuart Hopkins of Dabbler Sails). The boomless set-up is very convenient in some ways, so I'm in no hurry to change that. It's pretty simple to rig an oar as a temporary boom for downwind work:



    Tom
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  3. #38
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Looking good, Tom! I'm enjoying the rigging discussion, too.

    Congratulations on a lovely boat.

    Mike
    "near it, a small whale-boat, painted red and blue, the delight of the king's old age."

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Mike,

    thanks--how's your Ilur coming along? That design always strikes me as a little ship more than a boat--so much volume. Seems very capable, like it'll take excellent care of its crew. I love how there are so many different ways to design a great boat.

    Tom
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  5. #40
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    All right, things have lined up so I'll actually get something like a real trip in this fall before things ice up around here--I'm headed up to Lake Huron this weekend for a solo cruise. A little later in the season than I'd prefer, but just got done with a summer camp job so it's now or never.

    Days will be quite a bit shorter, and probably cooler. Weather can still be great in September, and if it is, I'll stay for a couple/few weeks and see where that takes me. I'm all by myself so no need to plan too specifically. North Channel? Georgian Bay? Both? Bugs should be mostly gone, I think. Hope. I'll bring a head net anyway.

    So, with a fall cruise in mind, I spent the last couple of days playing around with a few things on my Alaska. For one, I led the downhaul aft to a cleat at the forward end of the centerboard case--almost within reach of my usual helming position. No photo of the new cleat, but I used the same "removable cleat" idea that I used for the centerboard cleat, trying to keep my sleeping platform clear of lumpy hardware. I was curious to see whether this kind of set-up could handle some serious downhaul tension--so far, no problems there:



    I also adjusted the halyard attachment point to give myself a couple of extra inches of hoist for the full sail, which is pretty low. No photo of that, but it needed doing. Now it's done. No fancy iron traveler ring, but I do have a parrel rigged at the attachment point on the yard--just run the line around the mast before hoisting and clip it into a snaplink.

    I'm anticipating that I'll be spending some time sleeping at anchor, so I re-rigged a small rectangular backpacking tarp to fit my boat with minimal fuss. All of the lines are tied/cut at the correct lengths, which ought to really simplify setting the tent up:



    It doesn't cover the boat gunwale-to-gunwale, but it'll do a fine job of keeping rain off the sleeping platform, with any rain water running down into the bilge. Open and breezy, which I've always enjoyed in summer. The ultimate lounging seat in the bow is open for hanging out (boat cushions leaned up against the coaming), then crawl under the tent when it's time for bed.

    One more look--just barely sitting headroom, I think. But good enough.



    Also got the ugly registration stickers on, since I'm headed to a foreign country and all. And got my car wired for trailer lights. I'm all set--leaving Saturday morning for the drive, should be sailing on Sunday.

    Yee-ha!

    Tom
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  6. #41
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Tom.

    Last lot of pics didn't come through for me.

    Another thing you might want to try on the mainsheet front is what I use on my Good Little Skiff which has about 75 feet of sail. I dead end the sheet at one of the quarter cleats, then run it through the clew ( I don't bother with a block) and through a block on the other quarter. Gives me a 2x1 and the clew pretty much stays where I shove it due to the friction when the sheet is tensioned. I don't miss the fine adjustment of having a block at the clew as I am not racing so don't mind a touch of luffing when setting the sheet. I have a half pin in the thwart on the block side to take a slipped hitch. Might be worth a test.

    The tiller arrangement is great. It could also work from an open gunwale or a couple of holes drilled in a seat or deck.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
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  7. #42
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    Default

    Sounds like you are set up for a great trip. Look forward to hearing about it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Tom.

    Last lot of pics didn't come through for me.

    Another thing you might want to try on the mainsheet front is what I use on my Good Little Skiff which has about 75 feet of sail. I dead end the sheet at one of the quarter cleats, then run it through the clew ( I don't bother with a block) and through a block on the other quarter. Gives me a 2x1 and the clew pretty much stays where I shove it due to the friction when the sheet is tensioned. I don't miss the fine adjustment of having a block at the clew as I am not racing so don't mind a touch of luffing when setting the sheet. I have a half pin in the thwart on the block side to take a slipped hitch. Might be worth a test.

    The tiller arrangement is great. It could also work from an open gunwale or a couple of holes drilled in a seat or deck.
    Ben,

    thanks for your comments. I really do like this tiller set-up for self-steering--best and simplest I've used.

    As for sheeting, I'll have lots of time to try out different things on my trip--just hitting the road to Canada now, should be sailing tomorrow. It seems to be working well now the way I have it rigged--the ratchet block is really nice to have for the mainsheet.

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Ben,

    thanks for your comments. I really do like this tiller set-up for self-steering--best and simplest I've used.

    As for sheeting, I'll have lots of time to try out different things on my trip--just hitting the road to Canada now, should be sailing tomorrow. It seems to be working well now the way I have it rigged--the ratchet block is really nice to have for the mainsheet.

    Tom
    Have a good trip Tom, dont let those mutinous Newtons take over the ship.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    Have a good trip Tom, dont let those mutinous Newtons take over the ship.

    John Welsford
    Funny thing about those Newtons--ever since my book came out, I haven't been able to find the raspberry flavor in any Wisconsin grocery stores. Coincidence? Hmm...

    Sitting at the municipal marina in Spanish, Ontario right now. I was all ready to launch tomorrow--and I still hope to--but discovered that one of my trailer wheels has gone bad somewhere on the 500m trip up here. Bad as in, I wouldn't be surprised if it fell off at highway speeds. So I'll be arranging a repair before launching.

    On another note: on the drive up to Canada, I stopped by to visit a couple of friends who are building a 60' schooner--it will launch next summer. With some volunteers to spread epoxy and handle planks, they planked the entire hull in THREE DAYS (strip planked with stout tongue-and-groove fir).

    Puts my 7-year build of an 18' whitehall into perspective...

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

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  11. #46
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    OK, just got back from an 11-day trip to the North Channel and Georgian Bay aboard my Alaska. Learned a few things about my new boat:

    1) I really REALLY like this boat for single-handed sail and oar cruising. There's nothing like a couple of weeks non-stop aboard a boat to start to feel comfortable with how it moves and how it performs.

    2) Performance under sail is as good as my non-racing background and mentality expected, and as far as I could tell with no other boats to compare with--sails decently to windward, tacks easily and reliably now that I have the feel, gybes gently, and flies along off the wind with what to me seems like a good turn of speed.

    3) Rows really well, even (dare I say) dreamily well. I figure I can row all day easily at 3 knots without much exertion in flat water, even loaded down with cruising gear and 100 lbs of ballast.

    4) Can take a LOT of weather and waves with the rig and mast down and someone at the oars.

    5) Helmsman stays pretty dry even beating in waves or chop--most of the spray comes aboard in the forward half of the boat. Not nearly as wet a ride as I expected in this boat.

    6) Sleeping aboard works well as intended--no problems there. Luxurious for a solo sailor, probably would seem a little bit close for a crew of two.

    7) 25+ mile days are pretty casual thanks to the increased length and speed of my new ride, even in the shorter days of September. During the long northern summer days, you could really cover a lot of miles in this boat with favorable winds.

    And a few of the little features of rigging and onboard systems that I really like:

    1) The simple tiller tender idea I got from my brother (and featured HERE in this month's Small Boats Monthly) is GREAT. Really works well, providing hands-off sailing on any point of sail, making it the best single piece of gear onboard (with the possible exception of the lovely sail I got from Dabbler Sails). Dead cheap and utterly simple to set up--I took to calling mine the "59-cent autopilot" because I rarely had to do more than give the tiller nudge every now and then. Otherwise I was free to wander around the boat, move forward, take pictures, read the chart, eat supper, whatever. This is the best and simplest tiller tender system I've ever used--you really should have it on YOUR boat, too (works with Norwegian style push-pull tillers as well as conventional tillers, as the Small Boats article makes clear).

    2) Maybe my next favorite small onboard system, this one is ridiculously simple: a little bag tied to the gunwale to hold the mainsheet when the rig is down:



    It's hard to overstate just how nice this little feature is in practice. Done with the rig? Unclip the sheet from the clew, feed it into the bag, and the cockpit is clear from fussy lines, and the sheet is all ready to re-deploy smoothly as soon as you need it.

    3) My little 3-pound Northill anchor is perfect for holding the stern off the beach, with a line ashore to hold the bow in position for easy disembarking in knee-deep water (my usual anchoring practice in the tide-free Great Lakes). Stows flat in very little space, tucked up under the aft deck where it's ready for quick deployment.

    4) The fully enclosed mast step I used (Don's plans show an open box with a gate instead) works great. Nothing to do but drop the mast in and you're ready to sail:



    I was a bit wary of doing it this way and skipping the open box and mast gate, but I find it may be even better in practice: a quick two-handed operation while seated and stable, vs. a two-handed operation (put mast in box) followed by two simultaneous one-handed operations (hold mast in box while closing gate). There's lots of ways to do this, but this way works well, with the added simplicity of needing no hardware.

    5) For me, anyway, forgoing the designer's ketch rig in favor of a single-sail, single sheet rig, was the right choice. I don't feel the need to add a lot of sail area, and I like the extreme simplicity. Yes, you could keep sailing longer in light airs with the ketch mizzen. But when the winds are that light, I find I'm happier rowing anyway. Especially in this boat. Which rows dreamily (see #3 above).

    6) I like the boomless standing lugsail. If I really want to, I find it's very easy to rig an oar to pole out the sail for running. Or, I can simply aim on a bit of a reach and tack my way downwind, which I suspect is faster anyway, with even less need for a boom. You can really see how the boomless standing lug's sail twist is a good safety valve in higher winds, spilling a lot of air automatically. A really user-friendly rig. I also like how easy it is to brail up when beaching--just roll the sail up and secure with a bungee (yes, I know I could rig a brailing line, but see no real need for it). And I also like the way that letting the sheet fly COMPLETELY de-powers the sail--with a balance lug, the boat keeps sailing because the boom can't rotate freely enough or far enough to completely de-power the sail.

    All right, enough chit-chat for now. If anyone has ideas for other little tweaks and systems for single-handed sailing and cruising, I'd love to hear them.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-20-2017 at 04:21 PM.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  12. #47
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Nice report. I agree that it's often small details that make the difference between frustration and satisfaction. Do you by chance have a GPS track you could share? I still haven't cruised that area and I'd be interested to see what can be done in 11 days.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Dave,

    I don't carry a GPS, so no track to show--but playing around on Google Earth will show you a lot about the area (eastern North Channel and northern Georgian Bay). I figure I covered about 180 miles in a car-to-car loop, averaging about 16 miles per day overall (a little misleading as there were some rest days/short days in there).

    I'm not posting details of the trip here for now, as I've got a publisher interested in a story and they'll rightly expect first rights to images and text if they do run a piece from me.

    But short answer is: I wouldn't want to go for any less time than 10-11 days. It's about a 10-hour drive for me one way. I wish I could have started earlier in the summer and stayed longer, but you take what you can get.

    Edit to add: you might be interested in THIS THREAD about an earlier Georgian Bay trip, where I posted images from Google Earth to show my daily routes and mileages.

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

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  14. #49
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Tom -- I had read the earlier thread when you posted it, but had forgotten it. Just reread it -- my kind of trip. The southern end of Georgian Bay is about 10 hours from my place, and I need to cruise up there before long. Let us know if the current piece gets published.
    -Dave

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Tom,
    Do you mind if I ask how you held your 100 lbs. of shot down along the centerboard trunk? Beautiful build and I'm looking to steal a couple of your style ideas...
    -Jim

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Jim,

    what are you building? Got any pictures, or are you still in the planning stages?

    Holding the ballast down was a bit of a puzzle, as I built my Alaska without floorboards (which are shown in the plans) so the popular sail & oar method of bolting lead pigs below the floorboards wasn't an option. But I like going floorboard-free, as it leaves the interior completely open for bailing and sponging. In practice, the problem kind of solved itself in the end, at least when loaded for cruising.

    That forward space where the shot bags ( 4 bags at 25 lb each) are laid in the bilge also happens to be the space where a big waterproof duffel gets lashed in tightly on each side of the centerboard, right on top of the ballast bags. I have yet to test this, but my conclusion is that the duffel bags will be enough to hold the ballast on board--the bags might slide around a little, but I think they'd have a hard time falling out altogether, even in a capsize:

    DSCN3471.jpg

    The simpler the method (for just about anything), the happier I seem to be!

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 10-10-2017 at 01:54 PM.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  17. #52
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Tom -- I had read the earlier thread when you posted it, but had forgotten it. Just reread it -- my kind of trip. The southern end of Georgian Bay is about 10 hours from my place, and I need to cruise up there before long. Let us know if the current piece gets published.
    Yep, you should definitely make it a priority to get up there. Starting from the north every time, I've only gotten about a day's sail south of the Bustard Islands, so have only seen the northern stretches so far, but I think that whole coast is a small boat cruising paradise.

    Tom
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  18. #53
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Jim,

    what are you building? Got any pictures, or are you still in the planning stages?

    Holding the ballast down was a bit of a puzzle, as I built my Alaska without floorboards (which are shown in the plans) so the popular sail & oar method of bolting lead pigs below the floorboards wasn't an option. But I like going floorboard-free, as it leaves the interior completely open for bailing and sponging. In practice, the problem kind of solved itself in the end, at least when loaded for cruising.

    That forward space where the shot bags ( 4 bags at 25 lb each) are laid in the bilge also happens to be the space where a big waterproof duffel gets lashed in tightly on each side of the centerboard, right on top of the ballast bags. I have yet to test this, but my conclusion is that the duffel bags will be enough to hold the ballast on board--the bags might slide around a little, but I think they'd have a hard time falling out altogether, even in a capsize.

    The simpler the method (for just about anything), the happier I seem to be!

    Tom
    Tom,
    Thanks for the reply. Was out of touch camping with family.
    I'm reconfiguring a row craft (St. Ayles Skiff) for sail/oar. It is a little tender, so I'm contemplating adding some ballast. Lost most of my pictures to photobucket kidnap so I'm still working on a solution there.
    I have enjoyed your threads and love your one up in Lake Huron and hope some smart editor picks up the new one.
    -Jim

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Wow, great boat--the St Ayles Skiff is a beauty for sure. As for Photobucket, I had the same thing happen--moved to Google Photos but am still annoyed at all my old threads that need restoring.

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

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  20. #55
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Let us know if the current piece gets published.
    Dave,

    it looks like my article on Georgian Bay cruising in my Alaska will be appearing in Small Boats Monthly, most likely in the November issue. Thanks for the interest.

    Just time for a few local outings yet before things get too nasty around here--hmm, where to go?

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

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  21. #56
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    I'll be looking for it.
    -Dave

  22. #57
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Just a bump to say the new Small Boats Monthly is out, with a story featuring my September trip to Georgian Bay in my new Alaska, in case anyone's interested:

    https://smallboatsmonthly.com/

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  23. #58
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Tis indeed a delight to the aye of mortal man Sir!
    Not to worry, that sheeting cleat will find you when you least expect it!
    Jay

  24. #59
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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Tis indeed a delight to the aye of mortal man Sir!
    Not to worry, that sheeting cleat will find you when you least expect it!
    Jay
    Jay,

    thanks for the comment. I'm not sure I follow what you mean about a sheeting cleat--can you explain what you mean?

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

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    Default Re: Kurylko Alaska Sea Trials and Outings

    Tom,
    Enjoyed the article a great deal. Thanks for writing it and inspiring me over the winter. Hope to make it up there one of these summers.

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