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Old 19-02-2014, 17:35   #1
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Big trip coming

I am sure this has been asked by many before but I can't seem to find any threads on it. Here is the basics of my question and concerns. I am in Hawaii and was recently informed that I will be retiring from the NAVY a full year earlier than I had planned. My wife and I have a Catalina 42 here we have used for a lot of island sailing while here. We have plans to sail it back to the mainland then on through the canal to the east coast. The sudden move up of my retirement has made some serious changes for us. Now I will be making the crossing around OCT time frame. I know it is not an ideal time but I have very little choice. That being said, does anyone have input on what the absolute "must have" items for ready spares are for a 1990 Catalina 42 for a major trip like this? normal provisions are taken care of and I have a few spare filters and simple things but are there well known items that wear out on long journeys? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 19-02-2014, 17:44   #2
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Re: Big trip coming

A good friend of mine has done extensive sailing aboard his 42' Catalina. Here is the link to his blog. Maybe you could find something useful or ask him any questions you may have.

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Old 19-02-2014, 17:47   #3
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Re: Big trip coming

not comprehensive but as a guy preparing to cross the pacific in a couple of weeks myself:

- aa/aaa batteries (or rechargeables)
- audio books / mp3's / kindle books anything else to keep you occupied
- spare 200' 10mm line (will probably work for anything that pops)
- spare shackles
- a couple of 50' sections of that little dacron line they sell in chandleries
- cheap spare plastic 50q fuel tank (depending on expected conditions)
- spare sunglasses
- long sleeve shirts / sun block
- cable clamps and spare amsteel / dyneema to fashion temporary standing rigging
- spare chain plate material (can be ugly)
- a thin and thick (but not too thick) section of all-thread with fasteners
- take the handheld, ziplock it, into the ditch bag

Make a slip reservation early as most west coast places are packed up. I know some good spots in San Diego I can recommend if you're interested.

Most of my prep work has really been about going through everything and looking for potential failure points, chafe, and the such.
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Old 19-02-2014, 17:48   #4
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Re: Big trip coming

Where on the mainland will you be heading for your landfall? Makes a difference in what your strategy will be at that time of year.

We've done Kauai to SF twice at that time of year. One sort of ok trip, the other was the worst passage ever in our nearly 150,000 miles of cruising.

BE warned!


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying in the Pittwater area for a while
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Old 19-02-2014, 17:58   #5
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Re: Big trip coming

Spend the winter in Hawaii, getting to know the boat better, and making sure the two of you are comfortable with living aboard. Then tackle the crossing the next May or June, when the No. Pacific high settles in. It will be two to three weeks to SF or points north, depending on where the high is, and you don't want to be heading S along the No. American coast until then anyway. In fact, you might want to head for the Strait of Juan de Fuca, spend the summer in the islands north of the Strait, and then head S in say August or September. Cruising is about going with the seasonal weather patterns, not fighting them, as you may do in an October crossing from Hawaii. I did a Hawaii to Strait of JdF crossing in July a few years back, and it was an idyllic 3 1/2 week sail in a 42' sailboat. I have no interest in being out in the middle of the Pacific in months when storms may hit, and October is questionable.

As for spares, there are threads on this Forum you can search, and any number of books on cruising with recommendations on the topic. I sail a junk rigged boat, and the main thing I need at sea is more line in appropriate sizes to replace lines that chafe during a passage. You can go stock up on anything that might fail, and your lockers will be filled to overflowing, or you can be more conservative, recognizing that you are facing a 3 week voyage and will be able to replace anything that breaks once you get there. Just make sure the rig is in good shape before you leave, and have backups for your steering system so you don't have to spend the whole voyage sitting at the wheel. I have an autopilot and a windvane, so two systems have to break before I become a slave to the tiller. So far, these two systems have not failed me. (I would knock on wood, but the boat is steel ...)
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Old 19-02-2014, 18:04   #6
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Re: Big trip coming

Your focus should be on preventive maintenance and backups for critical systems--look at EVERYTHING on the boat and have a plan for what you would do if it failed. For examples, your fresh water pump, your alternator or regulator, and your autopilot,

The last time I made the trip, one of the boats ahead of me ran out of motor oil--he got water up his exhaust and only brought enough to change his oil once.

The things which are most likely to wear on a long passage are lines and sails.
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Old 19-02-2014, 18:34   #7
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Re: Big trip coming

Actually, if you want to go to Panama, I'd skip Cali altogether in the winter. Take a look at the pilot charts, but you could put the boat on port tack as close to the wind as comfortable, then work your way east when you get down to 10N. Not a whole lot of stopping places, but I'd plan on a fuel stop near Golfito. It would take you into the Caribbean during the best cruising season there.
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Old 20-02-2014, 08:45   #8
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Re: Big trip coming

Originally Posted by rsturgill View Post
Now I will be making the crossing around OCT time frame. I know it is not an ideal time but I have very little choice.
No offense, but to me this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Not necessarily the crossing in October--that might be easy or not, depending on a variety of factors. The problem is the attitude that you WILL make an ocean crossing, on the schedule that you have set, whether it is a good time to go or not. When it comes to crossing oceans, you are right about having very little choice, but it should be the WEATHER and the OCEAN that sets the schedule, not any other outside factors.

Good luck.
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Old 20-02-2014, 12:59   #9
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Re: Big trip coming

This trip, at least the Hawaii to BC I have done 3 times but not as late as October, the latest I did was in September. It depends on where the Pacific high is as its best to get on top of it to get favorable winds. Some friends that had real long range fuel were able to motor right through the high and it really shortened the trip. The high tends to slip south later in the year and this can be good and bad as the lows that come out of the north/west like to rub up against the high and you can get some real strong breezes and large seas. That trip is always a bit of a crap shoot for weather but if you have a capable boat you should be fine. The good thing is that your trying to get south so once you get on the backside of the high you should be good to go.

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