Hey everyone. I am new to sailing and will be taking my first long distance sail sometime next year. Myself, a friend and my dog are planning on sailing to mexico, coast hopping down the Mexican coast, down to costa rica then west to french polynesia. We will be leaving from Vancouver, Canada. What time of year would be the best for me to leave from Vancouver to avoid the biggest possibility of bad weather?
Leave probably in Sept, Aug if you want to spend some time cruising in the Channel Is. off Santa Barbara. There are a few stops on the way south by Calif. Your course has a lot more east in it south of Pt. Concepcion.
Leaving about the time of the Baja
Ha-ha, is generally okay by cyclone season, but your plans should be loose, so if there's a late cyclone brewing, you delay your departure.
, can leave March-April. Southern hemisphere cyclone season for the Western Pacific usually doesn't start till sometime around Nov. But, it's not cast in stone, we've seen early ones in Oct., but usually feel okay till the end of Nov. We've also seen late ones, in the middle of May, but most people start feeling safe to leave in March. The important thing is to spend a bunch of energy studying the weather
patterns for the areas you want to hang out in.
You say you are new to sailing, but do not give us an idea of your actual experience, or even whether or not you have a boat, so please forgive me if what I am about to write is not what you want to hear. Jim and I sailed together for about 8 years coastal cruising and one ocean crossing
to HI and back to see if we liked ocean passages before we committed to our first cruise
. I think this was a reasonable learning
time. I think it is your apparent assumption that you do not need a learning
time that is of the most concern to me.
The ocean is not our natural environment
, and its trade
routes are not paved highways with service
stations every hundred miles or so. Humans and dogs
are not equipped to survive in the water
for very long. Respect weather. Practice sailing in heavy weather so that you know what to expect, learn if the dog gets seasick when the motion is jerky--I do. Have a plan for what to do if your friend gets seasick and isn't recovering, happened to a skipper
friend of ours this season, had to divert to get the chap medical
aid. It could be you, as well. Spend time with your charts
and learn where you can't get in under which conditions. Do study large paper charts
, the small format of computer screens and smart phones does not give you the sense of the geography that may save you as the paper chart will. All those bars that close in strong wave/wind conditions, see how shallow they are? There's a lot of data to commit to your memory, but imho, the practice, the getting experience in heavy weather is more important.
PS. You'll have noticed I didn't write about Costa Rica
. It's a long way east, not in the direction of French Polynesia
. Have you set goals for FP, yet? Well, the Societies are out of the cyclone belt, but the general rule
is be out of FP by Nov 1. If you do that, you will miss the Cooks, Tonga
, and have to go straight to NZ for cyclone season. Myself, I would plan to be in Tahiti
for fete, and in NZ or Oz for cyclone season, depending on the rest of the plan. I