View Full Version : Best route - Baja to Puget Sound

12-30-2003, 12:36 AM
Whats the easiest route to take from La Paz Mexico to Puget Sound? I heard bashing up the coast wasnt the easiest sail. Maybe out to Hawaii and back? I still cant stop thinking about buying this boat :D

Tumbleweed (http://www.bajacaliforniamarine.com/Ingrid38.htm)

12-30-2003, 01:32 AM
I think out to the Big Island, North to Alaska, then South is your only choice. That boat is comfortable, but won't sail to windward very well. Check old Lattitude 38's for info on coming up the coast.

John E Hardiman
12-30-2003, 12:36 PM
I concur with True Grit. Most sailboaters on the west coast go "upwind at 55". Most of the west coast of the US is rockbound with a NW onshore wind and a 1-1.5 knot current setting south. There is a constant sea setting to the SE with various periods of remote swell from the South Pacific storms. Pounding to weather off a lee shore with a cross swell against a current about describes it. Additionally, there is a major shipping lane about 10-20 miles offshore that you would be tacking through all the time.

Smart money is to reach well (700-1000 nmi) offshore, catch the north pacific high, then ride it downwind up to Puget Sound. So you might as well go to Hawaii. ;)

If you want to watch the weather here is the NOAA Marine Products Site (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/home.htm)

12-30-2003, 02:07 PM
it would be a bummer to sail to Hawaii then turn around and sail north again. There is so much to see to the south :D I need to find a map of the Pacific...and to go from Hawaii straight up to Alaska....burr. smile.gif

MAGIC's Craig
12-30-2003, 04:23 PM

We have twice sailed from Baja to the PacificNW using the offshore "clipper" route. Both times we were about 900 miles west of San Diego as we went by and the passages were 28 and 29 days in length. There is good material about this route in various publications/sources, but a lot of it is derived from the Ocean Passages of the World.

On another occasion, we sailed from S.D. to Hilo and then from Kauai to Neah Bay (18 and 22 days, respectively) and the passages, if made at the right time, are not usually difficult for a well-found vessel and crew.

Personally, we have decided to skip the Hawaiian Islands on any future trips, or limit or stay to Hilo, however, others find the Islands satisfactory, so they can't be all bad...

12-31-2003, 01:44 AM
Well that sure sounds like the way to go. smile.gif

"There are two ways to make the trip from southern Baja to California. Most cruisers pound their way along the coast-- wind and current on the nose. They motor continually, and tuck into protected coves when the weather turns nasty (which it is prone to doing). This is the so-called 'Baja Bash,' and it tends to be an unpleasant rite of passage for Baja veterans. The alternative is to sail hundreds of miles out, making a line for Hawaii, then gradually turning north as you catch favorable trade winds. You follow an elegant 2,400-mile parabola that ends in northern California. Or, as one experienced cruiser put it, "you set your sails and when you wake up three weeks later you're in San Francisco." This is the 'Clipper Route,' so named for old ships that favored this course when motoring wasn't an option. "

12-31-2003, 03:49 AM
Originally posted by True Grit:
That boat is comfortable, but won't sail to windward very well.I would be interested to know why you don't think this boat would go to weather very well? Do you have some familiarity with this design?

12-31-2003, 03:51 AM
Tim; Please check your private messages.

12-31-2003, 04:58 AM
Why wouldn't it sail well to windward? Let's see- ketch rig with a high drag/lift ratio, box spars, heavy in the ends, low sail area/wetted surface area ratio, non-optimized keel form, deep forefoot, low form stability, etc.

And yes, I have sailed on one- smooth motion, lots of momentum for punching into a chop/swells, but hard pressed to point much above 40 degrees apparent, and a fair amount of leeway. It's the wrong boat for beating up the coast where, since you're going to be uncomfortable anyway, you might as well be efficient, and get the job done, or pick another route.

These hulls, along with the West Sail (Wet Snail) line were popular in the '70's/80's for living the dream and sailing around the world- Down wind! :eek: tongue.gif

John E Hardiman
12-31-2003, 01:11 PM
Hey! Thats not fair! As I recall a Wet Snail, excuse me, West Sail, once won the Pacific Cup. Granted she finished weeks behind the FTF, but she corrected out. :D

12-31-2003, 02:21 PM
Gentlemen dont sail to windward :D

Or in other words I would rather be safe on a long voyage in all conditions than go a little faster and have to worry about the weather all the time. I know people cruise and race these fin keeled thingys, but they arent as proven and safe/comfortable in a blow as a Colin Archer. Look at what happens when the weather picks up during the Sidney-Hobart race. Not too many boats finish the race eh? and lots of them sink. Thats no fun if you ask me.

On Vacation
12-31-2003, 02:34 PM
By truck.

12-31-2003, 02:48 PM
Oyster's right, 2200 miles,La Paz to Seattle, mostly on Highway 1. I'd hate to tow a big boat through the Baja, though. :D

12-31-2003, 02:59 PM
Wouldnt that be like the equivelent of towing a car with a bicycle? :D

Art Read
12-31-2003, 03:19 PM
Oh, balderdash! That boat would sail up to the Strait from Baja just fine... Plenty just like it doing it all the time. Just follow the advice above, keep the edge of the Pacific High to starboard by going West, then North, then East, and don't worry about going all the way to Hawaii, or God forbid, Alaska! You may cover a few more miles and take a few more days than the most weatherly "rocket sled" out there, but you'll be more comfortable. Even WITH a high pointing, high aspect, fin keeled wonder, I'd still never attempt to hug the coast. That way lies madness. Take plenty of beer, head offshore and relax.

The most important thing is doing it at the right time of year. Like between May and September. Period. You DON'T want to be out in the approaches to Cape Flattery in winter. Or too early in spring, or too late in fall. Trust me.

(And don't listen to any well intentioned fool who advocates the advantages of "harbor hopping" up the coast. The dubious feeling of "security" that gives is an illusion. You don't want to see land from the moment you take your departure at Baja 'till you raise Cape Flattery at the other end. "Sea room, young man, that's want you want, sea room!")

[ 01-02-2004, 12:26 AM: Message edited by: Art Read ]

12-31-2003, 03:32 PM
There *would* be a certain sense of security in knowing that you could heave to and go below for a month if you had to with no worried of running aground on a lee shore :D

01-01-2004, 02:44 AM
Out to Hawaii and back is a good option if you are a competent sailor and if this is a well found vessel. There are other options though. Summer before last I sailed our 30' Alden from San Carlos to Cabo, then motored from there to San Diego. I was afraid to truck a wooden boat across the Sonoran desert fron San Carlos to Tuscon then north (drying out the hull). We departed Cabo July 12 and arrived in San Diego on the 19th. It was early in the hurricane season and we were taking our chances, but if you watch the weather it can be a good time to go. It was a mill pond all the way. We made one stop for fuel (2hrs) in Mag Bay and one overnight stop in Turtle Bay.
From San Diego we trucked to Newport Oregon and moored the boat there until early summer, and then had a pleasant sail up the coast and into the Strait to Pt. Townsend.
The trucking costs from San Diego to Oregon were not much different if you were to truck to Olympia. For us, it was $3000.00 for 5 tons. We went with Marine Transport out of Florida, and were pleased with their service. Lots of reasons behind us going this route. May or may not make sense for you. Feel free to email me with questions. Regardless, La Paz is a nice place to hang out and look at boats(despite all the hurricane damage, I hope...)


01-01-2004, 07:13 PM
Art: Approaching from the south, with ultimate destination the Pacific Northwest, you keep the edge of the Pacific high (in summer) to starboard by steering west, then north, then east.

Usually you have to go at least as far west as Kauai, then beat northward against the NE trades for a few days until you start to pick up the westerlies. An alternative is to motor through calm across the northwest corner of the high and then pick up the westerlies.

I have made this voyage (Honolulu-San Francisco or southern California) five times, and have gone as far north as the California-Oregon border before picking up the westerlies. But it's not always the same. In 1948 I brought a large racing yawl into Santa Barbara in 18 days. We sailed close to the rhumb line, carrying a storm main and pushed on a broad reach by three storms with westerlies. What a ride that was!

Years ago a friend sailed his Tahiti ketch from Honolulu to Seattle. I don't know his precise course(s), but he must have bucked the wrong side of the high at least part way because his voyage took 55 days!

01-01-2004, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by Bayboat:
Years ago a friend sailed his Tahiti ketch from Honolulu to Seattle. I don't know his precise course(s), but he must have bucked the wrong side of the high at least part way because his voyage took 55 days!That must have seemed like a long trip. :D I guess one has to be prepared though. Ya never really know how long its going to take. And an Ingrid isnt going to break any speed records thats for sure. But if Colin Archers other boats over in Norway are any indication, you know she will get ya there. :D As long as a whale doesnt decide to use you for a scratching post that is :D

01-01-2004, 10:48 PM
As long as a whale doesnt decide to use you for a scratching post that is Yeah. That *IS* common. Watch out for them suckers.

01-01-2004, 11:50 PM
I've read, in a few places, that the general rule for US mainland to Hawaii is 3-4 weeks and from Hawaii to mainland US 6-8 weeks.

Art Read
01-02-2004, 12:33 AM
Edited to "correct" my little brainfart Bayboat. It must be that "East coast mindset" I haven't shaken yet! ;)

(My two trips from Ouahu took 17 and 19 days to Seattle and Bellingham respectively. But I DID carry a LOT of spare diesel aboard so that I could motor for a few days through that NE quarter of the high. Makes for a nice mid-voyage "break" from sailing on your ear all the time and the owner buys the fuel! ;) )

01-02-2004, 12:44 AM
How big was the boat Art? ;)

Art Read
01-02-2004, 12:51 AM
Santa Cruz 50 and Nordic 44... ;)

01-02-2004, 01:04 AM
Skite! :D I was talking about "little people" boats! ;)

There are no good harbors close enough together on the west coast to "harbor hop" anyway.

01-03-2004, 03:05 PM
Sorry to nitpick again, Art, but usually the corner of the Pacific High that you motor through is in the NW quadrant.
In the Transpac (we used to call it the Honolulu Race) the record time is somewhat under ten days. Depending on the boat, the position of the Pacific High, and how much of a hurry you're in, the average non-race time to the Islands might be two to three weeks. Coming back to the coast, I used to allow a month for food (plus a few cans extra) and water. My worst time was 25 days to San Francisco, my best was 18 days to Santa Barbara.

Many years ago a friend and his new bride embarked for the Islands from San Francisco on their honeymoon in an 18' sloop with minimal accommodations. I don't remember how long it took them, probably close to a month. With legs half-atrophied, they crawled ashore at Molokai, she took the first plane to Oahu and promptly filed for divorce. The boat returned to SF on board a steamer.

Art Read
01-03-2004, 05:30 PM
Yup... You're right. That "east coast dislexia" again... ;)

(I still often think of sailing to the San Juans or the Strait from Seattle as "going down" too, even though its obviously North. I'm used to the Chesapeake where open water is always to the South... :rolleyes: I usually DO manage to find my way back home though! Even if it does make SWMBO nervous sometimes... ;) )

[ 01-03-2004, 05:38 PM: Message edited by: Art Read ]