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Old 26-04-2008, 10:43   #1
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So Cal to Hawaii

I'm thinking of making the trip from the San Diego area to Hawaii....looking for info on the best time of year, sailing conditions, lenth of time, etc. I do not have a lot of open water experience, mostly coastal cruising, so I'm not sure how difficult it will be.
Thanks.
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Old 26-04-2008, 12:19   #2
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Looks like you will have a couple of months to get some experience. The sail to Mexico is a milkrun. Not to say it won't get a bit rowdy, but mostly you are following the wind, and current.......BEST WISHES!
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Old 26-04-2008, 12:28   #3
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Aloha Fitz,
The best months to go are June/July and first part of August. You need to keep an eye out for low pressure areas forming on the West Coast and make certain there is no threat from them. The Trans Pacific Races go the first part of July and they know how to pick their weather.
A boat with a 30 foot waterline will normally take 21 days or less if you come from San Diego. Go just a little bit South on your course to stay out of the Pacific High (no wind). The wind will be at your back most the way and you'll be rolling downwind. Make certain your rudder and rudder post are in good shape or you have a backup emergency rudder system if you have a spade rudder (just in case).
If you are lucky enough not to encounter any tropical storm systems the winds should be 12-15 and pretty much ideal.
Good luck on your decision.
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JohnL
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Old 26-04-2008, 13:09   #4
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Can you tell me what the shipping traffic is like? Any other pointers? SkiprJohn, it sounds like you've made the trip. When you say not to go farther south than San Diego as a jump off point is that because of a lack of wind? Like I said, leaving the coastal areas will be new and I want to make sure I'm not biting off too much.
Thanks.
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Old 26-04-2008, 20:40   #5
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I'd talk with other folks who have made the crossing recently about shipping. My last time was in the 80s so not relevant. You want to take advantage of the wind lines and jump off at San Diego is about perfect. Get a set of Pilot Charts for the months I mentioned and you can see how the average winds bend around. A little more North would be ok but there is no need to go South unless that's just something you want to do.
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Old 26-04-2008, 21:03   #6
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Check out the Pacific Cup (San Francisco to Oahu race) website: Consider the Possibilities | Pacific Cup. They have good info on the conditions to expect and preparation advice.

I can't tell you about the situation near San Diego, since I have sailed (twice) directly from San Francisco, and was well offshore by the time I got that far south. I do understand that the wind can be quite light for the first couple of hundred miles.

I agree, June and July are good. August too, but the chance of hurricanes/depressions is a little worse then. In June the summer offshore weather pattern may not have established itself, so the Pacific High may be well to the south of its late-July position. This is more of an issue for a San Francisco departure, but take a look at the 2007 Transpac race data: 2007 TRANSPACIFIC YACHT RACE Los Angeles to Honolulu Homepage (the Transpac leaves from Long Beach), where many boats got caught in the southeast ridge of the Pacific High and added many days to what is usually a two-week or less trip.

You might be interested in my boat's website and blog, where I have daily reports from my 2003 cruise to Hawaii (and back), and my 2006 Pacific Cup race (and cruise back to San Francisco). In 2006 we got caught in the southeast Pacific High ridge and had a slow time of it.

As for ship traffic, don't expect to see much once you get away from port. In 2003 we didn't see one ship after the second day. In 2006 I think we saw three. I've seen more ships sailing back over the top of the High to San Francisco, but still not a lot.

What are your plans when you get to Hawaii?
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Old 27-04-2008, 11:11   #7
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Paul Elliot: Thanks for the great reply, I will check your daily log from your earlier trip to Hawaii. As far as my plans for after we get to Hawaii, we had talked about cruising the islands for awhile or continuing south. I have not looked into slips or moorings on the different islands, but I think the Hawaiian islands chain would be a great place to explore.
As mentioned in my original thread, I have not done any off-shore sailing and this may all be nothing more than wishful thinking. I don't even know if I'm prone to sea-sickness!!! What I read about long distance sailing fascinates me, but reality and fascination are quite different. If things worked out, I would spend some time in the Hawaiian islands then head south from there. I do plan on significant research and shake down trips before we would leave to make sure we're capable. This is just some preliminary inquiries.
Jim
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Old 28-04-2008, 04:42   #8
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That's how I started

Hi fitzmair that's how I started. A few early inquiries and before you know it you will be actually doing it. My boat (Ranger 33) is getting refitted as we speak and I'm hoping to shove off in July, from Long Beach, for the Hawaii Islands.....

Never done any ocean sailing in a sailboat so don't let that worry you..hehe..planning, planning planning......I'll be doing some courses and getting some sea time up before I go....

good luck
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