Our Sailing: If the landfalls do not provide enough allure, try surfing down 10-foot waves trailing foam in a steady 25-knot breeze, an experience found in few other tropical seas. Our strong steady trades result from our location at the fast turn of the Great North Pacific High circulation. Cold air from Alaska, tugged towards the equator by the Earth’s rotation, streams past the West Coast and curves through the Islands before slowing up in the Western Pacific.
The sailing in Hawai`i is fast, exhilarating, and dependable. When the trades are up, avoid going to windward, or make night crossings when the winds lay. Watch the weather and sail accordingly. If the channels are too rough, sail the more serene leeward shores.
Our Islands are all tall volcanoes, producing microclimates and unusual sailing conditions. The trades accelerate in the channels between these volcanic mountains. In their lee are “wind shadows” that extend miles out to sea and provide ideal conditions for power yachts. The Big Island’s Kona Coast, for example, has few sailboats but many fishing yachts and many big game fishing tournaments.