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June 11. 2018. Departed Ballard North, AKA Dutch harbor at 0900 Alaska time.


A few thoughts about Dutch Harbor. There isn’t much to do here in town. The Wi-Fi is glacial. The cell phone service is spotty at best. The winter month are dark, dark, dark. Kids need to use a flashlight to find their way home after school. The air service is hit and miss.  During the 4 days we have been here the Alaska Airline flights have been canceled for days at a time due to fog and low ceiling. Sharry and Kyle had flights to Anchorage scheduled.  Sharry’s sister, Sheila, is meeting …
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Damage Control


We are 291nm and 36 hours from Dutch. The wind has backed down to around 15kn from the WNW. I am an optimist so I’d like to think that the worst is behind us. Let’s do a brief review of what has broken or gone wrong. 1st. There was this itsy bitsy 24vdc hot water heating fan that quit running and put out a lot of smoke. There were no visible signs of any burnt parts. This is the second fan to go kaput in the past 10 years even though these guys get very little use. We are running a solid 27vd…
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Stabilizer Blues

Sunday June 3. The port stabilizer is making more chattering noise, where the torque arm is reversing direction in incremental amounts several times per second rather than making long smooth strokes. The starboard stabilizer is making a similar noise …

The Thousand Mile War


MV Starr, Friday, June1. 34 09N, 161 37W 801nm from Honolulu 1234 DTG to Dutch Harbor Both Sharry and I have just finished reading, “The Thousand Mile War” by Brian Garfield, published in 1969 and updated in 1995. The story is a factually accurate and riveting tale about the battles between the United States and Japan that took place in the Aleutian Islands during WWII. The descriptions of the weather and hardships, even in the summer months, had both Sharry and I (mostly Sharry) questioning…
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Starr passage Hawaii to Unalaska or Kodiak 2018


We are underway for either Unalaska/Dutch Harbor or Kodiak, depending on the weather.  Sharry and I planned on departing a week ago but postponed the departure so we could fly back to San Clemente for my cousin Karla Gellers memorial. We are fortunate our friends who are crewing for us are all from Oahu and were able to rearrange their schedules so the Monday 28 departure worked out. Joining us for the passage are 3 great guys, Bill Noodle Leary, Clay Hutchinson, and Kyle Kim. I asked each of …
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Twin Rudders: An Update after 18 Years


Having run Starr for 18 years, including crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific (we are about to start our 10th Pacific crossing), fixing Starr’s steering problem (lack of control) is the single best modification we have made to date.  As I listen to other trawler owners talk about their steering problems and how they might solve them with autopilot adjustments, I wonder if they would be better served by adding flanking rudders or the dual rudder solution we adopted on Starr. We wrote about maki…
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How can we Design a Better Flopper Stopper?


Stabilizing a large yacht at anchor presents many challenges.  With their almost unlimited budgets and full-time engineers, megayachts usually choose an electronic solution such at TRAC’s STAR (STabilization At Rest), and smaller, light-displacement yachts often opt for gyro solutions such as Seakeeper anti-roll gyros.  Both systems are effective, but they’re costly to install, require full-time generator use and varying levels of maintenance, and create noise.  On the other hand, passive stabil…
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Hawaii 2017-2018

Sharry and I are preparing to take Starr from Hawaii to Kodiak, AK (2200nm) this May. We’ll then continue to Prince William Sound. Although we’ve been silent on this blog for too long, we’ve been busy cruising Hawaii! Here’s a bit from the last year….

Don and Sharry’s Thoughts About Our Seattle-Honolulu Passage 2016


Sharry’s Thoughts: My Last Night Watch of this Passage  November 12, 2016 2100-2400   Supermoon I’m sitting on the step on the port side of the wheelhouse, both wheelhouse doors are open and the warm night air at 78 degrees is cooler than the temperature of the sea at 82.5 degrees.  I am barefoot, dressed in shorts and a tank top, and the warm night air wraps my body in a soft caress.  The “super” moon is a slightly squashed circle of light, not quite full but probably will be by tomorrow…
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Last Landfall


Last Landfall November 13, 2016 – Approaching Diamond Head-10nm ahead Day 18   Lee Hillman Brown Starr is one hour from Honolulu after an eighteen-day passage from Seattle.  For me and Lee this will complete our last voyage together.  For me it has been a trip of intimate memories: of other passages, of night watches, of the night sky and “our” constellation, Casseopia, and of just the two of us sailing Wings together, watch on and watch off – partners, intimate.  Now we are coming to ou…