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Sailing Between the Hawaiian Islands

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Distance between the Hawaiian Islands

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Sailing between the islands

The distance between O’ahu and the Big Island of Hawai’i is approximately 150 nautical miles one way. If you’re sailing at a speed of 5 knots (a moderate pace with a sailboat), it would take approximately 30 hours to make the journey if you’re sailing non-stop. However, it’s important to note that the actual time it takes may vary depending on weather conditions, currents, and other factors.

The type of sailing vessel you choose will also impact how long it takes to sail to the Big Island. A sailboat or catamaran with a cruising speed of 5 knots would be ideal for this journey. However, a powerboat with a cruising speed of 10-15 knots could also make the journey in a shorter amount of time. Since sailboats are more stable through choppy water, the trip will likely be more comfortable while sailing (and definitely more of an adventure) than if you’re in a larger motorboat. The ‘Alenuihāhā Channel, between Maui and Big Island is a notorious crossing, with tradewinds funneling between the tall mountain peaks on both islands, often creating gusts of wind (40-50 knots) and steep waves. It’s aptly named, with ‘Alenuihāhā meaning great billows smashing, in reference to the high seas encountered here.

The distance between O’ahu and Maui is approximately 75 nautical miles one way. If you’re sailing at a speed of 5 knots, it would take approximately 15 hours to make the journey. Again, the actual time it takes may vary depending on weather conditions and other factors.

The Kaiwi Channel between O’ahu and Maui is also notorious for high winds and steep waves that funnel between the islands. During rare calm days, the channel is swimmable, however, more often than not, tradewinds howl through, creating steep white-capping waves.

The distance between O’ahu and Kaua’i is approximately 90 nautical miles one way. If you’re sailing at a speed of 5 knots, it would take approximately 18 hours non-stop to make the journey. As always, the actual time it takes may vary depending on weather conditions and other factors and a comfortable sailing experience could be much closer to 24 hours of non-stop travel. There are also fewer harbors on Kaua’i, so depending on which coastline you sail to it could take more time to reach your destination.

If you’re looking to sail around O’ahu itself, the distance is approximately 100 nautical miles. If you’re sailing at a speed of 5 knots, it would take approximately 20 hours to complete the journey. But there are a number of places to anchor along the way, so a more comfortable trip would be spread out over several days to see and experience multiple coastlines on O’ahu.

A sailboat or catamaran with a cruising speed of 5 knots would be ideal for this journey. However, a powerboat with a cruising speed of 10-15 knots could also make the journey in a shorter amount of time. A typical itinerary for sailing O’ahu will be spread over 2-3 days to see multiple sites on the island and make the journey more relaxed.