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Old 01-16-2007, 02:52 PM   #1
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Default Pacific crossing, N or S

Good day

I am new to this site, sorry for my bad English.

Maybe you will help me to make a choice for coming route.

I'm planning Pacific crossing (janruary-may) from Panama westwards on a small (30 ft) cruising catamaran so the main criteria for route planing are favorable and safe whether conditions.

Now there are two variants - by N or S tradewinds, so what is preferible in our case?

Sauthern way:

Panama-Galapagos-Marquesas-Tahiti-Figi-Australia-Torres Strait-Bali-Malaysia-Thailand

N:

Panama-Guam-Mindanao island-Makasar Stretch-Bali-....-Tnailand

Thank you for any comments provided.

The main difference between two ways? Which is less dangerouse by meteo? Maybe some new data about pirats for the last way?
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Old 01-16-2007, 03:14 PM   #2
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Privet Liss,

Welcome to the forum.

It is a long time since I made the crossing and without delving into sailing guides and weather charts I would not like to offer you advice. If no other contributor has the knowledge to answer you directly then I will dig out my 'Ocean Passages of the World' and other publications. I am however sure that you will get an answer soon.

Welcome to the forum!

Stephen

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Old 01-16-2007, 03:36 PM   #3
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I suggest that you lay hands on Jimmy Cornell's book "World Cruising Routes"
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Old 01-16-2007, 03:51 PM   #4
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Yes, I know about this book and I've already ordered it. But I'm also intrested in some live suggestions from experienced people (my own expirience is only on Med and Atlantic)
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:09 PM   #5
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Hi Liss,

Sorry do not have time to run it myself but suggest you might try searching for Visual Passage Planner 11 from web.

If you are not aware it is routing software compiled from past years actuals to allow it to estimate expected wind & currents on routes you set up yourself in chart form. Very easy to use.

The software allows you to also add in your boats sailing characteristics on all points of sail in varying levels of wind, and from that plus its stored data, can predict how long the passage will take or indeed under poser - how much fuel you may consume.

If I recall correctly (some years since I purchased it ) it's cheaper than buying all the routing charts - but I do recall when I went looking for it on the web I found a site that let you try it out for free - but only for the month of January.

As this is when you might go - suggest worth doing a search.

Good luck

JOHN
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:16 PM   #6
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The easiest route is the southern route. Shorter passages and interesting places to visit. The best time is from February to June to get started from Panama. You can't leave the Marquesas until May due to the cyclone season. It's a fun route, but purchase travel guides, especially for the Marquesas. Quite a bit of fraud there so be careful as to who you deal with.

The northern route has a voyage of nearly 5000 miles to Hawai'i then another sail of 2000 miles to the Marshalls, or nearly 3400 miles to Guam. It's long passages. March to May are the best times for a Panama to Hawai'i passage. Sailing Hawaiian waters is never easy as the wind funnels between the islands. An east to west passage is okay but expect high winds between the islands at all times. I like to travel the Hawaiian waters at night when things are calmer.
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:51 PM   #7
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Thanks all

The start is janruary 2008, I'm just starting scheduling, so any suggestions are welcome!
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Old 01-16-2007, 08:15 PM   #8
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Since Virtual Passage Planner offers the default month of January in its no-cost trial version, you could play with it for some value. However, the South Pacific pilot charts - on which the VPP software is based - are available for free and downloadable for all months of the year. I'd suggest you consider using those when reviewing your options.

http://www.nga.mil/portal/site/maritime/?e...443927a759&epi_

baseMenuID=e106a3b5e50edce1fec24fd73927a759

Keep in mind that the W Pacific really does not have a conventional 'typhoon season' and much of that area is subject to typhoons thru-out the year, tho' historically there are more in some months than others.

Jack
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Old 01-16-2007, 10:27 PM   #9
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We didn't go to the North Pacific, so all I have to report are other's reports.

One of them started out from Australia, their home port. They worked their way to the Marshall Islands, about the furthest East and North that they got before heading back down into the South Pacific. They had no problems, though their stay wasn't particularly long.

Another yacht, MAHDI, spent several years sailing in the North Pacific, with a lot of time in S. Korea and the Philippines. We met them when they came south to Malaysia and then on around. They said they loved their cruising in the N. Pacific, but finally got tired of the constant vigilance for strong tropical storms and typhoons. They felt that they were constantly looking for a safe harbor to ride through the next storm as it came through. As Jack says, the distances are greater in the North Pacific and with a boat as small as yours it is possible that there would be no long enough weather window for you to find safe harbor before a storm hit.

I think for that reason it is not as popular a cruising spot as the S. Pacific.

I'm not sure how much time you wish to spend in your crossing of the Pacific, but if you have plenty of time, perhaps you could have the best of the two worlds. Sail through the S. Pacific to its approximate mid-point, the Samoas, and then head north during the southern hemisphere cyclone season to visit the Line Islands, Kiribati, Wallis & Futuna, and further north, dipping back down into the S. Pacific at the end of their cyclone season. I think you could do a reasonable zig-zag up and down with shorter passages and greater territory covered.

Spike Dawg would be a good one to weigh in right now for more on this idea.

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:26 AM   #10
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If you must cross the pacific during January to May then the northern route is best. It's the cyclone season in the south hemisphere, reaching it's peak from February through March. Some countries in the southern hemisphere may not let you enter harbor during this time.

Crossing to Hawai'i...The only stop would be Costa Rica, if you choose. First landfall in Hawai'i is Hilo where you can check in at Radio Bay. Radio Bay is behind the main shipping wharf and the entrance is a narrow channel between the wharf and the break water. If the cruise ship is tied up to the wharf the security will not allow you to enter Radio Bay as the bow of the ship is at the channel edge. Quarantine restrictions are strict for food and pets. Russian travellers require a visa.

Winter storms are quite common in Hawai'i this time of year as the Pacific high has moved north over the Hawaiian Islands. It rains a lot in Hilo, anytime of year.

This is a long sail... Knowing where the ITCZ is critical.

Hawai'i to the Marshalls...I have not done this, but had planned to 2 years ago. It is considered an easy sail.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:31 PM   #11
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I'm keeping your responses, it's really helpful

Resuming I've got a choice to head for Hawaii northwards or to wait for cyclone season ending in south hemisphere cause I'm definitely going to avoid any cyclone when it's possible. Maybe I'll really accept the route suggested by JeaneP, it's a question of time indeed.

Is it wright that N Pacific tradewinds are generally considered less stable than in south? Is it likely to fall into a long-lasting calm while sailing to Hawaii?
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:09 PM   #12
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Hi Liss,

I did the South Pacific crossing in 2003. (I've never done the North Pacific crossing.) In all the crossing was good, the winds were fairly consistent, and the legs of the crossing were reasonable - the only long one is the Galapagos to Marquessas. Everything after that is a maximum of 500 miles.

I wrote a series of articles about the crossing - you can find them at: http://www.geocities.com/arkayos/spac01.html

hope that is of some help.
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Old 01-18-2007, 12:53 PM   #13
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Liss...the tradewinds in the North Pacific are very reliable. The problem is you must cross the ITCZ to get to them from Panama. You must know where the convergence zone is located and how big an area it covers. Generally the ITCZ has lots of squalls with light winds, or a dead calm. You may have to motor.
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Old 01-18-2007, 06:47 PM   #14
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That's it... Not sure but I've got an impression from some sailor guides I've read that the ITCZ frontier is less predictable by north. I'm so worried about calms because of restricted tonnage so I'd like not to carry much fuel. Maybe I'm a bit overcautious

Anyway I'm definitely prefer to stay till april on Caribe and go S, mainly for seeing such a beautiful places as described in issues like above.
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