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Thread: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

  1. #106
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Bruce,

    that photo is actually from September--blueberries are gone, but so are the bugs. Mostly... But it's easy enough to camp ashore on those slabs of granite. Just be in the tent before that moment when they all arrive, like someone throwing a switch at twilight.

    But heck, that's a deal. Free head nets to any PNW sailors who want to come over and do a sail-and-oar trip on the Lakes!

    Tom
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  2. #107
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Alex, it took me a little time to work up the grit to post to your lovely thread, as I find it more than a little poignant that it looks like I am very unlikely to find time for a PNW boat trip of that length myself any time very soon. <sigh>
    Priorities, man, priorities.

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    But despite my melancholy, it really was great to see your photos and read your commentary, and I sure do hope to have the privilege of sailing in company with Firedrake and you again soon. Perhaps we can arrange a short scramble next summer? It would be July-ish, most likely, when I'll be back in your time zone for a wee bit. Or, now that you're retired, maybe you'd like to check out the wooden boats and bath-warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand for a week this winter? Winter? The only way we know it's winter in Singapore is when the Santa Claus decorations go up in the shops. You'd be welcome to drop in and thaw out.
    The inside passage was kind of a bucket list thing for me, so a shorter cruise with Rowan next summer is a definite possibility as I have no major expeditions on my dance card at the moment. In addition, bath-warm waters to sail in? Sailing and rowing without the risk of chilblains or creeping moss growth where the sun don't shine? Such a thing is possible?
    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

  3. #108
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    So, when are you PNW guys (and ex-PNW Singapore guys like McMullen) going to come over to Lake Huron for some salt-free, tide-free, hassle-free sailing? July is perfect for a Georgian Bay cruise! Blueberry season, too.



    Just re-read your thread, Alex--neat trip. I may have to drag a boat over to the coast sometime. So many destinations...

    Tom
    Wait, you're telling me that there are places you can sail where you can drink the water under the boat and tie the boat to shore at night and it won't be high and dry in the morning or have floated off because the water level changed?
    Sounds like you made that up - I don't believe it.

    We may not have that many blueberries out here on our coast but we do have salmon berries, thimble berries, elderberries and Salal berries as compensation.

    You definitely have to bring your new Alaska out to the coast, but you will have to give her a name first - Left Coast rule.
    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

  4. #109
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    No problems there--I found a name on my latest trip. Just haven't announced it yet. So I suppose I'll make it over there someday. I've been pondering the smart way to do it, which might take a few years:

    Year 1: Spend a summer sailing Great Slave Lake, particularly the Eastern Arm, then trailer to Alaska for winter storage.

    Year 2: Spend a summer sailing Prince William Sound, store the boat in AK again.

    Year 3: Find a launching spot at the northern end of the Inside Passage and proceed from there to Seattle.

    Of course, there's also the Maine Coast, a full traverse of the Great Lakes, and a couple of other ideas for trips nearer home to fit in there somewhere, too...

    What do you think is the best/most important/most surprising thing you learned on your IP trip?

    Tom
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  5. #110
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    No problems there--I found a name on my latest trip. Just haven't announced it yet.
    Cool. Can't wait to hear it.

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Year 1: Spend a summer sailing Great Slave Lake, particularly the Eastern Arm, then trailer to Alaska for winter storage.
    That's got my vote. I was in Yellowknife just about exactly a year ago and it looks like great sailing. I even have an old paper chart of the lake someone gave me decades ago which I get out from time to time and scrutinize. Lots of blank places on the chart with only lines of soundings.


    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Year 3: Find a launching spot at the northern end of the Inside Passage and proceed from there to Seattle.
    Launch in Prince Rupert, like I did. It's the northernmost place you can easily drive to. Of course the ferry that goes to Alaska will take you further north but that requires more planning and costs more.


    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    What do you think is the best/most important/most surprising thing you learned on your IP trip?
    No great pearls of wisdom, I'm afraid. In some ways a long trip like this is somewhat like a bunch of shorter trips strung together, you just need greater perseverance. In terms of being wary of weather and planning for currents and tides, mostly the trip reinforced my tendency to be mostly cautious, but strike when the opportunities present themselves.

    I suppose the thing that surprised me the most was the relative lack of wind for sailing. In looking at both last year and this year, I rowed an average of 59% of the total miles covered. I expected more sailing. Keep in mind this was July both years and the fractions might be different in other months.
    Last edited by AJZimm; 09-26-2017 at 11:33 PM. Reason: typo
    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

  6. #111
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    That's [Great Slave Lake] got my vote. I was in Yellowknife just about exactly a year ago and it looks like great sailing. I even have an old paper chart of the lake someone gave me decades ago which I get out from time to time and scrutinize. Lots of blank places on the chart with only lines of soundings.
    I could be talked into heading up there next summer--got the charts for it last Christmas! Let me know if you might actually be serious about that. It looks like a fantastic place to explore. And an excellent way to win the "most trailer miles" award for the year...

    Tom
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  7. #112
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Fantastic thread. Truly inspirational.

    I suppose the thing that surprised me the most was the relative lack of wind for sailing. In looking at both last year and this year, I rowed an average of 59% of the total miles covered. I expected more sailing. Keep in mind this was July both years and the fractions might be different in other months.
    I'd really like to know more about that. I'd love to do that trip with Bucephalus --or maybe a round trip, north and back from here in Oly-- but with B having no motor, and displacing 3000#, there'd have to be a lot more wind for that trip to be enjoyable. Maybe in May/June?

    Alex

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    it seems from the travel log there were a number of days with too much wind, Yes? at least too much wind for Fire Drake comfortable/safe sailing?

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    it seems from the travel log there were a number of days with too much wind, Yes? at least too much wind for Fire Drake comfortable/safe sailing?
    A few. I think I only took 3 time-out days due to forecast or actual high winds. There was one additional day where I didn't go anywhere, that was a pure rest day.
    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

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    Fantastic thread. Truly inspirational.



    I'd really like to know more about that. I'd love to do that trip with Bucephalus --or maybe a round trip, north and back from here in Oly-- but with B having no motor, and displacing 3000#, there'd have to be a lot more wind for that trip to be enjoyable. Maybe in May/June?

    Alex
    I suspect that there would be greater chance of more wind, statistically, in May and June, but my guess is that the wind would be more likely to be associated with fronts moving through as well, so cooler, more rain, less sun. It would take some thorough scrutiny of the weather records for the various stations up and down to the coast to confirm my suspicions though, and I haven't done that.
    On the other hand, with a heavier boat, potentially able to stand up to stronger winds and bigger seas, I think you would find more wind in July not on the Inside Passage, i.e. Grenville Channel and east of Princess Royal, but outside, to the west of all the islands that form the passage. On the R2AK, my understanding is that most of the larger sailboats headed outside to find wind.
    It would also depend on your comfort level with stronger winds and whether you want to beat yourself up in them. While I can sail to windward, just, in 15-20 kts with Fire-Drake, it is not at all comfortable and it's bordering on unsafe, too, in my view, for a solo sailor. I don't have the racing mentality any more so I'd rather be a little more cautious in choice of route and weather, which likely means passing up at least some sailing opportunities.
    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

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Alex....you are an inspiration.....rowing ~60% of the way from Rupert is no small feat. My own tripping in rowing boats really only included sailing with a fair wind...reaching or running. Perhaps I should have upgraded to a sailing rowing boat such as you and the others are using. By the way I note nearly all the cruising tales on the WBF are rowing/sailing boats....I wonder why that is? .....Is nobody else cruising.....Sadly I did not get away this year at all.

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by gilberj View Post
    ...I note nearly all the cruising tales on the WBF are rowing/sailing boats....I wonder why that is? .....Is nobody else cruising...
    I had two wonderful little voyages this summer (also sail&oar "™") and would love to have nice reports to share, but the actual writing is the arduous part... I wonder if the special effort it takes to travel without an engine is reflected in the the effort taken to tell the tale? (A rare combination of mind-sets, perhaps... ?)

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by gilberj View Post
    Alex....you are an inspiration.....rowing ~60% of the way from Rupert is no small feat.
    Thanks for the kind words John, but really, once you've made the commitment to set out south from Prince Rupert in a boat with no motor, you've gotta row if the wind doesn't blow. There aren't that many bailout options.
    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

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by dsimonson View Post
    I had two wonderful little voyages this summer (also sail&oar "") and would love to have nice reports to share, but the actual writing is the arduous part... I wonder if the special effort it takes to travel without an engine is reflected in the the effort taken to tell the tale? (A rare combination of mind-sets, perhaps... ?)
    We would like definitely to hear those stories Dale.

    As for the effort required to write, I keep a journal on these trips, as I have for many years since I started kayak voyaging. I'd say 80% of the writing comes from the journal, which is done at the end of each day during the trip. A fairly easy discipline to keep once you get into it, I've found.
    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

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by gilberj View Post
    By the way I note nearly all the cruising tales on the WBF are rowing/sailing boats....I wonder why that is? .....Is nobody else cruising.....Sadly I did not get away this year at all.
    Maybe the ease of using a small boat (and hauling it to different cruising grounds with a small 4-cylinder car) makes people more likely to just go? Or maybe people willing to put up with the perceived discomforts of an open boat are more likely to actually do stuff like these trips?

    Whatever the reason, it does seem that the sail and oar bunch is a very active sub-niche of the wooden boat world as far as actual cruising goes. I really enjoy this kind of sailing more than the keelboats I used to sail 20 years ago.

    Tom
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  16. #121
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    So, it’s a month past the end of baseball season and I’m kinda missing my daily dose of obscure statistics. To make up for the lack, I compiled some mileage numbers from both this year’s Inside Passage trip and last year’s trip and present them here, for those of you who want to waste some time.

    I covered about 328 nautical miles in 2017, about 189 miles of that was rowing, and about 139 sailing. That’s about 57 % rowing, 42 % sailing. Average daily mileage, for the 18 days that I was moving, was 18.1. I’ve subtracted the very short day where I moved from the overnight anchorage to Hartley Bay, as that was primarily a rest day.

    This graph shows the daily mileage breakdown. Longest day rowing was July 10th, when I covered 23.72 miles rowing. No sailing that day. Longest day sailing was July 17th, when I covered 29.3 miles sailing. That was also the longest day of total mileage, as I covered an additional 6.71 miles rowing. Average daily rowing mileage was 10.5 and average daily sailing mileage was 7.8.


    Here’s the same data, but sorted by total mileage, from most to least, with the zero miles days removed. You can see that of the 4 longest days, over 20 miles, 3 of them involved a lot of sailing. There were only 2 days that I covered less than 10 miles. One was that short day to Hartley Bay mentioned above and the other was a short re-positioning day to get myself in position to round Cape Caution on a favourable tide and wind.


    In 2016, I covered about 319 nautical miles total, but 14 of that was thanks to a tow away from the Minstrel Island wind trap by Dave Lesser, so total rowing + sailing mileage was about 305. Of that about 149 was rowing and 156 was sailing. That’s about 49% rowing, 51% sailing. That’s almost a 50-50 split which is less rowing than I figured on at the end of last year, when I hadn’t done the detailed analysis.

    Like the 2017 graph, this one shows total daily mileage. Longest day rowing was July 23rd, when we covered 15.8 miles under oar. Longest sailing day was July 6th, when we covered 25.1 miles under sail, and it was also the longest total day. That was the day we crossed the Strait of Georgia and carried on to Pender Harbour. Average daily mileage, on the 21 days we were moving, was 15.2. Average daily rowing mileage was 7.1 and average daily sailing mileage was 8.1.


    Tim’s total numbers would be different for this same trip, as he started in Seattle and therefore traveled much further.

    The sorted mileage graph for 2016 shows that I had only 3 days when I covered more than 20 miles, and the longest day was just under 26 miles, compared to 36 miles in 2017. On the 2016 trip, I had 10 days where we covered less than 10 miles. That is mainly due to the amount of waiting around we did to get through the tidal passes.


    Conclusions?
    • 2017 felt like a lot more work than 2016. That doesn’t really jump out of the numbers, except perhaps when you look at the daily average rowing mileage, which at 10.5 was 48% more in 2017 than the 7.1 in 2016.
    • If you are going to traverse the length of the Inside Passage in a sail and oar boat, in July, if these 2 years are anywhere typical, you’re going to be doing a lot of rowing.
    Last edited by AJZimm; 12-03-2017 at 01:44 PM. Reason: typos + clarity
    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

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Really enjoyed your thread Alex. That's definitely a lot of rowing and calorie burn. Were you able to replace those calories in your daily meals? Just wondering if you lost much weight on the trip?

    Woody

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Jones View Post
    Really enjoyed your thread Alex. That's definitely a lot of rowing and calorie burn. Were you able to replace those calories in your daily meals? Just wondering if you lost much weight on the trip?

    Woody
    Woody,

    It's a challenge, for sure, to take in enough calories when you are rowing for 6-9 hours a day.

    When I work out on the rowing erg machine at the gym, set on full load and rowing 22-25 strokes/minute, it says I am working at about 600-650 calories/hour. I find when I am actually out rowing Fire-Drake on a trip like this, my stroke rate creeps up to 28-30/min and each stroke feels like much more work than the erg at full load. So, I figure I am probably burning about 700 cal/hour on a trip like this. For 6 hours of rowing, that's 4200 calories, for 9 hrs it's 6300 cal. That's on top of say, 1,500-1,800 calories a day to maintain basic metabolism in an outdoors setting.

    I remember reading once that Tour de France riders burn an average of 5,900 cal/day and peak at about 9,000 cal/day on the toughest days. They have specialized nutrition but they certainly don't gain weight and likely just hold their own.

    I find it's hard to consistently eat 7,000+ calories a day on a trip like this, so I end up losing weight. This summer, I lost about 10 lbs (starting at 175 lbs). I've gained back about half of it.
    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

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Thanks Alex. That's kinda what I thought. I'm skinny enough as it is so I don't think I could do a trip like that.

    Woody

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Alex,

    thanks for the info--very useful in case I ever try a similar trip. Which I may. Or may not. Someday.

    Meanwhile, I'm curious: do you have any measurements for rowing speed to compare between Hornpipe and Fire Drake? My very rough estimate in my Alaska is that I can row all day in flat water at 3 knots, substantially slower in any kind of wind or sea.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Thank you, Alex. That's a good reality check on my pipe dreams of taking Bucephalus through that part of the world. At 3000# and 3'4" full keel draft, there ain't no way she qualifies as a sail-and-oar boat. It sounds like there just isn't enough wind. At least not at that time of year.

    Alex (no, the other one)

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Alex,

    thanks for the info--very useful in case I ever try a similar trip. Which I may. Or may not. Someday.

    Meanwhile, I'm curious: do you have any measurements for rowing speed to compare between Hornpipe and Fire Drake? My very rough estimate in my Alaska is that I can row all day in flat water at 3 knots, substantially slower in any kind of wind or sea.

    Tom
    Tom,

    Fire-drake definitely takes more effort to row at the same speed than Hornpipe did, which means that:
    A) my all day flat-water rowing speed is slower - about 2 1/2 kts for Fire-Drake as compared to the 3 kts or so for Hornpipe that you are also experiencing with your Alaska.
    B) my top end burst rowing speed is not as high. Maybe 3 1/2 - 3 3/4 kts whereas I could hit 4 - 4 1/2 with Hornpipe.

    This is not surprising and was expected. Fire-Drake is both wider and heavier than Hornpipe. Fire-Drake therefore has more wetted surface area - I would guess 20-25% more, which is the dominant resistance factor at these speeds. Waterline length is nearly the same, but Fire-Drake is wider, which means a little more wave-making resistance.

    As you note, these are flat-water numbers. Chop slows you right down.
    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

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    Thank you, Alex. That's a good reality check on my pipe dreams of taking Bucephalus through that part of the world. At 3000# and 3'4" full keel draft, there ain't no way she qualifies as a sail-and-oar boat. It sounds like there just isn't enough wind. At least not at that time of year.

    Alex (no, the other one)
    Alex,

    Depends on your expectations and whether you want to do it solo or not.

    I ran into Grace B in Klemtu, as they were returning from Ketchikan, having taken part in the R2AK. Grace B is a Crotch Island Pinky and I would guess she weighs close to the same as your boat. They said they could row her at about 1 1/2 kts and they spelled each other off every 20 minutes, on the way north. Mind you, they did have an outboard for the trip back home, although they said conversation was impossible when it was running.

    I think if if you had a crew of 2+ for Bucephalus and lots of time, you could do it.
    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

  24. #129
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    The trip from Telegraph creek (road access from Dease lake) down the lower Stikine to Wrangel and out at Prince rupert is a neat diversion, has glaciers, hot springs along the way. Not much sailing on the river, but going downstream makes good milage

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