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Old 15-01-2020, 16:50   #1
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Winter stopover in Hawaii

Hi there. I just bought a Hanse 505 currently on delivery from South Pacific to Hawaii, arriving in Oahu in 3 days (18th). We live in Seattle, which is the final destination, but judged it not prudent to bring it across the North Pacific until late spring.

Since Hawaii isn't our final or preferred destination, I really just don't know much about it, but we want to make the best of the ~4 months the boat will be there.

I have three main areas of inquiry.

1) Best place to put the boat for a few days as soon as the boat arrives in Honolulu (Jan 18th) for formalities, and to take delivery of the boat from the delivery crew when I arrive (Jan 21st). Where do transients stop for a few days? Within a few days, the crew will be off, and I'll be skippering with my family aboard, and I'd like to make arrangements for a longer stay (see question #2 below).


2) Best options for keeping boat safe, secure, and afloat for 3-4 months on Oahu. Currently I've inquired about 3-4 month stays with with Ala Wai Marina, Ko Olina, Waikiki Yacht Club, Hawaii yacht club, and Kewalo Harbor Marina. I've heard back from only two of them. If price was no barrier, which would you choose? If price were a barrier, any you would discard for some reason? While affordable, some have questioned the security of Ala Wai. Advice?

I'm not combining #1 and #2 because the longer term options require tons of paperwork, pre-paying, etc, which I don't want the skipper to have to deal with. I also want to check them out myself before I decide, but I do need a place to tell the skipper to put into in 3 days.


3) My family and I want to at least enjoy the boat in Hawaii a little while it is there. Almost all the guides books cover summer cruising only, and I haven't found a wealth of cruising guides at all. Well, we will be there for 9 days late Jan, early Feb, and are looking for suggestions. We are very happy to have a very modest itinerary, but would love to get out of the immediate Honolulu area, and enjoy some nights on the hook. Does anyone have any suggestions for anchorages and itineraries realistic for a week in winter? We would love to head toward Molokai, Lanai, Maui, etc, but suspect the channels will be too nasty in the winter. But maybe we will get lucky? If not that, does anyone have suggestions for a few suitable destinations on Oahu itself that work in the winter? We don't need spectacular, we just want something other than sitting in the marina in Honolulu. If it matters, we are confident sailors, and a bit of chop and wind on the way to somewhere nice doesn't scare us, but we also would prefer comfortable anchorages at the end of each day.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 15-01-2020, 17:36   #2
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

I can't speak to the marinas around on the west side of Oahu as we've never been there by boat. Have spent two springs and one summer in Hawaii, earliest was March, so a bit of difference weather-wise.

On Oahu we enjoy Kaneohe Bay on the east shore. Your 505 probably draws 7' or just shy? You might have to enter through the Ship Channel, would have to take a careful look at the Sampan Channel depths. At the south end you can anchor off the Kaneohe Yacht Club, a very nice and welcoming place. At the north end I'd again have to look carefully at the depths at Secret Beach (the charts will show you no water, but that's not true, use Google Earth or local knowledge). That is a nice and quiet (for Oahu) place. The middle of Kaneohe Bay has some OK snorkeling (again, for Oahu).

If the weather permits there's quite a nice anchorage at the NW end of Molokai. You want a bit of northerly to sail over, but when there's much north in the breeze the swell can wrap around the point. Still, if the weather is OK there are several places there near Kawakiu Gulch/Iki/Nui. Around to the south side near the west end is Lono Harbor, this is nicely protected (except from the south) at the end of an upwind sail. Nothing to look at, but a comfortable overnight. No facilities.

From the W end of Molokai you can make your way to any of several decent stops in the lee side of Lanai. These are wide open to the S and W, so will depend on winter swell. If the wind and wave are from the E/NE/SE they are comfortable and very isolated (absolutely no shore facilities). Great scenery and probably the best swimming/diving in the area.

There are a couple of other harbors along the south side of Molokai that are safe but not too picturesque. There are also several along the north shore, but if winter swells are coming down from the Aleutians they wouldn't be pleasant (or safe).

If you don't mind mixing it up with the snorkel boats Honolua Bay at the NW corner of Maui is quite pleasant. If you get there toward mid-afternoon you'll have the place to yourself. Wake up at 6 the next morning, have a great cup of coffee as the sun comes up and then jump in with the spinner dolphins and turtles. By 9 the first snorkel boat will arrive and by 10 there will be 100 or so snorkelers filling the cove. If you can stay out of the way you can put up with it, or get out and make your way back toward Molokai or Lanai.

Those are some of the places in the central islands that we like to hang out. Honolua and lee of Lanai are probably our favorites in that central area of Hawaii. A few more places if you get down to the south end of Maui, but that's probably pushing it for a week.

If you are going to be away from Oahu you should be familiar with the Hawaii Day Use Mooring System. Download the guides for the areas you will visit. These moorings are free and first-come, first-served (although some are dedicated to first-come commercial boats). The moorings balls are 6-10' underwater, so you have to watch the GPS carefully if you don't know their exact location, then watch the water carefully. Send in a swimmer to attach your mooring line. These are mostly at the nicest (and least protected) snorkeling and diving sites, but make good day stops.

Lastly, if you do make it to the Molakai/Lanai/Maui triangle you should be in the height of humpback season. They seem to like the calm waters west of
Maui and south of Lanai, can be quite spectacular.
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Old 15-01-2020, 17:58   #3
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

Great stuff Dsanduril, just what I needed. Any resources or cruising guides that you would recommend? If I can find sand bottom, is it generally kosher to anchor most places?
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Old 15-01-2020, 19:19   #4
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

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Originally Posted by ohthetrees View Post
Great stuff Dsanduril, just what I needed. Any resources or cruising guides that you would recommend? If I can find sand bottom, is it generally kosher to anchor most places?
We spent a winter in Oahu three years ago at Ala Wai. It worked for us because it was within walking distance of most things we wanted. However, it is a badly run marina, and a dump. It is run by the state for their convenience, not the customers. Security is nonexistent. All gates are unlocked. Homeless and drugs are everywhere. The staff is nice, but hamstrung by stupid rules and a lack of incentives to actually help.

Ko Olina is a nice private marina, but it is a LONG way from town. Good to store the boat, or if you have a car for the duration. A long bus ride back to downtown.

VERY good decision to wait until spring to bring the boat back to the Northwest. The latter, the better...
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Old 15-01-2020, 19:43   #5
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

The old standard for cruising Hawaii is the Mehaffey cruising guide. The information on protection, locations, etc. is pretty good, but some of the information on facilities is a bit old.

A useful, more up-to-date guide is Noodle's Notes. For the area you have in mind it should cover most of what you need.

Anchoring takes great care. Just about every place listed as an anchorage has sand, but you do have to find it.

FWIW our favorite parts of Hawaii are the bookends:Hawaii and Kauai. If you go back later for the Seattle passage Kauai is worth a visit.
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Old 16-01-2020, 10:18   #6
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

We are doing the same.

Our boat is currently at Ko’olina, which is very safe, very nice but a good distance from Honolulu.

The state recently doubled all of their rates, so Ala Wai became very expensive, amazingly so, if you want to spend ANY days aboard: $10/person per night, no free days, in addition to the quite expensive per foot cost. We will probably stay for a bit at the Hawaii yacht club, which is the same price as Ala Wai if you have the reciprocity yacht club discount.

Property safety at Ala Wai is a real issue, the very nice people at the office offer a nice list of alternatives that are safer. There are no locks on any of the docks at Ala Wai, no security that walks the docks and a large homeless population.

The outer slips are legend for homeless moving aboard, etc. Make friends with your neighbors, lock and cable everything and I expect everything will be fine if you leave your boat.

The other marinas in Honolulu, where one would normally stay, are all full because of the mass exodus from Ala Wai because of the rate increase.

Remember to call the first state marina you stay at so they can watch you approach. You MUST have a state inspection and one part of that is being observed making way. The inspection is $40. You must also have $500K liability insurance.

On the down side of Ko Olina it is a distance from anything. There is a good liveaboard population and while the marina does not accept liveaboards, it seems they have a liberal attitude about what constitutes a liveaboard. DM me for more info - the email address at our website, CaroBabbo.com is probably best.

However, Ko’olina is insanely expensive for less than a monthly rate. Probably because they are part of a resort complex that includes a Four Seasons.

BTW, Ko’olina requires a recent survey. They will accept the state inspection in lieu of a survey.

We are currently back in Port Townsend, where we live, and will return to HI in late February.
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Old 16-01-2020, 13:33   #7
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohthetrees View Post
Hi there. I just bought a Hanse 505 currently on delivery from South Pacific to Hawaii, arriving in Oahu in 3 days (18th). We live in Seattle, which is the final destination, but judged it not prudent to bring it across the North Pacific until late spring.

Since Hawaii isn't our final or preferred destination, I really just don't know much about it, but we want to make the best of the ~4 months the boat will be there.

I have three main areas of inquiry.

1) Best place to put the boat for a few days as soon as the boat arrives in Honolulu (Jan 18th) for formalities, and to take delivery of the boat from the delivery crew when I arrive (Jan 21st). Where do transients stop for a few days? Within a few days, the crew will be off, and I'll be skippering with my family aboard, and I'd like to make arrangements for a longer stay (see question #2 below).


2) Best options for keeping boat safe, secure, and afloat for 3-4 months on Oahu. Currently I've inquired about 3-4 month stays with with Ala Wai Marina, Ko Olina, Waikiki Yacht Club, Hawaii yacht club, and Kewalo Harbor Marina. I've heard back from only two of them. If price was no barrier, which would you choose? If price were a barrier, any you would discard for some reason? While affordable, some have questioned the security of Ala Wai. Advice?

I'm not combining #1 and #2 because the longer term options require tons of paperwork, pre-paying, etc, which I don't want the skipper to have to deal with. I also want to check them out myself before I decide, but I do need a place to tell the skipper to put into in 3 days.


3) My family and I want to at least enjoy the boat in Hawaii a little while it is there. Almost all the guides books cover summer cruising only, and I haven't found a wealth of cruising guides at all. Well, we will be there for 9 days late Jan, early Feb, and are looking for suggestions. We are very happy to have a very modest itinerary, but would love to get out of the immediate Honolulu area, and enjoy some nights on the hook. Does anyone have any suggestions for anchorages and itineraries realistic for a week in winter? We would love to head toward Molokai, Lanai, Maui, etc, but suspect the channels will be too nasty in the winter. But maybe we will get lucky? If not that, does anyone have suggestions for a few suitable destinations on Oahu itself that work in the winter? We don't need spectacular, we just want something other than sitting in the marina in Honolulu. If it matters, we are confident sailors, and a bit of chop and wind on the way to somewhere nice doesn't scare us, but we also would prefer comfortable anchorages at the end of each day.

Thanks in advance!
Check on Keihi Lagoon ( just inside the reef runway) it used to have some mooring there but when I left, the state was getting fed up with all the transients in there. Kewalo is a commercial harbor which is exclusively for the local fishing fleet so no sail boats in there. The Ala Wai is always packed and quite expensive. Aside from that there's Kaneohe Bay, Haliewa and Makaha ( on the west side - shady area). Unless you drop the mast , you can't get into Koko Marina.
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Old 16-01-2020, 13:40   #8
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohthetrees View Post
Hi there. I just bought a Hanse 505 currently on delivery from South Pacific to Hawaii, arriving in Oahu in 3 days (18th). We live in Seattle, which is the final destination, but judged it not prudent to bring it across the North Pacific until late spring.

Since Hawaii isn't our final or preferred destination, I really just don't know much about it, but we want to make the best of the ~4 months the boat will be there.

I have three main areas of inquiry.

1) Best place to put the boat for a few days as soon as the boat arrives in Honolulu (Jan 18th) for formalities, and to take delivery of the boat from the delivery crew when I arrive (Jan 21st). Where do transients stop for a few days? Within a few days, the crew will be off, and I'll be skippering with my family aboard, and I'd like to make arrangements for a longer stay (see question #2 below).


2) Best options for keeping boat safe, secure, and afloat for 3-4 months on Oahu. Currently I've inquired about 3-4 month stays with with Ala Wai Marina, Ko Olina, Waikiki Yacht Club, Hawaii yacht club, and Kewalo Harbor Marina. I've heard back from only two of them. If price was no barrier, which would you choose? If price were a barrier, any you would discard for some reason? While affordable, some have questioned the security of Ala Wai. Advice?

I'm not combining #1 and #2 because the longer term options require tons of paperwork, pre-paying, etc, which I don't want the skipper to have to deal with. I also want to check them out myself before I decide, but I do need a place to tell the skipper to put into in 3 days.


3) My family and I want to at least enjoy the boat in Hawaii a little while it is there. Almost all the guides books cover summer cruising only, and I haven't found a wealth of cruising guides at all. Well, we will be there for 9 days late Jan, early Feb, and are looking for suggestions. We are very happy to have a very modest itinerary, but would love to get out of the immediate Honolulu area, and enjoy some nights on the hook. Does anyone have any suggestions for anchorages and itineraries realistic for a week in winter? We would love to head toward Molokai, Lanai, Maui, etc, but suspect the channels will be too nasty in the winter. But maybe we will get lucky? If not that, does anyone have suggestions for a few suitable destinations on Oahu itself that work in the winter? We don't need spectacular, we just want something other than sitting in the marina in Honolulu. If it matters, we are confident sailors, and a bit of chop and wind on the way to somewhere nice doesn't scare us, but we also would prefer comfortable anchorages at the end of each day.

Thanks in advance!
I did a roundtrip from Washington in 2016. You should have arranged the boat to go into Hilo on the big island. Clearance was easy and that sets you up to go North through the rest of the islands...the preferred direction.

Hawaii is not friendly for cruisers. They have screwy rules on checking-in and anchoring in many places. I tried to follow the rules and called but they never responded...I understand some folks have been fined for where they anchored. But, I found their rates amazingly reasonable.

As stated by others Ala Wai Marina is in very poor condition for transient boats. If you anticipate a longer stay talk to them about taking one of the inside berths. Public rest rooms/showers are terrible. Check in took an hour and I listened to many staying there complaining.

All the marinas we transited were STERN TIE only and in poor condition except one...if you are current/ex/retired military contact the Rainbow Marina in Pearl Harbor. Entry will require a taxi trip to Pearl Harbor to get clearance and entry procedures beforehand but it was the best marina we stayed at and it is walking distance to the Arizona Memorial and good public bus service. However, the one drawback is they no longer had fuel servicing available.

We refueled only at Ko Olina on our departure for Washington and it looked very nice but I expect expensive if available. If I would stay there I would just rent a car as it is far from everything.

I did not inquire about the Waikiki Yacht Club because I have never been a yacht club member. If you are, it may be worth a call.

We did anchor on the west side (Kona Coast) of the big island at Lahania (marina is very small and crowded), north of Lahania, and Molokai enroute to Oahu. Kona Coast seems to be a big sport fishing place by the look of the power boats in the marinas.

Winds were very high between the islands.

Guide books all seemed to be a little out of date. I used Charlie's Charts of Hawaii and the Bob Mehaffy book on Hawaii. I specifically remember that the Lahania marina map area was out of date.

We sailed directly from Pearl Harbor home to Washington and bypassed Kauai. Thinking of going there next. I understand that Nawiliwili Harbor is OK.

Our return trip back (21.5 days to Neah Bay) was the best sailing of the entire trip, particularly sailing due north of Oahu. We just missed getting north of the HIGH at 40 North, turned NE and had to motor for about two days. Also ran into a gale and was hove-to for about 30 hours off the coast of Washington. Make sure you have an operational AIS...came in handy identifying traffic approaching and entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Good luck.

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Old 16-01-2020, 16:43   #9
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

No one mentioned -


Marina – Keehi Marine Center



Private marina 5 minutes from airport and 24/7 security.
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Old 16-01-2020, 18:11   #10
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

Hawaii is also a winter stopover for me...but I am heading the opposite direction as you.

I am at Ko' Olina, and agree with everything John said. There is a small store and some places to eat (and a Starbucks) near the marina (and across from resorts), and there is more shopping (including a Costco and Home Depot) a few miles away at Kapolei. It is pricey, but quite safe. The reason I went there is simply because the DNR run marinas are rife with theft.

Ko Olina is apparently a port of entry (https://www.noonsite.com/place/hawai...bour-ko-olina/), so you might call them and ask about clearing in there, and your plans. Malo and Leilani run the office and they are absolutely wonderful.

WRT to cruising about Hawaii...I did see a website by a local person but, can't find the URL now. (If I find it I'll pass it on.) However, here is a PDF that also provides a lot of info...
http://noodlesnotes.com/static/noodles_notes.pdf
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Old 17-01-2020, 12:37   #11
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

Thanks for the tips all. You are really helping me feel more confident about this unlooked for winter stopover in Hawaii.


Quote:
Originally Posted by billknny View Post
We spent a winter in Oahu three years ago at Ala Wai. It worked for us because it was within walking distance of most things we wanted. However, it is a badly run marina, and a dump. It is run by the state for their convenience, not the customers. Security is nonexistent. All gates are unlocked. Homeless and drugs are everywhere. The staff is nice, but hamstrung by stupid rules and a lack of incentives to actually help.

Ko Olina is a nice private marina, but it is a LONG way from town. Good to store the boat, or if you have a car for the duration. A long bus ride back to downtown.
I've been warned off Ala Wai a bunch of times now. I'll do my best to avoid.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
The old standard for cruising Hawaii is the Mehaffey cruising guide. The information on protection, locations, etc. is pretty good, but some of the information on facilities is a bit old.

A useful, more up-to-date guide is Noodle's Notes. For the area you have in mind it should cover most of what you need.

Anchoring takes great care. Just about every place listed as an anchorage has sand, but you do have to find it.

FWIW our favorite parts of Hawaii are the bookends:Hawaii and Kauai. If you go back later for the Seattle passage Kauai is worth a visit.
I am delivering myself in late spring, maybe we will stop in Kauai for fun on the way. Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by johnjuliano View Post
We are doing the same.

Our boat is currently at Ko’olina, which is very safe, very nice but a good distance from Honolulu.

.....

We are currently back in Port Townsend, where we live, and will return to HI in late February.
I'm sorry we will miss you, we will be back in Seattle Feb 3! I'm leaning toward Ko Olina as well. They quoted me $1050/month, and seem very secure, and seems worth the $200 difference from Ala Wai. Do you know anything about how protected from weather Ko Olina is? When do you intend to passage from Hawaii back to Port Townsend? I'm thinking early May for us.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joelhemington View Post
Check on Keihi Lagoon ( just inside the reef runway) it used to have some mooring there but when I left, the state was getting fed up with all the transients in there. Kewalo is a commercial harbor which is exclusively for the local fishing fleet so no sail boats in there. The Ala Wai is always packed and quite expensive. Aside from that there's Kaneohe Bay, Haliewa and Makaha ( on the west side - shady area). Unless you drop the mast , you can't get into Koko Marina.
Kewalo said they might have a spot for me, but said it isn't great protection if there should happen to be a storm with southerly winds.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MJH View Post
I did a roundtrip from Washington in 2016. You should have arranged the boat to go into Hilo on the big island. Clearance was easy and that sets you up to go North through the rest of the islands...the preferred direction.
Maybe I should have, but as I said, I don't know much about Hawaii, and Honolulu seemed the best place for buying parts, doing maintenance, and resupply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJH View Post
if you are current/ex/retired military contact the Rainbow Marina in Pearl Harbor.
Not an option for me, as I have no military affiliation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJH View Post
I did not inquire about the Waikiki Yacht Club because I have never been a yacht club member. If you are, it may be worth a call.
Not a yacht club member either, but called and they said they might be able to help me out.



Quote:
Originally Posted by davenrino View Post
No one mentioned -
Marina – Keehi Marine Center
Private marina 5 minutes from airport and 24/7 security.
They have no berths available.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Discovery 15797 View Post
Hawaii is also a winter stopover for me...but I am heading the opposite direction as you.

I am at Ko' Olina, and agree with everything John said. There is a small store and some places to eat (and a Starbucks) near the marina (and across from resorts), and there is more shopping (including a Costco and Home Depot) a few miles away at Kapolei. It is pricey, but quite safe. The reason I went there is simply because the DNR run marinas are rife with theft.

Ko Olina is apparently a port of entry (https://www.noonsite.com/place/hawai...bour-ko-olina/), so you might call them and ask about clearing in there, and your plans. Malo and Leilani run the office and they are absolutely wonderful.

WRT to cruising about Hawaii...I did see a website by a local person but, can't find the URL now. (If I find it I'll pass it on.) However, here is a PDF that also provides a lot of info...
http://noodlesnotes.com/static/noodles_notes.pdf
Ko Olina is looking like my best option. Thanks for all the advice everyone!
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Old 17-01-2020, 18:33   #12
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohthetrees View Post
Do you know anything about how protected from weather Ko Olina is?
Ko Olina is one of the most protected safe havens in the islands. Which is another reason I choose it.

I think you'll like it there.
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Old 19-01-2020, 12:41   #13
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

Ko Olina is also close to a good yard, if you end up needing anything like that. The Phoenician.

In most ways, Hawaii is not a great place to have a cruising sailboat, for the reasons already given. We're now in Nawiliwili, on Kauai, heading back to Oahu soon. Planning on going to the PNW in the spring.

In the Oahu/Waikiki area, another option might be the "Smiley Face Yacht Club". It's the old fuel dock, to starboard as you're coming in.

What's the name of your vessel?
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Old 19-01-2020, 13:40   #14
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

Quote:
Originally Posted by briblack View Post
Ko Olina is also close to a good yard, if you end up needing anything like that. The Phoenician.

In most ways, Hawaii is not a great place to have a cruising sailboat, for the reasons already given. We're now in Nawiliwili, on Kauai, heading back to Oahu soon. Planning on going to the PNW in the spring.

In the Oahu/Waikiki area, another option might be the "Smiley Face Yacht Club". It's the old fuel dock, to starboard as you're coming in.

What's the name of your vessel?
Another point for Ko Olina. My boat is called "Sauvage". I'm aiming for a May 1 departure back to Seattle, weather permitting. When are you thinking? And what is your boat?
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Old 19-01-2020, 14:45   #15
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Re: Winter stopover in Hawaii

Our boat is a Hylas 46, "Kokopelli". We haven't really firmed up a departure date yet, and may even aim for Alaska on the mainland.

Hawaii Yacht Club may be able to accommodate you one their Aloha (transient) dock for your short-term stay. A great club, we're members.
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