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Old 17-05-2021, 17:18   #1
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Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

Howdy everyone!

I am getting to make the Pacific Crossing to Hawaii on my Spencer 42.




The plan is to jump off from Port Townsend, down to the bay, then over to Hawaii once I finish the massive refit I am currently undertaking.

I was curious to hear from anyone else who has sailed this trip before if you had any advice or insight to offer.
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Old 17-05-2021, 18:28   #2
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

Take lots of crew, backup GPS, ginger ale and dramamine
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Old 17-05-2021, 19:03   #3
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

Check the threads in this group:
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...t+sailors.html
there may be something in there of help, at least for the leg to SF. Oughta be great trip, where in Hawaii are you headed?
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Old 17-05-2021, 19:29   #4
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

I’ve done both legs several times, but never as a single trip. The best time for the WA-SF leg is mid-summer to very early fall. Statistically the first/second week of August, but the couple of months around that are nice. Decent W/NW breeze that has moderated a bit from early summer. I prefer to be 50+ miles offshore (I’ve never actually done the southbound passage harbor hopping, only as a straight shot, so can’t speak to that approach) and then head toward the Bay once south of ~Point Arena. It can be a blast of a sail, broad reaching and surfing. Watch the weather forecasts but in a normal year most of that period is pretty stable. As you get closer to the coast you have to watch out (more ) for shipping, I try to time my arrival at SF for late afternoon, that gives me the most hours of daylight as I approach once heading in toward the coast.

You can continue to HI, but then you’re arriving at the peak of what hurricane season there is around Hawaii. Winter in Hawaii isn’t the best cruising time because of Kona winds, my personal preference is leaving sometime around March. Leaving SF at that time of year you have to very carefully watch the weather - there can be some doozies of storms that come through in early spring. I use the W/NW to get south, once south of LA making a turn toward HI. An option is to spend some of the winter months in the Channel Islands and leave from there, but you have to keep a weather eye out for the Santa Ana breezes.

April/May/June are a great time to be in Hawaii, we tend to make landfall at Hilo so we can work our way downwind through the chain. That also puts you in a good place/time for a return voyage of that is in the plans (if it’s not, start looking now at places to put the boat in HI, not the easiest place to get a slip).

Those are my experiences (and not just on a big cat), YMMV.
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Old 17-05-2021, 19:55   #5
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

I've done Puget Sound to SF both directions. Going down was rolly, not a lot of wind and most of if was on the stern. I've got a copy of our old/now-defunct website pages (imaginecruising.com) that detail the trip - I could copy/paste the text here if you want.

We did one shot from Neah Bay to Drakes Bay (anchored there for a few hours waiting for light and the tide to change before going under the Golden Gate into SF). We later met a couple PNW boats that had pulled into various ports along the way to seek shelter/rest/make repairs and none of them sounded like much fun (bar crossings), and in my opinion not worth the risk.

- Shoot for 100 miles or more offshore while passing the Columbia river
- Try to stay well outside the shipping lanes that run point-to-point up the coast.
- Have a way to pole out your genoa.
- Be ready/rested for a couple days of fog approaching SF while also crossing shipping lanes - very stressful having ships pop out of the dense fog dead-ahead when you've got the genoa poled out! It'd be less so with AIS and modern radar coupled with a chart plotter.

I haven't sailed to Hawaii - You need to consider the pacific high, probably heading south west initially to get below it, then plan on a lot of dead-downwind sailing (poled genoa or spinnaker).

Our next trip is looking like PNW->SF->Marquesas so we'll duck below the high and should have equatorial trades on the stern quarter.
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Old 18-05-2021, 08:43   #6
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

Head south until the butter melts and turn right. Just make sure the Pacific high is in place. The Vic-Maui race has a huge history to look into, as well as the Pacific Cup.
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Old 18-05-2021, 08:48   #7
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

We sailed this in 2019, but continued down to San Diego before making the hop to Hilo.

DM us or through our website (which is better) at http://CaroBabbo.com

--j
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Old 18-05-2021, 10:35   #8
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renegde_Sailor View Post
Howdy everyone!

I am getting to make the Pacific Crossing to Hawaii on my Spencer 42.



The plan is to jump off from Port Townsend, down to the bay, then over to Hawaii once I finish the massive refit I am currently undertaking.

I was curious to hear from anyone else who has sailed this trip before if you had any advice or insight to offer.
I planned the same trip but changed it to direct Hawaii in 2016 from Neah Bay to save time, cash, and hassle of San Francisco after talking with a friend who sails there...happy I did.

We started from the South Sound. The offshore leg departed from Neah Bay (fuel there) in late May due to insurance restrictions. It took our crew of four 22.5 days to get to Hilo due to three becalmings. We did two men on four hour shifts and that was tough to get enough sleep; six hour shifts on return worked better. I wanted two man shifts as extra safety against anyone falling overboard. Returned in July. It took us 21.5 days coming back to Neah Bay with one becalming and it is more mileage plus one becalming and a heave-to for a gale.

Monitor windvane was priceless. AIS was very useful. Used radar once.

Made daily SSB position reports to Pacific Seafarers Net (14.300Mhz) with best NOAA Wx reception from Pt. Reyes, CA.

Best sailing was out of Pearl Harbor heading north to 40N on return.

We consumed one gallon of water per man per day going over, a little more coming back; no watermaker, no showers, no refrigeration. Boat has 2x100 gallon capacity plus took 200 half liter bottles as backup. Strict fresh water management.

High winds between islands to Honolulu. Anchored every night getting there except once.

Number of days of rough weather both directions...not like You Tube videos. Ran into gale on return off WA coast and heaved-to for 30+ hours.

Go to You Tube for my very different slideshow/video: Sailing Roundtrip to Hawaii

Good Luck on whatever you decide. Great trip.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
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Old 18-05-2021, 10:58   #9
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

Actually you can follow the contrails from commercial airliners. They will be on one of the designated routes, Alpha to Foxtrot. Alpha is just north of SFO, Foxtrot is just south of San Diego. Most are going to Honolulu, some are going to the outer islands and they are on an obvious compass heading direct to Hawaii. Nonstop Asian flights from the US west coast will be seen on initial headings which are much further north than the Hawaii routes so as to fly the great circle.
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Old 18-05-2021, 19:34   #10
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

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Originally Posted by jmschmidt View Post
Actually you can follow the contrails from commercial airliners. They will be on one of the designated routes, Alpha to Foxtrot. Alpha is just north of SFO, Foxtrot is just south of San Diego. Most are going to Honolulu, some are going to the outer islands and they are on an obvious compass heading direct to Hawaii. Nonstop Asian flights from the US west coast will be seen on initial headings which are much further north than the Hawaii routes so as to fly the great circle.

"Actually" NOT.

Having actually sailed from SF to Hawaii, I will tell you that this story is 100% bull snot. It has been making the go rounds of sailing bars, especially on the west coast, for generations, so I was on the lookout for those "contrails". Saw not a one. Zero. Zilch. Not a single line in the sky pointing to Hawaií.

It's a total urban myth. Near the coast it is frequently too cloudy to see anything in the sky, and offshore the weather at altitude just doesn't make contrails with a frequency remotely useful to a navigator.
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Old 19-05-2021, 10:27   #11
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

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Originally Posted by BillKny View Post
"Actually" NOT.

Having actually sailed from SF to Hawaii, I will tell you that this story is 100% bull snot. It has been making the go rounds of sailing bars, especially on the west coast, for generations, so I was on the lookout for those "contrails". Saw not a one. Zero. Zilch. Not a single line in the sky pointing to Hawaií.

It's a total urban myth. Near the coast it is frequently too cloudy to see anything in the sky, and offshore the weather at altitude just doesn't make contrails with a frequency remotely useful to a navigator.
Actually it is true, you can do it this way. I had a neighbor, new to sailing and wanting a change of life. Told his wife they were moving out of the 5000 sq ft home and into the 32 foot boat he'd just bought. Hahahaha. That divorce was quick.

He bought a spinnaker. No idea how it worked so he hoisted it up while tired to the dock. Sailed onto the dock!. Undeterred one day he went out sailing and we didn't see him again for many months. No idea where he'd gone, nobody knew including his family until he showed up in Hawaii a few weeks later. Didn't know celestial and gps was just coming on to the scene. He followed the contrails to Hawaii and later coming back. On his next voyage to Hawaii he bought the 1st handheld Garmin PGS that was less than $1,000.00 USD. After his passing I ended up with that GPS which worked until N2K. The manual was awful so I bought a 2nd manual for 10 bucks, somewhat better and between the 2 manuals I could make it work.

2nd manual starts out with "you know it takes a rocket scientist to figure this out", "well, I'm a retired rocket scientist and I couldn't figure it out so when I did I wrote a manual so you can". LOL.
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Old 19-05-2021, 17:46   #12
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Re: Port Townsend 2 SF 2 Hawaii - Gearing up!

Quote:
He followed the contrails to Hawaii and later coming back.
Well, I reckon that the passage TO Hawaii could conceivably be made following contrails from SoCal, but I have a hard time believing that such a technique would be feasible on the return voyage. That passage, as most of us know, usually involves sailing north from the islands until reaching the NWlies and then turning towards the California coast passing over the top of the North Pacific high. Hard to envision what air route would be available to a contrail navigator attempting that passage.

Jim
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