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Old 08-03-2010, 14:59   #1
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Route from Tortola to Panama

Hi forum friends,
I am leaving Tortola next week and sailing to Colon, Panama. Can you please advise me on what route to take, any tips, recomendations....
Thanks to all replyers.
Ron
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Old 08-03-2010, 15:32   #2
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Ron,

Pretty easy, really.

Leave BVI anywhere, but passage between Pelican Is. and The Indians (near Norman Is.) is probably easiest.

Sail south until you clear the SW corner of St. Croix. Say, to a point near 17 deg 40 min North and 65.00 West.

Then, turn onto the rhumb line to Colon: 240 degrees True. Distance St. Croix to Colon is 1001 nautical miles.

Be prepared for strong winds, big seas, and a good current behind you all the way.

Should take 6-8 days in average size cruising boat (figuring 125-167 miles per day average).

Bill
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Old 08-03-2010, 16:25   #3
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Hi Ron,

Come along Jedi In Shelter Bay in Colon when you get here for a drink!

Like Bill says, prepare the boat well. If you want to avoid the worst of it, keep an eye on the Colombian low and the area of big seas and high winds north of Colombia. You can sail around it a bit, in which case you would keep that area south of you. If you want to make stops for fun or escaping weather: Port Antonio in the NE corner of Jamaica or the ABC's in the south. But if you go to the ABC's, there's no way around the lively part without a big detour.

Let me know if you want to do stops for fun, we have cruised the area extensively (7 years now ;-)

I hope you have reservations for Shelter Bay because it's busy! But there's always room for another one if you just show up anyway.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 08-03-2010, 16:49   #4
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It's a fairly nice downwind passage, with a favorable current......

Ron,
Yeah, it's a pretty nice downwind, rhumb line passage.....(if you're going to err a bit off the rhumb line, stay to the North side of the rhumb line...)
In addition to what Bill posted, here's a few other tid-bits....

1) You should have mostly easterly winds, about 20+ kts.....
And, possibly more NE'erly on the second half of your passage.....

2) And, along with those winds a favorable current, setting mostly westward, at about 0.5 kts or more.....and a bit faster as you get south of 14 degrees....

3) Although, they're coming in from behind you, the seas can be big....so be prepared....

4) Depending on your exact winds and course, I'd definately recommend setting a good boom preventer.....

5) Keep a good lookout for traffic, as there will be quite a bit at times....

6) While I'd also plan a week for this passage, (allowing 6 - 8 days, as Bill wrote), you'll probably make it quicker.....since I believe that with the typical winds (12 - 15 kts apparent wind, on a braod reach or near run) and with a favorable current, you can make this in about 5 to 6 days.....

7) I assume that you're just looking for some confirmations of your own passage planning.....but, if not may I suggest spending some time with the pilots charts, and current weather faxes, BEFORE you set out....

Have fun...

John
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Old 08-03-2010, 18:16   #5
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Thanks A LOT!!! Bill, Nick and John
Thanks for the advise and tips and even though it's supposed to be a straight going passage, I would like some tips on where to stop Nick. Thanks for the invitation and I will take you up on that drink Nick. Thanks again. Sea ya in Colon
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Old 08-03-2010, 19:55   #6
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As the crow flies but aware of the Colombian coast - it can blow there stronger than elsewhere.

b.
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Old 08-03-2010, 22:33   #7
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Okay, as I wrote before, I would stay a bit north. You have possible stops in PR, DR and Jamaica. Watch the weatherfax out of New Orleans which clearly shows the area with high winds and seas and sail anywhere between that and Jamaica. If you don't want to stop in Jamaica you can come south as far as you like as long as you look at that fax and know the increased winds and seas there. You choose between passage time and comfort and you can fine tune it by moving north or south.

The leg south gives you the islands Providencia and San Andres off the Nicaragua coast (they are Colombian islands). On your approach of Panama, you could directly come into hectic Colon or you could point to an island in the San Blas and clean up and chill out there before coming into Colon. If you've never been there and plan to go through the canal I would certainly pay a visit to the San Blas first.

ciao!
Nick.
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