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Old 13-10-2017, 16:10   #1
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Pacific NW to Marquesas

Looking for advice on doing a passage from the Pacific NW (Victoria BC) to the Marquesas and beyond. Most folks go south to Mexico in the summer, then puddle jump from there. We have looked at the Jimmy Cornell book and that suggests doing a passage direct, leaving in June. However we noticed that the distance shown in the book is short by 1000 miles (oops), so I'm thinking that will not give us enough time to get to the south pacific and avoid cyclone season? We would like to leave in April but it seems dicey given the weather in the PNW. Anybody do this, or know of anyone who has? Is this idea nuts?
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Old 13-10-2017, 16:40   #2
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

My friend Jim left San Francisco on May 11, 2005, and sailed non-stop to the Marquesas. They crossed the equator on May 31, and arrived in Hiva-Oa on June 5. Every year it's going to be different, buy they had a nice trip. Here's their blog: Bon Voyage! ¬ę Intention
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Old 14-10-2017, 10:22   #3
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

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Originally Posted by jeff47912 View Post
Looking for advice on doing a passage from the Pacific NW (Victoria BC) to the Marquesas and beyond. Most folks go south to Mexico in the summer, then puddle jump from there. We have looked at the Jimmy Cornell book and that suggests doing a passage direct, leaving in June. However we noticed that the distance shown in the book is short by 1000 miles (oops), so I'm thinking that will not give us enough time to get to the south pacific and avoid cyclone season? We would like to leave in April but it seems dicey given the weather in the PNW. Anybody do this, or know of anyone who has? Is this idea nuts?
folks might leave pnw in summer but no one sails to mexico south of ensenada in cane season. yes hurricanes are frequent in hot water of mexico.
folks generally sail south just at end of cane season then in feb to march sail off to marquesas. some even stay in mexico as it is gorgeous here.
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Old 14-10-2017, 11:13   #4
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

This year's NEPAC hurricanes:





https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...rricane_season

I couldn't say if 2018 will be the same as 2017, but it's a good place to start.
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Old 14-10-2017, 11:20   #5
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

Leaving in June means that you won't have much time in the South Pacific before cyclone season. If I was going to get such a late start, I might consider storing my yacht at the Raiatea Carenge and then when hurricane season is over, fly to Raiatea to have plenty of time to enjoy the South Pacific and French Polynesia.
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Old 14-10-2017, 13:19   #6
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

We sailed to the Marquesas from San Diego in June. Hurricanes develop in the Gulf of Panama and either head north or west. The ones going north usually aren't an issue because you'll be west of them. Those going west almost always stay between 10N and 20N latitude. The tracks are carefully watched and their progress is easy to monitor.

We did the passage back in the old days when weather info. wasn't nearly as good as it is today. Depended on WWV weather information on the short wave radio. The plan was to head south monitoring the weather. If there was nothing happening sail straight on. If a storm was coming through, bore circles in the ocean above 20N till the storm passed and then head south behind it. As it turned out, as we approached 20N there was a tropical depression developing the Gulf of Panama but wasn't much and a long way away as we approached 20N. I'd managed to twist off the engine fuel bleed screw so the motor was down till I figure out a fix. Decided to continue on as we'd been doing 150 plus NMPD and would only be in the storm track tube for 4 days if things continued so had plenty of time to get out of the way. Of course as soon as we crossed 20N the wind began to drop and our daily runs decrease while the tropical depression turned into a tropical storm and headed west staying just above 10N. By the time the storm got within a couple hundred miles east of us it was a Cat 3 hurricane. We were down at about 8N so far enough out of its way that it would only have benefited our daily runs. In any case the storm went poof and completely disappeared over a 12 hour period so didn't give us any weather. At the same time we ran into the doldrums and spent a miserable couple of days till I could figure out how to get the engine running.

With a proper lookout at the weather and the intention of holding out above 20N if there is any storm heading west in your path, you can make the Passage to the Marquesas during the hurricane season. We found it to be a great time to arrive in the Marquesas. No other boats came down after us till into November so pretty much had the islands to ourselves for 5 months. Only boats passing through were out of Panama and not many of them and the early birds from Mexico all headed west soon after we got there. The anchorages on the north sides of the islands were wonderful but were reported to be really rolly in the opposite season.
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Old 15-10-2017, 09:43   #7
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

Great Thread.
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Old 15-10-2017, 20:48   #8
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

Good thread, thinking about taking my boat to Mexico next year, she's in Oak Harbor WA,
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Old 15-10-2017, 21:11   #9
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

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Good thread, thinking about taking my boat to Mexico next year, she's in Oak Harbor WA,
Come on down! Weather is nicer than PNW and beer is way cheaper!

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Old 16-10-2017, 01:06   #10
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

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Come on down! Weather is nicer than PNW and beer is way cheaper!

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Yeah, sounds good, going to have to do it in spurts, maybe take 2 or 3 R&R's to get to Zihuatanejo, don't know anything about the place, but it seems quite a few leave from there and head to the SP, will have to do some homework about Pacific Coast of Mexico, looking forward to it
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Old 16-10-2017, 01:41   #11
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

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Originally Posted by jeff47912 View Post
Looking for advice on doing a passage from the Pacific NW (Victoria BC) to the Marquesas and beyond. Most folks go south to Mexico in the summer, then puddle jump from there. We have looked at the Jimmy Cornell book and that suggests doing a passage direct, leaving in June. However we noticed that the distance shown in the book is short by 1000 miles (oops), so I'm thinking that will not give us enough time to get to the south pacific and avoid cyclone season? We would like to leave in April but it seems dicey given the weather in the PNW. Anybody do this, or know of anyone who has? Is this idea nuts?

My parents did this trip with me back in 1980 - Victoria to Hiva Oa in one passage, averaging 95 miles per day in a 10.5m steel sloop. We left in mid-June and spent 3 months in the Marquesas. Celebrated Reaganís election in the Tuamotus. Then spent the hurricane season in the Society Islands. Had to hide deep in Tahaaís Bays twice. Had New Years at Bora Bora before running back to Tahaa to hide again.

Donít be in a hurry - FP is a cultural experience not to be rushed. Even starting from Mexico or Panama and expecting to get to NZ or AUS in a single season is silly. There are hurricane holes in most island groups and careening your boat during the cyclone season is a reasonable option if you donít want to anchor watch during a hurricane. Tuamotus, Raiatea, Tonga and Fiji all have secure off-season facilities.

Or sail north to the Line or Marshall Islands, then back south to pick up where you left off.

Itís a magic passage direct from Victoria - when you first see the palm covered slopes in the Marquesas in the morning light after that long passage itís something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
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Old 16-10-2017, 06:47   #12
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

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My parents did this trip with me back in 1980 - Victoria to Hiva Oa in one passage, averaging 95 miles per day in a 10.5m steel sloop. We left in mid-June and spent 3 months in the Marquesas. Celebrated Reaganís election in the Tuamotus. Then spent the hurricane season in the Society Islands. Had to hide deep in Tahaaís Bays twice. Had New Years at Bora Bora before running back to Tahaa to hide again.

Donít be in a hurry - FP is a cultural experience not to be rushed. Even starting from Mexico or Panama and expecting to get to NZ or AUS in a single season is silly. There are hurricane holes in most island groups and careening your boat during the cyclone season is a reasonable option if you donít want to anchor watch during a hurricane. Tuamotus, Raiatea, Tonga and Fiji all have secure off-season facilities.

Or sail north to the Line or Marshall Islands, then back south to pick up where you left off.

Itís a magic passage direct from Victoria - when you first see the palm covered slopes in the Marquesas in the morning light after that long passage itís something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Yes, the guy that did the survey on my boat did what I want to do, PNW to Mexico then FP for 3 years then came back, the difference with me is I want to just keep going after about 3 years, maybe take 6 years to get to Thailand, that's the plan anyway, not going to be in any hurry
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Old 16-10-2017, 09:42   #13
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

We left Anacortes the very first of September 2004 and went to Mexico, stopping in various ports in California. Then took off from San Diego at the end of hurricane season - November 1st and spent two winters and a summer in Mexico before leaving in April 2006 for the Marquesas. It was all a wonderful trip, except for the summer in Mexico. But there are always some crews that tough out the summers, either in a marina with aircon or up in the Sea of Cortez.

If you are in a hurry though, I would just go down to Mexico in November and the get ready to go to the Marquesas in the spring, giving you a good three months in French Polynesia. I would strongly recommend leaving from a northern Mexican port though rather than from Zihuatenejo like we did. Too far east and in the wind shadow. The poster was right though on not just blasting straight for New Zealand or Australia. If you do, you will miss some of the best cruising you will find anywhere on this planet.

Thousands (literally) have done this trip and its many variations. Mexico is where most go though, before heading west. No doubt you can leave from up here and get there though - watching the weather and sailing appropriately.
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Old 24-12-2017, 00:11   #14
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

As said before, no matter when and where you leave North America for the Marquesas will leave you not more than 6 months all the way to NZ or AUS if you donít want to spend a hurricane season in FP or the rest of the S Pacific. Donít worry, the hurricane anchorages are fine (albeit scary at the time) in the Societies. You can always haul out - there are several locations in the Tuamotus and Tahiti - and head home. Or just hang out in the Marquesas - theyíre a 1 in 10 chance of a single hurricane in any particular year. FP is magical - the combination of an original Polynesian culture together with the French on top is special. Anyone coming through the Pacific always says that wish they spent more time in FP. Though the standard 90 day visa is not enough, you can apply ahead of time for a Long Stay Visa (4-12 months).

Regarding the passage, if you want to visit Mexico then do so. But if you just want to go to the S Pacific then go direct. Whatís an extra few hundred or a thousand miles? Provision where you know best and go. Thereís no point going east to Mexico just to come back west again. Unless you want to be social, then join the Baja and PPJ folks. But once in FP, you wonít regret slowing down.
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Old 24-12-2017, 03:44   #15
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Re: Pacific NW to Marquesas

June is a little late to be leaving although certainly doable. I would try to leave in April which will give you plenty of time to make it to anywhere you like.
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