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Perfect Sail

A happy crew enjoys the afternoon sail. Photo by Dave DisBrow

Location: Portage Bay
Wind: SSE 10 G15
Temp: 51F
Partly Cloudy

When a youth group from a church in Seattle showed up last Tuesday to help us with moving our household goods, they refused pay or donations; when we offered to take them for a day sail on CAMAI, they enthusiastically accepted.

This summer’s weather being cool, breezy and wetter than normal, we studied the weather forecasts and chose today, Sunday, as the most likely weather window to take our new friends for a pleasant sail.

Morning started out cool with fog patches, and a slight northerly breeze, but the forecast was for small craft warnings with the wind switching to southerly and building to 25 knots by late afternoon.

By our departure time, noon, a light southerly breeze was blowing. We made sail just outside the harbor and set our course eastward, serving pizza and refreshments as CAMAI sailed placidly across the fjord. We tacked a couple of times, and when we reached the Katzehin River delta we asked our guests if they wanted to raise the gennaker (aka “the big round scary sail.”) They enthusiastically said, “Yes!”

SV CAMAI sails in front of Fort Seward, Haines, AK. Photo by Dave DisBrow

With the gennaker flying, we tried to clear Battery Point on port tack, but couldn’t sail high enough to keep it filled. After a few tries, we switched to a starboard tack and were off and flying. The breeze was building and by the time we reached the eastern shore there were a few whitecaps on the water.

We jibed onto a port tack and had a sleigh ride into Portage Bay as the clouds cleared and the full beauty of Haines revealed itself.

For us, one of the great joys of sailing is introducing new people to the sport. Today’s ride with light breezes early on, and a rollicking sail home is the perfect introduction for those who may be a little timid about sailing.

Although they thanked us profusely with smiles all around, we felt we should be thanking them for giving us the excuse for a perfect sail.


We owe a special thanks to professional photographer Dave Disbrow, a true friend who spent his afternoon photographing CAMAI under sail—on a perfect day with perfect weather, in one of the most spectacularly beautiful locations in the world.

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