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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Pacific Northwest & Alaska
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  #1  
Old 09-17-2009
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Alaska to Hawaii

OK - I tried to post this question in another forum with zero responses. I'll try again in here.

"Just throwing this out to see what bubbles up: Is there an "approved" cruising route from Alaska to Hawaii? Can you simply head South or do you have to cruise on down to the 'lower 48' and strike West from there? Inquiring minds want to know."
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Old 09-17-2009
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I was reading about this the other day , I think in Michael Pocock's "The Pacific Crossing Guide" (published by the Royal Cruising Club).

The books at home and I'm in the office so I'm going from memory.

Prevailing winds (presuming northern hemisphere summer) are NE so its a down hill run all the way while you are in the NH. Once south of the equator you'd tend to pick up westerleys.

Again, from memory, I seem to remember that the advice for heading south along the US coast is to get out to sea away from Washington and Oregon.

Hopefully one or two of the PNW regulars can advise on the dos and donts of US coasting but if heading out to sea away from Oregon is the go, then it would seem logical to me that you'd stick to a downhill run all the way south.

Other than the Pacific Crossing guide you should probably get a hold of Jimmy Cornell's "World Cruising Handbook" and "World Cruising Routes".

I do emphasise that this is from an Australian who has never even set foot in Alaska, let alone sailed from there.


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Last edited by tdw; 09-18-2009 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 09-17-2009
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Easier route

Assuming you want to sail down wind and current you need to get at least as far south as northern California before you start across to Hawaii. That takes advantage of the Japan current and prevailing north Pacific high pressure zone. Search for a free program called Ugrib on the net and download it. Study the wind and pressure movements for while and you will see how they normally flow and it will give you a clear picture of what happens.
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Old 09-17-2009
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Hi Dwayne,

I have downloaded Ugrib. Thanks so much for the recommendations. It looks like very good.

Do you know where I can find explanations aboiut the arrows showing on a view ?

They are symbols related to weather forecast, I guess winds directions and force, and I would like to be sure about what I am reading.

Arrow in red, green, dark green, blue what differences?
End of arrow 2 or 3 small ??? cannot figure a name for this (Sorry I am French and when it starts very technical, my english is bad)

It looks like arrows and colors are associated.
3 for red, 2 for light green, 1 for dark green, 1 for blue.

I am guessing that more arrows, higher the winds. And for direction not sure.

Is there an option to see pressure for isobars?

That is a very nice tool, thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-18-2009
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Following the coastline along WA and Oregon (within about 100NM) will give you a following current of between 1-2kts. Where you head West will depend on the high pressure zone between CA and Hawaii, it moves around. Most everyone, including large fishing boats follow the inside route from SE Alaska at least to the north end of Van. Is. From there it's a weather decision about inside or out.
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Old 09-18-2009
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Hi Dwayne

I got my answers to questions I raised previously.

Thanks again for sharing about this wonderfull tool. I am sure it will help to have a safe trip to Hawai by next year.


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Thanks (all) for the pointers. I'll continue to do my research.

I need to peg (in very general terms) the left and right limits for making the transit. If, hypothetically, I was considering a move to Hawaii, what would be a REASONABLE amount of time to move my boat. I guess (worst case) I could make the trip in two legs and rent an apartment in Hawaii until I was actually able to deliver the boat to live aboard (the desired end-state). It's all part of a feasability study I'm doing as a ponder putting my name in the hat for a position down there...
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Vic Maui

Perhaps you can learn from the biannual race called the Vic-Maui. They race from Victoria BC to Maui, non-stop. They start in June or July and finish two to three weeks later. Go to 2006 Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race Tracking by FlagShip to see the tracks of those in the race in 2006. It will give you an excellent idea of where you can go, however keep in mind that these folks were racing and you may want to go even further south before you turn west to insure better weather.

Maybe I'll see you there if you go next summer. I'm planning a cruise there myself.
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