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Old 28-12-2010, 15:44   #1
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Sailing from Alaska to Hawaii in June 2011

Hello! We are planning a trip with our Westsail 32 this summer, and we are considering a crossing to Hawaii.

We are wondering about currents, weather, and best resources to make sure that we are provisioned, experienced and have our boat outfitted properly for such a big crossing.

We were planning on just running down through southeast Alaska - starting from Seldovia and finishing in the Seattle/Puget Sound area - but the tropics are calling....

Any advice, experiences, additional resources would be great! We are enjoying the Pardy books as they have great ideas about food storage, provisioning, etc. but would love to hear from folks who've done it, and get the inside "skinny" on things we should certainly consider in making our plans!

Should we head all the way to Seattle and California anyway - in order to cross, or would we catch a better current leaving from up north (since we are already here) - say from Yakutat?

Thanks in advance for any/all of your comments!

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Old 28-12-2010, 16:15   #2
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Its not really that hard to do an ocean crossing. You need to be sure your boat is truly seaworthy, where all the stuff actually works. I prefer to have a "punch list" of zero items before setting off, and the experience with all systems to be able to detect, isolate, and recover from failures.

You also need to provision properly. Again, not that hard, but some experience is in order. People do publish menu plans for multi week voyages, and no matter which direction you go, its a solid 3 weeks to Hawaii on a Westsail 32, in the best of conditions. People do race around the world non-stop eating truly disgusting "meals ready to eat" but you probably only want that kind of garbage for emergency rations. But you know lots of things that live on shelves and require minimal non-dry additives to makes things much better. Eggs can last without refrigeration. Spices. Vegetables and fruit also, but not for long, and they get worse and worse as time goes on. Dried fruit and veg is a good idea for after the first half dozen days.

Make sure all lines lead fairly on deck and especially aloft. Chafe saws right through stuff as the days turn to a week or more.

Pilot charts, pilot books will give you information about currents and weather. Get used to watching the weather systems in the Pacific so you get used to what happens. Get used to really observing the weather, so you can tell when its going to hit the fan before it does. Preparation is key to heavy weather squalls that occur nearly every night in the Pacific.

You might want to sign on to a delivery before you do it on your own boat. You'll learn a lot, and you need to learn in order to avoid the problems that can and do occur at sea.

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Old 28-12-2010, 19:19   #3
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Thanks so much for your prompt reply! There certainly is a lot to learn - though we are all so looking forward to it! I appreciate your comments and will be looking into all of it! Happy New Year!
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Old 28-12-2010, 20:12   #4
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The currents and prevailing winds during the summer months run north to south along the coast so you would probably want to take advantage of that and run more of less along the coast (if you aren't going to run the Inside Passage) down to Cal where you start heading west to HI dodging the Pacific high. Get a copy of "The Pacific Crossing Guide", lot's of good information.
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Old 29-12-2010, 05:59   #5
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You’ll want to be South of about 30 deg. N, to make a Westerly Pacific crossing.
Search "coconut run".
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 29-12-2010, 09:07   #6
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I was going to ask whether you could see Hawaii from your back porch

But obviously my geography ain't what it could be

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Sounds an awesome voyage though
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Old 29-12-2010, 20:22   #7
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David - good one! Nope - can't see Hawaii from here.... except in my dreams - for now - someday soon, as we are on our way - my husband is sporting a "Lahaina Yacht Club" shirt as we speak - GREAT Christmas present!!!

Happy New Year David!
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Old 30-12-2010, 01:50   #8
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Originally Posted by SeldoviaGal View Post
We are wondering about currents, weather, and best resources to make sure that we are provisioned, experienced and have our boat outfitted properly for such a big crossing.
The significant weather feature you're working with is the Pacific High - you will want to keep the High to starboard as you run to Hawaii. Pay attention to the NOAA weatherfax broadcasts, the High is clearly deliniated there. The 1020 millibar line is considered the line of best / most stable breeze.

The Humboldt current runs north to south along the eastern Pacific, down the coast from where you are and on into Baja Mexico.

There is a wealth of information about this passage presented in Jim & Sue Corenman's Pacific Cup Handbook.

You might also look into passage information from four races that are along the corridor; there will be many suggestions there for equipment, rigging, etc. that may be of use to you if you're making your initial ocean passage:
SSS TransPac
Pacific Cup
TransPac (LA transpac)
Vic/Maui race

- rob/beetle

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