Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Passage to Hawaii: its a wrap

Since arriving in Hilo, I've had time to update the posts I sent while underway and make a few small adjustments.  I have added some of the weather fax's I received while underway as they may be of interest to other sailors to see what type of quality is typical of what you can receive while underway.  On this passage I concentrated on only receiving three surface analysis every few days - the 24, 48 and 72 hour forecast.  The quality of the faxes in the previous posts are biased toward being good - as if the reception at the time I was trying to receive them was too poor, I would simply stop the process and shut things down.

I've had a few days to try to summarize the passage, and am having a hard time.  You had to have been there.  I consider this my first ocean passage, as after doing this trip I now consider my previous passages as being coastal.  This does not reduce those passages in any way and in fact the Neah Bay to Drakes Bay trip I did remains my most difficult so far.  After having left Neah Bay in Sept, I got to a maximum of around 140nm offshore.  That's by no means close to shore, but I was never further away than I could have motored back to if necessary.  While off the Oregon coastline I was far off, but it was still a coastal passage.

While sailing from Mexico to Hawaii I appreciated just how far away from everything a sailor on the ocean is.  You need to be completely self sufficient in a way that you seldom need to be in life.  I didn't publish very much about the preparations for the trip.  There was the provisioning of course, and examining the boat in as much detail as possible.  I climbed the mast, polished the stainless and generally worked on the boat while always looking for anything wrong or out of place.  The other preparation was getting used to the idea of exposing myself and Luckness to any risks that might have come up along the passage.  There is a gulp moment when you leave the coast and start heading west.  I tried to minimize the risks for the passage as much as possible through preparation and timing but the risks never go to zero.  But I also felt there was a risk in my not doing this passage.  Luckness is a very seaworthy craft and a lot of work has gone into her.  The timing for the passage was good.  As I continue to have aspirations to this cruising lifestyle and am hoping to continue along this path for many years, I felt it was time to do the passage and in effect, hope for the best.  I felt that not doing the passage had more lifestyle risks than going.

This turned out to be a fantastic passage.  I've read and heard of others who were faced with much more wind, and with much less, I was lucky with the weather I encountered.

Having said all of this, I do not wish to talk anybody else into doing a passage like this.  You need to decide on your own whether or not you do this type of sailing.  There are lots of rewarding places to sail without doing an ocean passage.  Although having said that, I'm looking forward to my next passage, and the one after that...

I compiled a little video of the trip.

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