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Old 11-02-2018, 14:28   #1
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New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

Hi everyone,

I'm new to sailing. I've been on sail boats before a few times, but always as a passenger only. Well I have decided that I want to cross the Pacific Ocean from Queensland Australia to California. It's pretty much a spiritual thing for me. Obviously, I am aware that there's a lot of stuff to know in order to survive this kind of journey. I want to know what is the steps I should take in order to build up my skills as a sailor so that I know just enough to survive if I were on my own on the trip. Which books do I need to read, in terms of equipment (boats, auto-pilot etc), sailing techniques and control, sailing routes, seasonal weather conditions, possible threats/dangers. EVERYTHING necessary, I want to learn, which books I need as well and what kinda experience I should gun for. I really don't know EXACTLY what im getting into so I want you all to give me realistic heads up.

I was thinking of first trying my hand at sailing at a local club, than maybe sailing coastally for a while, in order to get some sea miles. But also what kinda "specific" things would I need to learn, like sail routes across the Pacific, ideal stop-over locations... Thanks for the help everyone.
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Old 11-02-2018, 15:07   #2
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

You have some good ideas.
  • Join a sailing club
  • Take lessons
  • Sail on Other People's Boats
  • Crew on deliveries
  • Read Jimmy Cornell's "World Cruising Routes"
  • Read "Twenty Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere" by Nestor / Vigor

Australia to California is a pretty tough passage.
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Old 11-02-2018, 15:31   #3
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

This sort of question comes up surprisingly often, and since what you're asking is pretty general, the answers you get will be pretty unspecific and unhelpful. Look at the recent thread about the Albin Vega across the Pacific--that guy has the boat selected and the thread is a bloated monster of generic responses!
Some will try to give you their list of minimum equipment; some will as what your budget is; some will tell you to charter all sorts of boats first; some will ask what on earth you mean by "a spiritual thing?"--it may be that many or none of these responses will help at all.
My unhelpful suggestion? Go sailing as much as you can, on every sort of boat, the longer the trip the better. Soon you'll know what kind of questions to ask, and then you can have an individual thread about each, which might be manageable. And if you search the forum, you might find each of those questions hashed out already--not answered, since nothing is ever resolved here, but with enough opinions that you can decide for yourself.
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Old 11-02-2018, 16:08   #4
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

Well first off, you're going the wrong way. If you want to go from Australia to California you have to go to the higher latitudes or else beat your way across to. Prevailing winds are Westerly in the lower latitudes. Not an easy trip. That is why so many boats are for sale in Asia.
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Old 11-02-2018, 16:27   #5
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

Good advice so far!

The dream of a destination can be powerful.
Before I really learned how to sail (not counting windsurfing), I had a vague collection of destinations in my head. Living in California, I was delighted to learn that there is a mostly down-wind route from here through the storied South Pacific islands, then on to Australia. Many (most) cruisers do this in a season. It has a few names like the Pacific Puddle Jump and The coconut Milk Run.

You route of choice can be done in that direction, but there is a reason that most prefer to go the other way. Mother nature. The trade winds would be against you except for very indirect routes. Hell, you could even go the OTHER way around the world. Study the prevailing wind directions of the globe as you learn to sail close-hauled. You'll get the picture.
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Old 11-02-2018, 16:28   #6
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

There are some great ocean/racing/cruising clubs around that have excellent events that you may like to join. A friend who had a similar desire has spent the last year working with one of the clubs and volunteers to crew on the boats returning from ocean races. It is less frenetic than the race and he has already massed a few thousand ocean miles. His name is out there with the racers and people are requesting his assistance. He has a host of new experiences and many more to come. I would think the people at Boat Works in Coomera would be a first contact
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:30   #7
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
You have some good ideas.
  • Join a sailing club
  • Take lessons
  • Sail on Other People's Boats
  • Crew on deliveries
  • Read Jimmy Cornell's "World Cruising Routes"
  • Read "Twenty Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere" by Nestor / Vigor

Australia to California is a pretty tough passage.
Solid advice, I will get those books. Thanks
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:36   #8
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg4cocokai View Post
Well first off, you're going the wrong way. If you want to go from Australia to California you have to go to the higher latitudes or else beat your way across to. Prevailing winds are Westerly in the lower latitudes. Not an easy trip. That is why so many boats are for sale in Asia.
I thought the prevailing winds were from easterly from Cali to QLD in the lower latitude and westerly in the higher latitudes (southern ocean?)
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:37   #9
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benz View Post
This sort of question comes up surprisingly often, and since what you're asking is pretty general, the answers you get will be pretty unspecific and unhelpful. Look at the recent thread about the Albin Vega across the Pacific--that guy has the boat selected and the thread is a bloated monster of generic responses!
Some will try to give you their list of minimum equipment; some will as what your budget is; some will tell you to charter all sorts of boats first; some will ask what on earth you mean by "a spiritual thing?"--it may be that many or none of these responses will help at all.
My unhelpful suggestion? Go sailing as much as you can, on every sort of boat, the longer the trip the better. Soon you'll know what kind of questions to ask, and then you can have an individual thread about each, which might be manageable. And if you search the forum, you might find each of those questions hashed out already--not answered, since nothing is ever resolved here, but with enough opinions that you can decide for yourself.
This is true, maybe I won't know what I ought to know until I try something.
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:38   #10
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyan View Post
Good advice so far!

The dream of a destination can be powerful.
Before I really learned how to sail (not counting windsurfing), I had a vague collection of destinations in my head. Living in California, I was delighted to learn that there is a mostly down-wind route from here through the storied South Pacific islands, then on to Australia. Many (most) cruisers do this in a season. It has a few names like the Pacific Puddle Jump and The coconut Milk Run.

You route of choice can be done in that direction, but there is a reason that most prefer to go the other way. Mother nature. The trade winds would be against you except for very indirect routes. Hell, you could even go the OTHER way around the world. Study the prevailing wind directions of the globe as you learn to sail close-hauled. You'll get the picture.
Great advice, im going to look up close-hauled sailing. Except that if I chose to take an easier route in alignment with the wind, say from Cali to QLD instead, that would be a dead run sail right?
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:25   #11
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

Wrong
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Old 12-02-2018, 05:04   #12
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pirate Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor92 View Post
Great advice, im going to look up close-hauled sailing. Except that if I chose to take an easier route in alignment with the wind, say from Cali to QLD instead, that would be a dead run sail right?
Invest in a Pilot Charts Atlas for the N & S Pacific and the Glenans Manual of Sailing.. all you need to know about sailing from reading the weather to boat handling and tons more.. gleaned from some of the best sailors France has produced.. and they do produce great all weather sailors..
Much as this Brit hates to admit..
And no it would not be a straight run..
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:08   #13
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

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Originally Posted by sailor92 View Post
I thought the prevailing winds were from easterly from Cali to QLD in the lower latitude and westerly in the higher latitudes (southern ocean?)
Well, roughly. Sticking to higher latitudes in either the North Pacific or the South Pacific will certainly bring you to the East. Both wind and current. Here's the paradox: you do NOT want to be there. Not only is it cold, it is TOO windy. Google "roaring 40s", for instance. It had been done, but not by beginners, and not with any old boat.

The trade winds in lower latitudes are the ones you want, outside of cyclone season. Warmer, calmer (normally). These will take you form the West Coast of the Americas to South Pacific islands north of QLD, where the final leg might even be a beam reach.

Hundreds of sailboats go West on this route every year- not the other way around. Many end up selling the boat in OZ or NZ, making it sort of a one way trip. Check out the Pacific Puddle Jump, which covers the longest open water leg of this journey:
Pacific Puddle Jump Official Web Site
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:10   #14
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor92 View Post
Great advice, im going to look up close-hauled sailing. Except that if I chose to take an easier route in alignment with the wind, say from Cali to QLD instead, that would be a dead run sail right?
I get the spiritual thing, I really do...... but the shear volume of skills you need to obtain are beyond this forum.

This topic has been beat to death on the forum. I’d encourage a little scouting and perhaps we could join together as a community and assemble an ebook we could simply point folks like you to.

Some will say go! Some will say stay! A bunch will be in the middle.

Do not put others lives in danger and that includes your rescuers.

Ahhh, that’s enough from me. You’ll get a bunch of advise, never forget how much you paid for it ;-)

Good luck

(Here’s mine, start racing if you really want to learn how to sail)
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:24   #15
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Re: New sailor, want to cross the Pacific, guide me.

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Solid advice, I will get those books. Thanks
Sailing clubs often have excellent libraries of books, charts and pilots. Plus you go sailing. People are always looking for good crew for racing and cruising.

In April/May many boats will head to the islands from Queensland. Get a spot as crew on one of these to get an idea of what ocean sailing is all about. Will be an experience you'll never forget and wont be vicarious learnings.
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