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Old 26-05-2015, 15:52   #1
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San Diego to Alaska to Japan

Has anyone with experience sailed that Route - San Diego to Homer to Hokkaido to Tokyo? I will eventually end up in the Philippines, but I wanted to swing by Japan (where I grew up as an American kid), first! Can anyone tell me what to expect, and what I should look out for?
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Old 26-05-2015, 16:52   #2
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

I am by no means an expert, and at present can not access the world pilot charts ( www.msi.nga.mil ) I think that may be a cold ,wet, rough, beat to windward all the way to Japan.

Check the pilot charts for the month that you are planning for and perhaps you may want to do the trip in the reverse order.

Best of luck to you.


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Old 26-05-2015, 17:01   #3
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

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Originally Posted by pesarsten View Post
I am by no means an expert, and at present can not access the world pilot charts ( www.msi.nga.mil ) I think that may be a cold ,wet, rough, beat to windward all the way to Japan.

Check the pilot charts for the month that you are planning for and perhaps you may want to do the trip in the reverse order.
Friends did it from Japan to Anchorage and it was a cold, wet, windblown reach all the way. They were very experienced (Seattle - Galpagos - New Zealand - Australia - Japan) and in a Lord Nelson 41 and found the trip uncomfortable and unpleasant.

I've seen a lot of video of that trip and would not want to try it going the other way.

As has been discussed endlessly here, the trip from San Diego to Puget Sound (Homer is way further) is a miserable difficult beat into a constant head on swells. Once north of San Francisco the water is cold (52 degrees or less) and there is frequent fog. The air temp is always about 55 to 60 and it is very difficult to stay warm.

I tried to sail the 250 miles from Neah Bay, Wa to Cape Scott on the NW tip of Vancouver Island. Hard on the wind every inch of the way and a steady 6' NW swell. It was hard to keep a 4 knot VMG. That course parallels the SD - Homer course which is only 2,150 Nautical Miles longer.
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Old 26-05-2015, 17:15   #4
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

Three or four nordhavn power boats did a trip very similar to the one you describe. There is a write up about it on the nordhavn website. It is called the great siberian sushi run. True, they are not sailboats, but the conditions will be the same.
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Old 26-05-2015, 18:04   #5
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

Would it be better to try a Hawaii to Japan route? I just thought going from Homer to Sapporo would be faster, and would be fotted with islands for most of the trip.....
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Old 26-05-2015, 18:10   #6
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

My other route option was San Diego to Peru to Galapagos, Easter Island, and on out to the South Pacific, and then up through the Caroline Islands, and on up around Mindanao into the Visayas.....
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Old 26-05-2015, 18:17   #7
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

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My other route option was San Diego to Peru to Galapagos, Easter Island, and on out to the South Pacific, and then up through the Caroline Islands, and on up around Mindanao into the Visayas.....
My friends spent two years doing most of that route but detoured south to Oz. They loved that part of the trip and really enjoyed the year long trip from Australia to Japan.
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Old 26-05-2015, 18:26   #8
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

I have lived through heavy winters both in New York, and Nojiri-ko.
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Old 26-05-2015, 18:27   #9
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

Thank You, TacomaSailor!
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Old 27-05-2015, 09:03   #10
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

I no expert on that run, though I know that it will be long, cold route with a lot of bad weather. You will be fighting the prevailing wind, weather, and the Japanese current the whole way...
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Old 27-05-2015, 09:45   #11
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

I have made that trip.
Stopped at San Diego, SFO, Portland Or, Seattle, up the inside passage, Glacier Bay across to Kodiak , out to Dutch Harbor, then followed the Aleutians all the way out to Attu, (nice folks at the Coast Guard station there), Petropavlovsk, then down to the sea of Okhotsk.

It is not a bad trip, the gulf of Alaska can be nice or nasty. I used to tow across it for Crowley, and it can be the worst weather you can imagine. Lows just suck right up into it and churn. Going across the Aleutians is most fog and misty rain, but beautiful and amazing islands to visit. (like Hawaii without the hoards, and of course a bit cooler). You can stop in Adak and get a few provision and fuel, but they do not want you there. Once you leave Attu it is either fog or sun, I experienced no bad wx from there west, and the trip south from there is pretty easy.
Current is against you, and most of the time the wind is as well (like crossing the north Atlantic east to west on top). But if you have lots of time to pick your wx there are plenty of harbors and anchorages. (And take advantage of the calms to motor west).
Just plan at least twice as long as you figure, and having a source of Grib files is invaluable. (And have a good set of wet weather gear and seaboots).

Take time and enjoy the islands as they are full of history and beautiful, and other than the occasional fish boat, you are totally alone. It is a great sail.

Just my humble opinion,

Michael
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Old 27-05-2015, 09:57   #12
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

Hi.
*If you go for the second option, I'm interested. I am a Skipper, I had a boat Dufour 46
My experience is mainly in the Mediterranean, and once crossing the Atlantic from Panama to the Azores.
I am an Israeli guy, my English is okay but not great. I would be delighted if you add a scheduled date information, you can contact me by e-mail evenzur.daniel@gmail.com

or mobile phone 972 522 321 997
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Old 27-05-2015, 10:03   #13
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

I defer to captmikem.

But I have sailed from Osaka to Victoria, and have several friends who sailed from Japan via Alaska. It would be a hell of a slog the other way. The current would kill you.

A couple I know were two days out of Japan in their catamaran. Their gas stove and autopilot died. They decided it would be easier to carry on then sail back against wind and current.
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Old 27-05-2015, 10:18   #14
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

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Originally Posted by SHAGGY49 View Post
My other route option was San Diego to Peru to Galapagos, Easter Island, and on out to the South Pacific, and then up through the Caroline Islands, and on up around Mindanao into the Visayas.....
Just noticed your other post:

I have made that trip a few times, (to Oz, not north to Japan), and it is a much easier ride, had a spinnaker reach down to Easter a few days out of the Galapagos, great sail, and if the wx is good you can stop at Pitcairn. It is a much easier, and more leisurely sail than the northern route. Given the option I personally would take the southern route, but, I am happy that I did the northern route because I saw and experienced many things I would not have otherwise.

I do not know if this helps you or not, one way is a lot of hard cold work, but beautiful, the other is leisurely and beautiful. I have no experience from the Caroline islands north, but the trip across the South Pacific is just a nice sail.

Good luck,
Michael
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Old 27-05-2015, 10:18   #15
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Re: San Diego to Alaska to Japan

You'll get a much friendlier reception in Adak than in the past, the Navy has pulled in their horns there. I would suggest that your route as planned would be causing you to buck the currents/winds the whole way and that sailing from San Diego to the south pacific back north through Japan/Alaska makes more sense. Have run the HI to AK in the spring a couple of times and weather was unfriendly most of the way. I have also made the Seattle / Prince William Sound run in June and had it be flat calm and sunny the whole way. As a general strategy I would look to crossing to the south and then making your way north on the other side of the pond. Hit me up when you get to Homer, if I am still there, I'll give you the grand tour. I am hoping to head south before the end of August.
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