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Old 29-10-2004, 11:23   #1
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I sure hope someone enlightens me on this subject. I have the impression that once we sail into Mexico and beyond The only way to get back to San Diego is either truck it or power all the way. Am I correct or have I been misled?


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Old 29-10-2004, 15:33   #2
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the problem seems to be once it gets to mexico it gains a sense of freedom and never wants to return . jt

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Old 29-10-2004, 17:51   #3
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Used to live in L.A. (now in FL) and know for a fact that sailing North along the Pacific coast is difficult at best. However, getting from Mexico to Pt Conception is not terribly difficult. If you aren't aware of .... ya gotta check it out! They run a yearly deal called the "Baja Ha Ha" bunch of cruisers going from San Fransisco to Baja ... and back. Having said that ... sailing from L.A. to Seattle? The typical route is to sail to Hawaii, then go to Seattle from there! Know a couple that did a circumnavigation, reported that the most difficult part of their trip was from L.A. to Morro Bay!

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Old 29-10-2004, 20:01   #4
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Why is it difficult? Is it a wind or current problem? or it's up hill or what??

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Old 29-10-2004, 21:00   #5
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It's mostly the current. But the lack of any real wind (anything over 10 kn.) doesn't help. The current flows towards Mexico (S.) and the prevailing wind is usually East to SE. The cooler months (Nov. to Feb.) had the best wind.

When I lived aboard in Mission Bay, from March to July, I would wake up to a fog that would clear at about noon and then you could see it coming back just before dark.

I use to sail down to the Coronado Islands and then have to motor back.

A couple times I tried to sail to Catalina's and ended up going back. The wind would die down after dark and you would be out there in the fog. Back then we didn't have GPS. Just RDF's and celestial, if you could see the stars.
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Old 30-10-2004, 06:32   #6
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A lo of the problems are local conditions. This is mostly 'cause a lot of the cruiser tend to try to keep "one foot on shore" as they work back north. Big winds, big waves, things come up in a hurry. Bleck!

When we "Came Back" from Mexico to the Bay Area we dropped down to the Marquesas in the South Pacific then ran up to Hawaii and did the beat home. There was only a couple days motoring the entire trip. Granted it took 5 months to do it. But that's cruising isn't it? :-)

If I was doing it again, and I had a machine that could sail to weather, I think I'd just head out into the big blue and sail to weather. Seems to me that, in the long run, it would be a lot better than fighting all the local conditions all the way up the coast.

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Old 30-10-2004, 12:26   #7
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Sheesh, Hawaii for a leg home. Sounds like going from LA to SanFran and taking a detour via NY to do so.
It was interesting talking to a couple of Kiwi's that had just returned from 10yrs of around the world adventures. When I asked him about gear I should make priority, his first reply was, "Have you got a good motor?" Well yes, but???? "Ain't no wind out there". I looked puzzled.
You see, us land lubber Kiwi's grow up thinking the entire world blows like it does here. We just can't imagine a lot of the world, especially tropics, having little wind for a lot of the time. Especially where I live, it would be as rare as a blue moon to have a totaly calm day. Heh, although looking out the window, it is one today.

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Old 31-10-2004, 13:52   #8
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If you need help let me know.
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Old 02-11-2004, 19:24   #9
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The problem is most try to hug the coast on the way back, for a faster return. Take the outside route, it takes longer, but if you want to sail most of the way, it's the only way. Depending on how far south you sail, most of the wind is in your face. It also depends on what weather pattern you are dealing with. I have had to motor all the way at times & other times have had to reef in for big winds. Keep a flexible return date & go with the flow.
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Old 07-11-2004, 14:40   #10
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There are five ways to do it.

a. Sail North along the coast which means motor sailing
b. One long tack out to Hawaii and one long tack back in making sure to go around the N. Pacific High
c. Hire a delivery crew! Me! Me!
d. Truck the boat up from Cabo or somewhere down on the mainland
e. Sail part way and truck part way.

a. is the hardest on boat and crew
b. is the longest
c.or d. is the most expensive depending on where you start and where the finish is located.

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Old 04-01-2005, 13:52   #11
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Se Langt is correct IMHO...I've gone up the coast, motoring a fair bit (actually one of the best times is in the fall when everybody from California is heading south to Mexico believe it or not...) and stopping on the way north, I've left there and done the Clipper route north, gone to the south pacific, Japan, Alaksa and then the Pacific Northwest, and I've sailed boats up to San Carlos, near Guaymas on the mailand, to be trucked the rest of the way...Lots 'o ways to do it, though none are a downhill ride
I'm counting up what I've got to show for all these years afloat
a dog eared passport, a weathered face, a tired old boat
a yarn or two that might be true and a couple of battle scars
days of sparkling waters, nights of falling stars

I've got seashells, I've got souvenirs, I've got songs I've penned
I've got phographs, I've got memories, but mostly I've got friends

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Old 05-01-2005, 08:25   #12
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North via Hawaii is a "wives tale"...

...which I suspect has been sustained over time because Pacific Coast sailors find themselves down in Central America, conclude it's time to go home, discover that conditions aren't inviting but choose to do so anyway.

In truth, saavy cruising sailors are commuting south each Fall and returning each Spring without much ado, and have been doing so for a long time. Oh, it takes some seasonal planning and some weather watching, but this is far less demanding (in time, wear & tear, cost and effort) than heading out for Hawaii.

A friendly and interesting way to confirm this is to drop in at Downwind Marine in San Diego and have a nice chat. They have been advising southbound sailors for some decades now. You'll want to do that anyway; they are a wonderful resource for parts and other logistical challenges, plus a good local source of regional weather info, for the Central American gringo cruiser.

A Delta Captain I know requested a home base change from Tampa to San Diego so that, before retirement, he and his wife could experience the SoCal lifestyle. He took a five-week vacation and made the entire trip via the Canal in that time period; had a great time along the way, too. And he did it in a sistership to our WHOOSH, a Pearson 424 Ketch, hardly a svelte, weatherly sailboat. But he understood weather, including how those infamous winds off the Mexican and Nicauraguan coasts are in fact fed by the Caribbean Trades (monitor Caribbean wx f'casts to get Pacific Cent'l American conditions), and he picked the right time of year to make the run.

If you want to read up on the 'Baja Bash', Latitude 38 is one excellent source of info, altho' it takes a lot of issues to distill out all the fine points. Another is to read the John Rains guide on making the run from Miami to California; he & his wife deliver principally power boats on this route all year and he presents the weather and seasonal conditions accurately.

This is really no different than the 1,000 NM run that East Coast sailors do each year in the hundreds, as they work their way S and E, against the E-SE Trades, when heading to the Eastern Caribbean chain from Florida. In fact, the Winter Trades are more relentless than the Mexico-California conditions can be, yet the trip can be enjoyable and uneventful if one knows how to get and use good sources of weather and slows down to do what's easy rather than what might appear to be quick.

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Old 30-01-2005, 21:11   #13
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Another way,

Head west to Hawaii. Get about 3/4 way, turn right... ;o)
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Old 10-10-2010, 16:57   #14
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I like that idea, although, why not check out a bit of Hawaii before turning R ???
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Old 10-10-2010, 17:59   #15
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Going out to Hawaii is a problem?

Last spring I went down to Mexico, enjoyed a few weeks in the Sea of Cortez, and returned via Hawaii, heading out to Hawaii on June 1 and leaving Hawaii on July 10. 3 weeks for the passage to Hawaii, 3 and a half weeks for the passage from Hawaii back to the PNW. What is the problem with that? Lots of fish to eat (crew member dragged a line every 2-3 days and there were plenty of volunteers joining us for dinner), downwind sailing except for the first week to the N from Hawaii, no storms, no adverse currents, just pleasant sailing all the way. What's not to like about that? I realize that at the right time of year one can head back up the coast without facing 20+ kt. winds on the nose, but it wasn't the right time of year for me to do that and I enjoyed both the passages and about 3 weeks on Maui and Kauai.

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baja bash, hawaii, Mexico

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