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Old 10-05-2015, 17:25   #31
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

"Thousands of dollars to sail through the canal?"

- pay for mooring ball or slip to wait for transient time
- $750 canal transit fee
- $50 tip to pilot on day one
- $50 tip to pilot on day two
- rent lines 4x125'
- rent tires
- pay agent

How much did it cost you?

Using Google the least amount spent in the last two years by a sailboat was $1,125. Did I miss something?
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Old 10-05-2015, 17:28   #32
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
This topic is getting old. Those of us who have been there and done that have some strongly held opinions
Yes, we all have strongly held opinions. Thankfully in cruising there can be multiple good answers.

As a delivery the answer is simple. I doubt that there is much disagreement there: sail to Texas and truck her home.

What others of us have suggested is the possibility of a nice cruise if time allows. Obviously there are many destinations in the Caribbean that would be enjoyable, the canal passage is quite an experience, and the Pacific Coast of Panama and Costa Rica are very nice cruising grounds. Depending on the timing and course chosen the passage north can be an above average effort to a miserable slog, particularly for the last 1000 miles into San Diego (and please quit adding 1000 miles as if he were going to Seattle, or saying that a trip out to Hawaii is necessary to reach SD).

If I found myself in the eastern Caribbean wanting to get home and had not been that way before I would definitely go for the experience, assuming I was still in cruising mode and not desperate to get home or without the time to enjoy the stops. Having been that way before I chose instead to enjoy NYC, Hudson River, Erie Canal, and the Great Lakes before trucking her home - both because I fancied doing that, and revisiting the return stops was not worth the effort.

When I left Panama, and then Colombia, on my way east many cruisers told me not to go that way - 1000 miles into the trade winds would be miserable and I would be motoring all of the time (sound familiar?). I chose my timing carefully and sailed most of the way. In retrospect I cannot imagine having done anything else - it was a great trip, with enjoyable stops. (Times change and that may not be wise today due to security concerns.)

It seems to me the choice is between an expeditious and inexpensive delivery or a time-consuming and enjoyable cruise, with a bit of hard sailing at the end.

Greg
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Old 10-05-2015, 17:36   #33
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

Wow, please present your sailor card so we can cut it up. Why buy a sailboat if you're motoring everywhere? "

How do you sail into 4' swell with 10-knots straight on the bow? We tried that for days in a Tartan 42 with near perfect racing sails. Our average VMG in the 48 hours northbound from Cabo was 2 (TWO!) knots. Then the wind and swell increase and our VMG did not increase but our misery did.

I suspect you can do the math for a 3,000 NM trip with that kind of VMG.

It is entirely possible to sail from Panama to San Diego, given enough time and patience. But, my point based on a lot of experience (at least 20-cruisers I know well who have done it), is that it is no fun and is hard on the boat.

My question is WHY do it when, for just a few dollars more, you can get the boat, via truck, to where you want in just a few days and then have fun cruising from there. I agree it is not hard core sailing, but there are few salty dog hard core sailors left, and those of us who grew up in that tradition have mostly decided that an alternative to pounding to weather is sometimes a good idea.

Again, if you enjoy beating to weather for 3,000 miles and 30-days - then have at it. When you get to San Diego, I'll buy us a beer or two and you can tell me how much fun you had.
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Old 10-05-2015, 17:45   #34
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

Just a comment for clarity: the west coast of the US and Baja can be a really awful place to be heading north in the late spring and summer; below Cabo it is quite different as the prevailing winds driving down the coast turn west into the trade winds. And timing is everything for this trip, and not just because of the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons. If you can't wait for the right times to sail then put her on a truck; otherwise there is a lot to enjoy.
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Old 10-05-2015, 19:12   #35
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

Does anyone know the current fees for a Panama Canal transit ?
For a 42 footer. It's on my list.
Thanks
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Old 10-05-2015, 19:18   #36
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

To answer my own question, the fee is $800. Hope that is correct as it is somewhat less than the "thousands" mentioned in earlier posts to justify trucking.
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Old 10-05-2015, 20:14   #37
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by patprice View Post
To answer my own question, the fee is $800. Hope that is correct as it is somewhat less than the "thousands" mentioned in earlier posts to justify trucking.
do you have four 125' 3/4" lines on the boat as required?

do you have four line handlers on board or do you know some who will make the transit with you. Who will pay to return them to the point where they came on board?

You will have an advisor on board for two days - they expect to be fed and tipped.

Where will you stay while waiting for a transit time?

Will you use an agent to get all the necessary papers and bonding?

Use a search engine and look at all the messages posted in the last couple years about Panama transit costs.
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Old 10-05-2015, 20:44   #38
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
Just a comment for clarity: the west coast of the US and Baja can be a really awful place to be heading north in the late spring and summer; below Cabo it is quite different as the prevailing winds driving down the coast turn west into the trade winds. And timing is everything for this trip, and not just because of the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons. If you can't wait for the right times to sail then put her on a truck; otherwise there is a lot to enjoy.
+1

Schedules are evil! My vote is always going to be for the adventure!
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Old 10-05-2015, 21:23   #39
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
do you have four 125' 3/4" lines on the boat as required?

do you have four line handlers on board or do you know some who will make the transit with you. Who will pay to return them to the point where they came on board?

You will have an advisor on board for two days - they expect to be fed and tipped.

Where will you stay while waiting for a transit time?

Will you use an agent to get all the necessary papers and bonding?

Use a search engine and look at all the messages posted in the last couple years about Panama transit costs.
I looked into this last year when I was looking at a left coast boat.

Canal Fees for less than 50 feet- $800 + $130 security charge + $54 inspection fee.

$891 buffer fee, refundable if you don't have or cause any delays while transiting

$100 - $125 to rent lines and fenders if you need them - most small boats will.

$100 - $150 per local line handler if you don't have enough or can't recruit other cruisers

Several hundred to an agent if you don't want to do all the leg work.

Theoretically if you are just transiting you don't need to pay the Panama clearance fees, cruising permit, etc. but apparently this is a gray area for non-commercial traffic - I don't remember how much that added but it would be easy to find out. I think I also factored in some misc. costs that I can't remember.

Ended up buying a right coast boat in the end :-)
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Old 10-05-2015, 21:32   #40
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
do you have four 125' 3/4" lines on the boat as required?
When I transited I used both 250' rope anchor rodes (I have a main rode of chain, a secondary anchor and a reserve). No need to cut, just run across the deck. Cost: $0

Quote:
do you have four line handlers on board or do you know some who will make the transit with you. Who will pay to return them to the point where they came on board?
I originally arranged to trade handling favors with other boats waiting to transit. This is common; it is a good idea to go as a handler first anyway just to learn the ropes. As it happened I took some backpackers instead but I wouldn't recommend that. Cost: $0

Quote:
You will have an advisor on board for two days - they expect to be fed and tipped.
Providing food and drink for yourself and the handlers is much more of an issue than for the advisor. He doesn't stay on board for the night. In any event it is cheap. Cost: maybe $100 for all for 2 days.

Quote:
Where will you stay while waiting for a transit time?
It used to be that most boats anchored on the flats (free) and landed at the yacht club (small fee). Things have changed. Still there should be an alternative to the expensive Shelter Bay. Personally I might stretch to stay there for at least a few days anyway, and shop at the duty free zone.

Quote:
Will you use an agent to get all the necessary papers and bonding?
Not needed - I got my boat measured and scheduled all on my own. Agents can streamline things, at a price, but are not (or were not) required.

Transiting the canal is more expensive than in the past but "thousands" is hyperbole.

Greg
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Old 11-05-2015, 01:49   #41
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

"Transiting the canal is more expensive than in the past but "thousands" is hyperbole."

I stand corrected - IF you do everything yourself and don't have to buy or rent equipment the cost is about $1,000 not including whatever money you spent waiting for a transit time.

So my "thousands" should have been "something more than one thousand."

What does it cost to get the boat measured?

Did you not tip the advisor as everything I read says is necessary to have him reappear the 2nd day?

How did you deal with the requirement to have tires or similar sized fenders on both sides of the boat?

If you go thru the canal as a line handler the first time, then how do you get back to your boat? Is the return train free? Where do you stay on the west side if you first transit as a line handler and get there late in the afternoon. Does the boat you transit on provide lodging prior to your return?

How do you trust "backpackers" with the difficult line handling duties in a somewhat dangerous situation as in a crowded lock? I transited many locks and have found even "experienced" sailors can make a mess of the lines.

Shelter Bay is $46/night for my 42' LOA boat and that could add up if I had the typical three to five-day wait.

For those really interested in costs - NOONSITE has many reports about the cost of a Panama Canal transit in a small boat. They all run about $1,500 if you do not employ an agent.
http://www.noonsite.com/General/Crui...ruisers-report

But, in the bigger picture, the cost of the canal transit seems to me to be a minor consideration in choosing to sail from the BVI to SoCal.
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:19   #42
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

But, in the bigger picture, the cost of the canal transit seems to me to be a minor consideration in choosing to sail from the BVI to SoCal.

On the mark.
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:32   #43
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

I see a lot of boats, going from the BVI, and coming to the BVI as deck cargo on freighters, some ships are just for moving boats, they use the crane on the ship to load and unload. Has anyone did this and what are the fees?
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Old 11-05-2015, 15:29   #44
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

In my previous post I did say that I would not recommend using backpackers. They are not familiar with line handling which can cause a problem. But it is more important for the skipper to know what he/she is getting into before a transit; the advisors are just that, and do vary in quality and experience with small craft, so it is best to be on top of it. The cost of a bus ride across the Isthmus is negligible. Trading handling duties is a great idea for multiple reasons.

I have always carried large fenders aboard. IMHO most cruisers use too small fenders. In addition to large sausage fenders I have two large spherical fenders which are very effective at putting distance between hull and rough concrete.

I transited in 1994, before the Canal Commission was handed over to full Panamanian control. Bribes were not a problem then; I don't remember if I tipped but if so it wasn't much. I did pay a little for measurement; it is a one time deal and wasn't a problem to set up.

Overall I am reacting to what really is FUD. The transit is not that big a deal, just part of the adventure. The problems are easily surmountable, the costs are not that extreme. If you want to go that way then just do it.

As for shipping, the costs have gone up in recent years. Friends of mine shipped their boat from the Caribbean to the Med years ago, and more recently from Thailand to the Med. These are common routes used by specialist shippers, and prices are in the low tens of thousands. Usually boats are loaded/unloaded directly from/to the sea. Cruisers have used freighters but it is more demanding: the boat needs to be prepped and loaded onto a cradle on the wharf, ready to load when the ship comes in. They won't have cradles to fit like the specialists have - likely a cradle must be made and that will be your problem. It is possible, a few have done it, but it is a lot easier to go with the specialists if they are available for the intended trip.

Greg
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:23   #45
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Re: BVI To West Coast California. Truck Or Panama Canal?

45' mono from Grand Bahama to Clear Lake, Galveston, then truck to San Diego. Very smooth sailing and prep for the truck. There is a Clear Lake marina (that might be the name) which is great for this. The handle all the local commissioning and shipping for Beneteau.
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