“If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes.” This phrase best describes our weather. It changes dramatically and often.
Most of the year, Hawaii experiences winds from the Northeast at 10-25 knots. These winds are so predictable that the old sailing ships called them the “trade winds,” since they could be relied upon for trade voyages. August through April are generally the lightest wind months of the year. May, June and July have the most consistent winds and sailing during this time is exhilarating. The hallmark of the winter season is the combination of light winds and cool nights. When the wind blows in the winter, however, it is generally the strongest of the year.
Kauai is known as “the garden island.” This name was given to Kauai by the ancient Hawaiians. Mt. Waialeale, one of the wettest places on Earth, is at the center of our island and receives in excess of 400” of rain annually. Now, before you go and change your travel destination to the Sahara, remember this is at an elevation of 5,000 ft. In addition, there can be up to a 400” difference in rain fall from one area to the next. As the wettest “side,” the North Shore of Kauai receives about 95 inches per year. The West, or leeward side, receives less than 15” per year! The island of Niihau, only 20 miles or so away, gets even less than our dry west side.
So if you wake up before your trip and hear the falling rain, don’t panic—it could be and probably is sunny on the “dry side” which is the area in which we sail. No other island has such diversity in such a small package!