It took a while to navigate into the harbour and then find a slip but we are officially at Sitka and tied up 1630 local time on June 26.
The habour is absolutilel packed and clearly built for the salmon trolling fleet out here. There are trollers of all different shapes and sizes, including sailboats that have been rigged up with trolling gear.
There are not many slips for our length of boat but we found a 100’ end tie that we are sharing with another 50’ boat.
We are going to shower and head off for dinner before exploring the town a little.
Since we are a Canadian vessel we need to check in with Customs at Sitka. Kristine called ahead yesterday to let them know we were coming and I called today. What a great process. The officer was super nice and had no problem if the guys were gone when he got there as everyone has early flights tomorrow. Since we are arriving from a US port there is no clearance formality, but they do track our vessel through SE Alaska via our cruising permit number and we are required to check into the other ports we visit. If the rest of the check ins are as easy as this it will be a very refreshing experience.
Thanks to everyone who has been following along on our trip. It was very surreal arriving back into the cold waters of the North Pacific and although we still have a couple months left and we are still in Alaska, it sure feels good to be sailing again amongst the mountains and forests!
What an exciting morning. We finally have seen landfall. Kevin thinks he saw the mountains for about 10 minutes this morning from about 55 miles out. He is the only one who saw them and it has been foggy and cloudy on the horizon but we know we are close and only getting closer.
As of yesterday at about noon it started to look as if we might make it to Sitka on Sunday June 26 instead of the earlier anticipated 27th. I decided to maintain an average speed over 6 kts which meant we would have run the engine and motor sail even if we were sailing at 5 kts.
Although motor sailing when there is a moderate breeze out is a pain it paid off as we’ll arrive it Sitka this afternoon!
When I got on shift at 6 am, Kevin had been sailing for 2 hours with the motor on and the wind kept building. I decided to shake out the reefed headsail and try to claw back some miles. I was able to hand steer my two hours and rack up 15.2 miles.
Jed came on after me and clocked 16 miles, which Ron then followed up with another 16 mile run, giving us 171 miles for the 24 hour run. What a great time to have a huge day as we are now only 20 miles from Sitka at noon on the 26th.
I tried all day to get the DC motor of the autopilot working properly to no avail.
The motor works well when it is running, but it does not start every time. We though initially that the brushes were bad and I tried to clean them up, however the more I play with the brushes, the less confident I am that they are the real problem.
Ron and I tried metering the different windings but we both agree that the scale on the meter is just not accurate for what we are doing. We didn’t see any obvious shorts, but then again I am not 100% sure what I should be looking for. I’m just really glad we have gotten this far and have put a good 1000 miles on a number of field repairs and I can’t complain about that.
The wind has flipped around and is blowing from the south. This change was forecasted and should allow us to drive straight into Sitka on a beam reach. I just hope it holds until we arrive.
Our noon to noon run was at 153 miles which is pretty respectable considering we don’t have the full use of the main. We have been trying to use a little of the main which equates to about a double reef, but only to really balance the boat, we are not getting that many more miles because of it.