Susan C. Anthony

Ford 250 towing trailer with sailboatPrince William Sound 2002

It was our first year sailing on Prince William Sound, our first year sailing anywhere! We love our powerboat, but when our next-door neighbor put his 25' Ericson up for sale, Dennis couldn't resist. The neighbor had bought it new in 1980 and taken extraordinary care of it. He'd added a kerosene heater and lots of adaptations that made it perfect for Alaskan waters. He even came to Whittier to help us erect the mast and launch the boat with a 30' tongue extension he invented. A crowd gathered to watch the launch! The boat on the trailer is a lot taller than the truck!

We sailed whenever we had wind and were amazed at the fuel efficiency of the four-horse Yamaha outboard. It was so roomy and comfortable in all weather that we could easily stay out for months. We went across the north of the Sound from Whittier to Valdez, exploring bays and passages we'd skipped on previous trips and once again having nearly all anchorages completely to ourselves. We hiked, canoed and read to our heart's content.

Dennis' one concern was that our only backup if the motor quit was sail, and we aren't experienced sailors! We headed back to Whittier through the middle of the Sound. The wind was perfect much of the way. When it abated, Dennis started the motor and we motor-sailed. Then, cough, choke, nothing. The wind came up from a different direction and heeled the boat over, making it difficult to check or fix the motor.

When the wind settled a little, Dennis checked and found lots of water in the fuel. We'd recently fueled in Valdez. Thankfully, he had a small auxiliary tank so we didn't have to tack into the narrow bay where we anchored that night. We actually enjoyed seas that would have intimidated us in the motor boat.

The last day, we picked up Dennis' son and family in Whittier for the grandkids' first trip on the sailboat. They'd played on it while it was parked in our yard so were surprised when they stepped aboard and it moved!

Go on to read A Month on the Water: Prince William Sound 2003
Source:, ┬ęSusan C. Anthony