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Old 18-05-2011, 10:28   #1
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Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

Now you may be thinking I'm a little nuts here, but here's the pitch... We have an Orams 52 (60' overall with bowsprit) built in New Zealand with classic Herreshoff hull lines, fibreglass, constructed in 1974. She's in great shape, very comfortable, and she's called 'Jocara'. For reasons of growing kids and ageing parents, we chose to suspend the cruising life for a while in 2007 and we're now living in Italy. The idea was to defray maintenance costs by chartering her in Tonga and get back to cruising in a few years.

It's now beginning to look like the chartering income has dwindled while the customs and revenue folk are going to be making life difficult for us to keep her in Tonga. What to do?

If we have to sell I'm guessing that Australia, Hawaii and the NW coast of the US are our best markets, in increasing level of effort to get there. If we were to sail to San Francisco or Seattle, probably via Hawaii, what are the routes and best times? Anyone out there tried this?

I'm guessing that in order to miss the hurricane season in both hemispheres we should catch the SE trades from Tonga at the tail end of the southern winter, cross the doldrums and then bear more northerly to loop up to about 40 deg. N before turning east to make for the US coast towards the end of the year. October/November? Should be around 5,000 n.m., say 30-40 days sailing in all. My copy of Cruising Routes is, of course, on board... so I'm just kicking this off with a wild guess and asking to stand corrected.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 18-05-2011, 10:44   #2
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Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

The 'delivery' route would be north to 40N then follow the winds to North America. Depending on your easting Hawaii might add to time and miles more than it's worth as a stop. You'd leave Tonga about now. It's difficult to completely avoid the tropical storm seasons without a painful stop in equatorial region. It's only about 7000 miles

Selling her in Oz, or SE Asia, sounds better. A serious buyer will travel anywhere to buy that boat.
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Old 18-05-2011, 10:47   #3
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Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

California market is SERIOUSLY depressed... they are givin boats away round here...
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Old 18-05-2011, 11:41   #4
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Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

With the strength of the OZ dollar, boats are more valuable there now. The US market for boats is depressed and as is the value of the US dollar. Strong currency value areas like OZ and Euro countries are looking to the US to find good deals on boats. I'd look to OZ as a place to market the boat.
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Old 18-05-2011, 11:45   #5
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Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

Ditto, plus housing and economic crash has things a little slow in US right now. Lots of buyers but no money.
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Old 18-05-2011, 17:53   #6
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Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

In 2009 we were in Hilo, HI with a boat that had come up from NZ via Tonga, American Samoa and Kiribati (Christmas and Fanning). They arrived in HI in December, but I have no idea when they started the trip. They spent the winter in HI and returned to San Diego in June (or July, not sure as we left for the Marquesas in April). The boat was nothing special upwind wise, just your standard center cockpit ketch with a big motor.

Another boat that arrived in Hilo in November of 2009, left for San Diago in December and had a pretty good sail of it, an Ohlson 38 as I recall, 23 days IIRC.

This year, we sailed from Hilo to Mexico in January (though could have easily made landfall in San Diago or even San Francisco).

So you could head out of Tonga in the SoPac cruising season, arrive in HI in Nov/Dec. Put the boat up for sale and if it doesn't go, head out come summer for the mainland. (During our time in the Ala Wai this last winter (Nov/Dec) we met a couple who asserted 'strangely, boats do sell in Hawaii').

See our blog below for some info on Hawaii, or send me an IM if you want more then you find there...

John
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Old 19-05-2011, 08:04   #7
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Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

Many of you remember Eurocruiser from this forum. He has swallowed the anchor but wrote a good article about how he did it -- Selling Your Boat Abroad
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Old 22-05-2011, 03:20   #8
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Thumbs up Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

Thanks to all the folk who've chipped in with replies, they've been very helpful in adding colour to a picture that's coming into focus.

It does sound like the US is no longer necessarily the right place for us to market Jocara. We had originally looked to the Pacific NorthWest as a place where hardy, sea-keeping sailboats would be appreciated. My impression was that, resorting to broad generalities, Oz has more aluminium, multi-hull, lightweight interest. Such generalisations may not be true, or if partially true, not the most relevant consideration.

Oz would certainly be easier to get to, and we'd have our pick of east coast destinations. Complying with Oz regulations, however, might temper the advantage.

Daddle raised an interesting point (and an involuntary knot of pride) by saying that a serious buyer would travel anywhere to buy a boat like Jocara. That is, she's expensive and special enough in some sense that the cost of travelling a long way to check out a boat that fits the bill may a reasonable option, given that such vessels cannot be found in every harbour.

The earliest we would consider moving her would be at the end of the SoPac season, say November (though we did get pinned on the Queensland coast by the earliest hurricane recorded there in 30 years in mid-November 2007, Hurricane Guba). Maybe we should figure on having to cast our net geographically wide and simply check out where it's cheapest to fly to!
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Old 16-07-2011, 17:06   #9
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Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

what would you be looking to get for Jocara i may have a buyer for you?
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Old 17-07-2011, 08:31   #10
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Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

The PNW isn't doing too bad what with the resurgence of the Canadian dollar. Canadians are reversing the trend around here and buying up boats.
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Old 18-07-2011, 10:20   #11
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Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

Thanks again to all for your advice and comments. Please note, however, that Jocara is NOT FOR SALE, I am simply looking at options and possibilities for the future, should the situation develop unfavourably. The current market conditions do not encourage us to let her go, not for a while yet!
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Old 18-07-2011, 10:36   #12
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Re: Tonga to Hawaii then San Francisco / Seattle

The best prices in Seattle is for catamarans lately because most big cats ( 40' and over ) have to be shiped or strugle up the coast to get there which adds to the price. We bought our boat in San Diego last fall because the market is flooded with all types of boats that went south but don't want to sail north up the coast or east thrugh Panama.
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