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Old 08-09-2012, 10:27   #1
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HAWAII to SF in SEPT/OCT 2012

Bringing my boat back to SF this month...any one else making this passage around this time? Also any input is welcome regarding routing... My plan is to go around the Pacific High to about 40N then head east depending on the location of the High at the given time. Hoping to be underway by OCT 1.
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Old 08-09-2012, 13:07   #2
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Re: HAWAII to SF in SEPT/OCT 2012

That's a good route. Head north on starboard tack until the winds shift to port tack then go east.
Have you seen Charlie Cobra's post?
kind regards,
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Old 08-09-2012, 13:09   #3
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Re: HAWAII to SF in SEPT/OCT 2012

Window for Hawaii to PNW Deliveries, When Does it Close?

There it is.
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Old 08-09-2012, 14:23   #4
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Re: HAWAII to SF in SEPT/OCT 2012

SkiprJohn - thanks I love the sound and simplicity of your advise. Something I can remember!! Thanks!
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Old 08-09-2012, 14:39   #5
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Re: HAWAII to SF in SEPT/OCT 2012

I did it in late Sept ,early Oct. one year and it wasnt bad except that the second half was cold and foggy. Didnt have to go any farther north than lat 38. Good Luck.____Grant.
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Old 08-09-2012, 15:45   #6
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Re: HAWAII to SF in SEPT/OCT 2012

As above; BUT DO NOT CUT THE HIGH TOO SOON!
Go a hundred miles farther north rather than get caught in the high. I always used Seattle as the lat to turn, but the high may be larger now. Remember, all that tsunami junk from Japan is in there now.
Good luck.
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Old 08-09-2012, 16:36   #7
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Re: HAWAII to SF in SEPT/OCT 2012

How to get over, under, or through the High is always the big issue. Take a look at the return tracks for the Pacific Cup boats (the ones that chose to carry a tracker): return | Pacific Cup

You will see that many of these elected to power through the center of the High, some went over the top, and some went under (The track going north to Cape Flattery is mine). When I've returned to San Francisco I've not had to go further north than 42 deg latitude.

The truth of it is that the Pacific High can be extremely vague and will shift dramatically in just a few days. The high isn't a physical object, but rather more of a statistic: where the surface pressure happens to be the highest at any given time. There can be multiple high-pressure regions, with light and confused winds between the highs, or, on a good year, the high may look just like the textbooks show. You really need to get daily weather information to pick your best path through the maze.

Many times the high will be spread out east and west, forcing you to motor through it going north, or to swing significantly to the west to avoid the light stuff. As the high can change faster than you can sail, it's a good idea to carry enough fuel for several days (at least) of motoring. That, or be prepared to wait for the wind to return.

This year many of the Pac Cup boats seemed to sail from one high to another as they made their way east. I agree with capta about not trying to cut it too close if you are trying to sail rather than motor, but sometimes the high just hunts you down and parks on top of you.

This late in the season you also have to watch out for the low-pressure systems coming down from the Gulf of Alaska. These can create a nice path by compressing the top of the high, but they can also stir up some big winds and seas. The semi-permanent gales a few hundred miles offshore between Cape Mendocino and San Francisco can also be pretty nasty. These gales are probably worst in Autumn, but you always need to be aware of the conditions as you approach the mainland.
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Old 08-09-2012, 16:49   #8
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Re: HAWAII to SF in SEPT/OCT 2012

Imagine a big fishhook course and go north to 40 or 42 then turn toward the coast when you are on port tack and hook around toward the east until you catch the northerly winds and make for SF.
Good luck in your journey. Every time it's sailed is just a bit different due to the position of the high pressure system. As was said it does move and can move very much in just 24 hours. As you sail toward the center of the high you run out of wind. Stay on the edge if you can to take advantage of sailing vs motoring.
kind regards,
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