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Old 13-11-2014, 11:08   #16
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

Hawaii--wind and seas get big up the West Coast. Waiting for weather windows could require weeks of waiting between legs.
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Old 13-11-2014, 11:09   #17
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

Cruising World published s story a few years ago called the Baja Dash, not Bash. Concept being harbor hopping up the Baja coast to San Diego. Worked for them. pm me and I'll send you the PDF.
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Old 13-11-2014, 11:10   #18
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

Have not done Panama to southern Mexico but understnd that part is pretty benign as long as you pay attention to the Gulf of Tuhauntepec.

Have done numerous trips both ways from Zihuatanejo up to So Cal. No problem getting good wx windows to Cabo San Lucas. Usually too light.

There is a good reason from Cabo to San Diego is called the Bash, however that is usually by people who have calendars or schedules on board. Have gotten beaten up by 35 knots, but only when I couldn't wait for a window. In the cases where we had no one on board with a deadline we have always been able to have an easy trip with nothing over 10-12. Sometimes this can mean waiting for a few days for the wx but then it lightens up.

I would say the best time in the spring / summer time frame is mid to late June. Usually more and longer windows then. Is hurricane season but I am pretty sure that there has never been a recorded hurricane north of Cabo in June.

Once you get to Turtle Bay can do legs of not more than 50 miles except for the crossing from Cedros Island to the mainland.

Should remember that from Santa Barbara to SF can be just as nasty if you don't wait for the weather.

Have done several trans-pacific crossings and, although I enjoy those, I would do the cove hopping approach before doing the clipper ship route.

As with most cruising, picking the right weather window can make a day/night difference on the trip.
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Old 13-11-2014, 11:15   #19
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

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Actually if you go up the coast it is 2000+ miles of upwind. People tell me it is brutal at times. Be prepared for lots of motoring. Or maybe you could just take it apart and truck it up.
You can do the offshore thing. Remember, lee shore is the enemy, not the ocean.
Yep, from Cabo to San Diego it's pretty much a "start at daybreak, motorsail like hell as long as you can until the seas build and then find refuge 'til the next morning."
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Old 13-11-2014, 11:27   #20
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

I sailed from San Francisco Bay north this year on my hiada 26 trying to get to the Puget sound. Took 3 weeks to get to Cape Mendocino and was the most challenging journey of my life. Almost every one and everything I've read says motor. I now know why. I ran out of time. I left in the middle of august. Should have left in july. Next year I'm going to get an inboard motor for the journey so that if I run out of time I can motor. I would recommend the Hawaii route if your equipped and want to sail not motor or be in for a real challenge.
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Old 13-11-2014, 11:34   #21
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

I have done the Bash three times and it can be nasty but if you can wait there are times when the weather is perfect. From San Diego to Santa Barbara it is a nice trip. From SB to SF it can be brutal or easy once made the trip in about 48 hours on my Sceptre 41. I would just wait and take it easy up the coast . . . unless you love ocean passages.
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Old 13-11-2014, 13:12   #22
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

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I have done the Bash three times and it can be nasty but if you can wait there are times when the weather is perfect. From San Diego to Santa Barbara it is a nice trip. From SB to SF it can be brutal or easy once made the trip in about 48 hours on my Sceptre 41. I would just wait and take it easy up the coast . . . unless you love ocean passages.
The OP has only cruised coastally, and, now, has the opportunity to sail from Panama, via the Galapagos, to Hawaii, AND, to learn to love ocean passages. If they bash up the coast and don't get it right, timing-wise, they might get something like Odile to make problems for them. And that much motoring into the wind and south setting current is hard on things.

I have sailed from Santa Barbara to SF a few times, all day hopping, it is doable, and if you have barn fever (which often happens to people who are "coming home"), you won't want to stop much for weather windows. I wouldn't call it fun, more like doing what must be done, but we were on a schedule.

Have sailed SF to Mexico and beyond, twice. I like downwind sailing, so does my body.

Only have sailed from Hawaii to SF twice, both times we left it a little too late in the year Sept, and Oct. Leave before then!

To me, ocean passages are magic, there's a special tranquility and wonder that is denied the coastal cruiser. It is such a different world, and one you never find if you stay coastal. I wish I had the eloquence to be able to communicate it.

I think it would be a pity for the MC41 to deny himself the marvelous opportunity offered by the Galapagos, HI, SF route.

Ann (cruiser withwell over 100,000 n. mi. under our keels)
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Old 14-11-2014, 04:42   #23
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

Wow, I really appreciate the thoughtful responses. Cruisers forum is truly an invaluable resource and a treasure trove of wisdom and experience. I'm strongly leaning towards doing the Galapagos - Hawaii - British Columbia circuit.. I guess there's only one way to find out if the open ocean is for you!
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Old 15-11-2014, 06:21   #24
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

load google earth wind and currents and see what it is all about. folks can talk until you no longer want to listen.
yes northing in a boat close to shore on west coast is a hell wet nasty trip. go out 100 or so miles and conditions are much different than they are 20 miles off shore.
there is a southerly drift current and winds are primarily from nw.
yes it is a Bash, not a Dash..it is the most uncomfortable and disliked passage one can make without snow and ice.
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Old 18-11-2014, 21:35   #25
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

Unless the Galapagos have migrated into the North Pacific, you will be spending many weeks going out of your way to visit them. Panama to the Galapagos is noted for being a light and variable passage (ie. lots of motoring) and after a visit, you then have to go back north through these light and variables to get anywhere near the trade winds. Dont get me wrong, the Galapagos are on my bucket list, but not if I were on any type of schedual. I have enjoyed many long offshore passages , but I dont think I would recommend Panama, Hawaii, BC as a first long passage. At least if you get your brains beat out for a few days on the coast, you can tuck in someplace and get some rest. I have done Cabo to San Diego and had all gentle weather, but other boats a week later had to work hard to get north. I have done San Diego to SF numerous times and learned all of the little coves to get out of the weather if things got nasty. I may have missed it, but I dont recall if the OP said how large (or small) his crew is, or how experienced the other crew members are? That can make a huge difference. I hope what ever the OP decides, turns out good for them. ______Grant.
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Old 21-11-2014, 17:05   #26
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

Hi Grant,

Why, specifically, would you not recommend the route? We're not on a particularly tight schedule other than we'd like to be back in San Francisco sometime in the summer of 2015.

We'll probably be a crew of 2-3 fairly to very experienced sailors, although without a lot of experience at long blue water passage making.

Thanks for any additional color...
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Old 21-11-2014, 18:27   #27
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

Jimmy Cornell recommends this route Grant, as do other professional captains that are on my dock. I have not done it (yet) I do agree that it is a large circle, but one with the most favorable winds. If he doesn't like it by the Galp. islands, he can turn around at any time. It's not like your on a freeway or something
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Old 22-11-2014, 01:44   #28
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

I am surprised that Cornell recommends the Galapagos as part of a Panama to Hawaii passage. Panama is at 9 degrees N, and the very northern tip of the Galapagos is at the equator. You would be headed S.W. through a very light and variable region (using lots of fuel), and I am sure that you would want to spend a decent amount of time once you arrived. Refuel at whatever the local price may be, and then you have to go back up through more light and variables to get anywhere near the N.E. trades that will carry you to Hawaii. If the Galapagos are a once in a lifetime chance, then go for it, but I dont see how it would not add several (possibly many) weeks compared to Panama to Hawaii. The great circle route from Panama to Hawaii runs just south of Soccoro Island, which is only a few hundred miles from Cabo San Lucas. If the time and money are OK, then go whichever way you choose, but if time is at all short, the Galapagos wont make it any better. For SF, I would opt for the coastal route, but for Seattle I would probably go to Hawaii. Like most things on CF, this is just my opinion. ______Grant.
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Old 22-11-2014, 03:08   #29
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

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yes northing in a boat close to shore on west coast is a hell wet nasty trip.
The boat might get wet but they won't. The Maine Cat 41 is a uniquely designed boat with most control lines leading inside to the bridgedeck cockpit. It has a hard top with strataglass windows that you roll up or down allowing for dry sailing in wet conditions. You really don't have to go outside much at all. And it has daggerboards and a self tacking jib. There's nothing else like it.
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Old 22-11-2014, 11:08   #30
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Re: Sailing home to San Francisco from Panama

Sand Crab is correct, in all the conditions we've encountered (including beating into 30+ kts true) we've personally never gotten wet. A small number of waves have actually "entered" the cockpit but the windows (always zipped down by this point) direct the vast majority of the water away aside from some minor seepage.

Having said that, we don't like beating into weather any more than the next boat, mono, cat, or otherwise.
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