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Thread: Shipping new boat vs. cruising Inside Passage

  1. #1

    Default Shipping new boat vs. cruising Inside Passage

    After a few years cruising PWS in my 70s-vintage Tolly 26, my wife and I took the plunge and upgraded to a 39' Universal Europa trawler extended to 43'. The boat is in Bellingham, and we'll be bringing it north this spring or summer. The question I have to decide is whether to cruise up under power, or load it on a barge and ship it right to Whittier.

    While it's still active, here's a link to the boat on Yachtworld. Yep, she's every bit as nice as the photos suggest!

    The boat is completely seaworthy and capable of making the passage (I'd do it in June). I've made the northbound run twice, including the Gulf crossing, as crew on a much larger boat. We did it in March one year, and again in April, and ran 24/7 from Seattle. I'm sure I passed some of the best scenery in the middle of the night, staring at the plotter & radar screens in the dark. On the 39-footer we'd bring 3 or 4 people, take it easy, see the sights, and plan on 2-3 weeks with a cushion built in to watch the weather in the Gulf.

    If we drive it north, we're taking an unfamiliar boat 1100+ miles but seeing some incredible sights that we might never return to, unless we do the trip southbound in some future year. The downside is the cost of fuel (twin Perkins ~4 gph), the possibility of breakdowns or delays along the way, the extra insurance cost for the passage, and the fact that the boat wouldn't reach PWS until the end of June, which means the AK boating season would be almost half over.

    Advantage to having it shipped would be that we could get it to Whittier by May 1st and have the entire season to play, breaking in an unfamiliar boat in familiar waters. Downside would be the cost of transport (~$14-16K) and the lost opportunity of doing the Inside Passage, at least in the near term.

    Anybody have input on how to tip the decision one way or the other? Have you done the Inside Passage on a small boat, and loved/hated it? I'm reading Waggoner's and everything online I can find about the trip, and while an exciting prospect, the trip seems like a huge undertaking. Thanks in advance for your thoughts, comments, or ideas.

  2. #2
    Member IceKing02's Avatar
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    Steve,

    How old are you? Will your current work situation allow you to take the time to get this boat up here? Will you lose a lot of money in the process of transporting the boat?

    I'm of the opinion that you should go for the Inside Passage if it is at all possible. I haven't heard of anybody who did who has complained about it...and heck, you could be gone from this earth before you ever suspected so that this opportunity, if real, must be realized! GO FOR IT! (and take pictures).

    Iceking02

    Bucket list item #3/10: Complete the Inside Passage.

  3. #3
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Well, there's some interesting factors in the mix for you, considering the idea of having it up by May 1st

    Myself, having taken several boats up, Seattle to Kodiak, in both, the 24/7 commercial mode you mention, missing most of the scenery, etc.
    and then later in life having taken three trips with "lots of time to spare, stopping in several towns for a few days,
    dropping the hook at night, so as not to miss anything, and to be well rested for all of it,..."

    that being said,

    I'd NEVER pass up another trip through the inside passage, No Matter What,.....just my thoughts

    the last boat I bought, I picked it up in Homer, after shopping around the Pac NW
    and tho I did get to break it in on familiar waters,...
    It felt like I was home Too Early, with a new boat,...I Greatly Regretted the local purchase, for the fact that I missed the SE cruise part of buying a new boat,

    Never Again, seriously,consider all the focus you'll put on your new Electronics, listening to the engine, doing all the systems checks on a long run like that, versus the short term blasts out of Whittier,
    a LOOOONG run is a great place to really learn your new boat well, right?

    In June especially, (yes, I am getting a little heavy handed on ya, but really am convinced,...)
    the trip is soooo nice in June, and SE waters are not particularly hard to navigate,
    you'll be looking out the window anyway, take your time,...

    All that adventure,....it'll smoke any extra fishing time in Ak you get in May, and you can do that next year, and the year after, right

    Would be a trip of a lifetime for your traveling partners too,

    Hey, I have an idea, do you need someone to run it up for you, cheaper than the shipping cost,......??
    I'd do it for $12,000, even in April
    have a 500 ton Fishing Vessel Masters License, won't crack it up for you,....

    actually am working on the next boat myself, should be launching out of Port Townsend WA on April 1
    heading north slowly,
    CAN'T WAIT, maybe I'll see ya on the trip, I may take my tiiiiimmmmme
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  4. #4
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    I did it in 2009, and I am with Kodiakrain, I would do it again given the chance. I think you would have to do it three or four times to hit all of the interesting spots without backtracking. A couple of caveats though, I did not do the gulf crossing, and I have a 37kt boat, so the rapid sections were not an issue for me like they might be for you. My other suggestion is to put the boat to use while it is in WA. There are many places that will store it for you on the dry, and put it in for you for a weekend of use, then store it again for not much money. You can stay right downtown in Bell harbor for not much money, and cruise the San Juan islands when there is no one there since it is a terrible 50 degrees (summertime weather in AK!)

    I put 40 hours on my boat before I started out the trip, and worked out some bugs that were much easier to deal with down there than they would have been on the trip. I kept my boat in La Conner, which is a great marina, but there are many choices down there.
    2009 Seawolf 31'
    www.seawolfmarine.com
    Fully Loaded

  5. #5
    Member Soundfisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Well, there's some interesting factors in the mix for you, considering the idea of having it up by May 1st

    Myself, having taken several boats up, Seattle to Kodiak, in both, the 24/7 commercial mode you mention, missing most of the scenery, etc.
    and then later in life having taken three trips with "lots of time to spare, stopping in several towns for a few days,
    dropping the hook at night, so as not to miss anything, and to be well rested for all of it,..."

    that being said,

    I'd NEVER pass up another trip through the inside passage, No Matter What,.....just my thoughts

    the last boat I bought, I picked it up in Homer, after shopping around the Pac NW
    and tho I did get to break it in on familiar waters,...
    It felt like I was home Too Early, with a new boat,...I Greatly Regretted the local purchase, for the fact that I missed the SE cruise part of buying a new boat,

    Never Again, seriously,consider all the focus you'll put on your new Electronics, listening to the engine, doing all the systems checks on a long run like that, versus the short term blasts out of Whittier,
    a LOOOONG run is a great place to really learn your new boat well, right?

    In June especially, (yes, I am getting a little heavy handed on ya, but really am convinced,...)
    the trip is soooo nice in June, and SE waters are not particularly hard to navigate,
    you'll be looking out the window anyway, take your time,...

    All that adventure,....it'll smoke any extra fishing time in Ak you get in May, and you can do that next year, and the year after, right

    Would be a trip of a lifetime for your traveling partners too,

    Hey, I have an idea, do you need someone to run it up for you, cheaper than the shipping cost,......??
    I'd do it for $12,000, even in April
    have a 500 ton Fishing Vessel Masters License, won't crack it up for you,....

    actually am working on the next boat myself, should be launching out of Port Townsend WA on April 1
    heading north slowly,
    CAN'T WAIT, maybe I'll see ya on the trip, I may take my tiiiiimmmmme

    Just reading your reply makes me want to sell mine and go buy a larger vessel just to have the experience!

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks to everyone who was chimed in so far. Some excellent points raised, and the vote is clearly running in favor of making the Inside Passage run.

    IceKing, my wife and I are both late 40's so "prime of life" in terms of stamina and abilities (okay, maybe that was 25...) There are no big issues so far as time off work, etc. as we'd probably spend much of June on the water anyway, whether we were making this trip or exploring all those distant corners of PWS we could never reach in our present boat.

    Kodiakrain, you're a one-man cheering section for the Inside Passage, and you make good points. I think it's safe to say that I would be *way* focused on the boat, and by the time I reached Icy Strait would expect to have gained a sense of how the boat handles and how conservative I should be on the Gulf portion. I am "Garminizing" the boat with all the latest/greatest, and she passed both mechanical and hull surveys with flying colors, so the boat itself is AAA in terms of being up for the trip (knock on teak).

    Jrogers, your suggestion to spend time on the boat in WA waters is good, if I can make it work. Coincidentally, the boat is actually in LaConner now getting a punch-list's worth of work done, where the prices are good and the workmanship superior (no offense, Whittier. Can you do granite countertops BTW?). The work will be done by the end of April, so I could definitely head down for a week in May to cruise local waters and start to get everything dialed in. Makes a lot more sense than jumping aboard for the first time, 5 months after sea-trial, and pointing 'er north! I could probably get a transient slip in LaConner for the month of May with no problem.

    Still very much interested in other opinions. Any naysayers? How about some "don't miss" anchorages from you seasoned Passage-makers?

  7. #7
    Member NewMoon's Avatar
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    We've cruised more than 25,000 nm in BC and SE Alaska - it's absolutely world-class. I would wholeheartedly recommend spending a lot more than 2-3 weeks there, if you're not likely to be back soon.

    Here are some places that come to mind as favorites, working sorta from south to north.


    Annette Inlet anchorage

    Silva Bay

    Dodd Narrows

    Scenery and anchorages in Desolation Sound area

    All the tidal rapids heading NW from Desolation Sound area

    Lagoon Cove

    Broughtons Echo Bay, Sullivan Bay, many nice anchorages

    Port McNeill

    Port Hardy

    Blunden Harbour anchorage

    Nakwakto Rapids area wait for near slack to transit, or anchor in Treadwell Bay and dinghy over to Tremble Island to watch the rapids from above

    Rivers Inlet anchorages: Fury Island cove, Five Window cove

    Shearwater and Bella Bella for provisions

    Ocean Falls

    Queens Sound area: 200 250 lb halibut caught here

    Klemtu

    Falls along Princess Royal Island

    Hartley Bay

    Lowe Inlet

    Prince Rupert

    Foggy Bay - anchorage stop between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan

    Meyers Chuck

    Anan Creek - bear viewing

    Snow Passage

    Wrangell Narrows

    Petersburg

    Le Conte Bay - glacier and bergs

    Tracy Arm gorgeous fjord, North and South Sawyer glaciers

    Taku Harbor

    Auke Bay

    Icy Strait salmon and halibut, whales

    Neka Bay anchorage great crabbing

    Point Adolphus whales, lots of sea life

    Glacier Bay Reid glacier and anchorage, Johns Hopkins glacier, Margerie glacier

    Inian Islands

    Elfin Cove

    West coast of Chichagof and Yakobi Islands out there, but the wildness and fishing are great

    Sitka, including the National Historic Park with great trees and totems

    Hoonah Sound (detour off the big turn in Peril Strait), esp anchorage at Half-Tide Neck.
    Excellent crab and shrimp

    Along Chatham Strait: Red Bluff Bay, Warm Springs Bay, Pavlof Harbor, Tenakee Springs


    Care for some photos?

    You are invited to view Richard Cook's photo album: Cruising SE Alaska (and BC)
    [IMG]imap://richardcook257%40gmail.com@imap.googlemail.com :993/fetch>UID>/INBOX>3875?part=1.3&filename=email.jpg[/IMG] Cruising SE Alaska (and BC)
    Southeast Alaska -
    Jan 6, 2010
    by Richard Cook
    Boat trips from several years, mostly 2006-2009.
    View Album
    Play slideshow

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    If you like, I could send our accumulated lists of workable anchorages - many many to choose from.
    Richard Cook
    New Moon (Bounty 257)
    "Cruising in a Big Way"

  8. #8
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    If it was me doing it even though I have not done it before I would do it in a heartbeat. I would want to get a bit more acquainted with the boat maybe a week or so before getting underway. I have wanted to do a trip like this for a long time; there might never be another chance to do it. Live the dream before you can no longer fulfill the dreams.

    Do your home work and planning.
    Good luck

    Sweepint
    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam

  9. #9
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Steve,

    What company is doing the work in La Conner? I can't remember the name of the company that I dealt with, but they were great. I have a friend that has a boat there (it is smaller than yours, but a 35 footer I think). He told me recently that they got a new lift, and so now you can park your boat on blocks for $150 per month, and that price includes 5 trips in and out of the water. I am sure we will see Whittier step up with a similar service shortly. It kind of makes a slip a pointless thing when it is that cheap and easy. He says you can even call in advance and your boat is in the water when you get there. You should check into this so you don't have to worry about your boat when you are back in Alaska.
    2009 Seawolf 31'
    www.seawolfmarine.com
    Fully Loaded

  10. #10

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    Jrogers, the work is being done by LaConner Maritime Service which did all of the refit work in 2005. In fact, my boat is (was) the yard-owner's personal boat so they did a fabulous job on the upgrades, and I know that craftsmanship will be reflected in the additional work being done to my specifications. They're right at the small boat harbor and have their own travel lift, so getting the boat in and out of the water won't be a problem once the major work is done (bottom paint, zincs, AP-install, etc.). In terms of Whittier, that would indeed be an excellent service and there are a growing number of marinas in the PNW that offer that "call ahead" launch service. Can you imagine going online to schedule a departure, or calling from Girdwood and have your boat waiting in the water when you come out of the tunnel?

    Richard, thank you for the list of anchorages, and WOW those are some beautiful shots! For the 2009 trip it looks like you caught some of those fabulous, crystal-blue sky days that can make up for a whole week of rain. From the looks of your catch, you must have eaten a LOT of seafood on that trip! What a trip.

    Any words of wisdom for the Gulf crossing? One both my previous trips, we took a straight course from Cape Spencer to Cape Resurrection but wouldn't try that on the 39-footer, even in June. For a coastal passage, looks like there's not much shelter until you get to Yakutat Bay, where I would fuel up. Might be able to sneak into Dry Bay with local knowledge, but the Lituya Bay entrance would be way out of my comfort zone. After that is Icy Bay, then you're into the Copper River Delta and I won't go poking around there with a displacement hull, so would aim for Cordova if I was in a rush for fuel, or Valdez if I had the range. Sort of sounds like once we're north of Cross Sound, we're sort of hurrying to get to PWS but that attitude would definitely depend on Gulf conditions.

    Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. Please keep it coming!

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    is it at Maritime Services in Laconner....Great guys there.......If your worried about "missing out" on cruising in pws, just think of all the great scenery & places your going to see on your trip north...i've done it several times & never took enough time to take in the sights, wish i had a month to play around down there....tons of history & culture that most will never see. you'll kick yourself in the ***** if you don't.....

  12. #12
    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    I first spent 2 weeks in the Portland canal out of Hyder Ak in a 26' boat. Loved this area and that started my love for the Inside Passage area. I next went out of Prince Rupert BC with my 28' boat for 4 weeks going north. I have not been able to get back since that trip. Too much other retirement fun. I hope to now trailer my 28' to Haines , then going to the Juneau area before heading south. If I had your opportunity, I would not think twice. Get familiar with your boat, make a good trip plan and do it.

    Also if anyone is interested in making a trip starting in Haines, get hold of my and we will make it happen.
    Retirement Plan - Having Fun and Still Learning

  13. #13
    Member Bob the fisher's Avatar
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    NewMoon...you are one lucky fella. Those pix are awesome. I only wish I had a third of your miles..."fishon"


    Quote Originally Posted by NewMoon View Post
    We've cruised more than 25,000 nm in BC and SE Alaska - it's absolutely world-class. I would wholeheartedly recommend spending a lot more than 2-3 weeks there, if you're not likely to be back soon.

    Here are some places that come to mind as favorites, working sorta from south to north.


    Annette Inlet anchorage

    Silva Bay

    Dodd Narrows

    Scenery and anchorages in Desolation Sound area

    All the tidal rapids heading NW from Desolation Sound area

    Lagoon Cove

    Broughtons Echo Bay, Sullivan Bay, many nice anchorages

    Port McNeill

    Port Hardy

    Blunden Harbour anchorage

    Nakwakto Rapids area wait for near slack to transit, or anchor in Treadwell Bay and dinghy over to Tremble Island to watch the rapids from above

    Rivers Inlet anchorages: Fury Island cove, Five Window cove

    Shearwater and Bella Bella for provisions

    Ocean Falls

    Queens Sound area: 200 250 lb halibut caught here

    Klemtu

    Falls along Princess Royal Island

    Hartley Bay

    Lowe Inlet

    Prince Rupert

    Foggy Bay - anchorage stop between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan

    Meyers Chuck

    Anan Creek - bear viewing

    Snow Passage

    Wrangell Narrows

    Petersburg

    Le Conte Bay - glacier and bergs

    Tracy Arm gorgeous fjord, North and South Sawyer glaciers

    Taku Harbor

    Auke Bay

    Icy Strait salmon and halibut, whales

    Neka Bay anchorage great crabbing

    Point Adolphus whales, lots of sea life

    Glacier Bay Reid glacier and anchorage, Johns Hopkins glacier, Margerie glacier

    Inian Islands

    Elfin Cove

    West coast of Chichagof and Yakobi Islands out there, but the wildness and fishing are great

    Sitka, including the National Historic Park with great trees and totems

    Hoonah Sound (detour off the big turn in Peril Strait), esp anchorage at Half-Tide Neck.
    Excellent crab and shrimp

    Along Chatham Strait: Red Bluff Bay, Warm Springs Bay, Pavlof Harbor, Tenakee Springs


    Care for some photos?

    You are invited to view Richard Cook's photo album: Cruising SE Alaska (and BC)
    [IMG]imap://richardcook257%40gmail.com@imap.googlemail.com :993/fetch>UID>/INBOX>3875?part=1.3&filename=email.jpg[/IMG] Cruising SE Alaska (and BC)
    Southeast Alaska -
    Jan 6, 2010
    by Richard Cook
    Boat trips from several years, mostly 2006-2009.
    View Album
    Play slideshow

    If you are having problems viewing this email, copy and paste the following into your browser:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sred...yAE&feat=email

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    If you like, I could send our accumulated lists of workable anchorages - many many to choose from.

  14. #14

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    Congratulations. That sure is a beautiful boat. I say get comfortable with the boat and make the trip. It is a once in a lifetime chance for us working fools.

  15. #15
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    Cruise on up... And stop in Alert Bay to visit the U'mista Cultural Centre.

  16. #16
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Cruise up! WOW lots of teak. Take a look at the new sticky on the inside passage. Maybe Paul can move this thread to it?

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
    1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
    MMSI# 338131469
    Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/

  17. #17
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Default Move Thread?

    Hey Paul,

    Would it be appropriate to move this thread to the Inside Passage Sticky?

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
    1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
    MMSI# 338131469
    Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/

  18. #18
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Great pics New Moon! Thanks for sharing

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
    1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
    MMSI# 338131469
    Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/

  19. #19

    Default

    Nice thing about southeast there are tons of places to hide. And not very far from one town to the next

  20. #20

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    Update: Looks like the trip is definitely a go. Planning to leave LaConner on June 10, and hope to dock in Whittier on June 30. With a planned 20 days underway, that should give us plenty of time for sightseeing, waiting for weather, or just taking it easy with some short days underway when we feel like it.

    Thinking about trying for a Glacier Bay permit, and taking maybe 3-4 days to go back in the park and look for whales, dodge icebergs, and burn up the memory chip in the camera before heading north up the coast for the final leg.

    Speaking of which... I'm figuring Cape Spencer to Yakutat Bay is 140 miles, or straight to Cape Hinchinbrook is 360 miles. Would probably fuel and overnight in Yakutat, then bypass Cordova and head straight to Valdez or even all the way to Whittier on the next fuel hop. Not many places to hide north of Cape Spencer, but we'll be transitting the last week of June so arguably the most benign month there is for sea conditions. Would love to hear from anyone who has made this portion of the trip in a small boat. Any tips?

    Thanks to everyone who has chimed in so far. I'll be sure to post a complete trip report later this summer!

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