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Old 01-13-2009, 06:33 PM   #1
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Sorry for the newbie question, but that's why I'm here.

I've noticed that almost all the cruising logs have an East to West bias. Almost all show a Panama-Galapagos-F. Polynesia, Samoa, OZ/NZ trip, and I have yet to read one about the inverse trip.

I understand that winds play a huge factor in this, and that most of these logs are probably started by Americans, who originate in the Caribbean or Cabo San Lucas.

Can you go West to East? If so, what difficulties do you encounter?

IF not, then if you don't want to make the trip across the IO, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and Suez Canal, then are there a glut of boats for sale in NZ/OZ? It would seem to be silly to treat yachts as disposable items that get landfilled down-under.

I have heard of West to East circumnavigations in the Southern Hemisphere (USA-S. Africa-Antipodes-Chile-Cape Horn-USA).

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Old 01-13-2009, 06:51 PM   #2
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As you mentioned, it is a question of the prevailing winds but also the ocean currents.

Firstly, sailing eastbound is possible. There are basically two routes, none of which is easy. The clasic sailing ship route was eastbound from Northern Europe soyth west to the coast of Brazil and then in an arc towards thew Cape of Good Hope from whence the ships would run their eastings down passing between the Australian mainland and Tasmania before heading up the east coast to the main cities of Australia to load grain and hides. The home run, in the same direction, started with the longa haul to Cape Horn when, once rounded, course was set up the eastern seaboard of the South Atlantic before crossing over to the proximity of the West Indies before following the Gulf Stream and the prevailig winds to the Western Approaches.

The other way of sailing eastbound is to run through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. The hard bit then starts as you cross the Indian and Pacific Oceans with fickle winds in the proximity of the equator. The bit from Panama to Europe or the eastern seaboard of the US is then a relatively easy bit.

So, eastbound is certainly possible but by choosing the southern route you will experience some of the worst weather on the planet, huge waves which circle the bottom of the globa and, probably, ice bergs too.

The equatorial route will take time with fickle winds once out of the trade wind belts. Also, very hot weather and the risk of pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

Your boat = your choice but I would go westwards.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:05 PM   #3
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So, going Eastbound across the Pacific would be very difficult? I guess a northern route (Japan-Alaska-US) would be one way, but the inverse of the typical cruising route just isn't done?

Also, has anyone sailed from Hawaii to California, or Northbound on the West Coast of the US (Cabo to Vancouver/Seattle)?
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:08 PM   #4
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http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/disp...cgi?a=npac_slp

Start studying things like this, and you will learn why sailboats sail to the places they sail to. You can either fight it, or go with it. i2f
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:12 PM   #5
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Crossing the Pacific the "wrong" way is a long, hard slog.

Follow the Trade winds and currents - cross the Indian Ocean on the "Cape of Good Hope" route.



See the INDIAN OCEAN on the Cruising Wiki. You will see the chartlet of currents, etc.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleua View Post
So, going Eastbound across the Pacific would be very difficult? I guess a northern route (Japan-Alaska-US) would be one way, but the inverse of the typical cruising route just isn't done?

Also, has anyone sailed from Hawaii to California, or Northbound on the West Coast of the US (Cabo to Vancouver/Seattle)?
Pick up a copy of World Cruising Routes by Cornell. Its a very valuable addition to any cruiser's library.

Regarding Japan-Alasaka-US...We are in San Diego right now and plan to go off shore a couple hundred miles and up to Alaska directly or go to Hawaii, see a few islands and then do the Japan-Alaska-thing to the Pacific Northwest CA/USA. We'll spend at least year up in those parts before going south back down the west coast of North America and the west coast of South America. So, yes, you can do that particular route--we're planning on it.

What's driving you to go East rather than West? Timeline and just a few things you want to see? In our case, we thought we'd be starting our cruising on the East Coast of the USA and Canada and it was a little "oops, we bought a boat on the West Coast..." that got us thinking about what else we'd do. If you don't have a boat yet, you could choose to find one where you'd like to START your adventure and then end up where ever you are now?

Good luck!

Brenda
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:00 PM   #7
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As of now, I have no boat nor any sailing experience. I'm just trying to understand the basics for the hopeful day that I can cast off and see the world on my own schedule.

My plan is to buy a small monohull to dink around the Puget Sound, so I can learn the fundamentals.

Then trade-up for a larger mono to practice sailing from Seattle to Cabo and back.

Then try a cat on the same route.

N. America to Hawaii and back. (if possible)

Trade up for a larger cat and do a cruise that hits the SPac, NZ/OZ, Maldives, Med, Caribbean and then back to Seattle.

I was just wondering if the cruising routes are essentially "ONE WAY" or if you can backtrack.

It would seem to me that many Americans would buy something in the Caribbean and then end up on OZ/NZ, where they probably sell and move back to the US. If so, there must be a glut of boats for sale Down Under. I'm by nature a cheapskate, so if the best deals are in NZ, I wouldn't mind getting something there and sail it back to the USA.

As you can see, I have a lot to learn. That's where you guys come in.
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:08 PM   #8
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Selling your boat abroad means you might have to pay import duty and VAT when you import the boat into the country of sale. Also, as in the EU, you might find that your vessel has to be certified complient with local regulations.

As for the mainland US to Hawai and back; it can be done and has been done many times. Californian sailors will knwo more about this but I believe there is an annual single-handed race from San Francisco to Hawaii and, of course, many of the boats will be sailing back too.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleua View Post
As of now, I have no boat nor any sailing experience. I'm just trying to understand the basics for the hopeful day that I can cast off and see the world on my own schedule.

My plan is to buy a small monohull to dink around the Puget Sound, so I can learn the fundamentals.
Oh, you're in a GREAT sailing part of the world. Very pretty. As I said--we'll be headed your way shortly

You can have a lot of fun learning to sail in a very, very small boat. "Dingy Sailing" as they say. And--truly--I believe those who start out sailing in a small boat like that (one or two person boat that you can car-top or trailer to your chosen sailing location) end up being much better sailors on a larger boat. What you'll find is that it is HARD to sail in a little dingy. Every whim of the wind can almost knock you over and you can also end up in irons time-and-again in a small boat. You'll learn lots! if you either take a small-boat class or buy a small boat and start sailing (on your own or with private instruction).

Boat US, the Coast Guard Axillary, and the local Power Squadron all should offer navigation classes in your area. You can learn navigation, rules of the road, etc via these sources while picking up basic sailing skills in your small boat.

I first learned to sail on a 14' Laser when I was 19--it was a blast. My husband learned to sail (as a boy scout) in a Thistle which is a similarly sized but older style boat.

You can also crew for people on larger boats (summer time races) and you'll learn a lot there as well. We crewed for a fellow in a racing series and that really taught us alot. We also took sailing classes as adults via a military sailing club and later taught sailing via the same club--those experiences really helped us become better sailors as well. Get out and sail on as many boats as you can--volunteer to help anyone you know with a sailboat! Time on the water is really important.

Do you know any folks with sailboats who can help you learn? If not, don't despair--there are always clubs and groups to join. Are you associated with a university or military organization? They may have a sailing club with focus on small boats that could be very helpful to you.

Best of luck!
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:40 PM   #10
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We have friends who left NZ to sail back to the East coast of the US, and their first leg was from NZ to Panama, nonstop and took 54 days, uncomfortable for most of it.

If you can get the Discovery Channel, and have watched "Deadliest Catch" you will have some idea of what sailing in the Southern Ocean is like. *And if you don't go far enough south to find westerlies, you're trying to sail directly into the wind, a hard and exhausting way to sail. *The South Pacific is big and you go for long distances between land.

It's not a nationality bias, you find most sailors, from wherever, following the the trade winds East to West and enjoying the ride. *And yes, you find lots of boats that have crossed the *Pacific put up for sale in New Caledonia, Australia, and New Zealand. *There are lots of other places that have good old boats for sale, many in the US. *

Quote:
Also, has anyone sailed from Hawaii to California, or Northbound on the West Coast of the US (Cabo to Vancouver/Seattle)? *
There are two California to Hawaii races - the Pacific Cup, held every two years, and the Transpac. *Most of the boats in the races return to California after the race. *We have a friend who used to support herself as a delivery skipper, annually delivering race boats back to California at the end of the race. *She told us that the most comfortable and effective route is to sail from Hawaii almost all the way to the state of Washington before tacking and heading for California. *

I've read quite a bit about the coast from Washington State to California, but haven't sailed that area. *A few on this board have, and perhaps they can give you more information. *There are lots of blogs on the Internet recounting their experiences sailing along the US Pacific coast from Baja north. *It's challenging, I understand. *Latitude 38, California's "sailing rag" has lots of information about the rally from California to Baja, which they call the Baja HaHa, and the return, the Baja Bash. *

Fair winds,

Jeanne*
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
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It would seem to me that many Americans would buy something in the Caribbean and then end up on OZ/NZ, where they probably sell and move back to the US. If so, there must be a glut of boats for sale Down Under. I'm by nature a cheapskate, so if the best deals are in NZ, I wouldn't mind getting something there and sail it back to the USA.
I've found much better boat prices in the US rather than Aus & NZ. If there was no import duty in Aus/NZ it might even be profitable for Americans to buy a boat in the US, sail it across the Pacific and then sell it down under.

Also considering an eastward Pacific crossing, then I would think alot of people would be wanting to do this at the moment rather than travel though the pirate hot spots off the Somali coast? But you do have to go where the winds will allow...
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:35 AM   #12
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You should really start off with the typical new guy question, like what boat should I buy? Or is a fixer upper project boat really the way to go? Or I am not sure my wife will want to sail, do I divorce her and take her sister? That is really proper ettiquette on any sailing board.

No, you start off with I want to sail the wrong way around the planet.

I think you are going to be nothing but trouble. Keep up the good work.

Oh and one more thing the whole pirate thing is much to do about nothing. Buy a really cheap boat, some bad clothes, and look ill while passing through the Gulf of Aden. They will guaranteed not want anything to do with you. If you do not believe me PM our 24/7 All Pirate, nothing but the pirate moderator for the straight skinny.

Here is to Sailing against the wind, practice up on engine maintenance and tacking.

DW in Idaho
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:38 AM   #13
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Duckwheat,

I like your style. You and I are going to get along just fine.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:13 AM   #14
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My tuppence worth...

East across the pacific... two ways.. up from NZ to Japan and the across to Canada ... haven't done that but a number of friends have... quite do-able.

Other way is to Chile and then up thorough the Atlantic... done the first bit (NZ to Chile).. not the easiest crossing on the planet... allow between 35 and 60 days depending on the boat... head for Pto Montt or Valdivia... DO NOT go direct to the Horn .. only crazies and people with a death wish do that.. the massive seas which roll forever around the world in those lats are a bit of an urban myth....stick in the mid 40's .. do it in late austral summer.. Ok so may be you will get a few weeks of gales. Such is life..
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