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Cool. Inside passage to Ketch? Exciting!
First, the advice and concern about your voyage is justified. He knows his snit, and is concerned about your safety.
So you get where I'm coming from, here's me:
I am a lifetime sailor and I currently own a 40' boat moored in Seattle.
I have sailed singlehanded a lot.
I spent 5 yrs as a tug master, towing barges between Seattle and SE AK. Also, have experience throughout SE. I've been to every town you may be considering. Lots of time on this route with a tug and barge. Haven't sailed it.
Here's some stuff that seems relevant:
-Furler: if you want to know what it is, look for similar, ask an old boatyard guy, etc. This blog was a wise start. If it works well now, it should be ok for your trip. Probably a low priority concern.
- you'll need charts. 50 comes to mind, maybe a few more or less. Depending on a computer for this is a bad idea. I'm not going to suggest outdated charts are usable. Just a whole lot cheaper.
- plan your route and know possible holes.
- as mentioned, the is huge amount of commercial traffic. All of it will take their half out of the middle (ok, not all). Be aware of the VTS and frequencies.
- Current is a prime concern (Example: Seymour Narrows can have 16 kts)
- often the wind will not be in your favor. A reliable engine, and fuel, is a must.
- monitor the wx. Wind against current can add up to seas dangerous to large commercial vessels.
-again, the wx and sea conditions are not to be taken lightly.
-I advise you to continue to seek advice from folks that know from experience.
- fishing in AK ain't what it used to be. Getting on a boat without experience will be tough. Logging? Canning? These industries are also WAY down. Tourism is up and I believe seasonal jobs are available?
- Ketchikan is the first large (for Ak) town after you cross the boarder. I know guys there that would be happy to let you buy them a drink, ect. From there you can learn about SE AK.
Good luck, Safe sailing!