Imagine that you’ve decided to sail to Hawaii from the West Coast. It’s something you have been thinking about for many years. You can imagine watching the coastline disappear behind you as you begin your trip, the starry nights out at sea, the encounters with whales and other sea life, the occasional sighting of another boat on the vast Pacific Ocean, and finally reaching the Hawaiian Islands. You yearn for the adventure.
Well, this trip of a lifetime is more involved than puttering around on a Hobie Cat on the Columbia River or out in Monterey Bay. It’s about 2,100 nautical miles from Portland to Hawaii. The average sailboat can travel about 5 knots per hour (a knot is 1.15 miles per hour). So, that means covering an average of about 120 miles per day. At that pace, you will arrive in Hawaii in about 18 days. The trip will be shorter or longer depending on your crew, their ability to navigate and, of course, the conditions.
If you don’t have a boat and you don’t know how to sail, you can rent a boat and hire a captain and crew to take you there. You’ll want to make sure that your boat is suitable for such a long sail across the Pacific, and that it’s properly insured, well-maintained and equipped with modern navigation instruments. The biggest and most common breakdown and repair on this crossing is a broken or damaged rudder. So, plan to bring a spare emergency rudder and make sure your crew knows how to make the repair.
So, you go online, send some email inquiries and make a few phone calls, and in relatively short order you have a boat, a crew and your supplies (food, fuel, etc) all lined up. Your boat is in Portland, docked on the Columbia River. You head out, taking about two days to motor to the mouth of the Columbia. The most treacherous part of your journey may be crossing the bar, where the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean meet. There are hundreds of wrecks lying at the bottom of the sea in that area. Assuming you do manage to escape and break into the open ocean, your adventures will undoubtedly continue.
Sailing from Portland to Hawaii is usually done in late June or early July and follows a route around the “Pacific High” to reach the Hawaiian Islands. Depending upon the position of the High, from Portland it usually means sailing south for some time before you really start making your way across the vast Pacific.
Navigating at sea requires knowledge, skill, and experience. It also takes diligence and constant adjustment. Your sailboat will be pushed off-course by ocean currents and uncooperative winds. There will be storms, problems with your boat, difficulties involving the crew and a host of other challenges. However, with a sound plan, proper execution and perhaps a bit of luck, you will eventually arrive in Hawaii.
Retirement is very much like sailing to Hawaii. Retirement requires preparation. You must plan well in advance for the 25+ years that follow your working life. It requires adaptability. When circumstances throw you off-course, you need to adjust accordingly. It requires faith. There may be times when the future seems uncertain, perhaps even bleak. But you must stay the course.
To our clients who have asked us to join them on the journey to and through retirement, we express our gratitude. We are honored to serve you and we will make every effort to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable voyage.
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