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Old 20-02-2010, 14:21   #1
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Panama to Bahamas ?

Whats the best route to take if you are going from Panama back up to the southern Bahamas? Doesn't look like an easy trip. Do you just tough it out and tack back and forth over 700 miles only to see Haiti as your first landfall? Head up the coast to the GOM, and then across? Up to the Keys and then treat it as a Florida back south trip?

Is this one of those classic cases of "you can't get there from here"??

This isn't an entirely academic question. I am trying to figure out what would be involved in bringing a boat home if I bought one in Central America. This looks like a fairly arduous trip to me, due to the trade winds.
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Old 20-02-2010, 18:22   #2
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The best route from Panama to Bahamas is via the Torres Strait.

The alternative is is to tack against the trades, but it is less fun and may take longer (depending on your skills, the weather and on how well the boat sails upwind in 20-25 knots and 10' swell).

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Old 20-02-2010, 19:32   #3
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Made the trip once in a 36' Morgan. It was no picnic but doable, even in the winter trades. We were actually going to the USVI so even more upwind work than trying to make the Bahamas.

I assume your planned route would be through the Windward Passage? If the easterly trades don't have too much northern component you could make the Passage on a single tack.

I would probably keep options open and go the way conditions dictate. Try for the Windward Passage with Jamaica as a possible rest stop. If it gets too bad then yes, head off to the Yucatan and up the Keys. You still have a beat from the Yucatan to FL but will have the current with you.

I ended up making landfall about the border between Haiti and the DR. The trades were running ENE-NE so I stayed close enough for the islands to blanket the trades and used the land/sea breezes and a lot of motor sailing to make St Thomas.
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