Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-06-2008, 09:58   #1
Registered User
 
Dreaming Yachtsman's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 490
Images: 5
Send a message via Skype™ to Dreaming Yachtsman
Papagallo Winds vs. Thunderstorms

We finally made it to El Salvador on our way to the Caribbean from our original starting point in Seattle three years ago. We want to get somewhere that we can jump into clear warm water almost any time and where we don't have serious concerns about weather. Hence our destination.

The very wet weather here is getting old fast. One of our cruising friends recently recommended we go from our present location in Bahia del Sol, El Salvador, to Ecuador, wait out the rainy season, then come back to visit the multitude of cruising grounds in Costa Rica and Panama. That presents us with the dilemma that is the subject of this post. Other than a lengthy transit and a few other details (charts, courtesy flags, etc.) we basically need to decide whether to cruise Western Central America and endure rain, usually in the form of thunderstorms, nearly every day during the current rainy season or follow our friend's recommendation and face the dreaded Papagallo winds during the dry (winter) season.

Would anyone who has done it both ways care to share their opinion? We will be here in Bahia del Sol at least another week, maybe more depending on how soon we receive a repair part.
__________________

__________________
John
Formerly S/V Yachtsman's Dream
Go sailing now. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
Dreaming Yachtsman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2008, 04:21   #2
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,573
Images: 240
The Papagayo Wind:
The Papagayo Wind

Tehuanos and Papagayos are gale-force winds (generally occurring Mid-December thru March) from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea that funnel through narrow breaks in the Cordillera, gusting to wind speeds normally found only in major hurricanes. The Papagayo wind shrieks over the lakes of Nicaragua, a jet of wind that pushes far out over the Gulf of Papagayo on the Pacific coast.

These winds extend as far north as Southern Nicaragua to the North-West coast of Costa Rica. There are no storm systems associated with these winds. They are caused by a high pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico and a low pressure system in the Pacific. The 2 pressure systems try to equalize. Lake Nicaragua extends from the Costa Rican northern border north into Nicaragua and there are no mountains in this area. This becomes the passage for these winds. The more the pressure-differential, the harder the winds blow. Normal is 15 to 55 knots.

The waves generated by the Papagayo Winds are short period, steep and usually 12 to 16 feet tall. The fact that they are so steep makes them dangerous. It is almost like sailing through the surf. The waves are almost vertical. Part of the wave will slam the boat and the remainder of the wave will break over the boat.

Notes from Puerto Vallarta South to Golfito:
http://homepage.mac.com/lgerardin/.P...d_PV_CR_R3.pdf
__________________

__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2008, 07:04   #3
CF Adviser
 
Pelagic's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Boat: Van Helleman Schooner 65ft StarGazer
Posts: 6,879
I have made this trip many times and the rule of thumb to avoid being caught in a Tehuanapecker and Papagayo is to carry a bucket full of stones, if you canít hit the beach, youíre too far off!

Seriously you want to stay close to the coast even when you have a 15 knot on shore and watch the coastal mountain range. If you see the clouds sort of ďatomizeĒ at the peaks of the coastal range, that is all the warning you will get and in 15 minutes the wind will be hitting you at 30knts blowing offshore and soon thereafter building up to as much as 70 knots. Higher winds further out!

As Gord explained these are mostly pressure differential winds from the Gulf with an added katabatic kick as it builds up and cools on the coastal range, before spilling down on you.

If you study the chart you will see areas of shelter near the beach. Get in as close as you can and anchor. There will be lulls and you may be tempted to think it is over and sail away at night. Donít! Wait till daylight and look offshore before deciding to coast along out of your lee.

Sounds scary but it is not. Just be alert and transit the largest bight of each of the two areas during daylight and stay close to the surf line.

If you get caught in the bight, you literally sail right up close to the surf and drop anchor. Be prepared for a sandblasting though!
__________________
Pelagic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2008, 11:48   #4
Registered User
 
Dreaming Yachtsman's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 490
Images: 5
Send a message via Skype™ to Dreaming Yachtsman
GordMay and Pelagic,

Thanks for the replies describing the wind phenomenon and how to deal with it, respectively. What I am looking for, though, is big picture advice on wind vs. rain. I suspect the choice is very much a personal like/dislike, like where one chooses to live on land. Maybe I should have made this a poll.
__________________
John
Formerly S/V Yachtsman's Dream
Go sailing now. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
Dreaming Yachtsman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hurricane Force Winds - Oregon Coast clausont Cruising News & Events 19 03-12-2007 18:32
ILL-winds for Indonesian cruisers Boracay Other 12 08-09-2007 20:26
August 25 - Well, that about winds it up. skipgundlach General Sailing Forum 1 26-08-2007 07:31
August 25 - Well, that about winds it up. skipgundlach General Sailing Forum 0 25-08-2007 21:04
Fair Winds.... ssullivan Monohull Sailboats 8 19-05-2006 17:30



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 22:09.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.