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Thread: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

  1. #1
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    Default A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    It was a busy summer, 2022. Selling a house, two cars, and preparing for a new job in Poland, while my wife was busy running her final season of summer camp. I did manage to get away for a Georgian Bay trip with my brother, but I wasn't sure how much more sailing--if any--I would have time for before arranging to store my boat ashore.

    As it turned out, I wouldn't have much time at all. But I had a relatively small-scale adventure in mind: a week-long cruise through Death's Door.

    Death's Door! How could any sailor resist such a passage!

    For those not familiar with Wisconsin, Death's Door is the narrow shipwreck-strewn passage running north of the Door Peninsula--Wisconsin's thumb, dividing the wide expanse of Lake Michigan (east side) from the relatively sheltered (and much warmer) waters of Green Bay (west side):

    Overview Map.jpg

    Even better, a ship canal dating from the 1880s cuts through the thumb at the town of Sturgeon Bay, making a circumnavigation possible. At around 100 miles, I figured a week would be about right.

    Overview Map 2.jpg

    The boat, FOGG--my Don Kurylko "Alaska" design built mostly to plans--was ready, having handled the earlier Georgian Bay cruise quite handily despite some tough conditions:

    5.10 (2).jpg

    Quite handy to have a boat where it's easy to drop the rig entirely and take to the oars!

    Fogg.jpg

    I figured any boat that could handle Georgian Bay could handle a trip through Death's Door...
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    I did finally manage to find a week-long window where I could sneak in a circumnavigation of the Door Peninsula, but the weather forecast wasn't cooperating with my plans. Extreme light winds at the beginning of the week--light enough that long bouts at the oars might be needed--would be followed by a return to windward, with southerly winds gusting to 30 mph in the forecast, along 50 miles of cliffy lee shore to finish the loop.

    What to do? I had a bit of a re-think, and came up with a Plan B: abandon the idea of a circumnavigation, launch from the tiny village of Gills Rock at the northern tip of the Door Peninsula, and sail up the east side of a chain of islands to the very end of Wisconsin, at Rock Island (once a multi-millionaire's estate, and now a state park).

    Overview Map 3.jpg

    If I timed it right, I would have time for 2 nights of camping on Rock Island, with light airs behind the beam for the trip north, and light headwinds for the return. I'd miss the 30-knot gusts entirely. I hoped.

    The forecast light airs at the beginning of the trip showed up right on schedule, leaving me barely gliding along the northwestern tip of the Door Peninsula:

    1.jpg

    Door County is tourist country--small towns spread along the coast, filled with shops and restaurants and theaters, with the countryside filled with farm markets and cherry orchards--and a complete lack of any fast food places at all! (Effective local zoning, that). In the photo above, you can just see some of the homes hidden along the limestone bluffs. Not wilderness by any means, but awfully pretty. And it's always more interesting to see a place from a small boat while traveling under your own power.

    Route 1.jpg
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 01-01-2023 at 04:53 AM.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    It was agonizingly slow progress around the corner and into Death's Door. Light headwinds, FOGG's weakest point of sail. It would have been far faster to row, but I only had about 15 miles to go. And I was feeling too lazy. But as we rounded the corner, the wind picked up--perhaps the result of the narrow channel funneling the breeze into something a bit more usable. Thanks to the surrounding geography, the wind swung SE now, which let me sail almost due east, past the northern side of Plum Island:

    2.jpg

    The buildings and docks are the remains of an old Coast Guard station--a small boat station that used to be active only during the summer months. It's now open for day-use visitors. If there had been decent wind I'd have had time to stop ashore for a bit, but as it was, I kept on sailing. We were moving well now, though, closehauled and zooming along at far faster than rowing speed.

    Route 2.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    I sailed right up into the knee-deep shallows of Detroit Island before tacking:

    Route 3.jpg

    Which put tiny Pilot Island and its range light right ahead on our new port-tack heading:

    3.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    When I thought I could clear the southern tip of Detroit Island, I tacked again.

    Route 4.jpg

    We barely made it. Turns out--unsurprisingly--that a long ledge of limestone runs SE off the tip of Detroit Island. While I didn't bump the rudder or centerboard, I could have jumped out and walked alongside the boat for long stretches without getting my knees wet.

    Even after rounding the corner and turning north, there were still plenty of shoaling rocks. I kept on sailing--a broad reach, almost a run now--past tiny Hog Island a half mile east of the larger Washington Island. It looked too rocky to land easily, and besides, it's a bird refuge so I'm not even sure landing would be legal. With the wind behind us, it was hot. And felt windless. But we were moving along at far better than rowing speed.

    4.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    I didn't have a chart of the area--instead, I printed and laminated a couple of placemat-sized topographic maps. No depth markings, but with a 7" draft that's not so crucial. And doing it this way had several advantages:

    1. Contour lines--accurate ones--are very handy in identifying shore features from a small boat.
    2. The laminating creates stiff charts at a convenient size, easily held in just one hand.
    3. And... They're cheap. Real charts would have cost $40 or so. These cost a tenth of that price.

    Although we hardly seemed to be moving at all with the wind behind us, eventually a pale blur that hadn't been there before showed up on shore way up ahead:

    5.jpg

    Having been to Rock Island before--on the daily passenger ferry that takes campers and visitors (no vehicles permitted on the island, not even bicycles)--I thought that I might be looking at Rock Island's boathouse. The boathouse! (More on that later).

    On my placemat, it didn't look like the boathouse should be visible from here, but as it turned out, I was able to draw a straight line from my position west of Hog Island connecting right to it. Apparently the land that showed up in between was all low-lying spits and shoals. So I was, in fact, looking at the Rock Island boathouse.

    Another couple of hours of light-air sailing in shoaly rocky shallows took me through a series of dogleg passages and into open water again south of Rock Island:

    Route 5.jpg

    The presence of all the shoals here means that Rock Island is almost always approached from the west--only very small shallow-draft boats can safely make it through from the east as I was doing. At low water--ten years ago, for example--it's even possible to walk across the spits and shoals from Washington Island to Rock Island. That's how I first visited the island, in fact: the only dicey bit was a chest-deep cut maybe 10 yards across.

    The water was deeper now--Great Lakes water levels have been fluctuating wildly, with lows around 2014 followed by record highs in 2018, now slowly tapering off--so it was easy sailing. Soon the boathouse was in sight, no doubt about it:

    6.jpg

    So, the boathouse. This boathouse is, for me at least, one of the highlights of a Rock Island visit. Built by millionaire electrical engineer/inventor Chester Thordarson (a close friend of Thomas Edison, and the first person to build a million-volt transformer) as part of his Rock Island estate in the late 1920s, it's huge. Basically a stone Viking hall towering over the harbor, with the roof peak about 70' above the water.

    The upper levels include a huge open hall (the fireplace hearth is big enough for a dozen people to stand inside), a set of fantastically detailed hand-carved furniture, each chair back holding a different scene from Norse mythology, and a balcony space that used to hold Chester Thordarson's private library (valued at close to $16 million just a few years ago). Huge windows, great natural lighting, elegant yet massive stone construction, and a wide patio/porch surrounding the entire hall. What a great place!

    Even better, the state park rents dock space in the boathouse harbor on a first-come, first-served basis. I dropped the sail just outside the harbor and tied up alongside a couple of power boats and a Cape Dory sloop that were already there. (Photo is from the next morning).

    7.6.jpg

    Passage to Rock Island, through the not-so-terrifying Death's Door channel, was complete.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 01-01-2023 at 06:35 AM.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    I couldn't even find a ranger to pay for docking. Or, to prevent me from tying up in the Thordarson boathouse. So...

    7.1.jpg

    The cool shady interior was a welcome change from all the sun of the light-airs sailing all day long.

    7.3.jpg

    The boathouse is accessible at water level from either side. I was tied up in the west bay, but I had the whole place to myself. (Well, except for the divebombing swallows whose nests were pasted into every corner of the walls).

    7.2.jpg

    Arched doorways. Chains and davits above each space for hoisting out. A very Toad Hall kind of place--my ​kind of place.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 01-01-2023 at 06:52 AM.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    The boathouse pics are amazing.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Quote Originally Posted by timo4352 View Post
    The boathouse pics are amazing.
    Yep. Here's a photo (not mine) of the interior.

    Boathouse Interior.jpg

    That's taken from the balcony, looking out toward the water at the far end of the hall. Plain (but nice and sturdy) wooden furniture in the foreground. The fancy carved chairs, oak desk (with leather insert top), and dining tables are all roped off from the public at the far end of the hall.

    It's a really cool space, open 8 a.m.-ish to sunset every day.

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Here's another interior shot (again, not mine)--this one's looking from the far wall toward the balcony. You can see the huge hearth in front of the balcony, and some of the carved chairs in the foreground.

    Boathouse Interior 2.jpg

    Thordarson's master carver (like Thordarson, he was Icelandic) also carved some stone figures into the low cliffs on the SE corner of the island. You can still see them today, just below the current walk-in campground. You can usually reach them by wading in knee-deep water along the foot of the cliffs. Some low relief of Native American-inspired images:

    Carving 1.jpg

    And one that's a bit more three-dimensional, carved into a natural limestone prow:

    Carving 2.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    I left Fogg tied up in the boathouse--still no ranger around--and headed for the campground. I might have been tempted to sleep aboard, but as it worked out, my wife was leading a summer camp staff retreat/working weekend on Rock Island this weekend. So, it lined up that I got to camp with her instead! The boat was going to be just fine:

    7.7.jpg

    The next day I stayed ashore--hot and windless again--to wander the shady trails and rocky beaches. There's a nice trail that runs around the island's perimeter, passing by the historic lighthouse on the northern tip (the oldest in Wisconsin, I think, though the original building was replaced with this house long ago).

    14.jpg
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 01-06-2023 at 07:02 AM.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    There's a nice rocky beach below the lighthouse--I spent a little time there, poking around and skipping rocks (lots of flat disc-shaped rocks):

    13.jpg

    Circling around the island clockwise from the boathouse, you come to another of Thordarson's stone towers deep in the woods on the east side of the island:

    Water Tower.jpg

    It's known these days as the water tower, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of certainty that it ever actually was a water tower. I could happily imagine living there--the upper level would be a nice writer's retreat.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    A nice day ashore. Lots of time hanging out on the eastern side beaches.

    15.jpg

    Later in the evening I went out for a row around the southern tip of the island:

    8.jpg

    Also got the rare chance to be a passenger in my own boat when one of my wife's staffers wanted to try rowing:

    16.jpg

    That bow seat is very comfy. Trim isn't perfect--I never bothered to install the forward oarlocks, which would let the oarsman balance nicely with a passenger sitting in the sternsheets. But being trimmed a bit bow-down is better than dragging the transom. (And the seat is more comfortable, too!)
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Nice thread Tom, thanks. Your posts here are always very entertaining.

    I wonder how the Door's changed since I met my future wife back in the mid-'70's?

    She'd spent winters in Illinois, summers working in an art gallery in Bailey's Harbor. We'd go back up to her cabin in the winters for long weekends, great country for cross-country skiing.

    Haven't been back since we 'honeymooned' there late in '77.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    The day ashore looked something like this:

    Hike.jpg

    A really neat place, Rock Island. While it runs an hourly passenger ferry for foot passengers and campers, it feels pretty remote. Other than the ferry dock and campground, there's almost no development on the island. Trails. Old stone walls running everywhere. Well worth a visit if you're anywhere near Wisconsin, even without a boat.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Quote Originally Posted by sp_clark View Post
    Nice thread Tom, thanks. Your posts here are always very entertaining.

    I wonder how the Door's changed since I met my future wife back in the mid-'70's?

    She'd spent winters in Illinois, summers working in an art gallery in Bailey's Harbor. We'd go back up to her cabin in the winters for long weekends, great country for cross-country skiing.

    Haven't been back since we 'honeymooned' there late in '77.
    I first went to the Door in the early 80s, picking cherries with family, seeing plays, etc. I've been going myself, with my wife, since the late 90s. It seems to be holding up very well. The towns get crazy crowded (a bit less so on the Lake Michigan side) in summer, but the spirit of the place seems largely the same. There has been some development, but local zoning seems to have been effective at keeping large-scale places mostly out of the picture.

    More crowded, I'm sure. But it's still really nice. I was sorry I didn't get to do the whole circumnavigation--that would have been a neat way to visit a bunch of towns. Horseshoe Island at Peninsula State Park would have made a perfect sail and oar campsite.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    After two nights ashore, I had to leave Rock Island and return to mainland Wisconsin. The forecast was still, unfortunately, calling for extremely light airs for the first few hours--but then, strong headwinds (gusting to 30 mph) by mid-afternoon. Beating to windward is one thing; beating to windward in 30 mph is crazy in a boat like mine, with a crew as lazy as mine. But somehow I'd have to get the boat back. Hmm... Plan C.

    My wife was taking her camp staff back to the mainland later in the morning. That meant the foot passenger ferry from Rock Island to Jackson Harbor at Washington Island's northern end, then a drive across Washington Island to the south side (10 miles), where the car ferry docks. The car ferry would take her to the north side of the Door Peninsula, where she'd have to drive right past my car and trailer at Gills Rock. Hmm...

    So, I got up early and set out from the boathouse:

    7.5.jpg

    Hoisted up sail and made the crossing to Jackson Harbor--a couple of miles in a decent breeze, in sheltered waters:

    17.jpg

    My wife was nice enough to snap a few photos from the boathouse lawn.

    10.jpg
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    In about an hour, I had tacked my way over to the north side of Washington Island, and angled into Jackson Harbor to set up for the final tack to the marina docks:

    18.jpg

    Just as I reached the dock, I sailed over the remains of Iris, a 74' schooner that had been intentionally beached there--it lies in about 4' of water just off the docks. I didn't even know it was there, but all of a sudden I was, sailing over the bits of keel and ribs that remain. And then I was tied up at the dock:

    12.jpg

    A couple of hours later, my wife and her staff arrived on the foot ferry. I hopped aboard their van with them--I'd be back in a few hours, after fetching my car and trailer.

    And so it went. My passage through Death's Door, and on to Rock Island--and back--was over. My final sailing of the 2022 season.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Good story!

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Good story!
    Thanks--always fun to relive a trip on the WBF. Man, one of these summers I really do have to find you and Drake in Georgian Bay. That would be very cool!

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Great story, Tom!

    This very well described and depicted boathouse sends my mind down familiar thoughts on the uneven distribution of wealth. Specifically, I think about how much I'd like it if wealth were unequally distributed to me so that I could own such a place for myself. I'm a simple man: just a little something like that nestled into my own private island is all I'd need to be happy.
    That's mostly kidding. More generally I find that my actual ideals - which I suspect might overlap with some of yours - are more challenged by the follies and baubles I respect than they are by the even-more-expensive follies and bobbles I disdain. It's easy to judge a $100 M purchase of some penthouse I'd never want for myself. It's harder for me to say that a temple like that boathouse should never have been built even if it was intended for the private use of some scrooge. That place must have cost a few multiples of what a teacher will earn in their entire lifetime. Ask me in the abstract, and I'd say the money could have been much better used on people. And yet a part of me is glad to live in a world where craft is applied to build places and art like that. Places that could never be built with one person's "fair share" of the world's worth.
    In practice it's not really much of a challenge - we are a long, long way from the problems equality would create! It still gives me pause sometimes. I'm glad that this particular folly is now a park.

    Thanks for showing us a part of the world I didn't know anything about and for doing so in great style.

    James

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Thanks again for sharing these, Tom. We've been totally shorebound of late so enjoying your adventures vicariously provides a great relief for us!

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    That has to be one of the all-time great sail and oar boat calendar shots.

    Sounds like a great little trip. Thanks for sharing!
    Alex

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    ^ Great shot of your Alaska in the boathouse. Nice little adventure. Thanks for posting!

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    So beautiful Tom and a great reminder of the sublime small-ball experiences available for Midwestern small boat sailors. So much of the sailing writing that I see is racing or crossing oceans and your writing and the genre it belongs to is a welcome change of pace.

    As a new Midwest sailor, I keep thinking that I could do little better than to follow the Tom Pamperin back catalog for a dozen summers.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    What a cool place, thanks for sharing! A giant library on top of a huge boathouse... I think I could live with one of those.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Once again I get to enjoy one of your cruises. As an old caver, the mention of limestone caught my attention.
    without freedom of speech, we wouldn't know who the idiots are.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Thanks--always fun to relive a trip on the WBF. Man, one of these summers I really do have to find you and Drake in Georgian Bay. That would be very cool!

    Tom
    Better make it this summer. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep up the delightful fiction that a 46ft solo sailing boat makes sense.

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    Once again I get to enjoy one of your cruises. As an old caver, the mention of limestone caught my attention.
    Door County just happens to be the location of Horseshoe Bay Cave, which (I think) is the longest, most difficult non-commercial/wild cave in Wisconsin.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 01-02-2023 at 11:04 AM.
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Better make it this summer. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep up the delightful fiction that a 46ft solo sailing boat makes sense.
    Noted, Dave--if I'm in the U.S. this summer for a sailing trip to Georgian Bay, it will likely be early July. Darn job keeps getting in the way of my sailing time...

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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Quote Originally Posted by pez_leon View Post
    Great story, Tom!

    This very well described and depicted boathouse sends my mind down familiar thoughts on the uneven distribution of wealth. Specifically, I think about how much I'd like it if wealth were unequally distributed to me so that I could own such a place for myself. I'm a simple man: just a little something like that nestled into my own private island is all I'd need to be happy.
    That's mostly kidding. More generally I find that my actual ideals - which I suspect might overlap with some of yours - are more challenged by the follies and baubles I respect than they are by the even-more-expensive follies and bobbles I disdain. It's easy to judge a $100 M purchase of some penthouse I'd never want for myself. It's harder for me to say that a temple like that boathouse should never have been built even if it was intended for the private use of some scrooge. That place must have cost a few multiples of what a teacher will earn in their entire lifetime. Ask me in the abstract, and I'd say the money could have been much better used on people. And yet a part of me is glad to live in a world where craft is applied to build places and art like that. Places that could never be built with one person's "fair share" of the world's worth.
    In practice it's not really much of a challenge - we are a long, long way from the problems equality would create! It still gives me pause sometimes. I'm glad that this particular folly is now a park.

    Thanks for showing us a part of the world I didn't know anything about and for doing so in great style.

    James
    James,

    thanks for the comment. It echoes a lot of my own thinking. One of the main reasons I love Rock Island is that narrative arc, from millionaire's private playground to public state park. What remains of the estate are cool old stone buildings and towers, and now everyone gets to enjoy them.

    I don't know exactly what to make of Thordarson. An Icelandic immigrant, he never went beyond a grade school education formally, and started out very poor (I think as a young boy with his family, he walked from Chicago to Minnesota). A genuine rags-to-riches story, pretty much. And he (or his estate) donated his private library to (I think) the University of Wisconsin--mostly very rare books on botany--he was a serious amateur scientist, and experimented with using electricity to grow crops. And yet, in his papers, there is at least one remark about how he did not like the idea of the workers on his estate having a 30-minute lunch break.

    But I am glad the boathouse exists. And also think there could have been better ways to use the money it cost.

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Thanks for posting this. It's a very different type of cruising than I am used to. No tides, no currents and no need for charts.

    Blake Island in Puget Sound was owned by a millionaire in the early days. It's now a state park, but none of the buildings he built are left today.
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  33. #33
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    Thanks for posting this. It's a very different type of cruising than I am used to. No tides, no currents and no need for charts.
    Yep. The lack of tides and currents is pretty darn convenient. As is the fresh water, meaning you can carry a backpacking filter instead of gallons and gallons of drinking water.

    Tom
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilMB View Post
    So beautiful Tom and a great reminder of the sublime small-ball experiences available for Midwestern small boat sailors. So much of the sailing writing that I see is racing or crossing oceans and your writing and the genre it belongs to is a welcome change of pace.

    As a new Midwest sailor, I keep thinking that I could do little better than to follow the Tom Pamperin back catalog for a dozen summers.

    -Neil
    I meant to respond earlier, Neil--your post made me think through my own personal progression as a sailor, especially my gradual move toward cruising and camping in small boats.

    Stage 1: Strip canoes. My brother and I built one, then I built one for a good friend's wedding. We did a few day trips on flat rivers. Nothing much.

    Stage 2: DN 60 iceboats. My brother found a copy of WoodenBoat with an ad for DN 60 plans. We built a total of 3 in the next few years. My first sailing was ice sailing. Even then I had visions of sailing long trips down Lake Winnebago, trekking across the ice. Never did it. Very few iceboating days were actually possible in the 90s in Wisconsin. The lake often didn't freeze until late December, at which point a good snowfall would shut down the season until a possible lumpy thaw in mid-March.

    Stage 3: Keelboat sailing. My brother bought a 20' sloop (not wood) and we took a few week-long trips around Door County.

    Stage 4: Bolger Cartopper. My brother built one. We learned to sail in this boat, by trial and (lots of) error. It never occurred to use to us it for camping or cruising. But I had my first good long day in this boat--a there-and-back crossing of Lake Winnebago (west-east-west), about 20 miles total. Solo, with some drinks and a bag of scones my mom had baked for me. Fun day.

    Stage 5: Decided we wanted to go camping/cruising in small boats. My brother convinced me to build a "temporary" boat--cheap and fast and simple--until we knew a bit more about what we wanted. I built a Bolger Pirate Racer; he built a self-designed skiff with a flat bottom and lapstrake sides. First year was daysailing a bunch of small local lakes, and one 3-day trip to Wisconsin's Chippewa Flowage. That was when we started to realize how cool it was to camp in a small sailboat.

    Stage 6: Gradually more ambitious cruising around Wisconsin (Turtle-Flambeau Flowage, mainly) and a solo completion of the Texas 200. That was the first trip that made me think I might actually be able to do longer, more ambitious stuff. And that I wanted to. Culminating in a 20-day solo trip around the western North Channel (northern/Canadian side of Lake Huron). A really really great trip.

    Stage 7: Building my "real" boat (the Alaska), and often postponing the build to borrow my brother's "real" boat (Phoenix III) for a long trip, including Lake Nipigon (9 days), Georgian Bay (3 weeks or so), crewing for/with my brother in the Everglades Challenge one year, and a 2-man completion of the Texas 200 with a friend (same friend I built the canoe for). Feeling fairly competent, and comfortable about judging how much I can handle in a boat. Some 2-person 1-boat trips with my brother, too--the Apostle Islands, and Grand Island, and the North Channel.

    Stage 8: Sailing the "real" boat. Multi-week solo trips on Georgian Bay in 2017 (September--lovely!), 2018 (July), a week-long trip on Lake of the Woods in 2019, and then a couple of years of disrupted travel thanks to COVID, where I didn't go to Canada. In between, lots of local Wisconsin sailing and camping. Or anywhere too far from Wisconsin. Last trip was a 2-boat trip with my brother to Georgian Bay in 2022. (Our first 2-boat trip longer than a 3-day weekend since 2013, I think).

    Stage 9: I have some ideas for multi-month trips I'd like to do, and feel ready for. The trick will be fitting them in around a pesky job schedule--only 6 weeks off in summer at my current school. Lots of sailing to do here in Europe as well, but no boat, no car, no trailer, no workshop, no garage...

    I do tend to like long solo trips best, but short local(ish) trips like THIS and THIS and THIS are great too.

    Well, that was fun. Might have to revisit some of those old threads just to entertain myself now! As you say, lots of cool places to explore around the Midwest, even just in Wisconsin. I feel like I kind of almost know what I'm doing these days, mostly.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 01-21-2023 at 03:42 PM.
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: A Kurylko Alaska at Death's Door

    Thanks very much for that. Inspiring.

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