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Old 10-08-2019, 12:00   #1
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Hawaii Cruising???

Great new youtube channel by Sam Holmes who singlehanded his 23’ sailboat from California to Hawaii.

https://www.youtube.com/user/SamoPajamo

Unfortunately, in my eyes, they show Hawaii to be a really poor cruising area. Unfriendly locals who threaten you aside, lack of good anchorages and marinas make me wonder why bother sailing there.

If you go that far, French Polynesia seems so much better...

Anyone have different experience?
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Old 10-08-2019, 14:34   #2
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Re: Hawaii Cruising???

Hello, comesatime,

Way back in our sailing lives, we were coastal cruisers, on Jim's 30 ft. Yankee. We took it to HI and back to SF to see how we liked ocean passages. We did,like it, as it happened, and we decided to buy a bigger boat to go cruising in, a 36 ft. Standfast built by Palmer Johnson. So that IS a reason to sail to HI. We sailed to Oahu and then Kauai. We really enjoyed Kauai, too. Hired a car, went to a canyon National Park and for a hike there, met some nice people. I had been camping on the big island (Hawaii) with my ex and our kids. Never any trouble with anyone. And, everyone speaks English. HI is closer to California than Tahiti.

We also enjoyed French Polynesia, for varied reasons, but unless you're really comfortable with your foreign language, it gets to be hard work to communicate. Don't get me wrong, here, Tahiti is a physically beautiful island, and lovely people, there, too. But it IS farther, like too far for 6 wks vacation time, by boat, and a lot longer to get back home from, if you're not planning a circumnavigation. For a data point, leaving from Cabo San Lucas, it is about 3 weeks and a couple of days from there to the Marquesas, averaging about 140 n. mi./day.

For the 23 foot boat mentioned in the you tube, it would be a lot longer than that, time wise. One problem with investigating sailing as a hobby via you tube, is that they trivialize the difficulties, and expenses of the lifestyle. Reading books about sailing, usually covers the harder times, especially if you have a good imagination, and can figure out why the Hiscocks used to heave to to fix dinner.



Ann
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Old 11-08-2019, 15:43   #3
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Re: Hawaii Cruising???

The problem with Hawaii is most marinas are state owned and managed by a division that has not been noted for their customer concerns. There are few protected bays so anchoring is normally in an open roadstead. Not bad in the summer time but very rough from October through April. The windward sides of the islands are the most spectacular cruising scenery but the least protected. Hanalei Bay on Kauai is the most visited anchorage but untenable once the northerly swells start rolling in in the fall through the spring. It is possible to anchor year round on the Kona side of the Big Island and the area around Lahaina on Maui. Unfortunately there is officially a 48 hour maximum time at anchor. Don't know how religiously that is enforced but suspect it's not all that much. Kaneohe Bay on Oahu is a large reef protected Bay that would be ideal for longer stays but assume it's fairly heavily policed because of local use for partying on sand spits. Few of these anchorages, with the exception of Kailua-Kona, Lahaina and Hanale, have much, if anything onshore and poor dinghy landings.

If you want more civilization you are pretty much forced into a Marina and especially so over the winter for a way to get out of the untenable anchorages. At Honokohau there is almost always a boat or two hanging out for the winter. Don't know the transient rates but think they are cheap compared to SoCal slip rents. You are allowed 4 months in any calendar year so some boats hang out from September through April.

I haven't cruised the Islands in a while but have always had good experiences wherever we've gone. If the referral to cantankerous locals is to that Ranger 23s experience in Lahaina Harbor would be willing to bet that the stern anchor of his boat made it very difficult for the power boat next to him to get out of his slip. There are always local jerks but I've lived in Hawaii since the
'60s and the jerks I've run into have been almost exclusively mainland haoles. Attitude has a lot to do with how well others respond to you.

So, is Hawaii a cruiser's paradise??? No it's not but there are plenty of places to explore and secluded beaches to anchor off of in the summer. The weather is always going to be great. As long as you are going East to West, sailing is outrageously fun in the strong NE trade winds. Going in the opposite direction is a bit more of a slog as it's not unusual to have 30k plus winds on the nose against a knot or two current which makes for some square waves. Sailing East is doable but especially the Molokai (Kaiwi) Channel is slug fest if the Trades are kicking up. Definitely wouldn't want to sail east through the 'Alanuihaha channel to cruise the north shore of the Big Island to Hilo.

As Ann said it's a doable summer cruise if you have a 3 month sabbatical. Gentry Marine in Kona and Keehi Lagoon on Oahu offer haul out services with skilled people to work on most anything if you should need them. If you do the circumnavigation back to the mainland, you will have an excellent idea of whether you and the boat are ready for longer distance cruising. You will have shortened your trip to SoPac by 10 days to 2 weeks should you elect to go south. Big negative to that is you probably will miss the Tuamotu's and Marquesas unless you sail East from Tahiti.

Make Hilo your landfall in Hawaii. Rent a car and explore the volcano and the Lava flows in Puna. Sail around to the Kona coast for some diving. It's an easy reach across to Kahoolawe, Maui, Lanai and Molokai to check those Islands out. One of these days will get it together to sail the windward coast Maui and anchor off Hana. After those Islands on to Oahu for the palm trees and concrete of Waikiki and any boat work and provisioning that's needed. A trip to the windward side will let you see Waimea Bay, pipeline, and other famous surf spots though doubtful that you'll get any 30' sets or exciting surf in the summer. Then on to Hanalei Bay and Kauai before heading back to the real world.

The sail to Hawaii is a sleigh ride in most cases in the summer time. Downwind sailing with good steady winds all the way once a 100 miles or so offshore. For a cruiser, the biggest problem is boredom. Took a lot of motivation to do the one jibe I had to make on the entire 15 day sail. Probably went went more than a week without touching a string on the 15 day passage. Going in the other direction is a longer and sometimes more interesting sail. Even in summer there can be periods of strong adverse winds that have challenged even very experienced sailors. They are rare but something that you may have to endure. If you have a hankering to see Alaska, you could head for Juneau and take the inside passage south.
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Old 11-08-2019, 20:43   #4
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Re: Hawaii Cruising???

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
If the referral to cantankerous locals is to that Ranger 23s experience in Lahaina Harbor would be willing to bet that the stern anchor of his boat made it very difficult for the power boat next to him to get out of his slip. There are always local jerks but I've lived in Hawaii since the
'60s and the jerks I've run into have been almost exclusively mainland.
Unfortunately, not just this one occurrence. Check out “Maui to Molokai” 14:00, someone paddles out to him at anchorage and threatens to beat him up if he doesn’t leave so he has to spend the night out at sea. Then read some of the comments by locals justifying that behavior.

I’ve been to Hawaii a bunch times, mostly in tourist areas, and never encountered this but I wasn’t sailing so was surprised...
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Old 11-08-2019, 21:31   #5
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Re: Hawaii Cruising???

I spent May to late July cruising Hawaii, coming in from Panama and leaving for Santa Cruz. We made landfall in Hilo and departed from Hanalei Bay. Most of our time was spent on the hook, but we did stop at Waikiki and Kaneohe Yacht Clubs.

As stated the state run marina system sucks. The Ali Wai wanted themselves named as additional insured for a ONE NIGHT STAY. The Kona marina said they were full, even though the locals said there were plenty of empty slips.

If you are a yacht club member, the YC's are far preferable. I brought a freshly caught Aku into the bar my first night in Kaneohe and didn't have to buy drinks for 2 nights.

I never got any hassles or bad vibes from the locals, but I didn't put out any either.

Overall, there are better cruising grounds, but it makes a nice stop if you headed north from Panama.

The trip back to the west coast is pretty benign if you have weather updates. I finished a 12 day delivery back to Santa Cruz yesterday, and never saw more than 23 knots, and that was in a rain squall.
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Old 11-08-2019, 22:49   #6
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Re: Hawaii Cruising???

r
Quote:
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So, is Hawaii a cruiser's paradise??? No ....
I concur.


I have enjoyed some beautiful spots. But relatively few cruisers for there for a reason.


I have met former cruisers who basically got financially stuck there. Minggat is there now, while I'm in Indonesia to feed the kitty and get unstuck.
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