Slipless in Seattle: Full-Time Cruising on Puget Sound

Since buying Safe Harbour three and a half years ago, I’ve been fortunate to spend each summer cruising British Columbia and Alaska. As spring rolled around I’d let the marina know that May would be my last month. And each fall I returned and lived aboard through the winter, spending most of my time at the dock. This winter was different. Unlike my previous job, working on Slowboat doesn’t mean … Read more

Interior Living Space Compared: 27′ Airstream vs. 34′ Nordic Tug

We’ve logged almost 700 nights in our Airstream since we purchased it in 2010 (a 2010 27’FB International), and almost 600 nights aboard Airship (2013 Nordic Tug 34) since it joined our family in 2014. We’ve returned to the Airstream for a week of camping on the Oregon Coast (OMG is it ever going to stop RAINING??), and we can’t help discussing the things we find different/better/worse between the interior living space of the two “vehicles”. … Read more

Where Can I Anchor on Lake Washington?

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been cruising Lake Union and Lake Washington. As a boater who prefers anchoring to tying up at marinas, these lakes present a bit of a problem. While several bays look appealing, anchoring is highly restricted. Apparently anchored boats have caused problems in the past. Lake Washington is surrounded by the area’s most expensive residential real estate, and the wealthy waterfront residents don’t like when … Read more

Dealing with Steamy Windows

If you travel by boat or RV during cooler temperatures and you aren’t a robot, then you know. Condensation is an issue. We’ve tried many things to keep the windows clear. After all, so much of travel is about the view, right? On Airship, for a while I used just a squeegee, but then where does the water go? I added to that method a chamois to absorb the moisture … Read more

Deception Pass at Max Ebb

If you want to know what Deception Pass looks like at max ebb (in this case, about 6kts of current against us) we’ve got some video for you! We knew we’d be arriving around max ebb, and Sam had been through before and wasn’t worried. Great to see how these boats handle the conditions. (Here’s where the Nordic Tugs’ semi-displacement hulls come in handy!) On Airship, we increased power to 64% and were … Read more

How to Get Into Boating

Boating isn’t for everyone. Several members of my family owned sailboats at various times during my childhood, and much time was spent sailing around the Southern California coast and back and forth to Catalina Island. Much time was also spent avoiding sanding duty (“With the grain. Always with the grain.”) on my mom’s Honduras mahogany Rhodes 33, while instead, my brother and I pretended we were stranded on a tropical island, making sandals for ourselves out of … Read more

Nine Boats to Alaska: Failure Analysis

Last summer I took eight boats (nine including mine) from Anacortes to Southeast Alaska. Naturally, we experienced a few failures along the way. Below is an accounting of those failures, how we addressed them, and what lessons can be taken away. Failure: Inverter cabling This “professionally-installed” inverter cabling was woefully undersized—2 AWG rather than the specified 2/0 AWG, and the lug was 2/0 sized and poorly crimped to the cable. … Read more

The Case for Alaska

“Can I call you right back? A couple orcas just surfaced right in front of the boat and I don’t want to hit them,” I frantically told the U.S. Customs officer as I eased the throttle back. “No problem, that’ll happen,” the officer responded. Welcome to Alaska. We were motoring north in Tongass Narrows, on our way into Ketchikan after a three-week transit through British Columbia. Anchored in Foggy Bay … Read more

Power Made Easy

Airship’s Electrical Upgrades Before our 5-month trip up the Inside Passage to Alaska aboard Airship, we did some major upgrades to Airship’s electrical power system. Now, after five solid months on the boat – mostly away from marinas, here is a summary of how the system performed, what we learned, and what our “ideal” power system might look like. SPOILER: It was AWESOME! We could not be more thrilled with … Read more

Ford’s Terror

Ford’s Terror  might just be the most beautiful place on the planet. Cliffs—absolutely humongous granite walls, really—rise from water’s edge to snowcapped bowls and peaks 5000 feet above. Countless waterfalls, some trickles, others torrents, plunge from these peaks. Bears forage ashore. Dolphins frolic around anchored boats. The scale of Ford’s Terror is difficult to comprehend and impossible to convey. It’s like Yosemite, but with water in the valleys, no crowds, … Read more