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Old 14-11-2006, 21:23   #1
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Hawaii

We're in the refit stages of preparing for the next big cruise, Hawaii in 2007 or 2008 (depending on budget constraints.) Planning, fixing, and paying aren't nearly as fun as dreaming about when we get going, though. So here's a call for any/all discussion about a cruise to Hawaii from the Pacific Northwest.

Things I'm specificly looking for are:
  • getting there: suggested courses, stories of your passage there, etc. Tactics.
  • where to go/what to do once there
  • regulations, permits, and so on.
  • getting back
I have my own opinons and thoughts on the matters, so I'm looking for other people's opinions to scoff at, argue with, or adopt as better than mine. (hey! at least I'm honest, eh?)
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Old 23-11-2006, 09:50   #2
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hawaii

greetings; we are building a boat in hawaii on the big island. there are a few things you should about anchorage here www.salvor111.com
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Old 23-11-2006, 13:21   #3
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Aloha Amgine,
I've got lots of information on cruising the islands once you get here and have done the trip back to Puget Sound but not the trip toward us.
Hilo will more than likely be your first port of entry into the islands unless you want to sail an extra day and go on to Kona.
At any rate I'm near Hilo. Radio Bay is where you'll want to stay for your first couple of days until you get some land legs back. Charts of Hilo Bay on the island of Hawaii are on the NOAA website and you can peruse them at your leisure. A nighttime entry is something that I wouldn't try for your first time. I've helped more than one cruiser who missed the entry salvage his boat stuff from the rocks.

My very favorite anchorage is Hanalei on Kauai but must be in the summer before the first fall storms come in to block the entrance.

Kind Regards,

JohnL
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Old 23-11-2006, 13:37   #4
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Amgine,

You might want to look at the Pacific Cup website (San Francisco to Hawaii race) for some good advice re routing, weather tactics, and boat preparation: http://www.pacificcup.org/. Look at the "Race Tips" page and you might be interested in the data from the previous races. Even though you are starting way north of San Francisco, you will probably want to sail mostly south until about the latitude of Los Angeles, so the Pacific Cup information will still be very useful.

The Vic-Maui race website probably has good info too: http://www.vicmaui.org

For the passage, you will want to look into boat preparation (and suitability), safety gear, and training, provisioning, your power budget, communications, how to get and interpret weather information. Again, the Pacific Cup organization has good info on this. West Marine sells "The Pacific Cup Handbook", and although it is focused on the race, it contains a huge amount of detail that will be handy in preparing for the passages there and back.

There aren't a whole lot of places to keep a boat in the Islands, and I would recommend "Charlie's Charts" (for example) to learn about the facilities and places to anchor.

Since I don't know how far along you are on any of this, I will stop here, but I would be happy to continue the discussioin. I've made the trip from San Francisco to Hawaii and back two times now, and have to say the experiences will stay with me forever. This is a spectacular voyage, and a great adventure. I've got my journals and other information from both trips on my boat's website: http://www.sailvalis.com -- you might be interested in seeing how my trips went.
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Old 23-11-2006, 14:11   #5
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Excellent!

Just the kind of information I'm looking for...

I've been poring over the Vic-Maui website, but hadn't looked at the Pacific Cup site. I've been thinking of jumping off rather further north, depending on the position of the high in June, but I haven't been able to locate Pilots to double check the currents (I seem to recall the best current is close in, in which case I'll be sticking closer to shore for longer.)

Paul, I've already been visiting your site and reading up on your last passage home. I've been wanting to get your logs... or at least your GPS tracks. I'll dig into it again tonight. I'm taking as many courses as I can sign up for, even renewing my cpr/first aid as well as more nauticla classes. The power budget is in the works, but a number of the instruments are being replaced and light fixtures updated, etc.

JohnL: good to know about Hilo night entrances, and Radio Bay. I'm also wondering about clearance/customs/paperwork. What was your route to Puget Sound? Once we've worked downwind I plan to take it back north, so looking for courses people have actually taken.


One odd question is regarding provisioning: on previous cruises I've taken a lot of "backpacking" food, which are small and light but I find they're really high-carb, often overly-sweet. I don't think my carb use is going to compare with a hiker's daily needs. Are there any suggestions for equivalent foods for sailors?
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Old 23-11-2006, 15:23   #6
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Amgine,

I'm happy to hear that someone is visiting my website! If you are interested, I have archived the daily surface-pressure weather charts since the beginning of 2006, and would be happy to share them with you (although the pilot charts would be better at showing the long-term averages). If I recall correctly, the Pacific High is likely to be pretty far south in June.

Provisioning will depend on the boat and crew. We've just taken regular food, but with a crew of four we've been able to find time to prepare some pretty nice meals from scratch. If you are short-handed, you probably want to keep the meal preparation requirements to a minimum. Unless you already have some serious sea-legs, you do want to have some quick and easy "seasick-friendly" meals on hand for the first few days. From what I hear, the trip down from BC is usually pretty grueling. Our worst weather and waves have been within a couple days of San Francisco.

I also have a complicated spreadsheet that I use to estimate my power budget, and I would be happy to share that as well. If you haven't made long passages before, this may be fairly important.
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Old 23-11-2006, 17:28   #7
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"JohnL: good to know about Hilo night entrances, and Radio Bay. I'm also wondering about clearance/customs/paperwork. What was your route to Puget Sound? Once we've worked downwind I plan to take it back north, so looking for courses people have actually taken."

Clearance, customs and paperwork are done here in Radio bay and in Honokahau on the Kona side (another 24 hours through a nasty channel.)

To Puget Sound from Oahu I sailed to Hanalei on Kauai then Northwest (mostly North) until I caught the Easterlies about 45 degrees then was downwind on the port quarter all the way to the Straits of Juan de Fuca. It was 22 days from Hanalei to the entrance of the straits in a 27ft waterline old wood ketch. My crew and I dubbed it the "Golden Voyage of Dawn's Heart."

Provisioning was done by my friend and he set in 60 days rations for the four of us, mostly canned. We ate fresh fish every day so didn't need most of it. I was still eating the canned stuff for six months after the transit was over. I had only an icebox so we should have eaten all the fresh stuff up as soon as possible. Had a few potatos, heads of lettuce and unions go bad but boy did we eat a lot of fish. Really good, fresh mahi mahi and ahi, then later on aku. Yumm!!

Kind Regards,

JohnL
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Old 24-11-2006, 11:29   #8
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Questions for JohnL

I've been transcribing a few bits from the Ocean Passages of the World to a wiki... I'm wondering how you'd assess the accuracy of the Admiralty's "General remarks on winds, currents, and sailing passages around the Hawai'ian Islands"?

Cool to hear about the fishing... since I've never fished in open water, do you have any suggestions regarding texts to learn how?

Your 22 days delivery sounds great! The boat you sailed had nearly 150% of my waterline, though... assuming theoretical hull speed is a reasonably scalable figure, though, I might be able to do the course in 26.25 days. That compares pretty closely with other estimates I have.

I've been planning to do all my clearing and stuff in Hilo, so thanks for all the information so far! I hope I can buy you a beverage of choice when I get there!
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Old 24-11-2006, 13:08   #9
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ALoha Amgine,

Yes, what you've found there seems to pretty much sum it up. The Alenuihaha channel is the nastiest piece of water you'll find here 363 days a year. If the winds are predicted to be Northeast trades at 15-20 then it'll be 35 in the channel because the wind funnels between two 13,000 foot mountains, one on Maui and one here on Hawaii island. The best way to proceed with your cruise of the islands is to start by making port in Hilo, then sail to Kona via Southpoint and along the way you can check out the lava flow into the ocean. Then from Kona sail to the other islands on the lee sides. Windward (Northeast) sides of the islands are beautiful but there is a lot of wind, bumpy ocean and very few places to land.

Regards,

JohnL

"I've been transcribing a few bits from the Ocean Passages of the World to a wiki... I'm wondering how you'd assess the accuracy of the Admiralty's "General remarks on winds, currents, and sailing passages around the Hawai'ian Islands"?"
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Old 20-04-2007, 17:30   #10
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Far and away the best cruising guide to the Hawaiian Islands is: "Cruising guide to the Hawaiian Islands" by Carolyn and Bob Mehaffy. It just came again in a new addition so it should be available on Amazon.

Like everyone else, I'd suggest checking in at Radio Bay in Hilo. This puts you to weather of the rest of the island group and will set you up best for your cruising. Most folks do less cruising here than they expect because the winds can be challenging, there aren't many harbors and the state generally discourages anchoring out (there is a 72 hour limit except where you can buy a permit). But, don't be discouraged! The reputation is worse than the reality. If you are willing to be a bit adventurous and keep a close eye on the surf, there are a number of neat anchorages and the water is warm and the diving is good.

-- Tom.
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Old 06-05-2007, 17:53   #11
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Aloha Nui Loa Amgine !

From the sounds of it, given all your studying, inquring of others, etc., your voyage promises to be a wonderful one.

I'd just like to echo the excellent advice you've already been given. You definitely don't want to sail into Radio Bay in Hilo at night. But then that's one of my own personal cardinal rules... Never enter a strange port at night. Period.

The other thot is to dwaddle your way around South Point during the afternoon to get your bearings and enjoy the volcano during daylight hours. Then reverse your course and watch Pele' and the incredible lava flows at night! Definitely recommended. There's a good website the National Park Service maintains with live webcams so you can actually see what's going on at the volcano.

I wish you a safe and wonderful voyage and a delightful time once you arrive.

Fair winds, a following sea, and a green flash at sunset to you.

John Kuapa'a
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Old 06-05-2007, 22:44   #12
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Thanks John!

I'm keeping all kinds of notes and advice on the laptop to help out with the trip. I'm in the process of renewing the rigging and upgrading systems on the boat (woo hoo! just got parts for my new gimballed single burner...) So it's great to get comments of things to do and see when I get there; they help me look forward to the trip and ease the frustrations of the work.
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Old 11-05-2007, 19:26   #13
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Hey, Amgine, have you done any research into self-steerers? I will be sailing a Cheoy Lee 38 from Portland over to Hilo in August, so am busy upgrading as well. Each website seems to feel theirs is the best thing since sliced bread and that all the rest are junk. Also what navigation system are you planning to use? GPS Chartplotter, laptop w/gps? My wife and I are doing a total renovation so we can start from scratch with all systems. I live here in Mountain View, near Hilo, and look forward to exploring the islands by boat over the next 40 yrs. Thanks, Ronald Quade
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Old 11-05-2007, 19:51   #14
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Aloha,

Capncusp, I've used a Monitor for a number of years and have only good things to say about it. We used one for a number of years, from the Tuamotus to PNG, through a major typhoon and many days of gorgeous weather... great piece of gear.

A few years ago in the Round the World Alone race most boats were using almost exclusively Monitors, but now with a bigger boat and hydraulic steering, I'm going to follow Jimmy Cornell's lead, and have opted for a WindPilot. If you like, I'll keep you posted on the WindPilot's performance as I leave on a series of short coastal shakedown trips after the vessel's major refit.

You can't go wrong with a Monitor on a Cheoy Lee 38 unless you have hydraulic steering.

Fair winds, a following sea, and a green flash at sunset to you.

Aloha Nui Loa,
John
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Old 11-05-2007, 21:10   #15
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Thanks, John. I have sheave and cable steering so it should work fine. Now if I can find a deal on one I'll be all set. Ron
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