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Old 17-10-2016, 13:29   #16
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

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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?
thanx
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.

Mexico to Marquesas, 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.

Ann

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, Fiji, 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
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Old 17-10-2016, 14:20   #17
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

I was in the midst of editing a reply for the OP when I got the message that i couldn't edit it, so it's gone, back to the ether, so I'm writing a different message entirely.

CORRECTION TO ABOVE POST: the Societies are in the cyclone belt, and one is expected to leave French Polynesia by Nov. 1

Quote:
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?
thanx
Learn the weather patterns for the areas you want to visit, and the restrictions that apply.

Tell us what you are doing to prepare for this cruise, what length you anticipate it will be, what boat you will be using, and what your actual experience is, so that we may evaluate your request for us to share our experience, which we are mostly really happy to do. I'm feeling like I've been asked to do your homework for you, and it is not sitting easily on my shoulders.

Ann
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Old 17-10-2016, 15:16   #18
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

I'm kind of with pdenton on this one. What is being asked is a very LARGE question. I've done the trip from Caribbean to Pacific and on the NZ. The trip down the West coast a different animal. I would assume most folks contemplating that trip would have a copy of Cornell in their back pocket.

The question has been answered by other posters. I get that encouraging folks to "step out" and "go for it" is part of this forum. At the same time I read some of these questions and my first thought is WTF :-) A recent one entitled "how to you anchor in the middle of the ocean to rest" comes to mind.

Not trying to be a wet blanket, just two cents :-)
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Old 17-10-2016, 15:56   #19
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

as this is a strong la nina year, winter, it may be difficult to predict when to go -- look at your weather.
it seems this year the remnants of cyclonic storms from wpac are thrashing pnw early.
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Old 17-10-2016, 16:06   #20
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

Repeat others recommendation on buying books and applying yourself to learning how to study weather patterns and charts.

Given the question asked, naivete expressed re taking a dog across the Pacific (long passages plus quarantine for a dog is no joke) and time line - take a moment and consider doing it in two years when you've had more chance to learn you know and don't know.
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Old 17-10-2016, 17:24   #21
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

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Originally Posted by uncle stinkybob View Post
I'm planning the trip next year also, solo with my service dog, Bug. This is the exact plan I will be following. Perhaps we need to start a new thread. Boats leaving the P.N.W. for Mexico thread? It might be fun and a little easier for us newer sailor's? Maybe even travel around same time. Have the opportunity to garner info and experience from you salty cruiser's that do this trip or any portion of it. What to provision, gear thoughts, boat prep. Would there be a big enough interest in such a thread? It would be great to have all that info in one spot.
You could do a search of the posts on CF that have lots of relevent info. Cut n paste the parts you feel are particularly useful, then post them in a new thread as a starter for conversation. You will find a lot of prior discussions including numerous contrary discussions about how to get from the Puget Sound to San Fran.
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Old 17-10-2016, 20:31   #22
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

You can sail San Diego to the Marquesas during the summer N. Pacific Hurricane season. You just have to keep an eye on developing weather and act accordingly. The Tropical Storms that head west almost always stay between 10N and 20N. The southern limits are set by the doldrums/ITCZ. Northern limits by water temperature and the Pacific High. Keep an eye out as you head south and be prepared to bore holes in the ocean above 20N if there is any significant weather happening. Storms develop in the Gulf of Panama and plenty of warning if they are coming your way.

We made the trip in mid June. When we got to 25N there was an ill defined low developing in the Gulf several thousand miles away. Didn't look like it was going anywhere, going to develop into much, and we were doing 150nmpd boogieing south at right angles to any storm path. Of course, as soon as we were committed to continuing on, the low developed into a Cat. 3 hurricane and headed west along about 22N. We kept a nervous eye on the progress of the storm as our winds began to die off and every daily run was below the previous eventually decreasung to a 100nm a day before we hit the doldrums like a brick wall at 8N. The hurricane eventually disappeared over night about 150 miles to the west and 250 miles north. Did make for some really uncomfortably conditions with the left over seas in the windless ocean. Gave me a new appreciation of Coleridge's 'Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner'.
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Old 19-10-2016, 14:38   #23
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Leave the Strait of Juan de Fuca on a good weather window after mid-Aug and before the second week of Sept. heading for San Francisco. Then a slow cruise to San Diego for an early Nov. departure for Mexico.
Second that. Surprise storms in late SEP in PNW can be devastating. Spoken from experience.
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Old 20-10-2016, 09:40   #24
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

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Really? I live and sail on the Straits of Juan de Fuca. This is the absolute worst time of year for the trip. Beating to about every mile and big nasty winter storm's as exampled by the force 12 that just hit us. If already in Cali? Is that what you mean? That makes sense.
Yes, that is what I meant , leaving from San Francisco or any port in northern Cal. Sorry I was not clear about that.
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Old 29-10-2016, 13:50   #25
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

OK, so I guess there was not enough information in my original post.
I have NO sailing experience whatsoever. I am currently looking at 3 boats, a 37 foot Morgan racer/cruiser, a 55 foot steel-hulled boat, and another boat that is 42 feet. I can post more details of the boats if needed.
I have done alot of research into every aspect of sailing, am constantly studying routes, weather, currents. paper and electronic charting, celestial navigation. techniques, provisioning, repairing and even rebuilding parts of sailboats. electronics repair. etc etc. I will be taking a couple (1 or 2) sailing lessons with a sailing club. I plan to do most/all of the hands on learning while on-route and sailing. Ive always been interested in travel and sailing around the world so it will be a good experience. Ive travelled most of north america by road and am going to sea to see the rest of the world.
As for the length of time I plan to sail...there is no end date as i plan to travel indefinitely or until I am not able to do so.
My boat budget is quite small, around 15-20,000$ Any suggestions on what boats to look out for would be helpful. Whats is your monthly budget while sailing? I live inland and am 6 hours from the ocean (vancouver) so its hard to just 'browse' the marinas for boats for sale.
My sail plan is to sail from PNW to Mexico. Id like to stay offshore and avoid U.S ports altogether and go directly to mexico if possible. d like to cruise around coast-hopping Mexico for a bit. Have not decided on going to south/central america yet before the pacific crossing. I'd like to spend as much time in french polynesia, and micronesia as possible. Papua new guinea is somewhere ive always wanted to go see too. Then off to asia after that I suppose.
So this 'trip' isnt really a trip, more like a lifestyle change since I wont be coming back from the trip for a very long time.
So what do you's think? Am I crazy for sailing in the PNW with no experience whatsoever? then attempting to do a SLOW circumnavigation for years and years on end? Any advice?
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Old 29-10-2016, 13:55   #26
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

I would definitely avoid a steel 55 footer for your first boat. It could be a maintenance nightmare and cost.
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Old 29-10-2016, 14:02   #27
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

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Originally Posted by svasgard View Post
OK, so I guess there was not enough information in my original post.
I have NO sailing experience whatsoever. I am currently looking at 3 boats, a 37 foot Morgan racer/cruiser, a 55 foot steel-hulled boat, and another boat that is 42 feet. I can post more details of the boats if needed.
I have done alot of research into every aspect of sailing, am constantly studying routes, weather, currents. paper and electronic charting, celestial navigation. techniques, provisioning, repairing and even rebuilding parts of sailboats. electronics repair. etc etc. I will be taking a couple (1 or 2) sailing lessons with a sailing club. I plan to do most/all of the hands on learning while on-route and sailing. Ive always been interested in travel and sailing around the world so it will be a good experience. Ive travelled most of north america by road and am going to sea to see the rest of the world.
As for the length of time I plan to sail...there is no end date as i plan to travel indefinitely or until I am not able to do so.
My boat budget is quite small, around 15-20,000$ Any suggestions on what boats to look out for would be helpful. Whats is your monthly budget while sailing? I live inland and am 6 hours from the ocean (vancouver) so its hard to just 'browse' the marinas for boats for sale.
My sail plan is to sail from PNW to Mexico. Id like to stay offshore and avoid U.S ports altogether and go directly to mexico if possible. d like to cruise around coast-hopping Mexico for a bit. Have not decided on going to south/central america yet before the pacific crossing. I'd like to spend as much time in french polynesia, and micronesia as possible. Papua new guinea is somewhere ive always wanted to go see too. Then off to asia after that I suppose.
So this 'trip' isnt really a trip, more like a lifestyle change since I wont be coming back from the trip for a very long time.
So what do you's think? Am I crazy for sailing in the PNW with no experience whatsoever? then attempting to do a SLOW circumnavigation for years and years on end? Any advice?
As your first offshore passage the Straits of Juan de Fuca to Ensenada, Mexico is a very poor choice bordering on ridiculous. . Rethink what you are doing and take it a step at a time. (Almost) No one needs to leave saying I'm doing a circumnavigation.
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Old 29-10-2016, 17:50   #28
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Re: What time of year should I plan to sail...

I suspect any boat you get in this market for $15-20,000 is going to need lots of refitting to make it off-shore capable.
I suggest you spend some time sailing the Gulf Islands while you do this and then, once you have become comfortable with the boat and your abilities, circumnavigate Vancouver Island.
Taking off into the North Pacific with little experience in a well found boat would be foolish, doing so on a $20,000 boat would be suicidal.
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