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Old 06-03-2011, 19:07   #46
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Re: As Per Your Questions ...

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Originally Posted by Gone2long View Post
1. The boat is owned by an American expat and is currently registered in Macao. Since I am also an American, the plan is to purchase the boat in Macao and apply for US Coast Guard documentation in my name, while readying the boat for the trip to PI. I would clear Macao flying the US flag and carrying USCG documentation with me when I arrive in Taiwan. If you see any possible drawbacks to that plan, please let me know.

2. Since the boat would be foreign flagged when it arrives in PI, I do not see a problem with "import tax". Apparently this tax can amount to as much as 100% of the purchase price for "luxury items" like sailboats, but according to my understanding, the Mac would have to be treated as a visiting yacht, not as a luxury item being imported, despite the fact that I am married to a Phillipina and am a permanent resident of the PI. Of course, since the boat would be foreign flagged, I would have to move the boat out of the country periodically. Once again, this is what I have been able to find out from researching these issues on my own, but please let me know if you have heard differently.

3. The first port of call would be Aparri. Please see the map attached to my original message. I will attach one here as well. Note also that I have heard that it is OK to stop in the Batanes Islands on the way down from Taiwan before clearing at Aparri, especially if the weather is threatening. My concern is that some of the anchorages are apparently fairly exposed, with rocky bottoms. Once again, any suggestions on the anchorages, route, etc. is sincerely appreciated.

4. Why I "need" to divert is because I will be sailing a MacGregor 26 X (older model, water ballast, designed for coastal cruising, etc.) and I would like to be able to quickly duck ashore if I were to run into problems with weather or equiptment failure due to high winds, currents, etc. My route is probably 200 miles or so longer than the direct route SW to MNL, but I have the time, would enjoy the peace of mind provided by all of my way points being not more than a day sail away, and, lastly I would enjoy visiting SW Taiwan (especially in summer).

To reiterate some of my major concerns, I am worried about any problem which I might encounter with the Chinese authorities while attempting to day sail up their coast and anchor out along the way before the passage to Taiwan. Another concern is my ability to communicate with the Chinese via radio in the event of an emergency. Lastly, I am wondering what I might encounter attempting to power or sail south from Taiwan to Aparri in May.

As per your Zuhai contact, I assume that it is the man who owns Seahorse Marine. If so, I have heard of him and am sure he could be of help, so please supply a contact number for him or for any other person who you feel may be able to help me.

Lastly, thank you sincerely for your questions and for any more advice (related to any of the above) that you could offer.

Best wishes,

G2L

PS - Anyone else on the thread, please feel free to chime in - regards to all.
Hi,
As Delmarrey asked regarding the MacGregor's tonnage - the USCG documentation for federal registration requires that the boat be a Minimum of 5 tons (US tons 10,000 lb) This boat spec's have her at 3750ib with full tanks. NET - which means one cannot include the 1150 lb of water ballast. Here is link to the FAQs
http:
//www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/nvdc/nvdcfaq.asp#02


Suggest do not de-register from the Macao registry until you are satisfied as to where to state register.

Could I suggest leaving the Taiwan Strait out of your plan - unless one has a good reason and a boat prepared for offshore, this stretch of water can provide unpleasant surprises.

If one needs to divert from a straight line passage Macao>> Bolinao - then
then there are islands close to the Bashi Channel. In any event you will need special permission to take a boat TO Taiwan.

First and foremost the boat should be prepared for offshore cruising - I presume that you are going to contract a surveyor to give the boat a thorough survey Before you purchase.

The boat was not designed for offshore work - but that is because she is too small for long distance passages. However, as the leg is only 500 odd nm if you average 5.3 knots - you can be there in 4 days.
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Old 06-03-2011, 19:25   #47
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Re: HK-PI via Taiwan - Better?

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Originally Posted by Gone2long View Post
I am a novice skipper.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gone2long View Post
I will be purchasing a MacGregor 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gone2long View Post
Check my route below, and feel free to comment as appropriate.
To be brutally frank:

The South China Sea is no place for a novice
The South China Sea is no place for a MacGregor 26
You route takes you through the windiest bits in the NE Monsoon season
Your route takes you through the area where most typhoons that enter the South China Sea end up in the SW monsoon season.

You might get lucky, but you probably won't

Put the boat in a container and ship it.
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Old 06-03-2011, 19:38   #48
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Re: Hong Kong to Manila

Examples of the S. China Sea.
and a link; sailing asia china south china sea/north wind (gfs) + 0 utc

.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:33   #49
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Re: Hong Kong to Manila

Thanks Muskoka,

I have heard exactly the same thing, so I plan to bring plenty of extra anchor line, and at least two anchors.

Also, I have heard that the bottoms are generally rocky, which makes things even a bit more dicy. Any scuttlebut around about that?

I have a line on some charts of these islands, so I hope that will help me figure out how to approach the anchorages.

Of major concern is, once again, that if I plan the trip for May, I will be making a due south heading at the beginning of the SW monsoon season. This is another important concern not only in making way, but in anchoring in these exposed bays.

For instance, what direction will the wind hit them at that time of the year? Ideally, I need on-shore winds, and perhaps, in May, there will be northern, anchorages providing just that. I will be studying all available literature in the next month or so, to try to find the answers I need.

Such is the challenge, and, in the meanwhile, any word of mouth advice or any suggested reading from anyone on this thread is always highly appreciated.

Once again, thanks for your help,

G2L
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:50   #50
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USCG, Minimum "Volume" Documentation Regs - Form 5397

I am familiar with these regulations, but I am not sure they refer to "displacement", as we generally tend to think of it.

In any case, before I wrote my original message, I downloaded USCG forms 1238 (the documentation ap) and for 5397 which is used to determine "volume". According to these, it seems that a MacGregor 26 can be documented with the Coast Guard because the planing hull adds "volume" to the boat. For the Mac to qualify, it would need 4-5 feet of "depth". This measurement is an imaginary, vertical line drawn from the bottom of the hull to the deck at mid-ships.

MacGregor doesn't list that dimension, but I have estimated the measurment and entered it, along with a length of 26 feet and a width of 7 foot 9 inches into USCG form #5397 which is an interactive form available on line and used for the purpose of documenting vessels.

The form calculated the volume and came up with a total net and gross volume of "5 tons", so apparently a Mac can be CG documented, thus allowing a US citizen to purchase a foreign-flagged boat or new boat abroad, and re-flag it as a US vessel. The paperwork can be filed from anywhere, via email or fax, and there is a form available to request "expeditious handling" of the documentation.

This is what I learned from the USCG site, however, my estimate is just that, and enquiries to the company have not netting any more useful information. In such cases, first hand experience is always helpful, and any tidbit of advice which helps clarify the situation is certainly appreciated.

Thanks sincerely for your input,

G2L
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:09   #51
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Re: As Per Your Questions ...

With all due respect, I believe you are mistaking gross tonnage for "gross net volume" which is also measured in "tons" and which is the actual measurement used by the USCG to determine eligibility for documentation.

Please note the below which is taken from the link you provided, and is shown as the FAQ listed directly below the one you referenced:

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY VESSEL MEASURES FIVE NET TONS?
Net tonnage is a measure of a vessel's volume. It should not be confused with the vessel's weight, which may also be expressed in tons. Most vessels more than 25 feet in length will measure five net tons or more. For information about how tonnage is determined, including a web-based interactive form that calculates tonnages, visit the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Center's web site at the Marine Safety Center's Tonnage Page.
Top of Page

As noted in my reply to your latest post a few posts down this thread, documentation applicants are advised to use the interactive form noted above USCG 5397 to measure the volume of their vessel, and according to this interactive form, the CG verified that the Mac qualifies.

Please see my latest post for more and tell me what you think. The form is available on the Coast Guard site you referenced.

Thanks again, for all your input.

G2L
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Old 07-03-2011, 20:12   #52
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Re: Hong Kong to Manila

Gone2long,

Why don't you get yourself a crew position on one of the boats in this years San Fernando Race? It leaves Hong Kong on April 20th and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club has a crew board online. Or, arrange passage on a delivery back from San Fernando.

You'll get some valuable blue water miles under your belt, and I you'll be better able to understand why we think it's not advisable to do it in a Macgregor 26. There are <30 foot boats which I'd feel comfortable doing that passage on, but not a Mac.

Sorry to keep raising the same point, but to ready a blue water boat for a Cat 1 race (ie Hong Kong to Philippines) costs HK $250,000. Which is more than the value of a Macgregor - so, you will either be setting off in a boat lacking important safety gear, or, you will be over-investing in a boat to prepare it for something it isn't designed to do.
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Old 07-03-2011, 21:59   #53
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Re: Hong Kong to Manila

Gone2Long,
The MacGregor would be a good boat for exploring the Andaman Sea in Southern Western Thailand and the Malaysian Coast from Langkawi to the water Islands. It is not a good boat for the Taiwan Strait - the Bashi & Luzon Strait.
Hard to get a fix on G2L's sailing experience - however, from the questions asked, the impression is little or no offshore experience. Even if the boat was properly setup for an offshore passage it would require at least 2 experienced sailors.
I remember the fuss I caused during a scrutineers session for a SCS race when I refused to sign off a boat because the lifeline stanchions were further than 7ft apart.
Maybe best option would be to ship it as DECK cargo from Lantau to Manila,
probably cheaper in the long run.
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Old 08-03-2011, 00:12   #54
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Re: Hong Kong to Manila

Not to beat a dead horse here, but, as noted above, the only reason I brought up the MNL to HK race route was as an "alternative" and mainly as a way to try to figure what HK folks thought of the winds in the S.China sea around April/May. To be exact, I raised the issue for the following reasons.

1. About 2 weeks ago when I was in Macao and HK looking at boats, everyone I spoke to seemed to think I was nuts for suggesting my preferred (day sailing) route up the China coast and across to Taiwan.

2. Some folks here in the PI who had done the race and apparrently had encountered nothing but fair weather suggested that I tag along with the race - something I never actually seriously considered for exactly the reasons you mention. Good points, which make a lot of sense.

3. My main reason for asking about the route is that I wanted to get a sense of what the racers navigating in the China Sea expected to run into in terms of wind direction in April/May. Again, it seemed to me that a SE tack from HK to Mnl, inferred that folks expected the wind to be reliably from the N or NE. Frankly, that has not been my experience in Northern Luzon, where I have been living and playing around with small boats along the coast, for the last 10 years. My experience has been that the NE monsoon doesn't kick in with any kind of consistent, reliabile force until late October or so. So it always seemed a bit strange to me that folks would head south from HK when a northerly swell (if not wind) was inconsistent and minimal at best - at least by the time that the swell actually hits the Luzon coastline.

However, after hearing some of the comments above, and after communicating with some folks who are involved with this year's race, I think I better understand why folks are doing the route in May (Easter tradition, the conditions caused by the shelf off HK, the typhoons and cold weather later on in the year, etc.) and this helps me to understand which way I should go and when. Take a look at my secondary posts above for more on all that.

In any case, I appreciate everyone's comments and advice. I found the thread comments to be sincere, well meant and truly helpful.

Thanks to everyone for their input.

G2L
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:53   #55
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HK-Taiwan: The Central Issue

Hello again,

Thanks for your note. Take a look at my last response to Muskoka above for a bit more on my motivation for asking about the MNL, HK route - basically trying to get a handle on why you guys want to sail south before the NE monsoon actually kicks in. I also talk there a bit about my sailing exprience, and in terms of "off shore" sailing, Ive got about 2,000 miles of it under my belt. Some of it was in seas as high as 20+ feet with winds blowing more than 50 knots, so I have been in some rough conditions. However, all that was done some time ago, and all of it as crew - never as "master" of my own boat - so admittedly, I have a lot to learn.

As per the boat, yes, of course, it is not meant as an "offshore" vessel. But I am not going to use it for that. I wrote in detail about my preferred route above, and if you right click on it and left click on "open link", then increase the viewing size of your browser up from 100% to about 200%, you can get a good look at the black line and red dots which show route and my planned, overnight anchorages.

I don't mean to sound pedantic with the "instructions" above, but without a chart at our disposal, that is really the only way to get a good look. If you take a close look, the blue line is a direct route from HK to Tainan, Taiwan. That route would be the one I would take if I were sailing a Bruce Roberts Spray 27 or something a bit more seaworthy than the Mac. That route is essentially an off-shore passage stretching about 389 miles.

The black line, my preferred route, is somewhat longer, but that route allows me to take advantage of what I think may be the relative calm provided by the southwestern shore of China. If the wind does come out of the north, hugging the Chinese coast will protect me somewhat, and if the wind remains from the SW in May, as I assume it very well may, then I will have a good point of sail for the first 150 or so miles of the trip (which parallels the China coast), and, most likely, very managable swells. Frankly, these are the issues I need help with; not deciding whether or not to take a Mac26 south from HK on a 480 nm passage to MNL. That is really not the issue at this point in the discussion.

The underlying issue is how to deal with the fact that I have the right boat (for its eventual, intended use) in the wrong place - a good five hundred miles across the S.China sea.

In that sense, your advice about shipping is well taken, but I have explored the costs from various destinations (as well as the bureacracy involved) and have ruled out that option. So, the only questions left to answer are those which I have detailed in my first response to you. To me, the central question is whether or not a coastwise passage up the SW coast of China is "bureaucratically" possible and reasonably safe in May.

You mention that the Mac 26 is not meant for the Straits, but, again, a close look at my route shows me in the Straits for perhaps a 24 hour passage, and not much more. Taking a close look at my route, my anchorages along the China coast are only about 65 miles apart (a day sail each), and my last China coast anchorage would leave me about 150 miles SW of Pescador Island (Taiwan), on almost exactly the same course which I had covered along the China coast.

Given that I encounter favorable, SW winds and not especially rough seas, that passage to Pescador Island in a MacGregor could be made in a single 24 hour period. And, if worse came to worse (a popped stay, or torn mainsail) the distance could be motored in about the same amount of time.

Once at Pescador, I'm 41 miles from Tianan, Taiwan and I have another shoreline and mountain range to shelter me in case of strong, northeast winds. Moderate NE winds would give me an ideal point of sail and good southerly speed. A SW headwind would not be fun, but again, I could motor the 41 miles in a few hours and buy more fuel in port, if need be. As I am sure you know, Tainan, as a tradtional center of the Taiwan yacht building industry, is one of the more "yacht friendly" ports in this part of Asia, so it would be a good place to rest for awhile, re-supply and get any needed repairs professionally done.

From Tainan to my next port of call - Kaoshiung - is only about a 35 mile day sail hugging a protective shoreline, and my last port, Kenting, is another 60 miles or so. While, technically speaking, I would be in the Straits the whole way south from Pescador Island (some 140 miles in all) I intend to make these day sails as close to shore as is reasonably safe. With a 50hp motor, I should never be more than a few hours away from potential assistance if needed. Currents, tides and local hazards are, of course, a concern which I need to learn more about.

However, from what I have heard from local kiteboarders in Tainan, the winds in May are not particularly strong and the surf is "small", so, if such reports are accurate, would an overnight crossing of the Straits be so potentially hazardous? Those are the kind of questions I sincerely need answered.

If I can get accurate weather reports electronically while sitting off the Chinese coast (another issue which no-one has directly addressed on this thread) I should be able to get a good sense of what to expect over the next 24-48 hours, with swell reports that would go out 5-7 days (always changable of course). With such information, I should be able to pick a good weather window for the crossing, simply sitting in a sheltered bay off the China coast til one opens.

The way I see it is that the above questions are the critical ones. I can pack that MacGregor hull full of plastic gas cans and water, and live on canned goods for 4 days of hopping along the coast and a single overnight passage - no problem with that on my end. I'm not a fussy person and, as I'm sure you know, a bit of extra ballast always comes in handy in a MacGregor : ).

Also, you seem to infer in your post above that I might be intending to single hand the boat back to PI. This is absolutely not the case. Admittedly, it will be a bit crowded with Jerry cans strapped everywhere below, but I would like to take a crew of two beside myself, to help handle the two passages - Taiwan Straits and Bashi Channel. Ideally, one crew member would have first hand knowledge of the China coast and the Taiwan Straits. Considering all of the above, I'm not so sure the trip is all that treacherous.

Once again, I'm not questioning your experience here or pooh-poohing your concerns or advice. Indeed, I have heard the same from various other sources; however, I seem to be attempting something which not too many folks have tried before, so I haven't really gotten a lot of solid answers to my specific questions. From my preliminary investigations, it seems that most HK sailors don't know much about the China coast. They have no reason to go there because it's prohibitively expensive to dock, not very attractive, and, apparently filled with lots of commercial traffic.

In any case, I sincerely appreciate all the advice that you and other folks writing on this thread have provided. And, if you can give me a bit more in terms of specific experience along the China coast, or in the Straits in spring, that would also be greatly appreciated.

Thanks once again,

G2L
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:48   #56
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Re: Hong Kong to Manila

Hi again,
My apologies re. the impression given of lack of experience, I took "novice sailor" to be just that.
Still do not understand the reason for wanting to go to the Taiwan Straits or to Taiwan itself. Having delivered boats from Xiomen (Amoy) and from Khaoshiung - my experience for what its worth - 'it was never enjoyable!' The Shortest distance between Macao And Bolinao is a straight line - Pratas is the only obstacle.
The following few storms posted here are those that made it difficult to get from Macao to Luzon during April >> June :-
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:12   #57
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Re: Hong Kong to Manila

I see no problem with your planned extended route as long as you have the patience to wait out or cancel the passage if the weather gods do not act kindly.

2 years ago, a couple of Cathay pilots set out to row from Subic to HK. They had all the latest met info and the confidence of accomplished flyers.

I waved to them as they passed Stargazer. They did not fare so well, since that worst scenario happened.

Gone2long, the bottom line is that despite all your planning it still boils down to what your craft can take in a worst case scenario.


Good luck in your venture
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Old 08-03-2011, 05:04   #58
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Re: Hong Kong to Manila

Given your comments and detailed thoughts about your intended passage, perhaps it would be more prudent to look for a really good weather window and just take the rumb line straight across. You could probably motor-sail from HK to the northern Philippines in 3 or 4 days.

Basically, the China Sea Races tend to catch the end of the NE winds just before the southernly winds kick in over the summer. Else everyone would be beating most of the way! There's probably little value in following the race as the boats will be moving south as fast as possible with full crews. That being said, get yourself an SSB receiver and listen in to the radio scheds as the weather info is broadcast by the race organizers pertaining to zones which would be very useful for you.

In the final analysis it may be better to make your passage as short and quick as possible under the forecast of a favorable weather window. Then cruise in the lee of Luzon southwards where you can duck in for shelter if things get ugly.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:26   #59
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Why Not The "Short Way Down" - It's the Fear Factor

Thank you for this latest reply,

No need for apologies. Perhaps I should have entitled my original remarks as "novice skipper in progress" which might have been a more accurate description : )

Regarding your question about why I want to go into the Straits, v. heading due SW, I guess the short answer would be "fear". I like the idea of heading NE on a May/June SW swell, with land in sight. I'm not yet confident in my ability to skipper my own boat and I need to learn how to use all these new fangled electronic contraptions that are supposed to make charts magically appear on a lap top, tell you where you are without a noon shot, and enable you to talk to folks hundreds of miles away, who can rescue you, should the need ever arise.

Frankly, I've never used any of them because they were not easily available when I did my blue water sailing, and, in those days, I was sailing as crew, blissful in the realization that I would never be required to take on such arduous responsibilities. Whenever I have gone sailing over the last two decades, I've rented something like a Catalina 22 or Hobie 16, and, if a bit fatiqued or worried about a change in the weather, I would simply head for home.

Plus, as you and others have repeatedly noted, the MacGregor 26 is not made for long ocean passages. To get it to Taiwan and to the PI, however, would involve only two, admittedly tricky, but SHORT passages, with plenty of time to spare and significant opportunities to take refuge, refuel, and have repairs made if need be. As one of your typhoon tracks shows, an early June typhoon would "cut me off at the pass" so to speak, while transiting the Straits. However, if you look closely at the referenced track, that storm spent a lot more time lingering over the S.China sea (directly in the path of any SE course from HK to MNL) than it did at the mouth of the Taiwan Straits. And, I have noticed in the last year that typhoons are developing further north than usual, and taking tracks to the EAST of Taiwan, more usually than the traditional track up the Straits. Perhaps this is a one-off situation due to the La Nina effect, but I have definitely noticed the difference this year.

So which would be the more perilous route - a longer route, but short exposure period transiting the Straits, or a more direct route, with longer exposure over the S.China sea during what could be an early typhoon season? Having been knocked down once by an early June hurricane while transiting from Bermuda to Boston in a 40' ketch, believe me, I do not take such potential developments lightly.

Plus, the "short way down" is intimidating to me, simply because I don't want to spend a lot of money on expensive gear (or a deep keel) that I probably won't use much once I arrive in the Phillipines. Granted, some of that gear will definitely be needed in order to safely transit the Straits, but not nearly as much as folks have indicated would be appropriate for a 500 nm, China Sea crossing.

Finally, I think that it would be fun to explore the national parks of south Taiwan. I hear that the area is really beautiful and that this is where the original "AustroIndonesians" (genetically linked to the first Pacific Ocean passage makers - the Hawaiins) first made port north of the 20th parallel in their sailing canoes. It is interesting to me that the mountain tribes of Taiwan share significant attributes with their Philippine "relatives", - the first "river dwellers" (origin of the word "Tagalog") in both their long-forgotten sailing and and cultural traditions.

Pardon the overly academic diversion, but, well ... you asked. : )

In any case, I would like to hear more about why your deliveries were not so interesting. Apparently, you were delivering boats across the straits from Taiwan to HK. At the wrong time of the year, under a demanding schedule, I could definitely see such trips as being "no fun". However, your experiences with tides, currents, and winds at various times of year would be useful to me.

The link to the Pacific pilots chart supplied by another thread mate has been helpful, but experience is always the best teacher. After all, "we either stand on the shoulders of giants or in their shadows" - Friederick Nietsche.

So, if you are so inclined, please share you bad experiences on this thread. If you feel that they may be helpful, but do not belong on this thread, please PM me. Add a phone number if you would rather talk than write, and I'll give you a buzz.

Best regards, and thank you for your insights.

G2L
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:42   #60
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Re: Hong Kong to Manila

Point well taken.

To share a related story. In Bermuda, I once met two, long haired, rather crazed-looking young guys who were manning what I remember as being a sort of sea going kayak, which was only about as wide as I am today. It had a single berth forward and was around 14 foot long, as I remember. They'd made it down from Boston (750 miles) in about six days. Of course, they sported a well made, custom set of sails, and, as the Phoenicians eventually figured out, sails will beat oars any day, right? : )

I will pour over those pilot charts and a host of other nav and communication guides to try to get up to speed on what I have missed over the years.

For more on all that, see my latest reply to Laidback, above, and thanks again for your insights and guidance.

G2L
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