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Old 18-10-2012, 10:33   #1
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New Zealand to S. California

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?
Route?
Time it takes?

Thanks
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Old 18-10-2012, 11:14   #2
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Re: New Zealand to S. California

Maybe start with the last question first and answer it with another question.

Time it takes, depends on your plans. Do you want to get there as fast as you can or do you want to stop and smell the roses on the way?

Great circle direct NZ to CA is very roughly 6000 miles. Sailing route would be over 7000 miles.

Time could be a couple of months if you sail nonstop, good weather and no breakdowns. Taking the scenic route it could be several months to a year or more if you like.

The course, again depends on your preferences. You could start north from NZ and cruise the S Pacific islands so via Fiji, Samoa, etc. to the equator. Or you could go west from NZ to take advantage of the prevailing winds to give you a better angle to cross the SE tradewinds belt.

From either of these shoot for Hawaii then around the top of the north Pacific high towards north CA then down the coast to SF or LA or where every your heading.

Departure from NZ should be planned to avoid the S Pacific hurricane season, roughly Nov to April but also to not cross the equator during the N Pacific hurricane season roughly June to Nov.
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Old 18-10-2012, 11:28   #3
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Re: New Zealand to S. California

Thanks for the answer. I am looking for the fastest route. No time to even smell my own fart...
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Old 18-10-2012, 11:38   #4
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Re: New Zealand to S. California

Sorry, correction in my first answer. What I meant to say was east from NZ in the prevailing westerlies. Obviously not west from NZ towards the prevailing westerlies.

So in a big rush I would head east from NZ until Hawaii was about north of me and turn left. Sail to Hawaii, stop on the way as needed, then around the north Pacific High to landfall in north CA.
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Old 18-10-2012, 11:41   #5
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Re: New Zealand to S. California

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingover View Post
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?
Route?
Time it takes?

Thanks
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.
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Old 18-10-2012, 12:23   #6
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Re: New Zealand to S. California

Thank you for your input!
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