Join Date: Dec 2014
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Re: Sail Hawaii to California
The weather will be what it will be. There's not much you can do about that. That crossing has very little bad weather in its history. I'm skeptical that a late season, fall, crossing is advisable because the possibility of an early low pressure system descending from Alaska. October often sees these lows reach California. The general rule is to sail N on starboard tack, typically close reaching until 35 to 45 in latitude. But conditions vary. Depends entirely on where the high pressure center ends up when you get there and how much fuel you have.
On a long crossing there is no "window". The weather changes.
You boat is on the small side for the crossing, but only for crew comfort. You are moving to a much smaller living quarters compared to your 40 footer. Because the boat is on the slow side you must plan on many days at sea. A heavy load of stores...food, fuel, water, liferaft...which slow the ship even more. Consider the relatively convenient Matson shipping line. Many Transpac boats of your size return as deck cargo, often on their trailers, that way.
I left Honolulu on August 20 last year as yet another Hurricane was forecast to approach Hawaii. I'd played cat and mouse with quite enough Hurricanes and Typhoons in the previous year so I provisioned and departed in 6 hours. Conditions in the N Pac looked normal. Sailed briskly N for two days then the high pressure system disappeared...or kinda went to Alaska and Mexico. I carried on sailing close hauled on whichever tack was favored for reaching my goal. That goal was to arrive a few hundred miles WNW of San Francisco when the reaching the area of NW'lys, often gales, off N California. To do the normal reach would have been to sail towards Vladivostok. Which is where some goofball on boat that I crossed was headed. By a week out the High had reformed in the usual spot right on my track. Sailed into it. Motored for half a day. Wind came back. Tacked onto the other side. Close hauled NE to my goal. Reached the coastal NW'lys, cracked off to a reach, surfed ESE the last 300 miles into Central California. 15 days. Singlehanded. Arrived with 100 gallons of red fuel which I am slowly burning in my little tractor. Your results may vary.
You might aim for a point W of Monterey so that last reach puts you about Oxnard. You want the true wind and waves behind the beam approaching California. That is a firm rule.
I doubt the Tsunami junk is still out there in the gyre. That was a long time ago. No reports of anything. Plenty of litter though: some small pieces of plastic, usually styrofoam or fishing gear, are passed every few seconds. Look over the transom frequently. Especially before engaging the prop. Be prepared to dive to clear the prop, as I did once to clear a twenty foot tangle of fishing line. Water was chilly.
"...there are two kinds of opinions, those based upon tradition ... and those having something in their favor." B. Russell