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Old 07-10-2021, 06:25   #1
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Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

A year ago, I sailed my boat from Hawaii to the Philippines. I had plans in motion for a sailboat charter business here with the local government. But, unfortunately, just before arriving from Guam, the Phils locked down hard again and derailed those plans.

After the typhoon season dies down here, I want to head back to the US west coast, likely my hometown, San Diego.

Anyone tried the northern route up past Japan, then over towards Alaska, then down the west coast? This is the shortest route but obviously colder than the tropics.

Another option is to head to the higher lats of the South Pacific, cut over to Tahiti's longitude, then cut north. This is a much longer trip, but there are so many interesting islands to stop at and explore along the way. Maybe it's worth the extra mileage.

The third route is to head west and go around the globe. Although I would love to do this, this route is too long for my circumstances.

So, can anyone offer their experiences in any of these routes? I do not want to be beating into the tradewinds the whole way.

I am fully aware of the challenges that Covid presents to a trip like this. I dealt with that coming here. Each stop is unique. Any comments about Covid regs along any route is much appreciated.

Feel free to ask questions for clarification, and I look forward to your comments.

Thanks All!!
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Old 07-10-2021, 14:49   #2
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

There are very good reasons for the location of the routes and the direction of the arrows
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Old 07-10-2021, 18:28   #3
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

^^^^^
Pretty chart, Stu. We had friends who left from Australia, and took the equatorial route, riding the counter-current, then turned north through the Carolines and on up to California around the Pacific High. Not this time of year, and the boat was an 80 foot aluminium German Frers, so able to go to windward efficiently without breaking it.

I wonder if the Op could drop south to the counter-current from the Philippines and make it that way, in his boat????

IMO, it is getting a little late in the year for the North Pacific Route, it is not so much the cold (which can be addressed with clothing), but the winter gales (which will be very wet, as well as cold.). It would be an easier undertaking with crew than singlehanded. and, still, a long trip.

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Old 08-10-2021, 01:47   #4
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

Thanks for the quick responses.

StuM, your map shows usable westerlies lower than I thought, and lower than some other maps show. As Ann says, this is definitely a spring start for this trip, which is fine.

I've studied Windy for a while now and think that the Washington State latitude trip is doable. But OMG, Japan to the US west coast is such a long run without going further north and stopping in the Aleutians.

It took 45 days sailing and 60 days overall to get from Hawaii to the Phils. The first stop was Wake Island for some minor repairs after a long eighteen-day run. Unfortunately, the trades died on me. Then we did a detour stop at Enewetak Atoll for an emergency repair (hostile place due to Covid), then Guam. From there, I soloed to the Phils sans crew. The stops along the way were much needed and appreciated.

I'm intrigued with the northern route. Tokyo, Unalaska, then down to either Portland OR, or directly to San Diego. 7,000 direct NM's at125nm/day is roughly 60 sailing days, broken up into three legs. Including stops for repairs and reprovisioning, we could do this trip comfortably in four months tops if nothing major happens.

Japan is the only Covid question. Summer weather conditions in the high Lats is another.

I will not be single-handed this trip.

Can anyone add any personal experience to the northern route conversation?
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Old 08-10-2021, 05:06   #5
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

Here's a blog from some acquaintances who did the Japan to Seattle run earlier this year
https://oceanswell.blogspot.com/2021...-none.html?m=1
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Old 08-10-2021, 06:05   #6
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

Depending on where you are in the Philippines, Darren, you'll meet placenames that trace back to Miguelle Lopez Legazpi (or Legaspi); Andres Urdaneta; and Alonso de Arellano.

The northern route, scribing an arc across the N Pac, sometimes called the San Lucas route and sometimes the Urdaneta route, dates from 1565.

It's an integral part of the galleon route from Mexico to/from Philippines.

The key people include:

* Andres Urdaneta, the Basque monk who planned a departure in the amihan/southwest mosoon heading N towards Nippon (to take advantage of the northern arc of the N Pacific gyre, one part of which is the Kuroshio current; and the SW monsoon wind, and other winds);

* Alonso Arellano who captained the San Lucas (and trusted Lope Martin, see below);

* Miguel Lopez Legaspi who commanded the fleet of several vessels of which San Lucas was one (and probably accused Arellano of desertion because San Lucas did the route faster than the others, likely because of the skill of its pilot); and

* the almost completely unheralded Lope Martin, an African-Portuguese (described as a mulatto) from the Algarve, who piloted San Lucas. Lope Martin apparently picked the better day to leave port, did a better job navigating out from the Philippine islands, then chose to go further north (perhaps as far as 43N) before turning E towards the Californias and then to port in New Spain/Mexico.

See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9s_de_Urdaneta
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alonso_de_Arellano
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel...pez_de_Legazpi

And look for the book:

Andrés Reséndez, Conquering the Pacific : an unknown mariner and the final great voyage of the Age of Discovery. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2021.
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Old 08-10-2021, 08:42   #7
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

We lived, worked, and sailed the PI from 1995-2010(Subic Bay). During that time I only knew of 1 couple who sailed back to Calif (SanFran) going east. Although they were very experienced, with several decades sailing experience, they told us-after they made it back-that the northern route, coming into the Alaska area, was the worst they had ever experienced...the seas and wx was way more than they'd expected! And that they would NEVER do that route again! When we left the PI, we went west, stopping in Phuket for a major refit, then on to the Medd(we spent 4 seasons there), and then on to the Caribb. Based on what our friends passed on to us.....I'd go west, and enjoy the sights; we found it very enjoyable and time well spent.
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Old 08-10-2021, 11:13   #8
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

For some 300 years Spanish Galleons sailed annually from the Philippines to Acapulco. The "Galleon Run". Heavily overloaded Galleons afraid of British Navy, though passing US, they couldn't stop there! Modern yachts should easily beat them.

The weather window for crossing the Northern Pacific is rather small, Storms and fog if you sail to far North, not enough wind if to far South. The first part until past Japan will be rather uncomfortable too, against easterly winds.

I was planning this trip 4 years ago, but health problems and then Corona stopped my plans
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Old 08-10-2021, 13:26   #9
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

I had a discussion on this topic with “Pelagic” of this forum in which I naively recommended the counter current based on WA Robinson’s book and he rightly pointed out that it’s really a motor boat route - you will need to carry a huge amount of fuel, and motor most of the way.

FWIW, I would not want to take the northern route. I have seen far too many pictures of large merchant ships which have been damaged…
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Old 08-10-2021, 14:33   #10
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

Re “Anyone tried the northern route up past Japan, then over towards Alaska, then down the west coast? This is the shortest route but obviously colder than the tropics.”
I did this route - according to the pilot charts the wind doesn’t exceed 30 kts in mid summer. That was my experience leaving Kushiro for Attu in mid June. 5 ℃ at night.
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Old 08-10-2021, 14:41   #11
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

We are into October, now, and the NW gales have begun.

We have not had a whole lot of experience in gales, but one trip from Kauai to SF, 18 days in a row of them. That far south of the OP's route, it was 22 ft. seas (only 7 m.), quite lively motion, and the motion gave me trouble; also the sound of the wind in the rigging was also tiring, as well as coping with the motion. Definitely unlike a tradewind, off the wind passage.

However, based on that, I would think the northern route would not be great this time of year. July, August, or May, June, probably a lot better.

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Old 08-10-2021, 16:38   #12
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

Only a crazy person would take the northern route outside of summer (June-sept). I know two couples who've done this trip - both via Japan, direct to Washington State (St. San Juan de Fuca) or Vancouver island. Both are Canadians. I also know a couple who went from New Caldonia north to the Equator then east to Hawaii, along the equator. For me, I would stock up on fuel and work my way East along the equator, searching for the elusive counter-current. If you are patient, wait for the calms and you can carry enough fuel, this is feasible.
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Old 08-10-2021, 19:22   #13
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

My friends recently did the Northern route, Singapore, Philippines, Japan, Aleutians, Seattle. This was during Covid, and only in Singapore and Japan did they get permission to clear in. They crossed from Japan to Seattle via Aleutians in June/July, and had a good voyage. Other friends of mine departed from Tahiti and sailed via Hawaii to the Aleutians and are now in Vancouver. They sailed in July/August, and had a fine run. Both couples are experienced circumnavigators. If you can wait until May/ I think you could make the same run. Otherwise, having gone west myself, I highly recommend that route, but with Covid, probably not.
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Old 08-10-2021, 23:44   #14
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Here's a blog from some acquaintances who did the Japan to Seattle run earlier this year
https://oceanswell.blogspot.com/2021...-none.html?m=1

This perfect. I will definitely reach out to them directly.

Thanks, Paul!!

Darren
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Old 08-10-2021, 23:53   #15
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Re: Sailing Route from the Philippines to US West Coast

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Originally Posted by Shoalbay View Post
Re “Anyone tried the northern route up past Japan, then over towards Alaska, then down the west coast? This is the shortest route but obviously colder than the tropics.”
I did this route - according to the pilot charts the wind doesn’t exceed 30 kts in mid summer. That was my experience leaving Kushiro for Attu in mid June. 5 ℃ at night.
Ok, that's good information. Summer gales can happen up there, but the bloggers Paul referenced in his post had good steady wind the whole trip and no storms. We will need to dress for the conditions. It's chilly even mid-summer. I'm intrigued by this route. It's a different challenge. I've done the tropics for a while now. I dream of being cold again. Haha...
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