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Old 20-11-2014, 09:09   #1
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St. Martin to Panama via Aruba

Hello everyone. I'm considering taking the fast route from St. Martin to Panama with a stop in Aruba. Never crossed the Caribbean before and thinking about beginning of December. I know all about the prevailing winds and many vortices off of the currents that can form at any given time. I'm running at about 12 knots in a 100 ft. motor yacht that is fine up until about 30 knots of wind and 6 foot seas. After that she can be a bit dicey, and I've pushed her before.

Any thoughts about making this crossing in the beginning of December?

Capt. Dan
Cheoy Lee 100

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Old 20-11-2014, 11:41   #2
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Re: St. Martin to Panama via Aruba

30 knots of wind are unlikely, but your typical swell might be 6 feet sustained and 15-25 knots of wind if the Christmas Winds set in early. All of that will be coming at you from slightly behind your beam or perhaps even quartering if you are doing the rhumb line to Aruba.

I don't know much about powerboats, but if you are running at speed don't stabilizers help against roll?

You could stay close to the island chain and at least be in waters protected from any Atlantic swell for parts of the journey south have a number of harbours where you could pull in for either a rest or a stay. I know that waters in the lee of Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique can be a millpond (bad for sailboats like mine, but good for a powerboat); but that would mean adding some miles to the journey.

-Zanshin (SV Zanshin)
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Old 20-11-2014, 12:36   #3
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Re: St. Martin to Panama via Aruba

Did St Lucia to Panama in early January of this year. With the World ARC. A very sporty down wind run. 30s sustained. Gusting into the 40s. Large following seas 3-5 meter. Pretty exciting run.
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Old 21-11-2014, 11:26   #4
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Re: St. Martin to Panama via Aruba

The end of November and beginning of December is the best time to go in order to avoid the dreaded Colombian low pressure. WorldARC experienced those bad conditions in January so it is best to go before the seasons change to winter, as they discovered.

We made the trip at the beginning of December and had 15-18 knots of E/SE wind with 4-6 foot seas or less the entire way to Panama. At the end of December the Colombian low started and crossings were brutal with damage to most boats.

Have a great trip!
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Old 28-11-2014, 17:55   #5
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Re: St. Martin to Panama via Aruba

Thanks for all the input. Sounds doable the sooner we run. Probably get out of St. Martin in about a week and a half, strait to Aruba. 15-25kts with an aft to quarter swell of 6 ft. is acceptable in our boat. Especially since we can be in Aruba in 44 hours, and in Panama in 49 hours after that. 30-40kts will not be acceptable in any seas.

Capt. Dan
Cheoy Lee 100
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Old 05-12-2014, 16:02   #6
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Re: St. Martin to Panama via Aruba

Anyone do this run in February or March?

What's the best strategy to keep from getting knocked about too much?

I realize April is the approved time, but that is likely to put you a bit behind schedule on a Canal transit and S. Pacific passage.

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Aruba, Panama, St Martin

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