Anatomy of a tough passage

addad-p5150268It is one week away from our passage on s.v. Conversations from Hawaii to Vancouver. My anticipation is growing as I make the psychological transition from workshop leader back to sailor. I will be leaving Jackson Hole for Hawaii and the boat on Saturday. Irena will be joining me there, just the two of us for the passage.

This is a tough passage, usually left for the delivery crew as the wealthy owner jets home to North America. Likely he or she has enjoyed the sleigh ride (downwind sail) to Hawaii from San Francisco or LA, perhaps in the company of his racing crew chalking up many fine yacht club bar stories of his daring do.

As the crow flies its about 2030 nautical miles from Hawaii to the Straits of Juan de Fuca and home, but we are not crows! Because of the NE tradewinds, home to Vancouver  lies is more or less upwind from where the boat is in Honolulu. Not a very fun sail, beating against the tradewinds this far. We know, because we did a 2500 mile upwind sail against the tradewinds once from South Africa to the Azores a couple of years ago. Fortunately, in this instance, nature has provided us with another option. Our route sailing home therefore appears ridiculously out of the way to the uninitiated, but it is a great example of working with nature rather than against it. 58922-capeofgoodhopeitselfOur route is about 2900 Nautical miles, about a third longer than the direct route, but infinitely more comfortable and probably faster than attempting to beat upwind against the fully developed tradewinds of 20 knots (35 kilometers).
2015-08-12_8-00-56Following this route, we will sail more or less due North from Hawaii, with the wind forward, but not on the nose. And we will keep sailing until we get north of the centre of the North Pacific High Pressure, and only then will we point the bow for home.  It depends on where the NPHP is when we get there, but presently it is about 1400 nautical miles north of Hawaii, or at about the same latitude as Vancouver as you can see on the photo. When we get north of the NPHP, we can turn west towards home, with tail winds hopefully. Though the best laid plans…….

That’s the theory! If tropical storm conditions permit, we will set sail around next Tuesday from Honolulu. We will attempt to post to this blog from sea as we sail using our ham radio and pactor modem. No pictures, at least until after we are ashore again, but we can provide our position and share our stories.

Do stay tuned to the blog for the next month to see how it actually goes. Something will happen…. it always does!  But I am reminded of the inimitable quote from the movie he Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:

“Everything is okay in the end. And if things are not okay, it must not be the end!”

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2 comments on “Anatomy of a tough passage
  1. Paul Clarke says:

    All the best on this homeward bound leg. Let’s hope it’s nothing like the S.A. to Azores bashing. Fair winds and safe passage to Irena and you!

    • cresswellwalker says:

      Thanks Paul, assuming we ever get out of here! Tropical storm Kilo, small, but close enough to cause my cowardly heart to err on the side of caution…sitting tight for till things change

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