Summarizing our 2021 sailing season

In our third year as full-time live aboard sailors, 2021 pushed us to a whole new extreme in rough, salty, sailing; Alaska. We had planned to sail up to Alaska in 2020, but COVID put an abrupt halt to those plans. We did make it north of 48 degrees in 2021 to sail our biggest year of them all. In fact, we did more in 2021 than the first two years combined. Needless to say, we were tired and battered by the end of the sailing season, which ended two months earlier then previous years thanks to an engine breakdown, and the brutal cold. In the end, we would spend the winter in Alaska… on a boat. A true challenge if there ever is one.

The 2021 sailing season spanned April through the majority of September – just shy of a full 6 months. We spent the first two months in the Puget Sound before attempting-and-failing the passage to Alaska, then making it over a 9-day adventure, 3 of which we sailed non-stop across/up Queen Charlotte Sound. Once in Alaska we moved long distances regularly to make it from one destination to another, seeing our fair share of orcas, whales, bears, and bald eagles.

The stats for the year are as follows: Meriwether and her crew went on 64 voyages over the 2021 season, adding 2170+ nautical miles and 456 hours of experience to our resume. These single-year figures are well more than 2019 and 2020 figures combined thanks in part to our first overnight sail, and our first multi-day passage taking place in 2021.

The number of times we anchored – 49 – a slightly increase compared to last year, but the number of nights at anchor – 96 – is well down. This is due mainly to the lack of internet signal at the majority of anchorages in Alaska, forcing us to get near a town for each and every work week. Rarely were there anchorages near the towns, so marinas became the norm for much of the summer. Weekends, when we did not need internet, were spent at anchor as much as possible.

The year tested our my will to sail. With numerous breakdowns and failures through out, I had a real hard time staying positive; fridge eaten by prop shaft, auto-pilot confused, the sinking of our crab pot, and finally the engine failure that served us up to our first tow in to port. On the other end of the spectrum were the amazing times; dolphins at sea, the best sail we have ever had, Misty Fjords National Monument, backpacking to hot springs, more hot springs, catching my first ever fish, glaciers, and tons of orcas, otters, whales, and bears. Clearly we had more good times then bad, and after a small vacation from the boat I am feeling all better.

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1 Response

  1. Rob says:

    Great pictures and one heck of a year!

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