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Old 22-07-2011, 16:21   #1
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From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

Greetings all you 'ol Salts. I am in the Army stationed in the PNW and was just informed that I will report to Hawaii in December/January time frame. (Yes that is a dream come true) So now I need to come up with a plan to move my IP40 to Hawaii but I can't leave until December. (might need a captain to move it) Anyway I would appreciate any feedback on how to best accomplish my mission here.

Arthur
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Old 22-07-2011, 17:13   #2
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

You can find the N. Pacific pilot charts here

The North Pacific is nailed by low after low all winter long. It'll take at least two or three weeks to get to Hawaii, and you're going to get nailed repeatedly by lows. I'd only do it if I had a boat rigged for the southern ocean and I had a lot of heavy weather experience in offshore conditions. It does look like it might not be too bad a run from the San Diego area, but you have to get down a nasty lee shore to get far enough south to turn the corner. Great circle route would mean beating into prevailing winds with gales 10% of the time and greater than 12' waves about 25% of the time. Fun.

It could be done by somebody who liked to punish themselves or really wanted to test crew and vessel, but not a fun thing to do, and a decent chance of breaking something or somebody, I think. Great bragging rights afterwards, though.
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Old 22-07-2011, 17:28   #3
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

Once offshore, sail your best course and when a low hits you, heave to and just get some rest and cook some grub and read a book,etc. When the weather moderates, continue on your way.

That is how you enjoy life at sea; by adapting tactics to conditions, not bashing into it and making no bloody headway while wiping yourself and your boat out. Sea room is the key to relaxing at sea.

Seamanship is the key to safety at sea. You're not a shipping line, you're a yacht.
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Old 22-07-2011, 17:44   #4
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

I would recommend that you get you name on as many waiting list for slips as possible.

The Navy has a marina at Pearl Harbor (Rainbow Bay) and controls the marina at Hickam AFB.

There is a marina at Kaneohe Marine base. I do not know how long the waiting lists are.

Get on the list for the state docks also.

Unless you are sure you have a place to put your boat it can be a pain in the A@@. Took me 5 years to get a 44 foot sip in the Ala Wai. Still on the wait list for a slip at WYC.
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Old 22-07-2011, 19:10   #5
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

Strait of Juan de Fuca to SF Bay is one miserable SOB in winter. Best advice - keep your boat where it is until summer/fall, take leave and sail over when you would love it. I was out off that shore once in late fall, and I will never do it again except at gunpoint. Then I might consider that the bullet is fast ....
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Old 22-07-2011, 19:25   #6
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

Wrong time of year and you will suffer for it! This can be a fair trip in May, really nice in June but a killer in December.

Ever see the big surf rolling into the beaches in Hawai'i? The big surf contests start in November and trickle out by the end of March. There is a reason for that.
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Old 22-07-2011, 23:28   #7
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

Best time for the first half of this passage is May - early July. Put your name on moorage waiting lists, and submit a requisition for leave for that time period now, and start looking for crew/skipper.
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Old 23-07-2011, 00:00   #8
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

Getting to SF from the PNW in the winter can be exciting. If you aren't in a hurry, you can gunkhole down the coast hanging out in the harbors along the coast till the lows pass. If you are lucky, could make it in one pass but the lows are usually less than a week apart so you have to have very good fortune or a really fast boat. If you are going to hop down the coast, get across the bars early as they close out very quickly when the waves get there and leave for the next port as soon as the CG will let you out. You can also get significant periods with southerly winds over the winter.

Once your below SF, it's a pretty decent sail to the Islands. Head SSW till you are at least the latitude of San Diego and then head west. Weather can be variable in the winter and not super warm but still way way better than summer sailing on the sound.

Good advice about getting on the waiting lists for the local marinas. Probably hopeless at the State Marinas as waiting lists tend to 4 years or more to get a slip. Hopefully the military marinas will be able to accomodate you. Ko'olina just north of the old Barber's Point NAS usually has slips but they are pretty pricey though the marina is quite nice.
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Old 23-07-2011, 00:50   #9
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

You don't want to be in the North Pacific in December.

Maybe you could get the boat down to somewhere in southern California between now and October. That would give you more options. The boat could then leave the mainland anytime from March onwards.
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Old 23-07-2011, 01:26   #10
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

While it might be doable, it also might not be if you are on a schedule. You MUST wait for a safe window in the winter weather before heading out, no matter how long it takes. And that could be weeks. Five years ago a crew taking a new cat up to Seattle (from South Africa via SF) in December for the boat show was lost off the Oregon Coast. The cat was found upside down and dismasted, the crew never to be found. The log book had them deploying 2 anchors 10 miles off the coast in a desperate bid to prevent the 30-40ft waves from driving them ashore. The only reason this sort of thing doesn't happen more often is that few people would think of being off the coast of Washington or Oregon in the winter without a firm eye on the weather and a plan to get in long before things turn bad. Of course it is doable by harbor-hopping and cautiously going out as weather allows, but it could take weeks to get to SF that way. Going offshore is Russian roulette: I have watched lows with storm force winds coming one after another across the Pacific - not a place to be.

From a safety and speed POV there is no alternative to waiting until April or May to leave. Even then, you can't guarantee your arrival time - will your employer be patient if you take an extra week or two? It seems to me that your two best bets are 1) hiring a delivery firm in the spring and live with the wear and tear, or 2) put her on a freighter, which may prove to cost less. If you need the boat to live aboard then the ship seems likely to be the best approach. Assuming you have a slip, of course.

I'm sorry that this is so negative, but I think it is really important to respect the dangers of this coast in the winter.

Good luck,

Greg
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Old 23-07-2011, 02:35   #11
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

There is no such thing as a SAFE window for leaving PNW in winter. You might get around three good days and then BAMMMMM, the next front comes through. How many north coast ports have all weather access ?
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Old 23-07-2011, 02:46   #12
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

Best advice so far seems to be to get the boat to SF this summer and then do the trip to the islands in your winter window. It only takes about a week to get to SF. Is that an option? Maybe you know somebody who could take it that far for you (many people in these parts have done the trip) and then you could pick it up there this winter?
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Old 23-07-2011, 03:28   #13
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

I'd keep going to anywhere below Point Conception.
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Old 23-07-2011, 04:02   #14
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

Savoir- there are safe windows for harbor hopping, if one is patient (and yes, 3 days is enough for most hops). But I agree that there is no such thing as a safe window in December/January to run down the coast without stopping, or at least being ready to stop at every harbor (i.e. staying close in).

And in answer to your question (you already knew) there are no all-weather harbors between Cape Flattery and California. In fact, I am having a hard time thinking of any protection north of the Channel Islands that could be reached in any weather. The PNW ports can be relied on to be impassable to yachts during winter storms as they are all river mouths with bars. They are impassable to ships as well. This really is a dangerous place. Caribbean anyone?
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Old 23-07-2011, 04:37   #15
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Re: From Seattle to Hawaii in December?

Exactamundo !

Weather windows are no good if you can't use them to get somewhere.
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