Ahoy ye Sailors!
May 28, 2009 5:16 PM   Subscribe

Ahoy Ye sailors! Asking for a small piece of fiction I'm writing. How long would it take to sail (modern boats/yachts) from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and then from SF to Hawaii? Any personal experiences, details, or links to such adventures welcome.
posted by elendil71 to Travel & Transportation around Lawrence, MA (6 answers total)
Mark Twain's Letters From Hawaii should be at the top of your list.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:34 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Water In Between is a book about a sailboat trip from seattle to hawaii and back.

If you mean a sailboat, just under sail power, I think you're looking at something on the order of a month. The seasonal weather patterns will matter a lot, here.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:52 PM on May 28, 2009

It depends on the time of year because of the direction of the prevailing winds however, a very general rule of thumb is around 100 miles per day.
posted by Man_in_staysis at 7:01 PM on May 28, 2009

A friend of mine has single-handed his Swan 40 from SF to Hawaii (as a competitor in the Single-Handed TransPac) in roughly 14 days.
posted by nicwolff at 7:28 PM on May 28, 2009

You can get a rough idea by looking at the history of the transpac race (LA to Hawaii). The results are here. It will of course depend on the type of boat and the weather. Keep in mind that the race is in July, and conditions will be different at other times of the year.
posted by Horselover Fat at 8:59 PM on May 28, 2009

Seconding what everyone else said.

I do a lot of sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, and as silly as it sounds I plan my trips with Google Earth. I use the path tool, set to nautical miles, and then figure on doing 5 kts- which is 5 nautical miles per hour (if I fall below that under sail and I need to make time I fire up the engine). Obviously, I use charts to actually navigate, but you can probably get a good feel for trip times between ports easily like that.

As for experiences, I've sailed across the Pacific, stopping at Hawaii along the way. If you're looking for small things to add authenticity, be sure to remember the phosphorescence in the boat's wake at night (not just green, either- there are blues and even reds), as well as the unbelievable clarity of the water in the middle of the ocean (we put a seki disk in the water one time, and lost sight of it at 44 meters...on the Chesapeake you'd be lucky to get 3 feet down). Turning a bright light on in the middle of the night will draw some creatures that properly belong on Jupiter. For your characters, also don't underestimate the amount of time you just sit there and stare at the water, totally content- it's a much, much slower pace of life...
posted by zap rowsdower at 7:19 AM on May 29, 2009

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