PN Hawaii to California

Directions for this route are almost the same as for PN32 as sailing a direct course from Hawaii to California is seldom possible due to the prevailing NE winds. The recommended sailing route from Hawaii runs almost due north before turning east once the area of steady westerly winds has been reached. The turning point varies in latitude throughout the year, being as far north as 40 °N in summer and 32 °N in winter. The recommended summer route turns quite sharply at the point where steady westerlies are met, whereas at other times the route follows a curve that turns gradually NE and then E towards the port of destination. If the passage is made at the end of winter, in February or March, the route should start turning NE at about latitude 30°N (WP PN332) when the best course should be set for the port of destination. The NE turning point in May is somewhere around WP PN333, and in August WP PN334. From these hypothetical waypoints the route the entrance to the strait. Traffic in the area is controlled by Tofino Radio (VHF channels 16 and 74). Incoming vessels are requested to report when due south of Amphitrite Point. The station operates a regular roll call, every ship reporting their position, speed, and course. In bad visibility the station will advise ships that are in the vicinity of a small boat's position. The station will also assist yachts with directions and may even track such vessels on radar.

curves gradually northeast and then east for one's destination. The August turning point is the most northerly in latitude 40 °N, or even higher. Because the recommended summer routes make destinations in the Pacific Northwest closer than those in California, boats from South California often take advantage of this by cruising some of that area before heading for home.

Boats sailing nonstop to San Francisco should make landfall at WP PN335 off Point Reyes, at the entrance into the traffic separation zone. In poor visibility one should contact the US Coastguard Vessel Traffic Service (CVTS) on VHF Channel 16 to obtain information on shipping traffic.

As described in PN32, all these routes are greatly influenced by the position of the North Pacific high, as they attempt to follow the contour of this area of high pressure. Boats with a good windward performance can often take a more direct route than the recommended one, as can those whose skippers

Best time:

March to May, September to October

Tropical storms:,

June to October



US: 530


BA: 8, 62


Cruising guides:

Charlie's Charts of the US Pacific Coast.





Destination Distance (M)

PN331 Hanalei

PN332 February

PN335 Reyes

San Francisco 2147

22' 15'N, 159'31'W

30'00'N, 150'00'W

37'55'N, 123'00'W

37'50'N, 122'15'W

PN331 Hanalei

PN333 May

PN335 Reyes

San Francisco 2259

35'00'N, 150'00'W

PN331 Hanalei

PN334 August

PN335 Reyes

San Francisco 2616

40'00'N, 155"00'W

are prepared to make their easting with help from the engine. Some fast passages have been made in May by boats taking the great circle route and motorsailing to windward in light winds. At other times, boats heading for Southern California have tried to beat their way across by keeping south of the high, something that can be done especially if one is able to keep track of the weather. Otherwise it is better to follow the old practice of making nor thing while under the influence of the NE trade winds and sail east with the westerlies of high latitudes. In between the two systems one may not have much choice except to use the engine. However, as the position of the North Pacific high has such a bearing on all routes to the mainland, it is essential to obtain a long term forecast before leaving Hawaii so as to be able to plot the best course in relation to the existing weather conditions.

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