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Old 07-11-2009, 07:33   #1
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Info Needed for Sailing from Hong Kong to Japan

hi am new here. would like to join this thread and gain some wisdom. i sailed from new zealand to hong kong two years ago, worked there for some time and am about to sail to japan in spring 2010, preferably starting before mar 1. will likely sail to kaoshiung and keelung first. destination port is akita in nw coast of honshu island. any info regarding prevailing wind strength directions en route would be welcome. also would like the title of a good cruising guide for the trip. am already reading the sail-japan site, but right now my problem is getting there. many thanks.

my boat is a pacific seacraft 37.
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Old 07-11-2009, 10:04   #2
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it's been a few years since we sailed those waters... but is imagine conditions haven't changed much over time. our experience was that it was brutally tough to sail NE during the winter and early spring. if you can wait until may, you're much more likely to find calm conditions or catch the first SW'erly of the season. good sailing!
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Old 07-11-2009, 14:46   #3
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Atlas of Pilot Charts:
Pilot Charts depict averages in prevailing winds and currents, air and sea temperatures, wave heights, ice limits, visibility, barometric pressure, and weather conditions at different times of the year.
The Atlas of Pilot Charts set is comprised of five volumes, each covering a specific geographic region. Each volume is an atlas of twelve pilot charts, each depicting the observed conditions for a particular month of any given year.
The charts are intended to aid the navigator in selecting the fastest and safest routes with regards to the expected weather and ocean conditions.


GotoMaritime Safety Information
nga.mil/portal/site/maritime/?epi_menuItemID=a633978aca46a1625b2a7fbd3227a759

Indian Ocean

Maritime Safety Information

South Pacific Ocean
Maritime Safety Information
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Old 08-11-2009, 00:14   #4
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thanks kiapa and gordmay. so, early march would still be NE on that route... could bearing away a bit from the headwinds and tacking a few times more make it more manageable, or was that the way you did it and still found it brutal? i have up to a month to do the trip if i start around mar 1. if i don't do it in march, i'd have to wait a year.

my destination is akita. i imagine it'd be somewhat better if i sail on the east side of the japan islands, and round into the strait between honshu and hokkaido (motoring if necessary) to get to the west coast?
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:43   #5
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yzlian, the right answer here is going to be a function of your determination and the specifics of your boat & sails... for me, having sailed >40,000 blue water miles, raced HK to philippines (and back) twice, raced S.F. to Hawaii twice (and back) on pretty weatherly boats... i would NOT try to sail from HK to Japan except during the brief window between the NE monsoon and the typhoon season. cracking off would ease the short term pain, but would make the voyage incredibly long... and extend your exposure to the upwind bash.

if you are steadfast, and have alot of time... you could look at sailing to the philippines, coastal hope up to the north, wait for good weather to jump to off for kaohsiung, then work your way up east coast of taiwan, then take the big jump north. the shorter the hops, the longer it takes, but the more weather options you have. good sailing!
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Old 08-11-2009, 23:17   #6
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I second Kiapa.

Sailing against the NE monsoon is not something I would do out of choice. (I have 20+ China Sea crossings - and a few more "attempted" crossings!!).

I friend of mine did try to go against it once - in a Roberts steely - Left Miri, Malaysia in January on starboard tack, changed tack when he saw Vietnam and after 2 weeks and a severe beating, arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia - just up the coast from where he started; only now with new sails to buy and quite a bit of damage to fix

Much better to postpone your trip a couple of months - wait until the NE monsoon has blown itself out - usually around May - and enjoy the trip
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:00   #7
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hello kiapa and bewitched, many thanks for your valuable comments. yes, i do know my limits, and having heard from you, would most likely hold the trip off till 2011, when i can indeed use the weather window. (i can't do that in 2010, 'cause i will have to be in japan by april 1.)

but since we are on the topic, i'd like to ask for further advice. given a late april/may departure from hk for the nw coast of honshu, what route would you personally recommend? in particular, on which side of the taiwan strait and honshu would you or your experienced friends who had sailed hk-japan proceed? (for 2011, i can have up to a month and a half to make the trip, and can stop on my way rather frequently.)

my boat is quite sea-kindly, and hull speed is about 7.2 kts. i will be sailing either single-hand or short-handed.

many thanks!
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Old 09-11-2009, 18:15   #8
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I haven't sailed to Japan personally, but I know someone who has delivered a number of boats up there - I'll PM you details
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Old 19-02-2011, 09:23   #9
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hello guys, am making progress to do the hk-jpn trip this may (2011). actually am on my way to hk via seoul (now writing this in the seoul-incheon airport) to spend a month there to do up the boat and train up myself. will be there in early may again to start the trip.

gordmay, per your advice re atlas of the pilot charts for n pacific, they have the digitized downloadable version but it is dated 1994. do you think that is still serviceable?

also would anyone know if the la nina this year would delay or move up the dates when the ne monsoon turns to se in asia? am shooting for a mid-may crossing of the taiwan straits to ks, then route up either east or west of the island, preferring the east.

thanks for all your wisdom & experience. yzlian
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Old 19-02-2011, 09:26   #10
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bewitched, were u talking about the japanese guy working at the hebe haven marina in hk? i got in touch with him last year but didn't talk much as i was in a hurry to leave. i'll talk to him again on this trip there. anymore contacts in the know? many thanks.
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Old 20-02-2011, 17:47   #11
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yeah, that's him.

I personally don't know anyone who would have more experience of that trip than him.
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:38   #12
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HK to PI via Taiwan

I am also planning a less adventurous trip over some of the same territory, and, since everyone on the thread seems to have significant experience cruising the China Sea and PI, I was hoping to get some feed back as well.

I will be purchasing a MacGregor 26 in Macao and sailing / motoring it back to PI based on the conditions I encounter. Since the Mac is not exactly a blue water cruiser, I am planning to use the SW monsoon to harbor hop on a WNW course, from HK up to the head just south of Shantou China (a place called Gangliao Wan). From there, almost the same heading will take me across the Taiwan straits to Pescador Island; then I'll tack or motor down the Taiwan coast to Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Kenting, before heading south to the Phillipines with stops in the Batanes Islands.

I like the idea of using the tail end of the SW monsoon in October or so to sail up the China coast. Then, I would dally in Taiwan for as long as necessary, in order to catch the NE monsoon south. However, another plan I have is to do the same trip in the pre-typhoon season, starting a WNW course around May 1. In this way, I could enjoy the relative calm seas and balmy weather that is prevalent at that time of year.
The only problem is that the last stretch (from Kenting Taiwan to Appari, PI) involves a significant distance, most of which would have to be managed while heading almost straight into the SW monsoon. I am wondering how difficult that might actually be.

Living in Luzon, my experience is that the SW monsoon is not as strong as the NE monsoon. Also, I would be sailing a Mac 26 motor sailor which sports a 50 hp outboard motor, and, if worse came to worse, I could simply motor south from Kenting for most of the way to Aparri.

I am wondering what everyone's take on such a course might be, noting that the only significant passage would be a 175 mile passage from the China coast to Pescador Island and a 125 mile or so passage from Kenting, Taiwan to Basco Island in the PI. A key concern for me is whether sailing or motoring some 200 miles into the SW monsoon in late May could prove overly daunting. Cross currents in the straits could possible compound the problem.

Also, I have heard that anchoring out along the China coast is not a problem, but that putting into port can be extremely expensive. Wondering if anyone knows if the Chinese authorities/Navy will bother us for anchoring out a couple of days before the actual passage across the straits. As far as the Phillipinos are concerned, there seems to be no problem anchoring out in the Batanes islands on the way down from Kenting, as long as one does not go ashore. In fact, I have heard that there is really no problem going ashore as well, if "emergency" supplies are needed. The first port for clearing customs is my final destination "Aparri".

A final concern is maintaining radio contact with Chinese officials in case of an emergency, and maintaining internet contact along the China coast in order to check weather sites and the like.

Whatever details anyone could provide on any of the above would be greatly appreciated. I tried to attach a map with my route below, but unfortunately the file was too big to load onto this site. Will try to add a smaller version soon. Please consider the questions above, and feel free to comment as appropriate.

Thank you all for the insights provided on this thread,

Best regards,

Gone2long
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Old 06-03-2011, 07:35   #13
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Re: Info Needed for Sailing from Hong Kong to Japan

hi gong2long, i am making a trip to taiwan on may 1 from hong kong, then round the south cape to go up to okinawa and beyond. would like to know what your guess of the dominant wind direction would be in early may this year between hong kong and kaohsiung in s taiwan. i looked at statistics and they mostly say easterlies, but an experienced sailor of the region said it could be still ne in early may. anything less than 80 degrees would be bad for me as i go up after rounding the cape. what does your research tell you? thanks.
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Old 08-03-2011, 20:28   #14
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Check the Pilot Chart Noted Herein

Hi,

My guess is that the later you move into May, the better chance you would have for picking up the southwest monsoon to carry you northward.

Check out the link below which was supplied to me by "Del Marrey" who has significantly more offshore experience in the area than I have.

Atlas of Pilot Charts for the Major Oceans of the World

The link shows the Pilot Charts around the world and you can get a N. Pacific chart for May by following the site links. The May chart shows a major current coming out of the SW, just as you round the cape to the east side of Taiwan, but the wind rose still seems to indicate that their is a greater probability of encountering a NE head wind than there is of having a SW tail wind.

Check the chart for more.

Hope this helps,

G2L

PS - I love Okinawa.
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Old 08-03-2011, 20:52   #15
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Re: Info Needed for Sailing from Hong Kong to Japan

thanks, gone2long, got those. actually i had a choice of early or late may departure. i compared the typhoon probabilities and found they increased more than 100% from may to june on the route i am going to take (still rather low in absolute terms), and the intensity of the typhoon also increased sharply. so i took the bet and decided on a may 1 departure. no return now as i already booked my plane ticket to hk for late april and crew has booked their leave days with their employers... may have to tack far out to east once i round the s taiwan cape.

am budgeting 12 days from kaohsiung to naha, on my crealock 37 having a hull speed of 7.2 knots or so. what do you think? comments anyone else pls?
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