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Old 07-12-2013, 20:49   #1
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'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

I'm following with interest the 'Puddle Jump' stories, heading to French Polynesia from various jump off points ranging from San Diego to Panama City. All of what I have read describes the voyage there, and then sometimes carrying on to destinations such as New Zealand. I'm not seeing descriptions of RETURN voyages. Can anyone shed some light on that? I imagine the sail back can be difficult. Is it possible to do the puddle jump, enjoy time in French Polynesia, and return back to Central America, all in less than one year?
Experiences?
Thanks.
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Old 07-12-2013, 21:27   #2
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

One person I knew went up to the doldrums near the equator and motored east in the relative flat seas and low wind in the doldrums. You would need a lot of fuel.
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Old 07-12-2013, 23:02   #3
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

We have a friend/fellow cruiser who went from San Diego to French Polynesia (FP) > Tonga > New Zealand > Tahiti > Hawaii > San Diego. Normally, you cannot sail to San Diego from Hawaii, but they started out pointing as far south as he could and with the cooperation of the wind gods, they made it.

We sailed from Panama>Galapagos>FP>Niue>Tonga>Vanuatu>New Caledonia>Australia and on through Indonesia>Malaysia>Thailand>Sri Lanka>India, etc, etc.

That said, I believe the best part of our circumnavigation has been between Panama and New Caledonia. Do, that and you will see the best part of the world.

You should buy Jimmy Cornell's new "Ocean Atlas" and "World Voyage Planner" to help plan your trip. You will get better answers from these books than you will from some arm-chair experts in this forum.

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Old 08-12-2013, 02:16   #4
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

From French Polynesia you could head south and sail under the high that lies offshore northern Chile towards Valdivia... allow about 40 days more or less... and then carry a fair breeze up the coast to Ecuador... from there north to Panama shouldn't be too hard.

Frank... in his armchair in Antofagasta ahora....

PS don't even think of stopping in Peru....
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Old 08-12-2013, 02:22   #5
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

PPS ... have done most of that ( ie NZ under the high to southern Chile and ... much much later ...up the coast to northern Chile ).... know others that have done all the bits ( ie Tahiti to southern Chile etc )...
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:38   #6
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

You have a few choices, you can sail as far as Tahiti and then cut over to Hawaii and then home. Best to sail across the top of the Pacific high and then head south. You could go all the way to NZ and then sail back to Tahiti via the southern route and then over to Hawaii etc. or you could sail as far as Fiji and then head up to the Marshall Islands and then back via Midway and home on the other side of the Pacific high.
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Old 09-12-2013, 21:01   #7
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

Thank you Maxing Out, sv Be Be, El Pinguino, and Robert Sailor! I appreciate your input a lot.
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Old 09-12-2013, 22:21   #8
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

From Tahiti we sailed east to Ahe, just to get a better slant on Hawaii. We also had skipped the Tuamotus on the way from the Marqueses to Tahiti, and wanted to get a little taste of them. Left Ahe in the normal SE trades and gained a little easting before the doldrums. A couple of very slow days in the doldrums and then into the ever increasing NE trades. Spent 6 days under double reefed main and storm jib, wishing I had another reef for the main. We managed to make Hilo without having to tack, but it was a hard 24 days. We were only 26 foot, and had no engine, so larger boats might have thought it was a day in the park, but we took a million or so gallons of water over the decks. Would I ever do it again??? HELL YES. wonderful trip. _____Grant.
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Old 09-12-2013, 22:32   #9
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

It is also possible to sail straight from the Marqueses to San Diego , IF your boat goes to windward very well, and you are stoic. Find a copy of the hilarious book BLOWN AWAY by Herb Pason. He deliverd a leaky old 40 foot engine-less boat from the Marqueses to San Diego in the mid 70s. The trick was that it went to weather like a freight train. Many of us assumed that he was going to drown, and never be heard from again. He sailed many more years. ______Grant.
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Old 09-12-2013, 22:40   #10
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

Going to weather in the trades in a boat designed for upwind sailing is one thing but in modern flat bottom boats, no matter the size it can be a brain breaker.
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Old 10-12-2013, 00:51   #11
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Going to weather in the trades in a boat designed for upwind sailing is one thing but in modern flat bottom boats, no matter the size it can be a brain breaker.
?? Rather strange idea.

A boat with a modern hull form like the OP's Bruce Farr designed Bene First will go upwind better than almost anything out there. High aspect keel and spade rudder are key there. Some modern boats with flatter forefeet might do a little pounding, but most of the Benes do not have very flat forefeet.

More here: Beneteau First 36.7. The hull form is quite like mine, except that my boat has a lower aspect keel and a partial skeg, so the Bene will surely out-point my boat. Displacement ratio is about the same as my boat, and the forefoot looks similar. My boat doesn't pound under any conditions whatsoever.

I would think a boat like that Bene would be an excellent tool for a long upwind ocean passage. Maybe a little light for really heavy weather, but that is very unlikely in the trades.
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Old 10-12-2013, 18:07   #12
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A boat with a modern hull form like the OP's Bruce Farr designed Bene First will go upwind better than almost anything out there. High aspect keel and spade rudder are key there.
How does the spade rudder help it go upwind? (Still learning...)
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Old 10-12-2013, 18:28   #13
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

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How does the spade rudder help it go upwind? (Still learning...)
Reduced drag.
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Old 10-12-2013, 18:51   #14
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

I'm quite sure the OP knows whether or not they want to spend a few weeks going to windward in the trades.
I don't think I would like to work to windwards towards my destination in the trades what with the adverse current you would also experience but I spent about two weeks close hauled across the SE trades once ... wasn't too bad... cracked the sheets a bit and spent a bit of time steering west of south but not bad otherwise. That was a flattish bottom and moderate fin.... sailed quite flattish and slammed about once every 24 hours or so...
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Old 10-12-2013, 18:51   #15
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Re: 'Puddle Jump' back to Americas?

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How does the spade rudder help it go upwind? (Still learning...)

the combo of the shape of the bottom, the keel and the rudder working together will give the boat lift, and will point higher with less effort..
you'll often see this in a river area when at anchor, the boat will NOT set behind the anchor, but instead, lay to the side and run upon it with the anchor at 90 degrees to the bow.
Many argue the fact that many newer boats have a flat bottom and pound going to weather..
If your boat pounds going to weather, you are sailing it wrong...
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