Originally Posted by wingover
I am looking to buy a boat in NZ and need info on sailing it to S. California
Boat is well built and 62' ketch
Has anyone gone this way that can give first hand info?
what is the best time of year?
Time it takes?
I have done this.
There are basically three routes. None of them are easy.
The fastest is to sail east in the southern ocean (about 40-45S) from NZ and then, once you are a bit below say tahiti
, sail north up to Hawaii and on to S Calf. You can sail fast along that whole route with favorable prevailing winds, but it can be cold and it can be stormy and there are not many places to bail out. You can do this anytime as it is essentially all out of the hurricane belt (Hurricanes are a possibility but dodgable on part of the leg to Hawaii), but probably best not during the dead of southern winter (so say not june - aug) which also happens to be the start of the hurricane time.
The longest, but probably easiest is to head
North from NZ and gradually arc
up over Hawaii and, when past the high that parks there, gradually arc
down southwards toward Calif. That route has slightly less favorable winds (more close reaching that the southern route) but you can still sail fast the whole way, and there are places to bail out and it is not anywhere near as cold or stormy as the southern route. You want to leave NZ in about May for this route.
There is a middle route, NE from NZ up to the tropics, and then zig zag to the east thru the tropics to Calif. This is a dead upwind route into the teeth of the trades. It is (for most people) a 100% motor
sailing route. It is warm and there are nice places to stop, but it is a hell of a long way banging upwind. This you would want to do either at the beginning (oct/nov) or end (march/april) of hurricane season as the trades are lighter and more variable.