Sailing native the U.S. West shore to Hawaii deserve to be a very enjoyable experience and also plenty of seafarers make the expedition regularly. I was curious exactly how to make the trip, so ns did the research and also this is what I come up with.

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How to sail indigenous California to Hawaii? First, sail southerly, following the coastline to 35°N-25°N (depending on the moment of year). Then head westerly because that Hilo. The ideal time for cruising is around June once the weather is good and hurricane activity fairly low. The pilgrimage will take you anywhere between 2-4 weeks. The cruising distance is around 2,500 nm.

Whether your boat is situated in Seattle or mountain Francisco, the path is pretty lot the same. Yet there space a pair of important things come know before departing. For example, the straight route isn"t the more quickly - not even close.

In this article:

General Sailing route to Hawaii

Whether you leaving from Seattle, Los Angeles, mountain Diego, mountain Francisco or even Oregon, your path will mainly be the same.

Route: Southerly come at least to san Francisco or Los Angeles latitude (38°N - 34°N), then head westerly because that Hilo.


There are three methods to go around your southern trip.

Slowest route: follow the coastline and also hop from harbor to port till you reach san Francisco. Climate head easterly.Fastest route: coastal sailing while adhering to the coast at about 20-40 miles out. This offers you a speed advantage because the coastal current and also wind help you out.Safest route: offshore sailing at 50-100 miles out. Smoothest sailing yet you run the chance of finishing up in the Pacific High, which means you"ll have bad winds.

Most world seem come agree that the further out you are, the safer it is.

Steering clean of the coastal waters is safer due to the fact that the waters room smoother and also there are method fewer ship at also 50 miles out. This makes navigation a lot of easier. When choosing for coastal sailing, make certain your navigation devices is safe and also sound. You"ll have actually to deal with shipping lanes.

If you perform follow the coastline, watch out for the complying with points - they deserve to be dangerous:

Cape FlatteryPoint St GeorgeRocky Point/Honda PointCape BlancoCape Arago

Why do you should go south?

You want to sail approximately the Pacific High. If friend sail too much north you hit the Pacific High - light winds and also rain.

The Pacific High is a semi-permanent depression in the north Pacific. It"s the reason Hawaii has trade winds all year long.


How much south perform you have to go?

In winter, the High shifts towards the equator and also then back again phibìc in the summer.

So the earlier in the year girlfriend leave, the much more south the Pacific High is. Which way that the previously you leave, the additional south you"ll must sail to gain a smooth ride.

A good rule of ignorance is to:

in winter: sail southerly to around 20°Nin April - may: sail southerly to at the very least 30°Nin summer: sail southerly come at least 35°N

Once you with your southerly edge of the Pacific High, turn westerly. It will take a pair of days to reach the tradewinds. From over there on, it"s smooth cruising all the method to Hilo.

So her route relies on the time of year. The biggest challenge of sailing to Hawaii is staying in the optimum wind zone. This zone is small. Inside of it, cruising is great and your Hawaiian cruise will be a trip to remember. Exterior of the zone, this expedition will gain either boring or chaotic quickly.


Source: Pleistocene water cycle and eastern boundary existing processes along the California continent margin

The finest time to sail come Hawaii

So what"s the ideal time to sail come Hawaii? The finest time to sail to Hawaii is approximately June. The temperatures space comfortable in early summer, and the hurricane season tho hasn"t really started yet. In July you have the right to encounter hurricanes. In April the southerly component of the trip have the right to be rather cold.

The hurricane season in the north Pacific runs from June - November. I"ve review dozens that accounts and also most sailors agree that hurricanes commonly don"t reason problems.

They are easy to spot method before they reach you, providing you plenty of time come prepare. Also, hurricanes have tendency to stay between 10°N - 20°N. The Pacific High ensures hurricanes don"t creep up any type of higher. Hawaii is at 19 degrees north so you won"t really acquire in hurricane territory.

The journey Home

To get back, you essentially shot to sail about the Pacific High.

Route: indigenous Hilo, you sail northerly until you reach the northern edge the the Pacific High. This will most most likely be approximately 47°N (Seattle latitude).

Then you revolve easterly and also sail come the coast. As soon as in selection of the coast, you head southerly to return to your house base.

The sailing distance indigenous Hilo to Seattle is roughly 2,600 miles. ~ that, add the following distances:

Sailing distances for the U.S. West Coast:FromToDistanceFrom Seattle
SeattleSan Francisco660 nm660 nm
San FranciscoLos Angeles380 nm1,040 nm
Los AngelesSan Diego90 nm1,130 nm

Specifics for various Departure Cities

Below I"ll discuss the specifics because that the complying with cities:

SeattleSan FranciscoLos AngelesSan Diego

I"ll comment on how lengthy it takes to get there, and also what the precise distance is in nautical miles because that each allude of departure.

Seattle - Hawaii

How lengthy does it require to sail native Seattle to Hawaii?

It takes 4-5 weeks come sail from Seattle come Hawaii. It"s roughly 3,100 nautical miles. In ~ an mean sailing street of 100 nm per day (4-5 knots), the takes about 31 days come sail come Hawaii continuously. This is without any type of stops and under steady sailing conditions.

What’s the distance from Seattle come Hawaii by boat?

The cruising distance from Seattle come Hawaii is around 3,500 mile or 3,100 nautical miles. The straight distance is 2,550 mile or 2,215 nautical miles. However, the straight route isn"t the fastest route because it runs v the north Pacific High, i m sorry has bad winds.

San Francisco - Hawaii

How lengthy does it take to sail from san Francisco to Hawaii?

It takes around 25 days to sail come from mountain Francisco to Hawaii. It"s around 2,500 nautical miles. High-performance watercrafts may have the ability to reach Hawaii within 1-2 weeks. The specific time counts on your route. The ideal option is to head southern to 20-25 levels north (To manipulate the trade winds) and also then head west for Hilo.

What’s the street from san Francisco come Hawaii by boat?

The sailing distance from san Francisco to Hawaii is about 2,500 nautical miles. The specific distance relies on her route. Most routes first follow the shore south prior to heading westerly at 35°N - 25°N. If you"d sail in a straight line, the distance is 2,000 nautical miles.

Los Angeles - Hawaii

How lengthy does it require to sail native Los Angeles come Hawaii?

It takes between 2-3 weeks come sail native Los Angeles come Hawaii. High-performance watercrafts are maybe to reach Hawaii within a week. However, castle are likely to sail a different, more complicated route. In ~ an average sailing speed of 4 knots (which is usual), it will certainly take 14 days.

What’s the distance from Los Angeles to Hawaii by boat?

The cruising distance native Los Angeles come Hawaii is around 2,600 nautical miles. Due to the fact that of the Pacific High, many sailors first navigate southerly, prior to heading westerly at 35°N - 25°N. This rises distances however is much faster than sailing through the Pacific High.

San Diego - Hawaii

I"ve formerly written an article around how long it takes come sail from mountain Diego to Hawaii. You can read the here.

Spoiler: that takes in between 2 and 3 weeks.

What"s the street from mountain Diego come Hawaii in nautical miles?

The direct distance from san Diego come Hawaii is 2,160 nautical miles. The sailing distance, however, ranges from 2,400 - 2,600 nautical miles. The precise distance depends on her route. The reason the cruising distance substantially longer is that you first sail southerly prior to heading westerly.

What the Journey will Be Like

The begin of the journey have the right to be rather cold, particularly at night. The sky is normally grey and also cloudy.

If you catch the south-eastern leaf of the north Pacific High you"ll probably acquire wet. The winds here are poor and also it will certainly most likely be sluggish sailing.

However, if you remain on food you"ll record the profession winds soon enough, after around 4-5 days of sailing.

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Once the profession winds are in your back, the air it s okay warmer and dryer. The sky will it is in clear and also blue, as well as the waters. The next two weeks are a an extremely enjoyable sailing experience. Most sailors agree the it"s among the many pleasant ocean voyages there is.

My favorite Beginner cruising Gear

For trips choose these, ns recommend utilizing sound seafaring gear. It doesn"t have to be expensive. Below are my height 3 items: