Best time: Tropical storms: Charts:
Cruising guides: Waypoints:
PN311 Hanalei 22'15'N, 159:31'W
Summer is undoubtedly the best time to make this passage and most boats which take this northbound route normally leave Hawaii in the second half of June. Such a departure ensures longer and warmer days in higher latitudes and at least one month of cruising in Alaska before heading south again.
The course from Hawaii is almost due north and skirts the western edge of the North Pacific high. In summer (June to August), the high is normally centred around 38 eN, 150 *W. NE winds normally persist at least as far as latitude 30 °N before being replaced by variable winds. In some years the shift to westerlies can be quite abrupt, in other years steady westerly winds are almost nonexistent and light winds and calms persist all the way to Alaska. Generally, however, favourable winds can be expected for most of the way, as above latitude
The eastern part of the North Pacific lends itself to a circular route, which can be easily accomplished in as little as six months. By sailing to Hawaii in late winter or early spring, preferably from a port in California, one benefits from the best sailing conditions across. The early summer is then spent exploring the Hawaiian islands before the return voyage is undertaken, ideally not later than July. That would allow sufficient time for a short cruise in British Columbia before sailing back to California in the autumn.
Destination Distance (M)
Dutch Harbour 1952
40 "N an average of 70 per cent of the winds are from between S and W. The weather gets increasingly cold as higher latitudes are reached and north of latitude 40 °N there is also a high proportion of fog. This can be a cause of concern because of the large amount of shipping, both cargo and fishing boats. Yet another problem is the overcast sky, which is a feature of higher latitudes in summer. The permanent cloud cover makes it impossible to take sun sights, which makes satellite navigation almost indispensable.
A favourite starting point from Hawaii is Hanalei Bay on Kauai Island. From WP311, outside Hanalei Bay, the course is almost due north along meridian 160 °W, so as to keep west of the Pacific high. From WP PN312 the course is altered for WP PN313, east of Kodiak Island. From that point the route runs along the east coast of that island to WP
Mid-June to August
Charlie's Charts North to Alaska.
PN313 PN314 off Kodiak
PN312 PN315 Sedanka
PN314 in the approaches to Kodiak Harbour. The well protected harbour is best entered from NE through a dredged channel, which leads N of Near Island to Kodiak, an old town on the NW shore of Kodiak Harbour. Boats bound for Dutch Harbour will follow similar directions and, from WP PN312, will set course for WP315 off Sedanka Island. The course can then be altered to sail
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