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Thread: Hawaii to Washington

  1. #11
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    Sep 2007
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    In the "a picture is worth a thousand words" category, here's the last page of my handout from the prior Return seminar. This is what the High looked like just before the start in 2006. Normally 40N might be enough coming back but not in this scenario! Fortunately for the return trip (but not good for the race) this High shrank and moved down, and I was able to come home along 38N right into SF. The return took only two days longer than the race.

    You can see why the trip from HI to WA isn't that much farther than HI to SF - you have to go pretty far north either way.

    Last edited by BobJ; 03-27-2014 at 02:32 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Everything that everyone has said makes good sense. Of the times I've made the trip, twice the high has been unavoidable and both times with weather routers advising, once in Dashews Beowulf and once in a Catalina 42. In both cases a lot of fuel was used, in the Catalina we were running on fumes when we got to Victoria. The best trip ever was in a hundred year old engineless pilot cutter (18 days to Tofino). I was never bothered by bad weather until after the 2010 PacCup when Jim Quanci told me I should expect one gale every time and every time since he said this I have had a gale. I always suspected that Jim sat on the right hand of God (and a little lower) but really. Returning last June we ran into a 972 low. Now tell me when in the history of the world there has been a 972 low in mid June in mid latitude Pacific. So here is my plan....leave Kauai and head north or as close as you are comfortable. By the time you are out of the trades it will usually get light for a couple of days, use fuel judiciously, but once you are past the horse latitudes it doesn't matter what you want to do because the lows and highs are USUALLY moving a lot faster than you can. As you head north you will eventually get into a westerly flow. Sometimes I haven't made any serious easting until I'm at the latitude of Winter harbour (top of Vancouver Island). After the PacCup returning with the crew from hell we were a lot closer to the Aluetians than to Hawaii or N. America. Best trip 17 days, worst trip 21 days. Strait of Juan de Fuca can really really blow hard in the summer (winter and spring and fall)but normally in summer it will be behind you (unless your Karma is particularly bad). I hope I don't sound like a complete idiot but basically go north until you're allowed to go east, then go east.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Berkeley
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    29

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    I'm definitely getting the picture now. Poring over good old fashioned pilot charts was also very helpful. I can probably safely carry about 106 hours of fuel. Is there somewhere near Hanalei to stock up on karma?

  4. #14
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    Sep 2007
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    3,350

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    The Tahiti Nui (downstairs). BTW, do you know there's a Tahiti Nui in Pape'ete too?
    Last edited by BobJ; 03-27-2014 at 09:50 PM.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Honolulu
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    I skippered the IP 380 Champ from Kauai to Seattle after the last SHTP. We had easterly trades up to 35 N and then had to motor north to 48 N 160 W. Dead north from Kauai. The high was huuuuge and no amount of diesel would have crossed it. Once we got to 48 N, we had brilliant sailing in westerlies, didn't start the engine again until 60 miles from Cape Flattery. Motored into Port Angeles for pizza and diesel and then pushed on to Puget Sound. Hawaii- PNW is a beautiful trip.

    I have done 3 of the Hawaii- SF deliveries as well and have had good sailing on two of them, including a passage where we went up to 41 N and ran the engine for a grand total of 4 hours the whole delivery.

    Things can definitely get variable and change, but a Hawaii to PNW delivery in summer is likely to be a very very nice sail that you will enjoy. Bring gear for Mahi Mahi and tuna and get ready to see some whales. The marine wild life north of about 42 N was absolutely spectacular.

    edit- totally agree with what Peter said, but both times i did strait of juan de fuca in summer i had light air. Just sayin'. sounds like it can be a variable beast. a 972 low is f'ing nuts. We had 30-35 for 3 days, i don't remember if a low was over us and compressed the westerlies over the high or what. I think the Dana 24 will probably be a cool ride. It's an ambitious voyage but i support it fully. Tom Watson sailed his engineless triton from Hanalei to Neah Bay in 26 days in 2012. He got becalmed past Neah Bay in the STrait of JdF and towed into Neah Bay by the USCG, damaging his wind vane. And my cruising bot in Hawaii now started in tacoma. small boat voyages in the PNW rock. good luck on the Dana.
    Last edited by ronnie simpson; 03-29-2014 at 06:35 AM.

  6. #16
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    May 2009
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    I'll just add one more thing. A reduction in speed (from top speed) when motoring of 10% can (on some boats) result in a reduction of fuel consumption of 30%. When I do get caught by a major high pressure area I just idle along at 3 or 4 knots in the direction that seems most helpful (ie not always on the rumb line). Psychologically it makes you feel like you're getting somewhere and, at least on my current boat, uses virtually no fuel. A lot of energy seems to go into 'wave making' as you approach hull speed but there are a lot of people on the forum that know more about this than me.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Capitola,CA
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    2,565

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    If sailing from Hawaii to cruise the Pacific NW, a possible alternative is as Stan and Sally Honey did on their Cal-40: sail to the top of Vancouver Island, clear at Port Hardy, then cruise inside Vancouver Island, mostly downwind, east and south through the Discovery Islands, Desolation Sound, and down the Straits of Georgia. Mileage and weather wise it's not much different than using Straits of Juan de Fuca as landfall. And avoids backtracking.

  8. #18
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    May 2009
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    When I read the above post I immediately started to reply that Port Hardy is not a port of entry. I see however that there are customs and immigration at the airport so I suppose they do boats too. Good to know. Also you can get into Port Hardy under sail (if you anchor outside the inner harbour). That is something you can't do at Victoria or Sydney or even Nanaimo. Trust the Honeys to do it smarter.

  9. #19
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    May 2009
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    Seattle
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    I sailed back from Hanalei to Seattle on Idefix (Olson 30, no engine) in 2010. Our approach was to sail as close to the trades as comfortable and get no closer to the center of the high than the 1026 isobar, or something like that. The first three days were pretty bumpy close reaching in the trades, then things smoothed out and the boat was coasting along at about 6.5 knots close reaching under genoa in flat water and about 10kts of wind. We ended up sailing due North for about 1000 miles (to about 45 north) as the high kept moving North and West (it looked remarkably like Bob's picture, except a little more North). Eventually the wind clocked enough to let us turn in for shore, and a couple days later it clocked enough again to hoist a kite. There were three days of really light wind as we skirted the North edge of the High before it picked up again, and eventually we saw 25+ knots of breeze off the coast before it shut down completely for another three days, and thankfully picked up enough to give us a good run down the Strait. So exactly what Peter said. Go North until you can go East, then go East.

    The total trip was 23 days, which I've been told is pretty ridiculously slow. Obviously having a very light boat was helpful in the light breezes we saw for most of the trip. I'd been told to expect rough weather, but it was all very mild, and a great trip overall. But it sounds like we may have been lucky (972 low? yikes!). The hardest part was watching the tropical blue water turn steely grey and the temperature drop a couple degrees every day.

    Funny anecdote, we ran into a 50-ft cruising ketch in the light patch of wind on the North side of the High. They had left Hanalei five days before us, tried motoring through the High, and were down to about a gallon of fuel. We left them in our wake (after boarding them and drinking their rum, no joke) and figured we'd get to Port Townsend five days before them. Then we got becalmed 20 miles offshore and they used their last bit of fuel to motor past us.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    46

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    Thank you all for the above information. Looks like Jack is coming back on her own bottom also. Thinking about taking 25 gallons of gas that should get me about 80 hours of motoring at 4.5 knots or about 360 miles if it is flat. Any thoughts on this idea?
    Thanks

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