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Old 16-12-2008, 15:03   #16
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I have sailed from the UK to Panama, but not in such a small and slow boat. 2 years ago I sailed via the Cape Verdes (I wouldn't go there again, but it does break the trip) to Tobago for Christmas. The north end is very nice and you can clear in there.

I would strongly advise NOT to go anywhere near Venezuala, even if the fuel is cheaper than drinking water. We didn't think the food was that cheap.

Most cruisers stop in Curacao as it has a very good safe anchorage, unlike the other ABC islands. You need to stop there until the weather is good for sailing past Columbia, probably the roughest bit of the Caribbean. See October 2008 PBO for a story by one of my Banshee catamaran owners and also Y Monthly same month (I think) for a monohull viewpoint. You can download a cruising guide to Columbia from Caribbean Compass.

Cartegena is lovely and worth stopping at.

Definitely stop in the San Blas, Panama.

Not sure if you can go through the Panama Canal though?? You need 6 people on board, 5 of them must sleep one night on board and you must be able to do 5 knots under power with that load, possibly into a head wind. Also you cannot have an outboard on the transom, it must have remote controls.

Many people stop in Ecuador these days and then travel inland (that is we did last winter - had a great time).

I haven't sailed in the Pacific, but if you leave Panama in February and sail pretty much non stop you'd get to Australia about November. It is half the world after all.

The real question is why the rush, and why such a small boat?

Plenty to see in the N Atlantic!!

Hope this helps

Richard Woods of Woods Designs

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Old 17-12-2008, 07:46   #17
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For an alternative viewpoint on the Venezuelan islands off the coast of Venezuela, you may wish to check out the blog below - a family from the USA who are currently cruising in the area and who wish that they had not followed the advice of others to stay away from Venezuela waters (and indeed, who say they preferred their islands to virtually anywhere else they have cruised in the Caribbean).

The New Smile | Cruising to Calm

Brad
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Old 17-12-2008, 08:28   #18
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I guess they haven't yet been robbed at knifepoint in daylight in a crowded street within sight of our boat as we were. Nor have they yet been raped or murdered as other cruisers have.

Even despite those problems I thought the local people unfriendly and there was better cruising elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Richard Woods on board his Romany catamaran in Marsh Harbor, Abacos

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Old 17-12-2008, 12:57   #19
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I don't wish to downplay your being robbed (a horrible experience no matter where it occurs), but your use of the word 'yet' suggests that it happens inevitably to everyone, everywhere in Venezuela. At the very least it is a sarcastic dismissal of those whose experiences and opinions do not mirror your own. I understand that it makes no difference to you, but on what island (and outside what harbour) did this occur?

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