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1529 Seaport Blvd., Redwood City, CA 94063 Page 40 •
• May, 2010
LETTERS The Zamovia Straits are mentioned as being particularly challenging, but with the proper charts, and by paying close attention to the proper inserts, they're relatively straightforward. Certainly, there are some challenges with the currents, but proper voyage planning all but removes these issues. I did, however, recently discover a problem with some of the current tables in the '09 issue of Rosepoint Coastal Explorer. A call to the company alerted them to the issue, and a patch is due. Using multiple sources of current information is always prudent. The Drechslers also mentioned a problem with the currents in Tlevak narrows near Craig. They don’t mention why their current predictions were in error, but I know it can happen. What surprised me is that even though they noticed that the red buoy was being held underwater by the current, they continued on. Such narrows are best avoided until slack current. I do agree, however, that a loss of steering at that point could have been disastrous. I’ve piloted a 90-ft steel yacht through those narrows, and there is little room for error. Finally, I found it hilarious that they felt everyone they met in Alaska seemed to be in the witness protection program. We Alaskans may be a little rough around the edges — just look at the cast of characters on The Deadliest Catch — but all in all, most of us are pretty normal. And we go out of our way to lend a hand when it's needed. I’ve come into port and had complete strangers lend me a car to go shopping, and have done the same for others. If you're looking for moderate seas, shallow anchorages, and benign weather, then perhaps Alaska won’t be to your liking. On the other hand, if you have a sense of adventure a good grasp of seamanship and navigation, enjoy empty wilderness anchorages, and want to see some of the most spectacular scenery and animals on the planet, a trip to Alaska is not to be missed. Jeff Coult Arctic Traveller, Defever 49 Juneau, Alaska Jeff — Not to be too critical, but you spend most of your letter saying that it's easy to cruise in Alaska, but then you conclude by agreeing with the Drechslers that it's more difficult to cruise the 49th state than places such as Mexico, where the weather is more benign, the seas more moderate, and the anchorages less challenging. To that we might add that Mexico doesn't have any narrows with strong currents, floating or submerged logs, or very many crab pots in the Sea or along the mainland. Further, we think it's foolish to think that even the best maintained vessel is immune to breakdowns, and that if a boat had a breakdown, it would be less dangerous and less of a hassle to have it happen in Mexico. As it turns out, we all seem agree that the Drechslers were correct in their opinion that it's harder to cruise Alaska than it is Mexico, no? ⇑⇓SAYING WHAT YOU MEAN AND VICE VERSA In Richard Drechsler's report in the March Changes about negotiating the current in the Tievak Narrows in Alaska, he mentioned being worried about losing steerage if his overthe-ground speed fell to about two knots. It seems to me that speed over ground is irrelevant to steerage in a situation where a boat is traveling up-current. The important factor is speed-through-water — or more specifically, the speed of water flowing by the rudder. What's your take on the matter? Bill Crowley Clarsa, Ventura 23 Napa
The May 2010 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.