I suggest you chat with SimonV on this forum; he sailed an Ericson 39B back to OZ two years ago; mostly single-handed. The boat was already equipped for cruising; he made about 2k in additions (solar, tow generator, etc) and sailed from SF directly to the Marquesas. The most difficult part of his entire trip if I recall was sailing out along the coast of California where he was caught up in a gale.
I disagree with Jeff H; I feel that this boat is suitable if properly equipped. The water tankage issue could be resolved with a watermaker; and extra jerry jugs of diesel could be stowed in either the cockpit or lashed to the deck to serve as that extra rail meat (but I would move them to a safer place if heavy wind/seas were approaching). The long passages to Marquesas and on to Tahiti; etc are done totally under sail, so with adequate power generation you should not need to run the engine much unless you are stuck at the doldrums.
While I agree on the issue of downwind roll stability; I'd say that if you were to sail it DDW you would want a whisker pole and preventer setup; that would stabilize the sails from flopping and I'd venture to say that a wind vane would do a better job controlling the roll than a human at the helm. SimonV's boat had better roll stability once it was loaded with all of his equipment/food/booz for offshore passage. When we escorted him to the SF Gate his boat was only heeling about 10deg while we had 20 deg or more.
On the issue of making this trip with little time on the ocean; I'd say that you should consider doing the trip in stages. Simon sailed directly to the Marquesas; but he was much more experienced. I suggest that you do the Baja Ha-Ha (a cruiser oriented race/cruise from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas); then winter in Mexico cruising the Sea of Cortez. Then do the Pacific Puddle Jump over to the Marquesas in the spring. If you limit your search radius to Southern California or Mexico you will avoid needing to make a sail down around Pt Conception.
Other equipment you should have available would be SSB, EPIRB, weatherfax, and possibly an AIS if not on your list yet. You want to avoid storms and weather systems that bring 30 ft seas so daily review of the weather fax data would be important. If you go with other "Puddle Jumpers" you can keep in contact and talk about the weather conditions via SSB.
Last edited by KeelHaulin; 04-20-2010 at 02:04 PM.