Monday 18 August – Kodiak
Position: 57 47.22 N 152 24.54 W
The plan went a little off the rails on Saturday night as the forecast winds of twenty knots from the west failed to materialise. Instead we were mostly becalmed in a huge lumpy sea left over from the strong winds of the previous twenty four hours, the absolute pits of sailing as far as I am concerned. There was very little I could do to counter the infernal pitching and rolling. The sails slatted mercilessly and eventually I resorted to setting the drifter in an attempt to extract a little bit of movement out of what little breeze there was. and even this light sail copped a hiding. When I checked it in the morning it had torn along an entire seam, presumably from chafing against the shrouds as Sylph rolled in the residual swell. I think it is repairable but have not yet had the opportunity to inspect it closely. Also damaged in the light winds and heavy sea was one of the slides that attaches the mainsail to the track on the mast. It was torn completely off the track. This really should not be possible and goes to show just how much force a slatting sail can generate.
Fortunately come Sunday morning a breeze did end up filling in from the direction forecast, and with Sylph now making comfortable progress on a beautiful sunlit day, the improved conditions went along way to improving my dark mood from the previous night. We carried the westerly wind the remaining distance up the east coast of Kodiak, a little behind the time I had originally hoped for due to the twelve hours of calm, but we still arrived at the marina here in Kodiak in accordance with the ETA I had given to the management before leaving Sand Point.
Now we are alongside I have completed formalities with the marina staff, except the ladies in the office have managed to throw a bit of a wobbly problem my way. They very efficiently organised for the necessary report to be made to Customs, which I was pleased about, but they also called some organisation in Anchorage about “purging” Sylph of foreign garbage. This is clearly something to do with quarantine regulations. It seems that for me to be able to dump rubbish ashore an officer from Anchorage has to fly to Kodiak to certify that Sylph has no foreign contaminants on board . . . at my expense! Paying for someone to fly from Anchorage to Kodiak and back is something that I would rather not do, there are just so many other things I would rather spend Sylph's limited cruising funds on. Apparently The alternative is to keep my garbage on board which clearly could be a problem over any length of time. Alternatively I can wait until I get somewhere that has the necessary quarantine personnel handy in which case it won't cost anything. I pointed out that I had cleared into the US in Dutch Harbor over a month ago, so “purging” Sylph at this late stage seems rather superfluous. But, of course, rules are rules. I have discussed the problem briefly with another fellow sailor but I had better not publicly repeat what his advice was. For now I think I will just sit on this particular problem, and think about it some more tomorrow after I have had a good night's sleep.
All is well.