Welcome aboard CF.
Each year, a very few, mostly family
, small sailboats do leave for the US from NZ, but there are some things you should know about it. First of all, it is quite a long trip, against the wind
. Mostly, sailboaters prefer to go with the wind
. A person can go East, some friends of ours went from Tasmania, to NZ, up to Hawaii
, then on to WA. One night, they had 70 knots wind, leaving NZ. Mostly people prefer to not sail, even downwind, in over 35 knots: and wind strength increases geometrically with speed. The sea conditions generated by prolonged 70 kn. winds are moderately horrendous, which means, for you, so filled with unaccustomed motion that sleep may not be possible, even when you're drop down tired. Perhaps rate that route
as difficult, although it has some advantages.
, is the "equatorial" route: NZ to Fiji
, then try and catch the west setting current
to help you gain your easting, and work
your way to where you can crack off for Hawaii
. That route, you need to reach HI in August. Then, all you have to do is the HI to SF leg, which involves as many days hard on the wind as it takes to get north of the Pacific High, (in our case it was 3 or 4 24 hr. days). Depending on what the Pacific High is doing, you may have gale force winds for much of the remaining journey. So, and interesting route, if the timing is right, and what you might like if you want to learn about Pacific Island cultures, but not a mai tais in the sunset sort of deal by any means; rate it moderate.
A third route doesn't get you through the Pacific, but going west around, there would be a variety of opportunities, and that one is a largely downwind (with the wind) trip.
There, I am sorry to say, is another difficulty: that is that many people on small boats are reluctant to take on crew, especially crew who are unfamiliar with small boat
sailing. Why? Well, there's seasickness, and how the person reacts to it; there's some people who are terrified out of sight of land; there's the idea of not wanting to be responsible for the welfare of someone unaccustomed to sailing, to have to caretake them when one is needing to take care of the boat
(for everyone's survival).
And for you, there is another side as well, sometimes women
have signed on as crew and been taken grievous advantage of, we knew a skipper
who wouldn't give a woman crew back her passport, so she couldn't leave the boat
when she dearly wanted to, for instance. It can be dangerous to be crew for an unknown skipper
for both men
: what are his or her crisis handling skills? navigation
? How will you screen
the small number of potential skippers you might have? How can you, with little experience, evaluate theirs?
Anyhow, this project
will need some serious evaluation from you, because it is pretty easy to fly to the US, from NZ, and a great deal of work
to sail there.
Ann, with 40+ yrs. on the water