She-Ra is a sailboat and a malamute. They stopped in Haines going around the world

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Photo courtesy of Lars Zika

The 62-foot sailboat She-Ra visited the port of Haines this weekend. It was the boat with an Alaskan Malamute face printed on the bow. Captain Lars Zika cruises the world with his dog and meets friends along the way.


Zika says there was no real plan when he set sail in Bangkok, Thailand in June. He was alone, on the water, heading east.

“The best time to cross from Japan – cross the North Pacific or the Bering Sea or whatever to the Vancouver area and Alaska – would be July, August,” he said. “But getting to Japan is hurricane season there, so you have to go through a few days — to get a good shot across the north.”

Zika is not quite alone. He is accompanied by his seven-year-old Alaskan malamute, She-Ra. Yes, the boat is named after the dog.

With distinct black and white markings, She-Ra belongs to a line of Malamute sled dogs in Juneau.

She-Ra takes its name from the 1980s superhero animated series “She-Ra: Princess of Power,” a childhood favorite for Zika. She comes from a line of Malamute sled dogs in Juneau. (Corinne Smith / KHNS)

“Seven generations ago, she was my lead dog on the sled in Juneau, when I lived on a farm there for a bit,” Zika said.

Zika is from Switzerland. He worked as a chef and owned several restaurants throughout Southeast Asia. He started sailing two years ago while living in Bangkok.

“I don’t like people, so I went sailing,” he said.

Zika bought her 62ft sailboat in 2018 and started racing.

“I’ve done a lot of races with it, and we’ve always had very good results,” he said. “And she (the boat) is a beast.”

The image of the dog She-Ra is engraved on the sail and the bow of the yacht.

“All the time, wherever I go, she is always with me,” Zika said. “It’s funny. The boat is making a name for itself, and then wherever you come, someone knows.

This summer, alone with his dog in the South China Sea, his autopilot system broke down and he sailed through 3,500 nautical miles of storms, staying awake for 72 hours straight at one point.

“I had really, really bad weather for a very long time,” Zika said. “And of course, because you can’t do multiple things at once when you’re alone, you can’t let go of the wheel for five seconds if the waves are big.”

Lars Zika in Haines (Corinne Smith / KHNS)

In South Korea, she towed a broken down Russian ship and was welcomed at the port of Vladivostok, Russia, where he repaired his boat and even participated in a three-day regatta.

“They were super nice,” Zika said. “They fixed the boat, everything, they were just amazing. I mean, it was king crab and caviar every day.

He crossed the Bering Sea alone and a friend joined him at Kodiak. Then they visited Seldovia, Homer and Seward. They sailed the Gulf of Alaska together in six days.

But the real challenge was to cross the Dixon Entrance to enter the Inside Passage.

“Then we got, really, angry Alaska,” he said. “And it started blowing gusts over us from the north, massive seas, so we spent 24 hours circling.”

Zika and her friends are now navigating the Inside Passage.

“I mean, having orcas 360 degrees around the bow just joined you on your little journey for a few hours.” It’s pretty ridiculous, he said with a smile. “And drinking champagne in front of an ice cream parlor while cracking through the surface ice is also very pleasant.”

They sailed up the Lynn Canal, making stops at Skagway and Haines.

“Even coming here, we just saw orcas come out and play and jump, right from Skagway to here,” he said. “We’ve had three here and She-Ra is so excited. She thinks he’s one of them because they share the same skin color.

The bow of a white sailboat with a malamute head painted on it
The bow of She-Ra. (Corinne Smith / KHNS)

They spent the weekend in Haines, hiked Mount Riley, visited the Port Chilkoot Distillery, and took a group of new friends sailing on Sunday. Although the winds were light, it was a rare sunny day with blue skies.

“It’s hard not to expand everything here, it’s hard not to stay a little longer.”

On Monday, he sailed the Inside Passage, bound for Vancouver. But from there it’s open.

“A few weeks ago, I thought it would be a great idea to tour North America, like the continent itself,” he said.

So if you see the She-Ra – it’s the one with a Malamute face through the veil – say hello. You can also follow their journey online here.


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