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.