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Home » Weather and Routing » Hawaii to Pacific West Coast USA

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15/01/2010 12:29:09

Gerry Cooper<br>Unknown
Gerry Cooper

Posts: 3
Could anyone advise of the quickest 'traditional' route from Hawaii to the West Coast US? The further South the better as I would be trying to sail from Hawaii to Panama but reckon I would hit the US West cost first and then travel down.
02/02/2010 09:01:22

Bob Cook<br>USA
Bob Cook

Posts: 3
Hello Gerry,

I have helped people make the trip from Hawaii to the Pacific west coast. Generally from Hawaii one sails and or motors north to northeast through the Pacific High until one begins to have sailable westerlies and then east towards the Pacific Northwest. If ones destination is in California then east-southeast to southeast to one's destination in California. At times the trip can prove short and at times it prove long. It depends upon the weather pattern as the trip evolves. Cheers, Bob
08/10/2011 19:26:19

Mike Thomas<br>Canada
Mike Thomas

Posts: 2
Honolulu lies on the 157th meridian. The north Pacific is a rather inhospitable place for much of the year. Lows come out of the Bearing Straits and are picked up by the jet stream to create successions of lows that revolve anti clockwise as they work their way east to the BC west coast. The weather patterns alter in late spring and summer months as the North Pacific High moves northwards. This high is considered to be stationary but tends to move north with the sun. This in turn pushes the Jet Stream northwards as well, creating better sea and wind conditions. Passage then from Hawaii to the west coast is best done in May through August. Close reaching almost due north on the NE trade winds is a wet but safe trip for about the first 1,000 miles. At some stage you will run into the Pacific high and run out of wind. The high can be as large as 600 miles across. At the stage motor NE or sail in light air until you encounter the westerlies. This will likely be around latitude 40N or so - it varies - At that stage you can run your easting down towards Juan de Fuca straight. If you are heading to a point farther south on the US mainland you can then put the wind on the quarter as the seas permit and continue east south east to your destination. This is the best ride. Smooth Passages!
10/10/2011 22:06:08

David Kory<br>United States
David Kory
United States

Posts: 17
I've also done several deliveries back to California after Hawaii races. Normal route is north out of Hawaii on starboard tack, maybe making a little easting, if it is comfortable in your boat. When to turn east depends entirely on the position of the Pacific High. For me, it seems I usually make the turn between latitude 38 and 40, sort of curving around the top of the high. If the high is drifting south you'll make a sharper turn, and may only motor for a few hours before the wind fills in on port. If the high is heading north, you may have a day of quiet before it fills in. As you approach California you will get into the NWerlies, and can ride these SW, parallel to the coast, for as much as 2000 miles- at least down to Puerto Vallarta. If you like running with the wind, stay at least 50 miles offshore, and farther is often better. Close to shore the wind goes lighter. This route will be long, but there are plenty of wonderful cities and destinations to stop and enjoy, make repairs, etc.

The other alternative, if you just want to get to Panama, is a direct route from Hawaii. It would be fairly direct, a little south of the rhumb line, but still north of the Galapagos. But it is a lot of upwind, not that pleasant, and 5000 miles long. And November is about the only month to try it.

Let us know what you do!

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