Cover Photo Series

In the interests of resurrecting this blog, I’m planning to do a little series on the backstories behind a few of the photos I’ve had published on the covers of magazines.

This one here was the cover shot for (obviously!) Pacific Yachting magazine, published in Vancouver, British Columbia. My article about the passage to the Aleutian Islands was the main feature in this issue, and this image of Celeste on a rare gorgeous day there led it off. I think what I like most about this photo is the juxtaposition between the rugged terrain and the idyllic sailing conditions. There’s the blue sky and blue sea, just barely rippled, and Celeste gliding along under her asymmetrical spinnaker. And then there’s the shear rock of the mountain peak rearing up from the brilliantly white ice of the glacier. This area, the volcanic chain of the Alaska Peninsula, that terminates in the Aleutian Islands, is a wilderness of harsh, volatile weather, and with perhaps more bears than humans. We certainly saw more bears than people when we sailed there. And we certainly had our fair share of whipping winds and spray, rain and fog, and williwaws – katabatic winds accelerating down the mountain slopes. So a day like this one, when the sun was shining and the wind perfect for the spinnaker, was a very special treat.

In the days before this shot was taken, we’d been having exactly that sort of “Alaskan” weather: cold rain and high winds. In fact, that’s what we’d been having for a couple of weeks! It was blowing so hard on our departure from one port that the track for the staysail sheet had pulled out of the deck (and it was bolted through the deck, so that’s saying something). In the entire time we’d spent in Prince William Sound, the clouds only once lifted enough for us to see the jagged peaks of Chugach Range that surround it. So after sailing across to the Alaska Peninsula at night, to raise these stunning mountains in the brilliant sunlight, and then to glide along beneath them in perfect conditions was a true gift.

Of course it didn’t last very long! But that’s all part of the fun of sailing up there!

9 thoughts on “Cover Photo Series

    1. Thanks! I’m still here too 🙂 Been doing lots of other things lately, but still writing about sailing in print. Hope to do a few of these from time to time, though 🙂

  1. Extreme sports, like sailing in the cold, boisterous and impetuous northern seas, should be rewarded with a few moments of calm like you had when you shot that lovely photo. We’re happy you’re looking to resurrect your blog!!!

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