Eastbound in North Pacific

Published 15 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Greetings Jimmy,

Wondering if you can give me some advice? I’ve been operating boats for the past 12 years and live by your routing books and noonsite. We are midway through a planned 5-year expedition based around kitesurfing (called The Best Odyssey) on a Lagoon 570. “Discovery” is currently lying in Bali, where we are preparing to wrap our 3rd year in Southern Indonesia before heading north to Singapore and Thailand for maintenance and then had planned on the final two years in the Indian Ocean (started in Italy in 2006).

However, after a wonderful year and a half in the Pacific, including much of Micronesia, I am considering going the wrong way and doing the Pacific again, beginning in either the Marquesas or the Gambiers (where we began after our Pacific crossing last year). The thought of going 6,000 miles the wrong way is not something that is very exciting, and neither is taking our cat down in the roaring ’40s for a long trip. Am I crazy to even be thinking along these lines?

Is it possible, and not too terrible to begin heading east along the equator at the start of the NW monsoon riding the front edge of the lows, and doing a lot of motoring, getting some help from the countercurrent? I sailed one year from Vanuatu to Fiji against the trades and strongly considered just running her onto a reef and collecting insurance rather than continuing on. And that was only 600 miles! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, Jimmy,

Gavin McClurg

Captain, SV Discovery


I describe in my World Cruising Routes a motor sailing route going east in the N. Pacific just north of the equator, taking advantage of the east setting current, and motor sailing in the light winds. The route has been sailed by a few yachts in recent years and although it may take a lot of motoring, it is feasible.

As you are in Bali now you ought to head east with the NW monsoon, and from there on making your best way east as close to the equator as possible. You have some interesting places to stop by in Micronesia whenever you need to pop north to pick up fuel. It will be good to get some weather information all along the route so as to play the winds (and choose the most favourable take) to your best advantage.

Good luck!

Jimmy Cornell

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  1. February 1, 2019 at 6:57 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    I have a Nordhavn 46 motor cruiser based here in Hong Kong. Our range is theoretically 3,000 nm but let’s work on 2,000 with a bit of reserve for contingencies.

    I am thinking of crossing the Pacific from Hong Kong to Alaska and down the west coast to the Panama Canal in about 18 months time. Can anyone recommend a route that would stay within these range boundaries? Thanks

    1. June 24, 2019 at 1:37 PM
      rayparlay says:

      Hi David.
      We are considering a similar route at about the same time but have only just started to investigate it.
      We have a Irwin 52 sailing sloop with a similar fuel range to you. Please let me know if you get any info on the route and I will share anything I find with you.
      Regards Ray Jones.