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Old 07-07-2015, 22:41   #1
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hunter 26 from cartagena to san blas panama

would it be safe to travel with my family from cartagena , colombia to san blas , panama in december in my hunter 26 sailboat ?
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Old 08-07-2015, 05:04   #2
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Re: hunter 26 from cartagena to san blas panama

Safe in terms of weather you mean?

This is potentially a rough area. December is getting back into trade winds season so wind and seas could get a bit sporty. Could make for a very rough ride on a small boat.

A lot depends on the skill level of you and your family and how well the boat is prepared.

There were at least 7 total losses in the San Blas last year. Mostly boats running this route who approached the San Blas fatigued from a rough trip and ended up on the reef (extensive, inaccurately charted by most except Bauhaus, and unforgiving).
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Old 08-07-2015, 05:27   #3
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Re: hunter 26 from cartagena to san blas panama

I second the comments from Belizesailor. The trade winds along that coast in winter can be strong and the waves large. Going to Panama could be a rough sail. Getting back from Panama to Cartagena against the wind and waves could be extremely difficult in a small boat.

If you are asking about security, I know in the past the border area between Colombia and Panama was very dangerous. Lots of rebels (maybe FARC), contrabandistas and just general banditos. I would carefully check the local information on the area before going there.

Otherwise, for a small boat it might be safer weather wise to hug the coast which could protect you from the stronger winds.
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Old 08-07-2015, 06:17   #4
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Re: hunter 26 from cartagena to san blas panama

Is the Hunter 26 a water ballast model? I just spent a weekend sailing with my BIL on his Hunter 23 with water ballast. Granted I typically sail a larger catamaran that doesn't heel, but at one time owned a Beneteau 235 so have some experience with heeling monohulls. That said, at times I wondered whether the Hunter had water in the ballast tank, because what I thought were pretty minor lake gusts would heel the boat substantially. On second day, we came out with reefed main - which left the small jib to drive the boat more - and the sudden heeling was not quite as bad. But the gusts were not all that strong either - maybe 15 knots. They target sailing in 5-10 knots and basically head for the slip with 15 knots. That said, the boat does move very well in light air, and points very high as well.

If yours is anything similar, I would have real concern with going offshore and trying to sail into trade winds that can be very strong. Granted steady winds are easier to deal with than gusts - but how do you know when you are going to experience the later. Again, I may be way off-base here as my experience is with the shorter 23 foot model with water ballast. Maybe the 26 footer is a different boat altogether.
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Old 08-07-2015, 06:38   #5
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Re: hunter 26 from cartagena to san blas panama

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Originally Posted by sailjumanji View Post
Is the Hunter 26 a water ballast model? I just spent a weekend sailing with my BIL on his Hunter 23 with water ballast. Granted I typically sail a larger catamaran that doesn't heel, but at one time owned a Beneteau 235 so have some experience with heeling monohulls. That said, at times I wondered whether the Hunter had water in the ballast tank, because what I thought were pretty minor lake gusts would heel the boat substantially. On second day, we came out with reefed main - which left the small jib to drive the boat more - and the sudden heeling was not quite as bad. But the gusts were not all that strong either - maybe 15 knots. They target sailing in 5-10 knots and basically head for the slip with 15 knots. That said, the boat does move very well in light air, and points very high as well.

If yours is anything similar, I would have real concern with going offshore and trying to sail into trade winds that can be very strong. Granted steady winds are easier to deal with than gusts - but how do you know when you are going to experience the later. Again, I may be way off-base here as my experience is with the shorter 23 foot model with water ballast. Maybe the 26 footer is a different boat altogether.
Dont think you are off base, I would be concerned about running a small water ballasted boat in this area too. Definately not a design well suited to rough conditions.

Some of the charter captains who run this route prefer the biggest, heaviest steel boats they can find so that they can just plow into whatever conditions they find (they have schedules to keep).

If the winds kick up around the Colombian low things can get downright nasty...big seas (~15') running for about a month early this year.
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Old 08-07-2015, 06:48   #6
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Re: hunter 26 from cartagena to san blas panama

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
...

If you are asking about security, I know in the past the border area between Colombia and Panama was very dangerous. Lots of rebels (maybe FARC), contrabandistas and just general banditos. I would carefully check the local information on the area before going there.

Otherwise, for a small boat it might be safer weather wise to hug the coast which could protect you from the stronger winds.
This area of coast is relatively tame from a security perspective. The Colombian CG is quite attentive. Only reports I've seen in recent years are occassional thefts of dingy motors etc. Rebel/paramiltiary activity is mostly confined to the Pacific coast. The far reaches of the Gulfo de Uraba (near the border) are best avoided though.

Not much in the way of well protected anchorages.
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Old 08-07-2015, 07:09   #7
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Re: hunter 26 from cartagena to san blas panama

In all seriousness if you have to ask this question to CF...you are not qualified, plain and simple. Do you want to risk your family solving a problem you don't understand?

Give it a few years to understand the relevant parameters that go into a reasoned answer to the question you posed.

Perhaps you were really asking a different question like, "I have planned this trip with my family are there any gotchas I should be aware of?"
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Old 08-07-2015, 09:17   #8
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Re: hunter 26 from cartagena to san blas panama

The Hunter 26 is a small boat suitable for a small crew in protected waters only. It comes with a trailer for a reason.
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