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Thread: "So, Tell Me About Hawaii For Sailors"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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So, Tell Me About Hawaii For Sailors

I hear from friends living in Hawaii that sailboats regularly anchor in out of the way bays and such.
Can you please enlighten me? I seem to be quite confused. Is it possible to sail a WS32 to Hawaii and find anchorages and/or decent moorings or slips, and if so, at what cost, and have the local constabulatory finally conceded that a WS 32 does not need to carry the nav lights of a 40 footer?

Norm Rhines


The anchoring thing is not as good as the east coast or Gulf just not as many good spots, but there are some (Charlies charts of the HAWAIIAN ISLANDS) has some written up. As for mooring we have some but not to many are open and you need to fill out the forms. As for slips (except during Transpac or Pac cup) there are temp slips most places running around 10.00 to 18 .00 day. Not so bad. But you have to go through the state GOVERMENT setup, apply for a mooring permit, get inspected, and then fill out and pay for the slip agreement, and update it every 30 days. GOVERMENT RUN "just fill out the forms and check the boxes and complete the forms correctly. If you don't conform to the form well (AINT GOING TO HAPPEN)

As for the nav lights (I am using the less than 45 foot setup so no issue (the law requires an Epirb not many have them and they pass inspection. Hell they have a floating junkyard two slips over from my boat and the only light I see on it is a Drop light. (part of the problem).

So yes there are places to acnchor (watch restrictions) and also get temp slips. Our hrbors are not so nice as the state runs them. and the anchorages are sometimes bumpy but hey it is nice here and the wind blows 95% of the time.

HAWAII is NOT a boater frendlty state but you can get by.

Haul outs are cheap 400.00 but Lay days are around 100.00/ day. so we work real fast on our boats here.
The waters are open ocean sailing.
The people are mostly frendly.
Fuel and food are close to the same price as the mainland.
Spare parts can be found or ordered.
There is a plane leaving for the mainland every 20 min +/-
Best tour is to land On the big island and then see the islands on a northerly rout.

P.s. the realy nice harbor here will shoot you if you enter as it is THE USA Pearl harbor i.e. NAVY only.

SO there you have it, a nice place to visit, but not a sailing paridice.

Hey, Norm,
Thanks for a wonderful treatise on the current situation for sailors and visitors in Hawaii. I think I'll print it out for future reference. Sounds like something that may be doable after all, but I can imagine what it's like dealing with the government marina operator. Ouch. Plus, I guess the U.S. Navy really doesn't need us cruisers getting in their way, either.... Thanks for all, and yes the extremely wonderful climate, people, and winds beckon strongly.
Randy K.

Michael Dougan

Randy, when are you getting a dang boat?!! Enough dreaming about anchorages, let's get you into a boat first!


Michael, Good point and well taken. You guys have been exceedingly patient with me. I could be in a boat (WS32) in a matter of weeks now. Already have the high powered dink and am fitting it out. Think I may name it Bligh, the guy who did 3614KM in a 23' open boat with 19 men (and all survived). Truth is I just could not let go of a big legal case which we won and is now on appeal. My client (a Texas shrimp producer) needed me awhile longer but (after 4 years) I expect to be free. (and paid) very soon. By the way, am considering a sprit rig for the dinghy. Any thoughts on that as the expert gaff rigger? Thanks.

Brian Smith

'Charlie's Chart of the Hawaiian Islands'??

Norm Rhines

ISBN 0-96863707-8

Should be 19.95 USD

As the resident Westsail Hawaiian resident, what would you perceive to be the the chances of getting a slip or mooring for a W32 for a winter, say on Oahu? Or Maui? Or split between various islands?

Norm Rhines

Well at the moment (not good???)

look to the DLNR


they are talking 2.00/foot / day I have spoke at our public hearing, that this is just not justified with the facilites but???????

so as of this moment. yes for a slip but at 40feet*2.00*30days/month = 2400.00/ month you might think twice.

Remember friendly people, but not boater friendly.

Thanks, Norm,
Not great news, but helpful, and realistic.
Alot of pretty pictures on that factsheet. Seems like the state may ask visiting boaters to cover a substantial part of the state's park expenses.
Those increased fees should help keep the riff-raff yachties away. Now, how would we fit in? Of course, supply of slips should be good if demand drops drastically. Hmmm.

Hey, Norm,
I just found a film clip of SV TIKI, homeport Honolulu, on a film clip. It's from James A. Michener's TV series from the 50s entitled "Adventures in Paradise". Found it googling Adventures in Paradise and then directed to YouTube searching Adventures in Paradise-- Appointment at Tara-Bi, and Adventures in Paradise-- Pit of Silence. Is the TIKI still at the Ala Moana basin? She's about 114 ft. schooner, I believe, very traditional.

Just found on the internet:
"The Tiki met its demise in the Grenadine Islands off the island of Bequia in Admiralty Bay during Hurricane Allen in August 1980."

Norm Rhines

Good news Randy:

They are dropping the fee to 1.0/foot/day = 1,200.00/month for you which is way more than it is worth, but it will free up slips +/- .

Oh: if you see a TV camera at one of the hearing don't stand up and speak out, they make a perminit record of your dissatisfaction. i.e. one should always keep a low profile, I hope my laps will not have a big effect on my slip.

Wow, thanks, Norm.
That certainly is good news. It's always been a dream of mine to sail to Hawaii. I suppose it's doable in the right boat, seaworthy, properly outfitted, hummm, wonder where I can get one of those?

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