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Old 26-04-2007, 17:19   #1
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Caribbean to California Passage planning help

What would be a good resource for planning a passage from the Caribbean to California?

What is typically the best time of year for this, especially considering the Panama to California leg?

How long does this typically take?

Thanks,
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Old 26-04-2007, 17:47   #2
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John Raines has a guide for the passage between Floriduh and California. Lots of good info.
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Old 26-04-2007, 17:48   #3
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I don't mean to be a smart-alec . . .

I really don't mean to sound glib, but if I wanted to get back to California from the Caribbean, I'd fly. Even if I had a boat that I wanted to use out there that was in the Caribe, I'd fly home and hire a delivery crew to sail the boat out.

I realize that once you have bought a boat in De Islans, Mon, the idea of sailing it home through the Panama Canal sounds romantic and fun, but beating your way up the Pacific Coast can be torture. I know a few people who have started on the east coast and made the passage to California, and two of them swore they would never again set foot on a boat for as long as they lived.

Still, it's your choice, Limpet, and it can certainly be done. And I have no doubt that this Forum is the place to get the answers you seek.

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Old 26-04-2007, 17:56   #4
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That passage is done all of the time by many, many vessels and they don't all stop sailing. The most problamatic part of the trip is between Cabo San Lucas and San Diego if you time it wrong. But with a couple of exceptions such as the Tuanepec the rest of that coast is fantastic. Any passage can be difficult and any coast can be dangerous. If you are afraid to take risks, sailing offshore anywhere should not be attempted. I personally would rather sail up the Baja Penisula than drive to work on the freeway.
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Old 26-04-2007, 18:27   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taojones
beating your way up the Pacific Coast can be torture.
That is what I heard and what prompted the post. Is the wind always north to south?
The Baha Ahha sends some 180 boats down to Cabo each year. And while there is never any discussion of it, most probably return to San Diego. I have never heard any complaints about the return trip....perhaps I was not attentive at the time. I believe they would return in the Late November early December time frame.
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Old 26-04-2007, 18:33   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier
John Raines has a guide for the passage between Floriduh and California. Lots of good info.
Is this the one Mexico Boating Guide: Books: Rains ?
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Old 26-04-2007, 18:51   #7
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Limpet, The guide is called Cruising Ports from Florida to California or something like that.
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Old 26-04-2007, 19:06   #8
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Baja-HaHa . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Limpet
That is what I heard and what prompted the post. Is the wind always north to south?
The Baha Ahha sends some 180 boats down to Cabo each year. And while there is never any discussion of it, most probably return to San Diego. I have never heard any complaints about the return trip....perhaps I was not attentive at the time. I believe they would return in the Late November early December time frame.
I believe a lot of the boats that do the HaHa each October spend the season cruising Mexico, and many others use the HaHa as the opening leg of their cruise before jumping off into the South Pacific.

You're right, though, that there are a lot of boats that come back up north not long after they're tired of partying in Mexico. That is one source of the complaints about beating their way up the coast. It may be that it seems worse than it actually is, because all of the "fun" stuff - sailing and partying with the fleet going south during the HaHa and the first week or so at the end - is over. At that point, there's just the long drive home with a hangover.

For those who aren't familiar with the Baja-HaHa, Latitude 38 is the sponsor and source of the best information. It leaves from San Diego around Halloween each fall.

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Old 26-04-2007, 19:19   #9
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Limpet, Some reading

The Baja Bash

Nautical Books, Cruising Guides, and Sailing Charts - Baja Bash II - Capt. Jim Elfers
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Old 26-04-2007, 19:51   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier
Limpet, The guide is called Cruising Ports from Florida to California or something like that.
Ah, found it, and it has undergone a name change. This sucker is hot off the press, 2007
Cruising Ports: the Central American Route

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Old 26-04-2007, 20:23   #11
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IIRC, Limpet, you posted elsewhere on Cruisers Forum that you had safety concerns for your young female crewmembers. I doubt exposing them to the Baja Bash would be a positive experience for them, and if they are just starting their sailing lives, negative experiences might best be avoided.

On the other hand, kids can find joy in circumstances that an adult finds abysmal. Chances are, though, that you would be worried sick that the conditions were making the passage unsafe for your girls. And if, rather than finding it joyful, one or more were constantly seasick, it could quickly devolve into such an unpleasant experience that the whole family gives up sailing.

If you do make the long passage northward from the Canal, Limpet, I wish you nothing but the best.

Good luck!

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Old 26-04-2007, 20:37   #12
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Taojones,

When you say Baja Bash, do you mean the HAHA, or are you referring to just the sail from Cabo north? I'm interested in your thoughts on this.
I had not contemplated taking the girls on this passage, but its always a possibility. It would be aboard a big Cat, so the comfort level and life aboard would be better. Just looking to gather info to understand the difficultly level.
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Old 26-04-2007, 20:41   #13
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As a parent and sailor we fully understand the concerns of having our children exposed to even unpleasant let alone dangerous situations. But my son grew up on this sailboat and loved every minute of it. So many cruising families are out there now you will run in to them everywhere. The children run from newborns to teenagers. They have been exposed to the full spectrum of cruising. They have been exposed to white sand beaches, differant cultures, and full blown gales at sea. Almost to the individual we have found children of cruisers intelligent, educated, self reliant, strong, and well balanced. walk through a local high school and see how often you can make those same claims. Don't deny those children an experience of a lifetime out of fear. Don't let others plant those fears in your mind. Make the decision based on your own abilities and sound judgment. Talk to other cruising families and I believe you will find a common theme and I do not mean from just the adults. I have to ask TaoJones if you have cruised with your children and had an unpleasant experience? Not sure why you would try and convince these folks to give up what may be their dream because you find the area they plan to cruise not to your liking. We have sailed in conditions that I found miserable while my son at a very young age was having a ball.
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Old 26-04-2007, 20:48   #14
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Limpett, Most find the cruise up the Pacific coast to be the better sailing comparing the Atlantic to the Pacific. The biggest negatives you will hear, as I said before, is from Cabo San Lucas to San Diego. Planned properly and during the right time of the year it can just be another cruise. Under the wrong conditions it can be very uncomfortable. So can a trip up the US east coast in the Gulf Stream in the wrong conditions. Keep doing your research but get the facts from those that have been there as opposed to those that have heard about it. Latitude 38 has lots of info on the Pacific coast.
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Old 26-04-2007, 21:12   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Limpet
Taojones,

When you say Baja Bash, do you mean the HAHA, or are you referring to just the sail from Cabo north? I'm interested in your thoughts on this.
I had not contemplated taking the girls on this passage, but its always a possibility. It would be aboard a big Cat, so the comfort level and life aboard would be better. Just looking to gather info to understand the difficultly level.
The HaHa is the ~Halloween event that runs "downhill" south to Cabo. The Baja Bash is what sailors call the typical "uphill" sail from Cabo back to California. It can be a pleasant, easy sail, or it can be a brutal, unpleasant sail along a lee shore for a thousand miles. As always, pick your weather window wisely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier
I have to ask TaoJones if you have cruised with your children and had an unpleasant experience? Not sure why you would try and convince these folks to give up what may be their dream because you find the area they plan to cruise not to your liking.
No, Chuck, I've not had an unpleasant cruising experience with my children. To the best of my knowledge, I have no children. Nor am I trying to convince anyone to give up anything, and you are projecting something into my posts that isn't there if you read it as saying the Baja Pacific coast is not to my liking. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact of the matter is, though, that the sail up the coast from Cabo to California, to say nothing of the sail from Panama to California can be a very unpleasant undertaking. And, inasmuch as Limpet had stated elsewhere that he had concerns for his young girls aboard a sailboat, I was merely suggesting that exposing them to what can be a real turnoff to a young, inexperienced sailor might be something he would want to reconsider.

Again, Limpet, I wish you and your family only the best in your sailing ventures. I am not recommending you do, or don't do, anything. I know you are just gathering information at this point, and I think Cruisers Forum is a pretty good place to do that.

Best,

TaoJones
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