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Old 27-05-2006, 08:18   #1
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Hawaiian Sailing

I'm taking the first two classes offered by ASA.
I would like to take my "Bare Boating ASA class in Hawiian waters.
It's been told to me that Hawaii is not very good sailing, since there are not many places to anchor, as in the BVI's and the water is always blessed with high winds. Is this so?
Maybe I should go to the BVI's for the Bare boating Class????
Washington USA

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Old 27-05-2006, 11:31   #2
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In the winter, the surf can be very high (30'+). Since there are virtually no natural harbors or protected anchorages in the Islands, you pretty much have to sail out of a marina from October till April. Most of our Marinas are run by the State and are poster childs for privatization so don't expect luxury accomodations. Lahaina and Kailua-Kona are in the lee of the islands so are somewhat protected, but rolly most of the time. They are not safe when the big surf rolls in, however. We lose at least one boat a year off the moorings here in Kailua-Kona and sometimes 2 or more a day. To try and anchor out would be very very iffy over the winter. Kaneohe Bay may be your best bet but I don't know what the restrictions are.

During the summer, the Pacific mostly lives up to its name. You can anchor off both windward and leeward sides of the islands much of the time. They are not protected anchorages, however, so can be a little rolly even in the best of conditions. There are occasional large southern swells that come up from storms in the South Pacific but they are relatively infrequent.

Passages between the islands are delightful reaches going West. You can pretend you're in the TransPac and surf your way between Islands. Have done the 175 miles from Kona to Honolulu in less 24 hours a number of times. Going East is another story. The Venturi effect intensifys the trade winds and squares off the waves in the channels. It's a wet, bumpy, uncomfortable, and not very fast ride beating into it. The trades are almost always blowing so winds are ENE from 15 to 20mph. There are significant holes in the wind on the lees of the Islands, however. We've always managed to sail through them, but plan your route to pick up the wind.

Having said the above, one of my must do's is to cruise the windward coasts of Molokai, Lanai, and Kauai. These are largely uninhabited and scenery is spectacular.

Weather and wave forecasting is excellent so there is no reason to get caught by surprize at an anchorage. Usually, even in the worst of conditions, the sun is shining, it's always 80 degrees and open ocean sailing may be lumpy but not dangerous.

Peter O.

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Old 27-05-2006, 12:15   #3
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Hi Peter:
Whoa! Sounds like the place to be for novice sailor!!
I might re-think this Hawaii "learn to bare boat" thing.
Maybe head down to Road Town, BVI after some golf at Turtle Bay, HI.
Thanks for the respose.
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Old 27-05-2006, 13:30   #4
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Hi Gary,
I have sailed, surfed and dove these islands since the early '60s and I can attest to what Peter has so eloquently written. My experience with the interisland sailing routes is that although it might be a great sail one direction, I've never had it good both ways. Peter lives on the leeward side of the Big Island and I live on the windward side. Just to sail from here to Peter's side or back is 20 hours of sailing with notorious Alenuihaha channel or around South Point winds of 20-30 or more while everywhere else is 10-20. I've never seen it calm either direction. Each island is at least 15 hours of sailing away from a snug anchorage and very few good ports and marinas.
Luckily I've sailed in the Carribean as well and if I were to pick a place to qualify bareboat charter it would definitly be Road Town, BVI. Sailing there is pretty much heaven from island to island both going and coming. Their islands are very much closer together with 3 or 4 hour transit times not too uncommon.
Don't get me wrong. I love the Hawaiian Islands but a boater's paradise it isn't both geographically or politically.
Kind Regards, --John--
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Old 27-05-2006, 13:59   #5
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Gary...Since you're on the U.S. West Coast, consider doing your ASA bareboat on San Francisco bay. I did mine, 12 years ago, in Sausalito at The Modern Sailing Academy (goofy name, but a good sailing school. John Connolly runs it, he's the guy that does all the MOB tests in the bay...alot of the big mags recently ran reports from these tests).
Anyway, SF bay conditions lend themselves to learning, and learning quickly. July and August have the honkin' winds, September and October is a much friendlier time to sail here. Depends on what you want.
I recommend the SF bay, and MSA, highly.
Live life like you mean it
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Old 27-05-2006, 14:40   #6
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Many goods thoughts here! thanks.
I live near the San Juans so a bareboat class there would be fine except all my classes will be in the Puget Sound.
How about the Florida Keys??
I have some conections down there, but none attached to sailing.
How are those waters, besides less flying time than to the BVI's?
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Old 27-05-2006, 15:09   #7
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In my opinion...

there is no finer cruising destination than the Virgin Islands.

I have meandered across the Pacific, Indian & Atlantic Oceans plus the Mediterranean, too.

I am certainly no expert, but... it doesn't get any better than the Virgin Islands in terms of a Cruising "Destination".

You can anchor in asolute soliude or dance the night away if you prefer.

The Bitter End at Virgin Gorda is very kid friendly and it Rains Naked People at the Willy T on Norman Island.

I'll admit, though, I know little of Sailing "Courses".

You can fly Spirit Airlines from Ft Lauderdale to St Thomas for $99.

Have fun!

Kirk ~~~ St Thomas

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