You CAN Go Home Again

Getting Home from Hawaii (if you want to) Michael Moradzadeh 

Once you've finished the race, you have several options

  1. Settle down in Hawaii and never leave (just ask Lou Ickler).
  2. Sail your boat home.
  3. Hire a delivery skipper to sail your boat home.
  4. Keep going.
  5. Ship your boat home.

Stay In Hawai'i.

This is the attractive option, isn't it?  It can be done, and successfully.  You may want to have something of a retirement plan in place, as the economy is often one of the first to feel pressure.

Sail Your Boat Home.

Very popular option, and may be most cost-effective.  We'll be tracking returns with a radio check-in and expect that the sat trackers will be available for the return fleet, at a fee.  Here are some key considerations:

  1. Your time.  It may take 150% of the time it took to get here to get back.
  2. Preparation.  As you'll have learned, the passage over takes a toll on the boat.  If you do not take the time to fix everything that went wrong on the way over, your problems will multiply on the way back, possibly imperiling your voyage.
  3. Fuel.  Bring enough to motor when there is no wind (400-700 miles).
    1. Carry empty jerry cans over (floatation!) or buy them in HI.
  4. Crew.  Who's gonna crew, and who's gonna pay for their one-way tickets?
  5. Wear on the boat.  It's a long passage.  Stuff breaks.
  6. FUN!  Many say that this is the best time.  Time to fish, fiddle, and fool around, without the race demands.

Delivery Skipper

Another popular option.  Professional skippers usually recruit their own crews, perhaps from our crew list, even, and charge a per-mile or per-day fee for the return.  Be sure to get recent references and talk to them.  Skippers may or may not be happy to "MacGyver" your boat back together, so consider that you'll still need to spend time prepping the boat or getting someone else to do it.


Keep Going

Tahiti?  Japan?  Marquesas?  Who says you have to stop sailing?



Ship your Ship

Shipping your boat can be done, and has been done by many.  While there is virtually no size limit, costs vary exponentially with boat size.  Advantages of shipping include far less wear and tear on the boat, no fuel or crew costs, no personal voyage time, and generally knowing where your boat is all the time.


Here are some considerations:

  1. Size.  Boats that can fit on a trailer less than 43 feet long will tend to cost less, as will boats with narrower beams than 8 feet.  If you can fit your boat into a container, you may also realize significant savings.  Nonetheless, boats of 85 feet in length or more have been successfully shipped after races across the Pacific.
  2. Trailer.  Getting your boat on a trailer to ship as "roll-on/roll-off" or ro-ro, is far more cost-effective than having her in a cradle on deck.  Being in the hold also preserves the boat from the elements during the passage or (as happened to me) while at anchor for one month during a dockworkers' strike.  Pasha will find a trailer for you.  Matson lets you find your own.  A freight forwarder (shipping agent) can locate a trailer for rent as well.  Both Matson and Pasha will deadhead your trailer for "free" as part of your shipping.
    1. Trailer Preparation.Figure a day and a half at the boatyard prepping the boat to ship: get all the perishables off the boat, remove the mast, remove anything that will make it too high on the trailer, such as the dodger or radar mast.  You'll want tie-down straps that you can get most cheaply at Home Depot near Sand Island.  Some consider it lucky to gift the hoist operators with a case of beer.
    2. Mast.  Wrap the mast well, and secure the rigging so that it doesn't scrape up your paint.  Kevin Jones suggests taping an empty soda can to each end of the mast so you can tell if it got bumped and potentially wrecked.  You already figured out to remove the instruments and stuff at the top of the mast, right?
  3. Boatyard.  Make a reservation with the boatyard in Hawaii that will be hoisting your boat out.  Do this this year.  Even if you are late sailing in, you are "on the list" and they can be more accommodating of you than if you just try to show up without notice.


  • Matson:  Ships from Hawaii to Oakland and Long Beach.  1-800-9Matson. You want "conventional".
  • Pasha: Ships from Hawaii to San Diego and transfers to experienced trucking service to bring to you.  Call 415-927-6400.  You'll want "Over High and Wide."
  • Kevco.  Kevin Jones, one of many freight forwarders.  He can handle (almost) everything and negotiate on your behalf.  714-404-3852
  • KeehiMarine CenterThis is nearest to the shipping terminal 808-845-6465.
  • The Phoenician.  Handles larger boats! (808) 682-1961.