PN California to Hawaii

This route enjoys favourable winds throughout the year, although few boats attempt to make the passage in winter, both on account of the cold and the high proportion of strong winds, On the other hand, summer months carry the risk of tropical storms, August and September being considered the most dangerous months. Although very few of these storms reach as far west as Hawaii, their tracks sometimes swing to the NW and thereby cross the sailing routes from the mainland. Between the two extremes, the threat of winter gales or sum by cruising along the coast for some distance and then setting off for distant destinations either from Mexico or Costa Rica. This has the advantage of shaking down both boat and crew while still within a short distance of stateside facilities.

The advantage of an offshore passage south from California is that the prevailing NW winds will put the boat on a broad reach or run,' as soon as the coast has been safely left behind. Because of the dependability of these prevailing winds, it is preferable to wait for a period of settled weather with a long term forecast of N or NW winds before setting off on a long passage. Regardless of the final destination it is advisable to head offshore immediately on leaving the coast, as winds tend to be steadier about one hundred miles from the mainland.

mer hurricanes, there are some months when sailing conditions along this route can be perfect, May and November fulfilling most of these criteria. Good weather can also be found in April, although an early start is usually associated with colder temperatures. Even when the winds are fair, the sky is sometimes overcast making life difficult for those who are keen to try their hand at celestial navigation on this long offshore passage.

The winds for the first few hundred miles are N or NW becoming NE and finally E closer to Hawaii.

Bi-st time:

April to May. October to November

Tropical storms:

June to October



US: 51, 520


BA: 8. 62

US: 152

Cruising guides:

Charlie's Charts of the Hawaiian Islands, Landfalls of Paradise.





Destination. Distance (M)

PN111 Angeles


33'45'N. m^O'W

30"00'N. 130WW

isppjl lli^ W's;; ■ JilLs'iip W-Njli Ii« ip


26'00'N. 140WW


PN116 Hawaii NE

Hilo 2133

22'00'N. 150'00'W

19'48'N, 155'00'W

19'44'N, 155'04'W

PN115 Francisco


37J40'N, 122J30'W

PN 113


PN116 Hawaii NE

Hilo 2090

As the great circle route goes too far north it may be better to sail a rhumb line. However, this will depend on the position of the North Pacific high and the extent of the NE trades, the northern limit of which moves in relation to the high. If it is felt that the course may pass too close to the position of the high, it is better to detour slighly to the south into an area with less pressure than towards the centre of the high.

Boats leaving from Los Angeles take their departure at WP PN111, from where the route goes south of the great circle course to WP PN112. From there, the route runs through WPs PN113 and PN114 before the course can be altered for the Hawaiian port of destination. Boats starting from San Francisco should follow the same advice and set a course which will take them sooner into the area of NE trade winds. From WP PN125, off the

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