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Old 30-12-2009, 11:29   #1
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Pacific Crossing 2010 and El Niño

I have been researching our crossing from PV to the Marquesas that we are planning for 2011. We considered going this year but won't be ready so we will shoot for 2011.

I have been reading a great book my wife got me for Christmas (Pacific Crossing Guide, RCC Piliotage) and I was reading on the effect of El Nino on the Trade Winds.

This book introduced me to the effects of El Nino and La Nina on the trade winds and the Pacific Cruising season. The book states that the Pacific cruising season is shortened during moderate El Nino years and the trades are generally weaker. It even suggests putting off a crossing until the next year in some cases when the El Nino is moderate and stronger.

The NOAA site indicates that this year is a strong to moderate El Nino year.

Is anyone putting off a crossing because of the El Nino? Are the Puddlejumpers talking about this?
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Old 30-12-2009, 12:46   #2
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We will jump this year from La Cruz (PV). El Nino effects on the weather is a discussion point for us, but we've not considered delaying. We're inclined to head to the Marshalls and other northern groups at the end of the season, instead of following the heard to New Zealand. If the "season" is shorter or we want more time in S Pacific well come back around for a second season in 2011.

There is a little chatter amoung other jumpers we know, but not much yet.
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Old 30-12-2009, 13:37   #3
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I'm going to be making the passage from SF to Kona sometime this coming year. The El Nino has definitely been affecting the trade winds. There seem to be large holes in the trades with light winds often prevailing. For the most part, the winds are still blowing from the ENE but at force 1-2 for significant areas. The High pressure system that normally hangs out in the NE Pacific has been absent a lot because of passing lows. That's made for quite a bit of southerly to sw winds where you'd expect NW winds. It looks like there will be a lot of slow passages when/if the Pacific High reestablishes itself. Hopefully it won't take till June to do that.

This is the best website I've found for the NE Pacific wind conditions: PassageWeather - Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers

Aloha Peter O.
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Old 30-12-2009, 14:18   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svTOTEM View Post

There is a little chatter among other jumpers we know, but not much yet.


Ah...just wait until "analysis paralysis" sets in.

Enjoy the light-air passage. There will be times later when you'll be wishing, hoping, and maybe even praying for only 10-15 knots of wind.
Enjoy,
John
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Old 30-12-2009, 14:21   #5
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just take more fuel......el nino will be gone after june---fair winds--er breezes---this year----may you have smoooth sailing......
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:54   #6
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What would be considered the latest time to safely sail north from Marqueses to Hawaii?I know hurricane season starts around June.Has anyone done this passage in late May, early June?
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:15   #7
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This is not good news. We plan to sail from Panama to Hawaii in late May. Looks like it's time to Google up some information!..........i2f
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Old 01-01-2010, 10:47   #8
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The hurricanes that head west almost always stay between 10 and 20 degrees north latitude. Most of these dissipate well before they reach Hawaii. It is really easy to avoid the ones that do pass by here. Just pay attention to the weather reports and hang out below 10 degrees north if one is in the offing till it passes by. Make your landfall on the Big Island. Haven't had a hurricane hit our island since before the Civil War. Even though the weather is ideal in the Hawaiian Islands, the waters directly around us aren't all that warm. Hurricanes need warm water to propagate and maintain their strength. 20 degrees north is just about the limit for the warm water needed to nurture them. They really like it warmer than that so most stay further south. The few that do get all the way over here usually pass at least a 100 miles south of us and begin to dissipate before reaching us. Unfortunately for Kauai, the ones that do maintain their strength pass south of the Big Island and then can curve north before dieing out. Kauai has been hit twice by hurricanes in the last 30 years that only sent storm surge to us. FWIW, these both occured late in the hurricane season.

We made our passage from the Tuamotus to Hilo in June. Lightwinds till about 5 degrees North and then booming trades all the way into the Big Island. Averaged 150 plus mpd once the trades kicked in.

We left San Diego in June on our way to the Marquesas. Followed the same protocol keeping track of tropical depressions in the Gulf of Panama before we went below the 20 degree line. There was a developing system in the Gulf as we got to 20 degrees but it was several thousand miles away and we were averaging over 130 mpd so continued on. As luck would have it, the depression turned into a cat 3 hurricane and headed west while our winds started to drop as soon as we passed the 20 degree line and boat speed dropped to 100 mpd or less. We still made it below 10 degrees north before the storm came near and saw little effect from the storm. The hurricane went from a Cat 3 hurricane to nothing in a period of 24 hours about the same time it got to our longitude but well north of us.

This is an El Nino year so conditions may not be the same as usual. The southern hemisphere typhoons seem to get further west under these circumstances. Tahiti doesn't seem to get any really bad weather except during El Nino conditions. IIRC, we were there at the beginning of an El Nino and had only one tropical depression pass through. The following year, after the El Nino had had time to mature, saw a number of storms hit the Societies.
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Old 01-01-2010, 14:51   #9
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El Niño: A Preview of Global Warming?

I have read through NOAA, and read a half dozen articles. This pretty much sums up what everything has said. I am wondering if a rhumb line might help during an El Nino year? I am wondering how big these holes can be, and how light the air?........i2f
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:50   #10
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LuvToSail, there are some apples and oranges mixed together here. The ENSO cycle has different impacts on the N Pacific than it does the S Pacific, so let's zero in on your intended route, which likely will begin from Mexican waters in 3/2011, plus or minus, depending on whether you wish to visit the Galapagos or do the run direct:
-- the ENSO cycle will have changed by then...so what the 2010 PPJ folks are discussing right now is irrelevant for you
-- there is a good deal of documented discussion at the PPJ yahoo group; if you haven't registered there, I'd recommend you doing so. Reading the messages being exchanged will be very helpful to you; go to Yahoo Groups and look for PPJ
-- the hurricane risk in the SoPac does increase in El Nino years, in that there can be more of them and they can penetrate further E (which is why FP is affected) -but- that fact applies to the hurricane season, which will have ended before almlost all PPJ'ers reach the Marquesas
-- the more likely impact of an El Nino year for PPJ'ers is in the Central SoPac, where conditions can be stronger and wetter; NOAA has some excellent illustrations of this within their discussion of ENSO and this is also discussed by Bob McDavitt (who's inexpensive weather book is worth getting and reviewing ahead of your departure time)
-- in this regard (Central SoPac wx picking up during El Nino's) a good reference is The Dangerous Middle (referring to the area from the Cooks to Tonga) done by Mr. John; you'll find this document (and also two other guides by Mr. John, on FP and NZ) in the PPJ yahoo group files. Very useful info to consider.

FWIW I have not heard a single PPJ'er who shows some knowledge of the ENSO cycle state they decided to delay their PPJ from 2010 to another year. Some are reviewing their routing plans because they had planned on a relatively early 'jump' and had obtained extended stay visas for FP...but that's just so they don't arrive in FP before the storm season ends.

Jack
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Old 08-02-2010, 21:49   #11
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Mazatlan to Hawaii

Any comments on heading to Hilo from Mazatlan in the next week or so? The forcasts seem to show the trades firming up in the last week. It looks like a straight shot at about N20.

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Old 08-02-2010, 22:12   #12
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Looks like as good a time as any. As someone else reccomended, you might want to dip down to 18degrees to pick up stronger winds. Favorable winds seem to be holding out for at least the next week. I'd leave tomorrow, however. There is a light wind patch that is supposed to fill off the Mexican coast later in the week. If it materializes, you'll want to be well off the Mexican Coast ASAP or face slow initial progress.
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:49   #13
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Euro...thanks for the info about the PPJ group. I am actually signed up but I have never checked the documents section, that is good advice!
Cheers
David
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Old 09-02-2010, 17:19   #14
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The trades were light when we crossed in 2004. There was also plenty of rain from Tahiti on.

b.
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Old 09-02-2010, 19:59   #15
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Early crossing from San diego to the Marquesas

I have been planing an early crossing from San Diego to the Marquesas leaving in the next few weeks. I know that is ahead of when many consider the best time to leave, but I am looking for a good weather window to get us going and am hoping that the lack of wind will not be to big a deal. We are a 46 sloop that should I hope do 150 to 200 nmpd.
Do you all think that a mid feb departure this year with the current El Nino strength is a bad idea, or if we find a good departure window that it can be mitigated.

With this departure date how much do you think we will be effected by cyclones in the eastern FP?
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