USA, San Diego to Easter Island, Juan Fernandez and Valparaiso

Published 16 years ago, updated 5 years ago

I have three editions plus the British book. It looks like I should get into the northern trades and try to get as much easting as possible then cross the equator and broad reach the SE trades in order to reach Easter Island.

Since it isn’t specifically addressed in the books can you recommend a route San Diego – Easter Island – Juan Fernandez – Valparaiso starting about Nov 1 of 2009.

The second part is Chile up to Galapagos and then back onto the coconut run again by-passing Polynesia. Looks pretty straight forward up the Humboldt current turn left in the trades. Can you recommend when to start departing Chile?

I’ve enjoyed studying your Cruising Routes books and put them to good use. This one I’m not quite sure of.

Why this route? I’m just tired of Mexico and want to see some new islands a bit off the beaten track this time.



SV Se Langt

Hi Michael,

Your plan sounds ok as far as the equator is concerned, but you will hardly “broad reach” from there to Easter Island, more likely you will be close-hauled once you find the SE trades. It might be worth considering a stop in the Galapagos and continue from there to Easter Island.

If you plan to continue to the Chilean mainland, on this route things get more difficult as you will be sailing against the prevailing winds. In such a case it would make more sense to close with the West coast of S. America as soon as possible (perhaps still stop at Galapagos), then buck the Peru current by motor-sailing in the usual light winds, stop in Callao/Peru, and continue South this way.

It’s a long and not easy.

You can then visit Juan Fernandez and Easter Island on your way West. The best time to start from Chile is late March-May so that you reach French Polynesia after the end of the cyclone season.

Good luck!

Jimmy Cornell


My original plan was based on the old windship route going straight down the 125W line and then cutting it off and curving back to the east. I was thinking of circling counterclockwise in effect down and back up.

Looking at it again and reading your comment, I’m now going SE to the Galapagos as you suggested and then cutting SW as much as possible (that’s the broad reach part) getting as close as possible to Easter while in the southern trades, until I have to close haul. That gives me about 19 degrees of westing to accomplish as much of 27 degrees of south-ing as possible before biting the bullet and sailing in an ungentlemanly fashion.

The subject of course to El Nino, La Nina, and the other vagaries of weather at the time and of course following my hard and fast rule never to sail into a storm season plus a margin of safety.

Had a friend go pretty much straight down and did it all under sail. Now that was a weight loss program. He made it all the way around the Horn and to the Falklands then lost his boat in a non-seasonal storm in the S. Atlantic. Picked up by a freighter though so he’s busy getting a new one to go try it again. He did not recommend the straight south and cut sw plan at all.

Keep up the good work!


SV Se Langt

I have not gone directly from Galapagos to Easter myself, but have done it once down the coast to Peru and then across, and once from Chile/Valdivia. Those who have gone directly from Galapagos have somehow managed to make Easter Island. What boat do you have?


The boat.

Initially a 31′ LOD 34′ LOA Westerly Berwick twin keeler, but it’s the super modified version all new rigging, sails, even a bridge deck at forward end of the cockpit. Like most twin keelers does not point as high and in very light airs you sometimes can’t tack but have to wear ship.

Essentially I made it a primary 35N 35S boat with the ability to go up to 55 deg N/S in certain cases and then beefed it up one step further.

Many ask why this type of boat? I wanted something that would do safe blue water and still negotiate rivers and canals at destination. Someone told me about these boats, tried them about ten years ago, and now on the second hull never looked back.

OK, now I can see what you can and cannot do. I believe in this case your best bet is to make the best route you can to the Galapagos and from there sail straight to Easter Island. If you are lucky you may make it first to Juan Fernandez and then to Easter, but I doubt it.

In fact, if I were you I’d hug the coast of S. America all the way to Callao (you can stop in various places to pick up fuel) and then sail Isl. to Galapagos and from there it’s the classic route to the Marquesas (or back home).


Jimmy THANKS! No need to answer this one it all falls in to place now. I’ll keep some good records and send them in to noonsite!



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