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I 've just sailed from Opua, NZ, to Tahiti, with a week 's stop at Tubuai (14th July to 9th August). It 's the depths of winter here (water temperature 18C rising to 22C!), which means that the Trades are well to the north, and the winds are variable. They have a strong tendency to rotate slowly anticlockwise as the system pass by in the southern ocean. I got strong (20 - 30 knots) northerlies to start, then strong southeasterlies, then a complete anticlockwise rotation to strong southwesterlies - all interspersed with short calms. I had one short 40 knot gale as a cold front went through, but it didn 't hurt too much, because it was sunny and warm. I sail under a modern junk rig, so my windward ability is similar to a well-sailed gaffer.
In October, I 'll go on to Hawai 'i. I sailed from the Marquesas to Hawai 'i in 2007, and it was easy, close-reaching all the way. It will be more on-the-wind from Tahiti, but still do-able. Then the passage from Hawai 'i to Juan de Fuca Strait is sailed full-and-by on starboard tack until you reach the westerlies, then turn right. Again, do-able by a modern junk rigged yacht, so do-able by a gaffer, I 'd think.
Certainly, I 'd prefer this route to going around South Africa.