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Old 02-12-2009, 09:16 AM   #1
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Circumnavigation

The trip up to Alaska and back (from Mexico) this past summer was a great success and the Admiral is now pushing to try and take the boat around the world.* We are getting closer to heading out but have still not firmly decided on direction.* We will be departing from Ensenada (Baja Mexico) on or about November 1st.*
I'd like to get some thoughts about whether to go east or west.
We are currently planning to go through the Panama Canal and up to Virginia before heading to Bermuda and the Med and continuing on around.* The reason is that this gives us the first 6000nm in what is essentially coastal cruising before heading out on the first of several significant offshore passages.*
On the other hand, most of what we've read seems to indicate that the "preferred" routing is to head west from Mexico to the Society Islands and continuing on from there.*
Is the west bound routing primarily due to the wind direction for sail boats?* Or are there other reasons to consider that direction as a better choice?
Our boat (55' steel trawler) holds almost 4000 gal of diesel and has a range of more than 6000nm (with reserve).
Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome.
Jim
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:49 AM   #2
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RE: Circumnavigation

The ocean current in the northern hemisphere goes clock wise so you are going with the 0.5 to 1.0 knt ocean current.* You could in theory float over there.* If you were to cross the Atlantic the best would be to go North up to DC area to cross over ad follow the ocean current.* Boats and ships tend to follow the ocean current also so I would also look at the shipping routs, so if you did have trouble there would be some assistance in the area.* 150 miles off the coast and you are basically on your own.

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Old 02-12-2009, 09:55 AM   #3
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RE: Circumnavigation

*
Oh, on PMM Tia is taking his big ugly fishing boat across to Samoa, so maybe you might want to hook up with him ad have so company. *****I am a big chicken so I would head north and follow the Alaska Island Chain as the longest leg is about 250 to 500 miles.*

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Old 02-12-2009, 11:10 AM   #4
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RE: Circumnavigation

Jim,

*** I wonder how long it will take. A big part of your plan may be to plan where you will be during winter months. If you were to start in the spring a northern Gulf of Alaska route would possibly be attractive but returning in the winter being there would be just short of unthinkable. Have you thought much about why you want to do this? How bout around the*Pacific Ocean, to Europe and back or even around North America. I think the circumnavagation thing is a bit more feather in the cap and accomplishment than fun. From reading PMM it seems to me that most people go east and I believe there are good reasons such as currents and seasons like monsoons and hurricanes. Please share with us*some of your thoughts and rationale.

Eric Henning*
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:48 PM   #5
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RE: Circumnavigation

Eric,
We're currently planning on 36-40 months to make it around.* The Gulf of Alaska doesn't sound all that attractive since just going to Juneau this past summer was as cold as we ever want to be!* We actually considered going north from Virginia to Europe via Greenland/Iceland/Scotland but nixed that when we saw all the pictures of icebergs in the summer!
I don't think the "feather in the cap" is motivating us as much as just the internal satisfaction of doing it.* We probably will not live on the boat long term (subject to change obviously!) but we do want to see if we can meet the challenge of taking our own boat all the way around the world.
Our general lack of long experience in boating is driving my inclination to start off with the trip from Mexico to Virginia since we will likely never be more than 100 miles offshore during that portion of the trip and the ability to get parts and repair things will be logistically a lot easier than 1000 miles out in the Pacific on the way to the Society Islands!
Our boat is a custom steel trawler (we are the second owner) and every time I take her out I find out more about her!* And that's after more than 6000nm under the keel since we bought her 2 years ago!* My confidence in the boat and my ability to handle her is still growing and after making it to Virginia I'll feel a lot better about pointing in a direction without any land for a long way!
My bigger question in this post was to try and get an idea if going one direction or the other was "easier" in terms of winds, seas, currents, etc.* Also, compared to the coast of the western US up to the PNW, what kind of seas can I expect if I stay between about 40šN latitude and 30šS latitude?* This question assumes reasonable prudent respect for weather windows and time of year!
Thanks!
Jim
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:19 PM   #6
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RE: Circumnavigation

Be sure to sign up with a good weather router. Read the setsail website for lots of good around the world stuff. Steve Dashew's last year's trip mirrored what you are planning - for the first few legs anyway. The video, widely distributed of the 2004 Nordhavn rally, will give the easist way to cross the Atlantic if you want to miss the bergs. Give Jim Leishman a call about that rally - he is very open on planning and routing. Another good source is the Egret owners. You can post them through the Nordhavn website. They are in Australia/NZ now. They did your trip exactly except are now doubling back to avoid the middle east and pirates. Any yes, bad guys are lurking in SE Asia as well as the middle east. Keep us posted.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:39 AM   #7
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RE: Circumnavigation

Sunchaser,
Thanks for the references.* We are definitely going to sign up for a weather routing service and we'll also have satellite internet/phone on the boat (anyone have any experience with the Iridium OpenPort?).* The "To Do" list is pretty extensive (and doesn't seem to get any shorter!).* I'm sure I'll be posting fairly regular questions as we get closer and closer...and also when we're underway!
Jim
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:30 PM   #8
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Circumnavigation

Not cheap but highly regarded!!!!

http://www.seafaring.com/store/produ...cat=265&page=1

-- Edited by Baker at 13:31, 2009-02-13
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:51 PM   #9
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RE: Circumnavigation

John,
I've already got it and you're right. It's not cheap....but then neither are boats!
Jim
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:27 AM   #10
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RE: Circumnavigation

World Cruising Routes is fine , although a purist might also want Ocean Passages for the World, and use the " Low Power" routes

A big advantage of OPW is you will know where the boat highway is and can avoid being in a high traffic route , or cross one at 90deg.

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Old 02-14-2009, 07:23 AM   #11
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RE: Circumnavigation

FF-
I'll need to add that to my library and I'm also trying to deciper the Pilot Charts.* I guess my big confusion is that a LOT of the various cruising route books and descriptions are for sailboats and will make cryptic comments about routing to avoid the "light winds of the Azores High" and similar notes.* I can understand a sailboat not wanting to be in known areas of light or no winds but I'm in a trawler and light or no winds makes for wonderfully relaxing cruising!
Anyway....lots of head scratching and page flipping....
Jim
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:43 AM   #12
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RE: Circumnavigation

Ocean Passages HAS the routes the low powered boats will steam, which is all through the doldrums and equatorial dead zones.

Death by sail, delight for a marine motorist.
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