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Old 19-03-2008, 10:10   #1
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Best Time/Route West Coast to Hawaii?

What is best time of year from West Coast to Hawaii? SF to HI or SD to HI? Mahalo
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Old 19-03-2008, 11:41   #2
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Spring & Summer (May through July).
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Old 19-03-2008, 12:02   #3
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I agree with Gord. We'll be going in late June/early July.
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JohnL
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Old 19-03-2008, 23:07   #4
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I to am leaving San Francisco for Hilo around July first. I think the transpact race starts around the middle of July.
I'll look for you out there John. Fair Winds, David B.
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Old 20-03-2008, 06:55   #5
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The Vic-Maui race usually starts near the end of June. I think the racers typically run down the coast before jumping off near San Fran. Downwind all the way.
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Old 20-03-2008, 09:01   #6
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The Pacific Cup race (from San Francisco to Oahu) has delayed its start this year by one+ week: from the week of July 3 to July 14. This is to improve the odds that the Pacific High will have time to establish itself in the typical summer pattern. In the '06 PacCup, and the '07 TransPac (Los Angeles to Oahu), the racers had to struggle with a Pacific High that was significantly south of the "regular" position, and with a large southeast ridge. This forced them to sail further south in order to have decent winds. Those who tried to cut the corner (like VALIS in '06) were stuck in a parking lot for a couple of days.

You have to juggle the position and stability of the Pacific High, which tends further north throughout the summer, how far south you want to sail, and the fact that the North Pacific hurricane season is starting up in July, and peaking in September (October?).

With the hurricanes/storms/depressions you can usually see them developing far in advance in the waters off southern Mexico, so you have time to alter course if necessary. I've not had this issue, but in '06 the remnants of a tropical storm were approaching Hawaii while we were still a few days out. Fortunately the system was so weak that all it did was stall the local tradewinds, and we made it to Kaneohe Bay before we were stuck in yet another parking lot.
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Old 20-03-2008, 12:29   #7
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Aloha David,
How's that new boat? Sure looks like a beauty.
I think Paul Elliott has some good points. We plan on heading South a bit from SF to skirt the edge of the high before going West. I got slowed a couple days on the West side of the high some years ago. If you are in a sailboat and there is no wind it really is frustrating as we all know.
laters,
JohnL
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Old 21-03-2008, 00:19   #8
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Aloha John,
I love the boat. Her and I are going places. Yes my plan is to get a hundered miles out quick and then South, Southwest.
I'll be happy if I can make it in 3 weeks. David B.
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Old 21-03-2008, 10:23   #9
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One more comment on picking the departure date: Unless you're racing, there isn't much downside to leaving California earlier then July. Sure, you will have to sail a bit further south before you can make to turn towards Hawaii, but this will only add a day or two to the passage (and maybe less).

If you leave in early spring you do run the increased risk of seeing a late storm, and the sea conditions will probably be a bit wilder than you would encounter later in the season. With the storms, this is really a matter of watching the weather and picking your departure accordingly -- an offshore low-pressure system not only creates sloppy conditions, but will give you southerly winds, and there's no reason to battle a headwind here if you don't have to. If you are leaving from Southern California this is less of an issue, and if leaving from No. Cal, in a couple of days you have sailed into calmer waters anyway.

Also, there is no shame in firing up the engine if you get stalled in the SE ridge of the Pac High. A few hours of light-air motorsailing can make a big difference. If you don't mind burning the fuel, this is an option. Consider it an opportunity to charge the batteries.
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