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Old 30-11-2016, 05:33   #1
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Destination Alaska

We are planning our sailing for 2017...New Zealand to Sitka Alaska.

Has anyone left a boat in Sitka over winter? Or should we winter further south in Canada or Seattle?
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Old 30-11-2016, 14:11   #2
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Re: Destination Alaska

We sailed through Alaska in 2015 and here are our notes. It's a fabulous, fabulous area. You must get into Glacier Bay! And if you play it right, you can get two consecutive weeks in there. Try to spend a whole day floating in front of Margerie Glacier.

The harbormasters are all really friendly, and mostly understand the needs of sailors. Search for the "Alaska Harbor Directory" online, but note the prices are all out of date. The phone numbers are correct.

In all cases, you will want to hire a local caretaker who will shovel snow off your decks and check the lines, etc.

There are considerable differences in weather, so check that out. In general, if you head inland, it gets too cold and has too much snow.

None of the prices include tax. The prices are what we were told by harbormasters back in 2015. We did not check Ketchikan, Wrangell or Petersberg. Small places are cheap but you need to budget transport (ferries or float planes) there and back. And reprovisioning will need a trip to a town (Craig or larger).

Sitka
8 year wait list for permanent slips, but they allow use of transient dock over winter - no power. Stay aboard OK. $16/ft per month (note relatively high cost compared to others).

Hoonah
good protection. space available. $9 / ft per year. Hoonah is coldest we looked at with yearly average: extreme low -21F, get 88 days of snow, 73" per year.

Angoon
no power. yes water. $240 per year for 48 foot slip.

Kake
space available, airport nearby, provisioning hard. No power or water. only up to 40'. $9 per foot per year.

Craig
occasional wait list, they don't know until September. $0.72 per foot per month. Or 1 yr 40' slip $630. Best place IMHO. Transient docks are not so secure, try to get in a permanent slip. Craig is most temperate. Ex low 2 F, 22 days snow, 30"

Good luck!
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Old 30-11-2016, 14:49   #3
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Re: Destination Alaska

Great info from Toaster.

I'll pile on and add that a lot of Pacific NW sailors have taken to leaving their boats in Wrangell for the winter so they can do multiple seasons. Wrangell has a huge travel lift and a paved yard for storage on the hard. My recommendation would be to haul out at the end of the season and wrap the boat.

Whatever you decide, I HIGHLY recommend Alaska. I have been all over this beautiful world (your country included) and haven't found anything that compares. Feel free to PM me if you have more questions or give our blog a look: www.gadaboutlife.com

All the best,
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:13   #4
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Re: Destination Alaska

Thanks for the excellent info. We have mostly been in the tropics for the last 9 years...we had difficulty finding the warm clothing when we went south to New Zealand.

What month do cruisers usually haul out?
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:27   #5
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Re: Destination Alaska

Most boats stay in the water over the winter. If you're staying aboard the boat in Sitka, you'll be in Eliason Hbr. There may some slips available with power. Even with the new breakwater extension, there is some wave/wind action, so try to get a spot as far south in the channel as possible. If you do leave the boat, get someone to watch the boat and shovel snow. You'll also want to seal up the boat as otters have been known to make themselves at home.

As far as hauling out goes, there are a couple of yards in Sitka, but there are numerous tide grids. With the very large tidal range, most below the waterline work can be done without going to a yard. If you are planning on spending a lot of time on the hard, Wrangell seems to offer the best deal.

While most everything in SE Alaska shuts down over the winter, Sitka has more to offer than most of the other ports. It gets drier and colder as you move inside toward Wrangell, Petersburg.

It's a lot nicer over the winter in Puget Sound or southern BC. It seems like most Alaskans spend the winter in Mexico. Some even go to New Zealand

Cheers,
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:39   #6
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Re: Destination Alaska

We will be going to our condo in Coconut Grove, Miami, thanks for the advice!
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