Alaska Sailing

Alaska Sailing

Post by RBBa » Sat, 27 May 2000 04:00:00


I windsurfed in Alaska for about 13 years.  This included sailing north of the
Arctic Circle while living in the Eskimo community of Kotzebue, in Naknek Lake
on the Alaska Peninsula and in Turnagain Arm near Anchorage.  Without question,
Turnagain Arm is one of the most bazzare and exciting places in the world for
windsurfing.  Turnagain is a 50 mile long fiord lined with steep, high
mountains.  It experiences amazing tidal fluctuations ranging as much as 40+
feet between the low and high tides.  Strong winds scream down the fiord.  The
combination of rushing tidal currents and opposing gale force winds can set up
radical sailing conditions with big standing waves, huge whirlpools, tidal
rips, etc.  The sailor must continuously bear off to counteract the currents.
3.5 sail days are common, especially in early summer.  Sailing conditions are
so special that it is foolhardy to sail alone.  There are about 20 active
Turnagain windsurfers.  It is a tightknit community.  After sailing Turnagain,
the Gorge seems tame.  ray
 
 
 

Alaska Sailing

Post by Alan Whit » Sat, 27 May 2000 04:00:00



Quote:
>I windsurfed in Alaska for about 13 years.  This included sailing north of the
>Arctic Circle while living in the Eskimo community of Kotzebue, in Naknek Lake
>on the Alaska

Great news!!

I have a sister who lives in Palmer. Haven't been back to see her (in Alaska) since 1984 when
windsurfing hit me. She keeps telling me to come up. Has even sent me video of you guys sailing
Turnagin. What I can't determine, though, is the wave sailing. Windtracks had a nice article a
year or so ago about some coastal sailing, but the route those guys took to in order to find waves
was a little beyond my means.

Any suggestions?  BTW, I bet it rips out towards the Aleutions. Any warmer out there?

Alan
C***te, NC

club page:http://SportToday.org/  

 
 
 

Alaska Sailing

Post by JayR » Sat, 27 May 2000 04:00:00

The current issue of Outside magazine (June) has great article about
windsurfing Turnagain Arm. When one of the locals was asked to describe the
sailing at "The Arm" compared to other sailing locations the I belive the
quote was... "the Gorge on steroids". Not only to these people not sail
alone, they sail with waterproof flares taped to their legs as standard
equipment.
-JayR


Quote:
> I windsurfed in Alaska for about 13 years.  This included sailing north of
the
> Arctic Circle while living in the Eskimo community of Kotzebue, in Naknek
Lake
> on the Alaska Peninsula and in Turnagain Arm near Anchorage.  Without
question,
> Turnagain Arm is one of the most bazzare and exciting places in the world
for
> windsurfing.  Turnagain is a 50 mile long fiord lined with steep, high
> mountains.  It experiences amazing tidal fluctuations ranging as much as
40+
> feet between the low and high tides.  Strong winds scream down the fiord.
The
> combination of rushing tidal currents and opposing gale force winds can
set up
> radical sailing conditions with big standing waves, huge whirlpools, tidal
> rips, etc.  The sailor must continuously bear off to counteract the
currents.
> 3.5 sail days are common, especially in early summer.  Sailing conditions
are
> so special that it is foolhardy to sail alone.  There are about 20 active
> Turnagain windsurfers.  It is a tightknit community.  After sailing
Turnagain,
> the Gorge seems tame.  ray


 
 
 

Alaska Sailing

Post by Matt » Sat, 27 May 2000 04:00:00

Though I heard a story once about somebody (not a windsurfer) drowning in
Turnagain arm after getting stuck in quicksand while the tide was coming in.
Any truth to this?  Is this something to be concerned about at the
windsurfing site?

Also, does anybody ever sail off the Homer spit?


Quote:
> I windsurfed in Alaska for about 13 years.  This included sailing north of
the
> Arctic Circle while living in the Eskimo community of Kotzebue, in Naknek
Lake
> on the Alaska Peninsula and in Turnagain Arm near Anchorage.  Without
question,
> Turnagain Arm is one of the most bazzare and exciting places in the world
for
> windsurfing.  Turnagain is a 50 mile long fiord lined with steep, high
> mountains.  It experiences amazing tidal fluctuations ranging as much as
40+
> feet between the low and high tides.  Strong winds scream down the fiord.
The
> combination of rushing tidal currents and opposing gale force winds can
set up
> radical sailing conditions with big standing waves, huge whirlpools, tidal
> rips, etc.  The sailor must continuously bear off to counteract the
currents.
> 3.5 sail days are common, especially in early summer.  Sailing conditions
are
> so special that it is foolhardy to sail alone.  There are about 20 active
> Turnagain windsurfers.  It is a tightknit community.  After sailing
Turnagain,
> the Gorge seems tame.  ray

 
 
 

Alaska Sailing

Post by Mark & Lynne Fros » Sun, 28 May 2000 04:00:00

Ray,

It's been a long time since I heard (saw) your voice (words)!  I am still
amazed at the stories you would recount to us on CompuServe's Windsurfing
Group!  Last thing I heard your time was coming up in Alaska, and you were
planning to retire to Maui.

When I say retire, I mean like really retire when you are done with a
career. (Not like Mike F who retired at age 30?? )... (just kidding Mike
;-) )

We would reading "hanging onto a 3.5 again" story in the Alaskan fiord, it
was inspirational to read that you were still holding onto your 3.5 at 60+
years!

Hope life is treating you right, and that retirement was worth waiting
for... I hope I have your energy when I am your age!

Mark


Quote:
> I windsurfed in Alaska for about 13 years.  This included sailing north of
the
> Arctic Circle while living in the Eskimo community of Kotzebue, in Naknek
Lake
> on the Alaska Peninsula and in Turnagain Arm near Anchorage.  Without
question,
> Turnagain Arm is one of the most bazzare and exciting places in the world
for
> windsurfing.  Turnagain is a 50 mile long fiord lined with steep, high
> mountains.  It experiences amazing tidal fluctuations ranging as much as
40+
> feet between the low and high tides.  Strong winds scream down the fiord.
The
> combination of rushing tidal currents and opposing gale force winds can
set up
> radical sailing conditions with big standing waves, huge whirlpools, tidal
> rips, etc.  The sailor must continuously bear off to counteract the
currents.
> 3.5 sail days are common, especially in early summer.  Sailing conditions
are
> so special that it is foolhardy to sail alone.  There are about 20 active
> Turnagain windsurfers.  It is a tightknit community.  After sailing
Turnagain,
> the Gorge seems tame.  ray

 
 
 

Alaska Sailing

Post by RBBa » Sat, 03 Jun 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>What I can't determine, though, is the wave sailing. Windtracks had a nice

article a year or so ago about some coastal sailing, but the route those guys
took to in order to find waves<

A few years ago Sean Ordeniz and a few other pro sailors came up to Anchorage
to sail Turnagain.  It was covered by Windtracks Mag.  The only major ridable
surf in Alaska that I know of would be around Yakutak.  The only way to get
there is by airline.  Turnagain has some great standing waves depending on
conditions.  They can reach logo high.  The Aleutions is where the wind is
born.  Unfortunately, it is a major undertaking to get there - only by air
again.  I sailed the lower Alaska Peninsula and ran into some major breezes.  

ray

 
 
 

Alaska Sailing

Post by RBBa » Sat, 03 Jun 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>the Gorge on steroids". Not only to these people not sail alone, they sail

with waterproof flares taped to their legs as standard equipment. JayR<

Some Turnagain sailors wear *** packs with some basic survival gear including
waterproof flares.  Everyone keeps an eye on everyone else.  Folks get pretty
worried if someone takes off on their own and goes out too far.  Breaking down
out on the Arm is no joke.  The current literally rips and can carry you away
at an amazing pace.   ray

 
 
 

Alaska Sailing

Post by RBBa » Sat, 03 Jun 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>Though I heard a story once about somebody (not a windsurfer) drowning in

Turnagain arm after getting stuck in quicksand while the tide was coming in.
Any truth to this?  Is this something to be concerned about at the windsurfing
site?<

At low tide Turnagain is almost completely drained of water.  There are broad
tidal flats.  Most are fairly firm, but there are areas where the glacial silt
is really mucky and can suck you in.  The drowning you mention happened when a
guy and his wife went out on the tidal flats on ATVs.  The wife got off and
became stuck.  The husband couldn't pull her free, so he went for help.  By the
time the emergency crew arrived, the tide was coming in - fast.  She was so
firmly stuck that they couldn't pull her free.  The tide simply came up and
covered her.  Windsurfers know the Arm and stay away from the quicksand areas.

In re: to the Homer Spit, yes, some folks have sailed off of it.  The winds are
usually pretty light, so you need big sails.  ray

 
 
 

Alaska Sailing

Post by RBBa » Sat, 03 Jun 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>it was inspirational to read that you were still holding onto your 3.5 at 60+

years!
Hope life is treating you right, and that retirement was worth waiting for... I
hope I have your energy when I am your age!

Mark<

Hey, Mark,

Looong time between messages!!  Yep, my wife and I retired in '97 and moved to
Maui.  We live in a great place on the slope of Haleakala at about the 3000 ft.
level.  Absolutely amazing view and nice climate.  I have a spotting scope and
can see both sides of the island and check the sailing conditions.  Now I am
totally hooked on wave sailing.  I love the winter conditions when the surf can
jack up to mast+ breakers.  I celebrate 64 yrs of good living this July.  Hope
you are getting good sailing!  ray

 
 
 

Alaska Sailing

Post by Timb » Wed, 14 Jun 2000 04:00:00

Hi Ray!  Have you heard your interview with our "slippah camp"
trainee?

yer at the bottom of the page
http://www.maui.net/~mauiwind/MWR/slippah/17.htm


Quote:
>I windsurfed in Alaska for about 13 years.  This included sailing north of the
>Arctic Circle while living in the Eskimo community of Kotzebue, in Naknek Lake
>on the Alaska Peninsula and in Turnagain Arm near Anchorage.  Without question,
>Turnagain Arm is one of the most bazzare and exciting places in the world for
>windsurfing.  Turnagain is a 50 mile long fiord lined with steep, high
>mountains.  It experiences amazing tidal fluctuations ranging as much as 40+
>feet between the low and high tides.  Strong winds scream down the fiord.  The
>combination of rushing tidal currents and opposing gale force winds can set up
>radical sailing conditions with big standing waves, huge whirlpools, tidal
>rips, etc.  The sailor must continuously bear off to counteract the currents.
>3.5 sail days are common, especially in early summer.  Sailing conditions are
>so special that it is foolhardy to sail alone.  There are about 20 active
>Turnagain windsurfers.  It is a tightknit community.  After sailing Turnagain,
>the Gorge seems tame.  ray

 
 
 

Alaska Sailing

Post by RBBa » Tue, 20 Jun 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>Hi Ray!  Have you heard your interview with our "slippah camp"

trainee?  Tim<

Hey Tim!

Thanks for the link.  I hadn't heard it before. Guess Zac is back.  He is a
good guy with lots of energy and a sense of adventure.  You did a good thing
helping him out.  Barbara and I are heading back to Alaska in August for
several weeks.  I'm already looking forward to getting back to Maui for fall
wave sailing!!   Later.  Ray