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Thread: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

  1. #1
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    Default Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    With those pesky Canadians keeping the border closed, my usual cruising grounds are out of reach. I've been musing about what to do about that--what's the point of having summers off if you can't do a long trip? No easy answers anywhere local-ish, though, and it doesn't seem smart (or particularly responsible) to travel too far.

    The fact is, Canada has hogged up the best of the Great Lakes as far as sail-and-oar cruising goes. Wisconsin has the Apostle Islands, but there's a fair amount of red tape there, and probably crowds. Lake Michigan has few islands to explore and shelter behind. And if you don't want to do a river trip, well, then besides the Great Lakes, there's really only the coasts for areas large enough for a multi-week cruise.

    So, I drove off to the north woods again instead, to the biggest cruising grounds I have within reach at the moment--the 14,000-acre, 195-island, Turtle-Flambeau Flowage in northern Wisconsin. Just a 3-day trip, but it was nice to get away after an uninspiringly hot and muggy week at home.

    The ramp was fairly uncrowded--a small group of Boy Scouts in plastic kayaks launching when I drove up, but they were gone before I was ready. I loaded up, put the boat in, and headed out the narrow channel by oar:

    1.1.jpg

    I slipped through the familiar narrow slot to the open waters of the southern flowage before hoisting the sail for a broad reach on a NW breeze, a perfect day in the 70s (F):

    day 1.1.jpg
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    One of the things I really like about the Turtle-Flambeau is that there are 60+ boat-access-only campsites, and they can't be reserved (and they're free, which is always nice--almost unbelievable in this era, but there it is). But that puts little sail-and-oar boats at a disadvantage, because a bass boat with an outboard can get to any campsite before you can. And while it wasn't crowded yet, it was a Friday afternoon and I knew it might be headed that way.

    So my plan was to head south and sail past all the campsites that I could until I found one open. In theory, the farther away I got, the more likely it should be for a site to be open. But if I got all the way to the southern end and they were all taken... Ah, well. I'm usually luckier than that.

    But after passing 7 campsites that were already taken (mostly pontoon boats and fishing boats)...

    1.2.jpg

    I was getting into the southern reaches of the flowage, with only a few sites left. Still, perfect sailing! I kept on keepin' on:

    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-13-2020 at 09:23 PM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    You can see one of my minor Season 4 tweaks to my boat see in the video above: I re-rigged my downhaul to include a nice becket block on the bottom. The old block had just been a single block, no becket, so the change makes the whole rig neater because I can dead-end the line on the becket and leave it all rigged in place. Gives me a 3:1 advantage, same as the old system. I've found that's about right for me.

    Earlier this summer I used my wife's airline (remember airlines?) luggage hand scale to test my downhaul and found that I pull about 62 lbs of force on the line for max tension in full reefing conditions. Translated through the 3:1 system, accounting for friction, that means my downhaul applies 200+ lbs of force to the blocks in the system. I was curious about that, and now I have some idea.

    As I was approaching the next campsite (really the one I had kind of hoped to end up at) from the north, I spied a pontoon boat loaded down with a family approaching from the west. The race was on!

    And I won--by about 50 meters. I didn't even feel bad about it.

    1.3.jpg

    Still high water--apparently they hadn't done the annual summer drawdown at the dam yet. The nice sandy beach was still underwater. It was still nice and sandy, though--just ankle-deep in cool water instead of dry sand.

    Day 1.3.jpg

    I did, somehow, end up with 2 leeches on my feet--one from the launch, one from the landing. It didn't stop me from getting my camp all set up by 4 p.m.

    Day 1.4.jpg

    In a nod to my increasing decrepitude, or at least my decreasing ability to be relatively immune to comfort, I even packed a camp chair. Luxury camping! (I was too ashamed to take a photo, but I'll admit having a chair was nice).
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-17-2020 at 06:32 PM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Another Season 4 improvement to my boat was a new self-steering rig. I consider some form of simple self-steering (by which I really mean a way to lock the tiller in place to let the boat hold a course while your hands are free) absolutely essential to small boat cruising. I had been using a simple line-and-bungee system that worked ok, but the new version is much better.

    I added a small thumb cleat on the underside of the tiller, and ran a line (combined with a short loop of bungee cord) from gunwale to gunwale. Slip the line over the thumb cleat, cinch it as tight as you want with a quick-release tension knot (e.g. a slipped half hitch), and you've got a system that will hold the tiller wherever you leave it, but still allows you to steer at any time without releasing the tension.

    You can see the system in action in the video below, from an earlier trip with my brother in his Phoenix III:



    I can't recommend this highly enough--it really works great, and takes just a second to engage or dis-engage. But I rarely disengage it--that darn bungee does a better job of steering than I do, leaving me free to open a can of olives for an onboard lunch (I didn't do any grocery shopping for this trip--just went with what was in my cupboards. I ate a lot of olives in three days...)

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-13-2020 at 06:47 PM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    OK, for those who don't already know: the boat. It's the Alaska design, drawn by Don Kurylko. As I understand it, the Alaska is his vision for the perfect design for long-distance sleep-aboard cruising by sail and oar, in particular the Inside Passage, inspired by several weeks of cruising those waters with his wife in a 17' whitehall.

    Alaska plans.jpg

    Though designed as a 2-masted lugger (85 sq ft mainsail and 49 sq ft mizzen), I built my Alaska specifically to sail under mainsail alone, set in the center mast step. This gives me plenty of sail area, and I like the extra room in the cockpit with no mizzen. I also like the extra simplicity of a single sail, single sheet rig.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-13-2020 at 04:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    So, 4 p.m. What to do next? I had me some plans.

    I shoved off, hoisted the sail, and set off farther south, exploring the narrower stretches of the far southern flowage where the inflow from a couple of small creeks join together. With the wind still northerly, but light, it was nice and relaxed sailing (i.e. it would have been faster to row, or even swim).

    1.4.jpg

    No complaints, though--"nice and relaxed" was just what I was looking for!

    Day 1.5.jpg
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-13-2020 at 04:52 PM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    The nice thing about narrow inland channels is that they tend to funnel whatever wind there is to follow them. If you're not unlucky enough to be facing the wind dead on the nose, you've generally got it right behind you. As it was for me--I was able to sail a good long way up the narrow, twisty stream of Beaver Creek:

    1.5.jpg

    I'd say there was a decent chance I might have been the first person to sail up this creek--the north woods is bass boat and outboard country, and it was too shallow for them. Just right for kayaks--or the (very) occasional sail-and-oar cruiser.



    This seemed like real Swallows and Amazons stuff to me--a perfect little adventure. I probably covered less than 2 miles before I ran out of wind and had to drop the sail, but the sheer unlikeliness of those miles for sailing made them worth all the more. Really, I probably enjoy sailing in these kinds of constricted waters more than almost anything else.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Actually, there was still some wind. But a couple of floating logs/branches cut me off, so I dropped the sail and eased on over them by oar. At which point it didn't seem worth it to raise the sail again. Honestly, I was surprised at how far I'd come already, and was expecting a dead end around every corner.

    But as it turns out, I was able to keep going under oars for a while:



    There was a low, barely-above-the-surface beaver dam in progress that blocked my way eventually--but if you watched the video, you can see how I was able to do a dragover maneuver to get past it and keep on going upstream.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    That was fun. It seems the unlikelier a place is for a boat, the more I like taking a boat there.

    It wasn't much farther up the aptly-named Beaver Creek before I hit the real dead end:

    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-13-2020 at 09:29 PM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    So, that was that. Time to head back to camp.

    With the wind now dead on the nose, that was all oars. No problem--rowing to windward is by far the fastest option even when there is room for tacking. And winds were light enough for the rowing still to be a pleasure.

    1.6.jpg

    Back at camp, I had another experiment in mind. While the Alaska has a luxurious (for 1) sleeping platform (one of the things I first admired about the boat, way back before I really knew what I wanted in a small sail-and-oar cruiser):

    DSCN6361.jpg

    Sleeping aboard is not always the best option in my neck of the woods. It's easy to rig a tarp to keep dry, but it's a bit more complicated to find a way to be bug-free. Many nights, if you anchor just a few yards offshore, bugs aren't a problem anyway. But in 10 years of small boat cruising, I've had 2 memorably bad mosquito nights sleeping aboard: too hot to be comfortable covering up, and too vicious NOT to cover up. Uggh.

    But I had managed to find a solo tent with a footprint small enough to fit on the Alaska's sleeping platform--the Eureka Solo. Tonight was going to be my chance to try it out.

    DSCN6365.jpg

    It's 8' long, and while you can't sit up, it's a real tent--not a bivi. Better yet, it has an integrated rainfly that you can roll up, leaving the entire tent mesh for good visibility and ventilation.

    DSCN6362 (2).jpg
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-14-2020 at 08:44 AM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    And it's got a crazy top exit if you really need to abandon ship with alacrity:

    DSCN6384.jpg

    I cheated a bit by leaving most of my gear ashore--things would get plenty cluttered otherwise. You could easily do it, but I didn't see a need to manage it on my trial run. Turned out to be a perfect night afloat in my little boat tent. I was lulled to sleep by the livewire high-voltage humming of hundreds of mosquitoes who crowded around the mesh but could not find their way in.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-14-2020 at 08:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    I shall gorge on those videos when i get more time, thanks for posting. Boats looking great, as usual.

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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Thaks, Ian. I'll fritter away a little more time here, I guess.

    The next day I set out to explore the fringes and margins of the southern flowage--all the little dead ends that I had overlooked in my first 11 years of sailing here. I left my shore camp set up to reserve my site, and set out under oars.

    day 2.1.jpg

    This video shows one of the little features about the Alaska that I appreciate--you can row facing backward (conventionally) from the forward thwart, or facing forward from the aft thwart. And it's easy to shift from one to the other while on the move.



    This one turned out to be a dead end--blocked by floating logs. On to the next!
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    I love these north woods landscapes--boggy, piney, dark water and lily pads. I did manage to sneak through the next channel. Not that these videos are all that exciting, I know, but it's the closest I can get to putting you in the boat for an armchair cruise.



    I spent a couple of hours rowing all along the southern and southwestern edges of the flowage:

    2.3.jpg

    Including an appropriately distanced visit with this fellow:

    heron.jpg
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-14-2020 at 10:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    But now there was a breeze coming up--perfect timing, as I had just reached the more open waters I had been aiming for. I took a quick break in the lee of an island:

    day 2.2.jpg

    And then hoisted up, closehauled on a NW breeze:

    day 2.3.jpg

    I had decided to stretch the limits of these relatively small waters by sailing around Big Island (clockwise--my last trip around had been the opposite way), which would take me up into the northern reaches of the flowage. Which would guarantee me lots of beating directly to windward, something I normally avoid.

    I figured it'd be a good low-stakes environment to test out what a long tough beat would be like, in case I ever needed to make it. For one thing, I had cut my ballast from 100 lbs (4 25-lb bags of steel shot) to 50 lbs. And, since I'm about 45 lbs lighter myself than I was a year ago, that made the boat close to 100 lbs lighter. Would it be enough weight to manage a windy beat under full unreefed sail? (Granted, there wouldn't be any waves to speak of here, so not really a true test of what it would be like in bigger waters. Still, might be useful to know).
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    The first bit--up to the dam that created the flowage back in the 1920s--went easily. Perfect sailing.



    Which brought me to where I'd have to turn directly northwest--and the beat would begin in earnest--around the southern tip of Big Island:

    2.4.jpg
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    A long morning of tacking, tacking, tacking. I might have learned a few refinements:

    1. With a long straight keel and no rocker, the Alaska doesn't tack quickly. It seems to work best by starting with a very small rudder angle to get the boat started turning, then increase the angle to max (end of tiller still inside the side decks, not hard over) as the tack progresses.

    2. Even more important, as the sail luffs and I shift the sheet to the new leeward cleat (the traditional sheeting method for French boomless luggers), I then need to reduce the rudder angle again. Doing that helps the boat keep momentum through the tack, since the rudder only steers, and is not acting as a brake. Doing this, more often than not, I was able to keep the boat moving steadily through each tack. A subtle refinement, but a big improvement in performance--before this, it had been fairly common to lose all momentum at a tack, and have to start moving again from a dead stop (which, given the weight of the boat, really slows things down).

    I finally reached the NW corner of Big Island and was able to turn downwind for some easy sailing to the low bridge at the top of the island. I beached just north of the bridge to stretch my legs--maybe 10 miles since morning, so I needed that.

    2.5.jpg

    Again, what is a sandy beach after the summer drawdown was still underwater. I might have slightly misjudged my downwind speed and crashed into shore a bit more forcefully than intended... But my Alaska has a beefy stem. And besides, there were no witnesses, so did it really happen?

    day 2.4.jpg

    After wandering around a bit, I rowed under the bridge (mast down, of course) and pulled into the lee of the bridge to re-hoist the sail, reefed now since it had been getting very breezy out there. And then it was on down the east side of Big Island, with a look back at the bridge:

    day 2.5.jpg

    And of course, now that a reef was tied in, the winds died away to a merest whisper... Granted, I was still in the lee of Big Island and a few other land masses, so I didn't bother unreefing. I knew eventually I'd run back into the wind on my way home.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-14-2020 at 10:16 PM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    I kept on sailing a leisurely sail with my reefed mainsail down the east side of Big Island, too lazy to untie the reef points. Finally got to the more open stretches of the southern end of the flowage again:

    2.6.jpg

    A few fishing boats here and there, but nothing obnoxious. (Well, there was that one jetski on the west side of Big Island, where there is some private land and a few resorts on the western shore). It's pretty remarkable--14,000+ acres, and very very little development or private land.

    Out on the open water, the wind picked up. I was on a broad reach and moving along well--could have untied the reefs, but saw no need for it.



    Turned out to be a 20-mile day, or thereabouts, on a lake system where the biggest stretch of open water is about 5 miles across. Twenty miles is about an average distance to cover on my Great Lakes cruises, where an especially long day with lots of broad reaching might get up to 40 miles or more.

    Perfect weather, a really nice day out. But after 20 miles (6-7 miles of hard beating), I was ready to find my way ashore.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-12-2020 at 05:08 PM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Not much more to the trip. The next morning I had another 6-mile beat in northerly winds to get back to the ramp--that was enough for me this time around. Then it was boat on the trailer and head back home.

    Some of you know I've done almost all of my real small boat cruising in just three boats: my Bolger flat-bottomed skiff Jagular, my brother's Phoenix III (solo and two-up), and now the Alaska. A few ruminations about these boats now that I know a bit more about what I'm doing than when I started 12 years ago.

    Jagular:

    A very simple and inexpensive build. The leeboards made sleeping aboard practical, though I only did that once. There was a special first-time-for-everything magic about this boat, which took me on my first long trips, the Texas 200 and then a 20-day circumnavigation of the North Channel that you can read about on THIS THREAD.

    Now Jagular strikes me as fairly crude--more the construction than the design. A baggy polytarp balance lugsail, flat rudder and leeboards without even a hint of rounded edges, much less foil shapes. But with lots of flotation, and light weight, it was actually fairly capable. Not elegant by any means, but capable.

    The Phoenix III:

    I have lots of miles in this boat, more than the builder does. That includes a summer's worth of solo cruising in Canada on Lake Nipigon and Georgian Bay, the Everglades Challenge crewing for my brother, and the Texas 200 with my friend Pete.

    I can't think of anything that would improve this boat in its niche as a small-ish solo (or 2-up) sail-and-oar cruiser. You can sleep aboard with 2, it does really well to windward, is hard to capsize even when you're trying to do so, and easy to recover single-handed. A really fine, very capable boat--anything I'd be brave enough to do as far as sail and oar cruising goes, I'd happily do in this boat.

    And now, my Alaska.

    The Alaska does very well at everything I want a boat to do, just as the Phoenix III does: sails decently, makes rowing a pleasure rather than an ordeal, allows comfortable sleeping aboard, and can handle long sustained trips without the need for resupply stops. Very compatible with the Phoenix III.

    In the next post, and mostly for my own entertainment and reflection, I'll run through a semi-detailed comparison with the Phoenix III (using the 76 sq ft balance lug rig).
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-15-2020 at 01:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    So, the comparison--mind you, based on direct experience and observation, but no actual measurements. A sailor with a racing or design background would see different things, I'm sure, and would notice (and be able to explain) more than I can. But here goes:

    1. The Phoenix III is stronger to windward. There's little doubt about that. It doesn't point higher from my crude by-eye observations; it just sails at a higher speed, tacks more quickly, and loses less momentum (virtually none) at each tack (though I'm getting better about that in the Alaska). The Phoenix III is also significantly lighter than the Alaska, so it regains what little momentum lost at each tack much more quickly.

    2. The Alaska's longer waterline (over 17', compared to maybe 13' for the Phoenix III) gives it the obvious theoretical advantage of a higher top speed. That advantage seems to hold true in reality in many conditions. You can't beat physics too easily.

    3. The two boats are about equal as far as rowing performance when solo. The Alaska is heavier, but longer. I can row either boat at around 3 knots in flat water without more than moderate effort. The Alaska is better when rowing with a passenger, because the higher transom does not drag, which does happen with the Phoenix III.

    4. The Alaska is noticeably more tender, and has less freeboard. On my "tough beat" test on this trip, with 50 lbs of ballast aboard, I found myself moving up to the rail many times to keep the leeward rail from scooping water. And in any sailing, the Alaska responds to gusts by heeling much more than the Phoenix III ever does. In all my time in the Phoenix III, I've never had to move to sit on the side deck--there's enough stability to remain seated comfortably on the side benches. Now, how much does this matter?

    On a real cruise, if I found myself needing to move to the side deck in my Alaska, I would reef the sail. No problem, no need to sit on the rail. But you do need to reef much sooner than with the Phoenix (which, to be fair, is only at 76 sq ft for full sail, compared to 85 sq ft for the Alaska). Still, the Alaska responds much more to each gust, and it is more work to keep her flat than it is to do the same for the Phoenix III.

    5. The Phoenix III's ergonomics are unmatched. The cockpit seating area is completely free of any obstructions (the centerboard is farther forward), making it very easy and un-awkward to shift sides at each tack. Because I have chosen to rig my Alaska so I need to manually shift the sheet from side to side at each tack, I actually have to spin around backward--a little more motion than required for the Phoenix III. It's a simple procedure, and no trouble, but you do have to move a bit more. That's mainly because, when close-hauled, I am typically seated on the aft thward, well ahead of the helm--there's not as much buoyancy aft as in the Phoenix III, so you do need to move forward a bit more. So I'd describe the Alaska ergonomics the way I have the sail rigged as "very good," and the Phoenix III as "perfect for me."

    6. The Alaska has a surprising amount of final stability--she will heel right down to the leeward rail, and then lock in. It would take a real error, a big wave, or a sustained intentional effort to capsize her. It would take only a moment's inattention (at the wrong time) to scoop up a bunch of water over the rail when sailing hard pressed, but that won't lead to a capsize. I am MUCH more aware of where the edge is after 3 full years, and the edge is much farther than it seems at first. (On the other hand, I've never even come close to scooping water over the leeward rail in the Phoenix III).

    Even better, the Alaska is easily managed and recovered from a capsize, with one big advantage over the Phoenix III in that she comes up even MORE stable when filled with water (just below the seat tops) than she is empty. You can read more about that on my CAPSIZE TEST thread from 3 years ago. I think the reason that it's noticeably more stable than the Phoenix III when filled with water post-capsize is that the interior is broken into several separate compartments, which really limits the free surface area of the water and dampens the motion considerably.

    That said, a Phoenix III is perfectly recoverable (single-handed) from a capsize; it's just a bit more unstable when filled with water. I also think the Phoenix III is less likely to capsize in the first place.

    7. After using both rigs, I really prefer the Alaska's boomless standing lug. Performance seems about equal, but there are just a bunch of small conveniences that go along with a boomless sail. Those conveniences mostly involve handling (the Alaska's yard is quite small and easy to handle, there's no boom to store, or to catch under the side deck when hoisting, the sail will flag forward and completely depower if you let the sheet fly, reefing is dead simple, no boom to hit you when gybing, etc. etc.). It's true you can't hold the sail out for offwind work with no boom, but in practice this just doesn't seem to matter. I described the boomless lug elsewhere as "the perfect rig for someone who wants a boat that will disallow "type A" behavior" and I think that's accurate. It's all about simplicity. The sail twist also provides lots of depowering in gusts, automatically.

    That said, the Phoenix III's balance lug rig has at least one noticeable advantage (which I just happen to value less than I do the advantages of the boomless rig). That is, a balance lugsail will simply not flog, at all, when you release the sheet. You can "park" the boat without a mizzen, roughly broadside to the wind, with perfect calm and quiet. The sail just hangs there quietly and motionless once you release the sheet. The Alaska's boomless sail will whip around in the wind if you release the sheet or slack it too far--I deal with that by simply unclipping the sheet from the clew entirely, letting the sail flap as it wants to without being in the way of the cockpit much (or at all). Or, better yet, instead of "parking" the boat, I ease the sheet in the Alaska to the point where I'm just barely fore-reaching along at half a knot or so. That's pretty much as calm and quiet as "parking" with a non-flogging balance lugsail.

    8. With almost 10 sq ft of extra sail area and almost 4' on the waterline, the Alaska will outsail the Phoenix III in light airs off the wind. That's only to be expected, but it's still nice.

    That's about it, I guess. If I think of anything else, I might post it here. Otherwise, I'll let this thread die the slow death it probably deserves. Cheers,

    Tom

    OK, a last look at each boat to end with. The Phoenix III:

    DSCN1357 - Copy.jpg

    And the Alaska:

    cropped photo.jpg

    You can't go wrong with either one.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-23-2020 at 08:37 PM.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Your trip stories are always a treat, especially the ones in Wisconsin. A group is heading north late summer. With any luck, I'll be able to report.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul356 View Post
    Your trip stories are always a treat, especially the ones in Wisconsin. A group is heading north late summer. With any luck, I'll be able to report.
    + 1

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul356 View Post
    Your trip stories are always a treat, especially the ones in Wisconsin. A group is heading north late summer. With any luck, I'll be able to report.
    Thanks for the comment--I appreciate it. By "heading north" do you mean someplace in Wisconsin? What kind of trip? What boats? Always interesting to hear what someone else is up to.

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Really enjoyed this. Thanks for taking the time to document it and then write it up.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Thanks for sharing your trip, you really had some thin water boating! I've got to say that sleeping platform on your Alaska looks pretty great.


    I especially enjoyed your observations between the different boats you've cruised in. Reading about your adventures with the Phoenix III played a big part in my choice to build a First Mate which I've been thoroughly happy with.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    thanks for the story and pics - and the thoughtful boat comparison.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    I appreciate all the comments--I'm glad you enjoyed a bit of "sailing" with me. Cheers,

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Great stuff, lovely photos and very helpful videos! Thanks.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Just catching up on this - great short videos, really give a feel for this area so different from dry CA. That little tent looks just perfect, great find. I do the forward rowing in tight spots also, on mine it is a flip of the sliding seat with a strap which holds it at the right distance on the slide (and doubles as capsize retainer). You could try longer oarlocks and standing rowing. The view from standing in tight spots like that is nice, you can see snags, rocks and fish.

    -Rick

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    Just catching up on this - great short videos, really give a feel for this area so different from dry CA. That little tent looks just perfect, great find. I do the forward rowing in tight spots also, on mine it is a flip of the sliding seat with a strap which holds it at the right distance on the slide (and doubles as capsize retainer). You could try longer oarlocks and standing rowing. The view from standing in tight spots like that is nice, you can see snags, rocks and fish.

    -Rick
    Rick,

    I really admire your Walkabout set-up. I often stand up and paddle with one oar, SUP style. My oars are symmetrically shaped, not hatchets, so that works pretty well to get through tight spots. I stand up while sailing quite a bit, too. It sure is nice, as you say.

    The delta sailing/rowing out in the Bay area looks pretty neat to me. Marshes are cool; something neat about that tall grass and narrow channels. There's a marsh in eastern Wisconsin that gets thousands and thousands of sandhill cranes. You can row/sail through there without seeing any of them, but they are CRAZY loud.

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    More thoughts on the Alaska/Phoenix III comparison:

    1. The Phoenix III is light enough for one to haul up on a beach with some strenuous heaving. The Alaska, not so much. It's a much heavier boat, and the complete lack of rocker makes it more difficult to pull up far on shore. This doesn't bother me too much, though, because I've pretty much given up on beaching as my default option when cruising. But if you need a boat that can be pulled up on a beach, the Alaska is NOT that boat (nor is it meant to be), even for a crew of two.

    2. A high-quality sail is worth the cost. My Alaska has one (by Stuart Hopkins of Dabbler Sails)--sets perfectly, sewed to match my specific spar (Stuart's website explains how to do a simple spar-bend test), comes with its own long storage bag. It's the single biggest expense I encountered, and also the best value per dollar. If I ever had to skimp somewhere, I don't think I'd skimp on sails again.

    My brother's Phoenix III, on the other hand, currently has an OK sail, but not a great one. That difference probably affected the rest of my comparisons to some extent.

    A high-end sail, made by someone with expertise in traditional small boat sails, is a great investment for the sail and oar cruising game.

    3. While the Alaska lists a significantly higher displacement (1100 lbs max to the Phoenix III's 595 lbs--but that might not be "max" displacement), the amount of usable space aboard each boat is very similar. Either one is luxurious for a solo sailor, comfortable with two, and would be crowded (especially cruising) with more than two adults aboard. The Alaska, with its greater length and smaller foredeck, stretches that space out farther so can probably daysail three adults in fair comfort. The bow lounging seat forward of the center mast step (facing backward with a cushion/backrest against the coaming) is quite comfy, and a passenger up there is well out of the way for everything. A good place to park non-sailors, where they won't have to worry about switching from side to side. The Phoenix III lacks an equivalent space. No big deal if you mostly sail solo, as I do!

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 07-19-2020 at 12:47 PM.
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    IF I ever get around to making a dagger/leeboard and really try to sail the Walkabout, that boomless lug looks much better than the as-designed balance lug for what I would be doing (not racing). I think this is the sail Roger Barnes has on his Ilur, a very relaxed way of sailing but he manages to cover some long distances.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    I agree--relaxed, with little or no performance penalty from what I can see.

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    The Eureka Solo! **facepalm** Why didn't I think of that? It's a perfect dinghy cruising tent!

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Sail & Oar COVID-19 Mini-Cruise

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan H View Post
    The Eureka Solo! **facepalm** Why didn't I think of that? It's a perfect dinghy cruising tent!
    Well, yes and no. It works well for the Alaska because the sleeping platform is 10' long (yes, really). But the tent itself is 8' long, and needs to be stretched out to stand up. So, realistically, you need a bare minimum of an 8' flat space to stretch the tent out, and that means the anchor points front and back have to be farther apart than 8'.

    I suspect many boats won't have a space long enough to make this tent work.

    Also, I haven't tested the rainfly yet. The tent is a bit saggy--not sure if that's a result of design (e.g. lack of catenary curves to allow tensioning), or just the constraints of space (not being able to stretch it out tautly enough).

    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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