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Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning to sail to Hawaii from SF this summer and could use some recommendations on a good destination. It'll be the wife and myself, leaving first week of June (as that is the only window I have), and we'd like to end up with a slip (as opposed to anchoring) in a decent marina for a couple days once we arrive. From there I'll figure it out, but I have no idea which Island, which marina, etc. to aim for.

Anyone have a recommendation?

Thanks,
Tony
 

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If you need to be near a major metro area to do boat work, get parts or get provisions, then I would head to Honolulu. There is a west marine store there as well as marine repair services. There are very few marinas or weather protected safe places to anchor on any of the islands. The private marinas are very expense. Best bet is to contact the state run boat harbors and get a transient slip. The Ala Wai Boat harbor may work well. After a few days in Honolulu, you could get your bearings and then move on to another island if desired.

HI state boat harbors:

http://www.state.hi.us/dlnr/dbor/oahuharbors/alawaihrbr.htm

There may be waiting list for boats slips so make reservation asap.

There is a book called somthing like "Crusing the Hawaiian Islands" that has all the information you need:

Cruising Guide to the Hawaiian Islands (2nd Edition): Bob and Carolyn Mehaffy: 9780939837731: Amazon.com: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@51YSdUa2suL

HI state boat harbors:
Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation
 

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There is a saying; "an old lady in a bathtub could sail to Hawaii", and it's pretty much true. You'll sail basically SW out of SF depending on the weather and somewhere around the latitude of San Diego you should pick up the trades and it's a down wind romp from there. You needn't concern yourself with navigation too much; there'll be a plane overhead going to Hawaii every 20 minutes or so.
If all navigation and air traffic stops, the two big volcanoes can be seen a couple of days out at sunset, most days.
Probably the channel between Oahu and Molokai will be the roughest of the whole trip, with 2000 miles of ocean fetch squashed between the two islands. There are no offshore reefs as you round Diamond Head, so with a half to one miles offshore distance off you should be fine.
Have a ball, it's a great trip.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. Just bought Cruising guide to Hawaiian Islands. Good advice--thanks. Never thought of the jets flying to Hawaii, but makes perfect sense. Ala Wai Marina looks like it could be perfect. Spent a lot of time at Pearl while in the Navy, but never paid attention to marinas or anything beyond what sailors in the 70s/80s paid attention to. Hoping to island hop a bit before heading home. I've got just under three months from departure to return, and figure the trip back will be more North, and possibly more motoring if needed.
 

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There is a saying; "an old lady in a bathtub could sail to Hawaii", and it's pretty much true.
True. Once you get there you will be disappointed. There is only one decent marina in Hawaii, Ko' Olina, and it is nearly forty miles from Honolulu.

We covered the trip from SF to Kawaihae harbor (Not recommended due to the necessity of negotiating the Alenuihaha channel. Suggest you make for Hilo to check in) in some detail with daily logs in the video series Sailing Back to Hawaii

Although we lived in Honolulu for more than 30 years, when we returned from SF in 2010, arriving at the state-run Ala Wai boat harbor in Honolulu, we were told that there would be a 30 day wait for a transient slip. We found moorage at the fuel dock for $700 a month but the fuel dock/pump out station/convenience store/poor boyz yacht club, has been removed and is slated to be replaced with a wedding chapel.

All of the state run harbors are crap except for Black Manele Bay on Lanai. They have 24 slips and the basin there is only 5 feet deep.

IMO, Hawaii should be regarded as a provisioning stop, not a destination.

We put the best spin on Hawaii we could in our video series on Cruising Hawaii but the plain truth is that boaters are not welcome there anymore.
 
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