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Old 05-03-2021, 22:23   #1
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Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

While looking at weather patterns for the last year on windy, I couldn't help but notice that there are way fewer nasty large scale weather events the further north you go towards the equator. Even though it may take longer to get to the Marqueses would it be a safer way of getting there? Are there more squalls up there? The current seems favorable a little higher. Would it be a chiller trip?
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Old 05-03-2021, 22:43   #2
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

equatorial doldrums area tends to be fairly windless...

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Old 05-03-2021, 22:58   #3
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

yeah les weather but slow going
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Old 05-03-2021, 23:09   #4
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

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yeah les weather but slow going
Thanks for the response. Dangerously slow or just slow?
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Old 05-03-2021, 23:50   #5
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

Light to no wind and lots of thunder and "lightning". Check Windy and you will see there is an almost continuous band of rain and thunder. Don't forget the counter currents.


In certain circumstances you can make use of the conditions for example you can get from New Caledonia to Tahiti by going north and sailing with the counter current. It is a slowish trip only really possible in a cat with light wind performance or boats that can carry sufficient fuel to motor.
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Old 06-03-2021, 01:24   #6
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

Read up on Intertropical Convergence Zone, this is a good start https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intert...nvergence_Zone

Mostly you want to stay away from the ITCZ or cross as quickly as possible.
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Old 06-03-2021, 01:37   #7
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

Dustman - If you are looking at passage making have you built your boat yet? What did you decide to do in the end?
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Old 06-03-2021, 01:59   #8
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

I assume the OP is referring to an east to west passage. In which case you want to stay in the tradewinds so you can have a "tradewind passage". Some of the best and easiest long distance sailing you'll ever do. The equator offers a counter current, no wind, squalls, heat.....
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Old 06-03-2021, 02:02   #9
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

To get a a good indication of where the ITCZ and tradewinds are at various times of year, check out https://www.deepzoom.com/pilotcharts/index.html
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Old 06-03-2021, 02:09   #10
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

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To get a a good indication of where the ITCZ and tradewinds are at various times of year, check out https://www.deepzoom.com/pilotcharts/index.html

What a really nice way to display pilot charts.
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Old 06-03-2021, 02:36   #11
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

When we made the passage, we stayed at 5 degrees south to avoid the nasties further south. We crossed the ITCZ without difficulty but it was narrow where we crossed.

The humbolt current will take you to the Marquesas - runs at about 1 1/2 knots.
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Old 06-03-2021, 02:43   #12
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

Very true!
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What a really nice way to display pilot charts.
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Old 06-03-2021, 10:03   #13
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

Assuming that you are starting in the northern hemisphere and your destination is the Marquesas, did you also have a timeframe of travel? We were fully insured and Lloyds wanted the dates and destinations. As the seventh boat in a week leaving from Barra de Navidad in early March, we followed the daily reports of all the Pacific net vessels and were able to determine the shortest route through the ITCZ. We ran out of trades at 2300 one night and picked up the southern trades at 0400. We crossed to the Marquesas in 19 days 20 hours, with 2 persons on board. A dream cruise.
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Old 06-03-2021, 10:08   #14
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

I've made the trip to the South Pacific twice and the strategy that's worked for me is to use Grib files to monitor the winds and head down to just north of the ITCZ then head east just above it until a skinny spot develops then hang a left and cross it (usually having to motor through it). Once I'm south of the ITCZ and the wind picks back up, shape course for the Marquesas.
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Old 06-03-2021, 10:24   #15
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Re: Safer to stick near the equator crossing the pacific?

Read World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell.
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