A strange name?
Take a Tour
Meet the Crew
How we started
Our first yacht
Our view of the cruising life
Passages we've made
Around the world in Dulcinea
Australia to Japan
Japan to Kamchatka
Russia to Alaska
Alaska to Canada
Canada to Australia
STORIES IN ALASKA
Laurence in Alaska
Prince William Sound
STORIES FROM JAPAN
Simply the BEST
Huis Ten Bosch
STORIES FROM AUSTRALIA
Barrier Reef Cruise 2005
STORIES FROM TASMANIA
Antarctica by Ship NEW!
A Spooky story
OTHER CRUISING SITES
||4 July 2003
Ocean , Vancouver
Vancouver, Canada, illywhacker
heads for Townsville, Australia, a journey from
the North American continent to our own island
continent. The first leg renews our respect for
the big ocean.
|| View from the bar at Hawaii Yacht Club
|There are quite a few
yachts that make the trip from the US West Coast and Canada
to Hawaii. Every 2nd year the Victoria to Maui race is run and
on alternate years the Transpac is run from Los Angeles to Hawaii.
Conventional wisdom says the weather is most settled in July/August
when the North Pacific High sits at about 35N, 140W. This means
boats heading to Hawaii should take a southerly course enjoying
northerly winds to about 25N before meeting the NE Trades and
swinging west to avoid crossing the centre of the High and running
out of wind. Yachts heading home from Hawaii follow a northerly
route to the west of the High with winds astern or abeam then
swing east once the top of the High is reached. Sometimes however
the High splits in two or moves SE and it is possible to sail
a rhumbline course. If you have the fuel it can be a good strategy.
We opted for the curving route, south then west since it was
also recommended by our Pilot Chart program, VPP.
||Click for larger view
We enjoyed a rollicking northwesterly for the first few days and
kept the wind off the stern on a course of 204 degrees True. After
a week we found ourselves too far west and motored for 680nm. We
found the Trades at 28N then followed them downwind to Hawaii, a
distance of 2450nm from Victoria BC. This sounds idyllic but illywhacker
had spent too much time motoring in the calm waters of the Inside
Passage to take the open sea without complaint. With our fuel half
spent, we were lighter in ballast and she tended to roll from side
to side as each following wave lifted the stern and rotated the
hull a few degrees causing a roll to one side. Our autopilot corrected
madly and we'd roll over to the other side. Everyone knows that
the way to correct this is to travel as fast as the waves and for
2 days we had the problem solved. With the headsail poled out to
port and the MPS (multi-purpose spinnaker) to starboard, we travelled
comfortably at speeds touching 7 knots. Unfortunately, the halyard
parted due to chafing at the masthead and we lost it inside the
mast. We were back to headsail and staysail which reduced our speed
to 5.5knots, not bad but more rolly. Coupled with the rolling, we
experienced sea swell from varying directions so we learnt to live
aboard a washing machine!
|Sunset after a week at
||It's not always like this!
Breakages and fun
Motoring across the High gave us some exciting moments. At all times
we could see floating debris, very similar in content to that we
noticed when sailing Asian waters, perhaps the North Pacific currents
circulate it all. In any case we were twice forced to dive over
the side and cut the prop clear. This process required use of my
dry suit as in Alaskan waters, we hadn't arrived in the Tropics
at that time. The second time was a monster knot which unscrewed
the prop anode and bent it's mounting shaft.
Motoring also raised the spectre of another monster that lives in
the bilge. A slight oil leak and a few litres of water from slack
maintenance on the rudder shaft stuffing box were the ingredients.
An automatic bilge pump that I keep closed at the outlet to avoid
surprise oil spills ran continuously and created an emulsion not
unlike blancmange which grew alarmingly until the cause was discovered.
Another time a loud screeching emanated from the stern gland and
this turned out to be the prop shaft rubbing on the stern tube.
Raising the engine mounts corrected it but a new cutlass bearing
is defintely indicated.
More disturbing, the rolling motion apparently placed pressure on
the top of the water tanks and several litres were forced into the
adjacent gutters. Lyndall was sleeping on the saloon floor over
the tanks (traditionally the position with the least motion at sea)
but luckily remained dry. On top of this our ever-reliable GPS suddenly
went blank - it was like a Yachtmasters' exam where they continually
surprise you with the unexpected!
|Floating debris cut from
||Large tanker en route
to Persian Gulf
While I kept the boat together as best I could, Lyndall and Jo our
crew provided gourmet meals and we all kept regular 2 hour watches,
looking out for shipping (there were 10) and wind changes. The meals
were so good - we had salads and ice cream for the first 15 days
with so many great pre-cooked stews or fresh stir fry that we could
have been at a classy restaurant. Jo was sporting a red hairdo at
the time and there was a plot aboard to have me undergo a beard-dyeing
- luckily I am fleet of foot around the deck.
Top of page
|Jo having a hair rinse (red)
||View of the HYC bar from illywhacker
We were understandably very pleased to see Koko Head on Oahu Island appear on schedule and from there it is an hour's sail around Diamond Head to Ala Wei marina and the Hawaii Yacht Club. What an amazing transition. After 19 days, the rolling stops and we glide to a stop against the dock with strangers calling their welcome "Aloha's" and tying us up. All around are the exotic towers of Waikiki apartments, blue seas with waves breaking on white sands while the Yacht Club sits on a peninsular surrounded by palm trees, frangipanis and cool, green grass.
From our boat we are just a few meters from the bar, showers and terra firma. Will we ever get outa here?
||Looking out to Waikiki