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Old 10-01-2017, 15:17   #1
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Seattle to Honolulu

Live in Hilo, HI
Boat is in Anacortes, WA
What is the best time of year to sail from Anacortes, WA to Honolulu or Hilo, HI?
Have sailed Long Beach, CA to Honolulu
Honolulu to Papeete, to Bora Bora & back to Honolulu, but never from the Pacific NW south.
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Old 10-01-2017, 15:30   #2
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Re: Seattle to Honolulu

Well you'll head south along the coast to make it to the trades and the best months are early summer because it's damn cold in the spring and the PNW can be a stinky place to sail in the early part of the year. Once your able to lay Hawaii it will be easy peasy but the first part of your journey will be more of a challenge. You will technically be in hurricane season but the likelyhood that time of the year is low on that route. If you turn west to early you'll sail into the pacific high.
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Old 10-01-2017, 15:59   #3
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Re: Seattle to Honolulu

Can I head SW out of the Straits, then turn for Hawaii as soon as I get west enough to be out of the influence of the weather in that area, or do I need to head south along the Coast?
Wind seems in your face until past San Fran, going South along coast.
Was thinking about departing early to mid May depending on weather
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Old 10-01-2017, 16:55   #4
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Re: Seattle to Honolulu

Early to mid May is perfect as long as the weather is ok. You will have to go quite a ways south, probably well south of SF before you can go west. You can certainly make some westing as you head south but you want to stay in the NW winds until your weather shows you can nicely clear the bottom of the Pacific high. It's not totally stationary so don't try to get too close to it or you'll have to be good at super light air sailing, lol. You will be sailing a bit of a fish hook route but once in the trades you'll be good to go.
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Old 11-01-2017, 13:19   #5
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Re: Seattle to Honolulu

Summer is the best time for transit of the West Coast. It's the sail down from Seattle to Cape Mendocino that is the controlling factor. Winter storm lows blow through on a 4-10 day spacing and you don't want to get caught out by the leading edge where winds are southerly. Actually you just don't want to get caught out in one of those lows anywhere. If you need to go in the winter, pick your window carefully and be prepared to duck into any harbor well before the front arrival if need be. The harbor entrances are mostly river bars and close out in storm conditions.

Course depends on position of the high. If it's north, you can turn west about SF and rhumb line to Hilo. If the high is south, may have to go as far south as San Diego's latitude before heading straight for the islands. You don't need to head due south but more south than west until you get around the bottom of the high. IIRC, the high is more north in the winter and south in the summer so you can make your turn sooner in the winter than summer. Have sailed in the summer and did a rhumbline from SF DDW for most of the sail so position of the high varies a lot.

There are hurricanes to watch out for in the summer but they are easily avoided. Storms almost always stay between 10 and 20 degrees north until nearing Hawaii. If there is a storm passing through, hang out well north till it's passed. Seems in El Nino years, like this past summer, the storms take a more northerly course above the Big Island and below in La Nina years. Usually there is longish spacing between the storms and not all that many of them but, once again, in El Nino years things may not be so settled. Last summer had a couple of storms that were only days apart. Usually the storms are greatly diminished by the time they reach the islands. The really destructive storms seem to pass south of the islands building strength in the warmer waters and then right turning to nail Kauai.
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Old 11-01-2017, 19:51   #6
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Re: Seattle to Honolulu

Take a look at the courses taken by the VicMaui race boats.
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