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Old 23-09-2013, 08:09   #1
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Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

Hello all,

It looks like my plans will be changing and I will take my boat back to San Francisco. I will leave Hawaii around October 20th and will head to San Francisco Bay Area.

Has anyone made this journey at this time of year? Any suggestions.

The boat is a Hudson Force 50. Watch will be maintained from inside with Radar and large windows. I am currently looking for crew for this voyage.

Rene Steinhauer
Captain s/v Witchdoctor
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Old 23-09-2013, 08:32   #2
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Re: Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

See roverhi’s advice:
Hawaii to San Francisco in June 2011 ?
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Old 23-09-2013, 08:40   #3
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Re: Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

I assume you know that the rhumb line course to SF may take you through the north Pacific High and a more southerly route directly against wind and current. The best course is north of the Pacific High but in Oct you are getting a bit late in the season and the risk of low pressure systems from the arctic has increased.

If you have giant fuel reserves you could aim for the high and motor through the calm zone.
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Old 23-09-2013, 08:57   #4
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Re: Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

I do have giant fuel reserves and I plan to motor though the high. I don't plan to go higher than 40 degrees and if needed, I can land anywhere on the california coast and move northward in better weather. I avoid foul weather at all cost.

The Witchdoctor.
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:27   #5
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Re: Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

We made taht passage (Kauai to SF) in October '87, and it turned out to be the worst passage we've ever done. Had no WEFAX capability and not much knowledge either! In short, a tropical storm off Baja sucked the NP high way south and we were struck by 5 depressions in a row coming down from the north. Never got much north of 38 deg either... a 24 day ordeal with 16 days of gale force or above.

At the same time, our friend Skip Allen (a well known and very experienced sailor) solo sailed the rhumb line from the big island to Santa Cruz in his 28 footer. He was south of the line that the lows followed, had following winds that never exceeded thirty knots. We spoke daily on ham radio and he kept telling us to come south. But I had worked damn hard to get north against the NE trades and pig-headedly refused to give up our northing. Dumbbbbb... I like to think that I learned something from that foolish endeavour!

With access to MSL charts while at sea, and some knowledge of wx patterns one can avoid such experiences these days. But do be aware that merely staying south of 40 deg doesn't eliminate the chance of nasty wx on that passage.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:44   #6
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Re: Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

Jim,

Thanks for the input. I do have SSB with weatherfax and a backup system. Since I do not like foul weather, I always spend my days downloading WX and evaluating. As for me, I will easily take extra days at sea and change course if it means avoiding bad weather. It is just not fun, and sailing should be fun.

Rene
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Old 06-12-2013, 14:20   #7
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Re: Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

Hi Rene, how was your journey back to San Fran?? Hope all went well and wish I was able to join, but the scheduling conflict prevented it.. Talk to you soon! cheers
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Old 06-12-2013, 14:46   #8
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Re: Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
We made taht passage (Kauai to SF) in October '87, and it turned out to be the worst passage we've ever done. Had no WEFAX capability and not much knowledge either! In short, a tropical storm off Baja sucked the NP high way south and we were struck by 5 depressions in a row coming down from the north. Never got much north of 38 deg either... a 24 day ordeal with 16 days of gale force or above.

At the same time, our friend Skip Allen (a well known and very experienced sailor) solo sailed the rhumb line from the big island to Santa Cruz in his 28 footer. He was south of the line that the lows followed, had following winds that never exceeded thirty knots. We spoke daily on ham radio and he kept telling us to come south. But I had worked damn hard to get north against the NE trades and pig-headedly refused to give up our northing. Dumbbbbb... I like to think that I learned something from that foolish endeavour!

With access to MSL charts while at sea, and some knowledge of wx patterns one can avoid such experiences these days. But do be aware that merely staying south of 40 deg doesn't eliminate the chance of nasty wx on that passage.

Cheers,

Jim
I know this is an old topic, but just to show what can happen on this trip, even in the "proper" season, in August 2008 Skip Allen (see above) sailed into nasty gale-force conditions as he was approaching San Francisco and ultimately abandoned his boat (he scuttled his boat and climbed aboard a freighter that had diverted to help). Skip is many times the sailor that I am, and he made a tough decision. This gale wasn't even a low-pressure system moving down from Alaska, it was just the normal "squash zone" between the Pacific High and the inland low (worse than normal, but not unheard of). Here's an article about it: Abandoning ship: gut-wrenching, perilous, sometimes right
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Old 06-12-2013, 16:07   #9
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Re: Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
I know this is an old topic, but just to show what can happen on this trip, even in the "proper" season, in August 2008 Skip Allen (see above) sailed into nasty gale-force conditions as he was approaching San Francisco and ultimately abandoned his boat (he scuttled his boat and climbed aboard a freighter that had diverted to help). Skip is many times the sailor that I am, and he made a tough decision. This gale wasn't even a low-pressure system moving down from Alaska, it was just the normal "squash zone" between the Pacific High and the inland low (worse than normal, but not unheard of). Here's an article about it: Abandoning ship: gut-wrenching, perilous, sometimes right
G'DAy Paul,

Yes, I was aware of Skip's adventures and much saddened by them. It must have been pretty awful conditions, or something untoward happened to Wildflower, for he is no quitter.

As it happens, we've not had the pleasure of a meeting with Skip since that time, having been floating around the South Pacific, but one day we'll get the chance to hear his memories of the incident. I'm sure it will be interesting!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 06-12-2013, 21:51   #10
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Re: Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

The kind of weather that Skip Allen had is more typical of mid winter passages than August, but it shows you that you need to be prepared for the worst, any time of year. I did 3 deliveries from Ha/Calif in the 90s, and had some uncomfortable weather, but nothing like what Allen had. My passages were between June and Sept. I was offered several mid winter deliveries, and turned them down. It is a shame to lose a boat, but better than losing a sailor. ______Grant.
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Old 06-12-2013, 22:05   #11
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Re: Hawaii To San Francisco Mid-October

Made that trip 5 times offshore and once really got my butt kicked, same squash zone, 40-50 knots of wind that never seemed to stop and very big seas. Hand steering was the only way and fortunately I had another helmsman with me. If I was solo I would not have been able to keep up.
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