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Old 10-02-2009, 18:55   #1
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Sailing Up the Rio San Juan

I am in the initial planning phase of a cruise to Central America and was curious if it is possible to sail up the Rio San Juan in order to get to Lake Nicaragua. The boat will be a Westsail 32 with a 5' draft. I canoed down this large river several years ago and loved the experience. I would love to head back up the river in my own boat, but I am unsure if it is deep enough. Thanks for your help. -Jake
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:51   #2
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We wanted to do exactly the same thing a few years ago

I managed to contact a director at the National Park that borders the river.

He said the current was very strong in the rainy season, which was the only time the river would be deep enough.

Also there are rapids about 1/2 way, I forget the name of the town (St Cristobal??)
If you go downriver by ferry you change ferries at the town as even they cannot get past the rapids.

I have been by ferry onto the lake, from Granada.

Good luck, let us know if you make it

Richard Woods

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Old 12-02-2009, 13:00   #3
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Navigation of the Rio San Juan is impeded by rapids at Toro, El Castillo, and Machuca and is limited to boats with a shallow draft.
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Old 13-05-2009, 21:53   #4
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With 5 foot draft you could do it in the high season.

Hi,

Just went down the river with my little cruising cat about 6 weeks ago. The shallowest part of the river is from Delta to San Juan del Norte. But you do not have to go that way. You could come to Delta from Costa Rica. In any case I think you would be fine in the wet season.

There are nasty bars at both river entrances so time it right.

The rapids are not a problem, other than avoiding the rocks, at high season. 'Miss Cindy' transversed them all including the El Diablo rapid at El Castille. They change ferries there because only two go down river a week not because they cannot go thru.

You will need to pull your stick for the electrical wires and probably to keep it out of the trees.

Travels with Miss Cindy. Adventures with a 16' Microcat cruiser. has some info on the river and my experience on it. You would definitly want a guide but they are not too expensive.

The lake has a lot to offer and if you stay away from the edges has good depth. It can be quite rough as well. Solintiname Islands are an interesting place. Granada has lots of rocks. I was unable to find a depth chart for the lake.

Tony Bigras , Currently in Fort Myers, Floridia U.S.A with 'Miss Cindy'
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Old 14-05-2009, 02:51   #5
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Greetings, and welcome aboard, Tony.
Thanks for the excellent report!
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Old 14-05-2009, 11:53   #6
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Good day Tony,

Welcome to CF.
Before the site disappeared I really enjoyed reading your blogs on the building of Osram VII. I saw her on the hard at Silva Bay, long after you parted with her - I wonder, do you know if she was ever relaunched? or made it to Australia? or what has happened to her?

Last I recall you were working on a wave-piercing "pod-cat" - what ever came of that? I think your mini-cat is a winner; obviously a niche market, but I imagine you'll have a fair amount of interest in the design.

Oh, one other question - have you hung out with Richard Woods chatting about cat design? - he's practically your neighbour in BC.

I wish you fair winds in your travels.

Kevin
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Old 14-05-2009, 16:28   #7
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Hi Kevin,

Osram VII has been a while in fitting out and mods. She took her first serious cruise this may . https://cid-7b619eb8fda2e0fc.skydriv...s&sa=453398163

She is still based at Silva Bay.

The wave piercer was not a succes. Too many untested things. Main problem was the belt drive and jet drive. Weight was also a problem. The wave piercing worked well , I remember one particularly boisterious day returning from Silva Bay, quite erie seeing the front half of the hulls go three feet under a wave. I converted the boat to a displacement trawler cat and have lived aboard for 6 years. We took her to the charlottes two summers ago. She is for sale

All of this is on my main web site including the Osram VII build stuff. Boats..

There were a lot of requests for plans for the big aluminium cat and yes lots for 'Miss Cindy' as well. I did not make plans available for the big cat and still have not decided about the little one.

No I have never met Richard but have seen many of his boats. Perhaps Richard when I get back we can get together?

Tony
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Old 14-05-2009, 19:29   #8
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Thanks for the links, Tony.
I got a kick out of the car-topping pics - and realized we've seen this before: California Cruising?

I look forward to reading more.

Cheers,

Kevin
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Old 27-05-2009, 00:51   #9
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Here is a photo of Miss Cindy in the El Diablo rapids at Castille. This is at a very low water level. The channel is on the far bank for the most part.


Tony
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