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Old 21-02-2013, 12:51   #1
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Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

If one were to purchase a 32 to 40 foot production boat like a Hunter or Beneteau in the Caribbean and sail it north to Vancouver BC, (through Panama Canal) ...

How long would it take?
Best time of the year?
What parts of the journey do I need crew. (Single-handling)

Currents of North America trend toward the south so sail off-shore?
Stay close to shore and Gunk Hole all the way?

How dangerous would this be for a smaller boat?

I see several factors in timing considering Hurricane season, (Leave the Caribbean by May), purchase in October/November/December, arrive in BC no later than Sept/October.

My situation is that in order to justify leaving my wife for almost a year, (with her joining me for a few weeks), the premise is to buy a yacht at Caribbean prices and sell at Vancouver prices and hopefully make a profit. (Can be done just not easy). This way she experiences a few weeks in the Carib as she considers a 5 year live-aboard and I get a year of adventure and experience!
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Old 21-02-2013, 13:00   #2
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

sailing north in pacific ocean is a job all its own. i will no longer do that bash. uphill wind and current.
remember there are hurrycames on west coast of central america, as well as in caribean. you can find places that are safer to hide, but you want to be done sailing in pacific west coast by mid may--at least get to turtle bay, in mexco, then northward is not riddled with named storms. or summer in panama and sweat to death.
you may wish to have your wife on board for pretty and smooth sailing places, if she isnt a sturdy gotta be in ocean kind of lady. there are some gorgeous coves and harbvors in mexico that are actually not bandido land places.
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Old 21-02-2013, 13:20   #3
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

Check out World Cruising Routes by Cornell for details of routes and timing.
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Old 21-02-2013, 13:21   #4
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliems View Post
If one were to purchase a 32 to 40 foot production boat like a Hunter or Beneteau in the Caribbean and sail it north to Vancouver BC, (through Panama Canal) ...

How long would it take? It will take as long as it takes.
Best time of the year?
What parts of the journey do I need crew. (Single-handling) It depends on your level of experience and competence, familiarity with a new vessel's systems and tendencies and ability to not let your wish to get it over with to influence your sailing decisions.

Currents of North America trend toward the south so sail off-shore?
Stay close to shore and Gunk Hole all the way?

You should get a copy of Cornell's World Cruising Routes - World Cruising Routes: Sixth Edition: Jimmy Cornell: 9780071592895: Amazon.com: Books - to help you determine the best answers to most of your questions.

I've been criticized for stating this before, but the son of a dear friend was keen to crew on a delivery from the east coast to Los Angeles many years ago. They were not short-handed, every crew member was highly experienced and all could take as much time as necessary to remain within the bounds of common sense and safety.

They had a blast all the way up to where they cleared the Canal and got into the long slog up past Central America and Mexico. By the time they were once again in US waters every member of the crew agreed that if they never sailed again in their life, that was fine with them.

It wasn't the company that ruined the experience, I'm told, but the endless beating up the coast. It takes a toll.

How dangerous would this be for a smaller boat? It depends on the boat, but at least equally on your competence. Have you done any long, singlehanded passages?

I see several factors in timing considering Hurricane season, (Leave the Caribbean by May), purchase in October/November/December, arrive in BC no later than Sept/October. Understand that the hurricane season doesn't just exist in the Caribbean . . . you'll want to be north of about 30° N, or even as far north as San Diego before the end of May to be out of the Eastern Pacific hurricane area, as well. And if you're insuring the vessel, your insurer will probably let you know that if you're in the hurricane box during the season, your coverage is void.

My situation is that in order to justify leaving my wife for almost a year, (with her joining me for a few weeks), the premise is to buy a yacht at Caribbean prices and sell at Vancouver prices and hopefully make a profit. (Can be done just not easy). This way she experiences a few weeks in the Carib as she considers a 5 year live-aboard and I get a year of adventure and experience!
I can well understand the appeal of what it is you're contemplating, but if turning a profit when you sell the vessel is only a hope you might want to reconsider, eliems. If you have the time, you should consider heading to Hawai'i from the Canal, recuperating there, then continuing on to Vancouver. Perhaps your wife could join you in Hawai'i and the two of you could enjoy a couple of weeks cruising the Islands. She might even decide that she'd like to sail the last leg with you.

Good luck!

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Old 21-02-2013, 14:45   #5
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

I'm pretty sure you won't make money with this. You will have to buy a lot of things for the boat to make the passage, clear in/out in a lot of places that charge hundreds for that, pay for the Panama Canal passage etc. etc. It all adds up.
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Old 21-02-2013, 14:56   #6
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

The normal route from Panama to Vancover would be the clipper route.... Sail from Panama to about half way to Hawaii and then turn north... You are talking bout 4000-4500 miles, not to mention the other 1000 of so miles you would have to cover in the Caribbean.

You certainly would never make money at this venture....
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Old 21-02-2013, 15:09   #7
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pirate Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

I've never done this but just had a nose at currents/winds etc..
Panama - Hawaii - Vancouver... definitely for what you are aiming to do with the boat.. direct shortest distance is roughly 4300 miles... hard slog with motor and sail...
via Hawaii is 7000 miles but once away from the ITCZ wind and currents are favourable all the way to your rest stop... then the last leg of under 3000 miles... with kinder weather as well.. less abuse on the trade goods..
Also.. I'd hit Panama/Colon and get through ASAP and wait it out Panama City side.. good for stocking up.. don't load up in the islands..
It can all be solo'd apart from the Canal...
I'd get your missus to sail down and go through with you.. its an experience few on the planet get to try..
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Old 22-02-2013, 12:44   #8
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

Man this is sounding rough! 40 days of beating and getting beaten up.

As for making $$$ on this venture I see ads (like this one) 1984 Beneteau Idylle 37' Sailboat

Worth more than double up here (if it surveys well) and I figure $10K to get it up here so free adventure and a little profit after taxes.
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Old 22-02-2013, 13:07   #9
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

IF you find a boat with a diesel heater in the Caribbean you'd be very lucky!
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Old 22-02-2013, 13:20   #10
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

A older boat equipped for Caribbean sailing may need a lot of additional equipment in order to make that trip.

There some guys who truck the boats from Florida.
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Old 22-02-2013, 13:37   #11
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliems View Post
If one were to purchase a 32 to 40 foot production boat like a Hunter or Beneteau in the Caribbean and sail it north to Vancouver BC, (through Panama Canal) ...

How long would it take?
Best time of the year?
What parts of the journey do I need crew. (Single-handling)

Currents of North America trend toward the south so sail off-shore?
Stay close to shore and Gunk Hole all the way?

How dangerous would this be for a smaller boat?

I see several factors in timing considering Hurricane season, (Leave the Caribbean by May), purchase in October/November/December, arrive in BC no later than Sept/October.

My situation is that in order to justify leaving my wife for almost a year, (with her joining me for a few weeks), the premise is to buy a yacht at Caribbean prices and sell at Vancouver prices and hopefully make a profit. (Can be done just not easy). This way she experiences a few weeks in the Carib as she considers a 5 year live-aboard and I get a year of adventure and experience!
a better route might be via the nw passage!,you will have the winds and current in your favor most of the way
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Old 22-02-2013, 13:55   #12
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

It seems to me that if you sail to Texas and then truck it to the NW you would save plenty of money and still have some adventure getting to some place like Corpus Christi.
The other way is a pretty big deal.
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Old 22-02-2013, 13:59   #13
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Re: Sailing from Panama to Vancouver questions ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliems View Post
Man this is sounding rough! 40 days of beating and getting beaten up.

As for making $$$ on this venture I see ads (like this one) 1984 Beneteau Idylle 37' Sailboat

Worth more than double up here (if it surveys well) and I figure $10K to get it up here so free adventure and a little profit after taxes.
You could probably get the boat for much less than the $19k they're asking if you showed up in their office with the cash. The more you save on the front end, the greater the margin remaining for you to hopefully not take a bath when you sell.

I keep thinking, too, about the potential downside such an adventure (for you, primarily) could impose on your marriage. In addition to the long absence and potential danger of undertaking such a long, hard passage by yourself, you'll be subjecting your wife to an equally long period of not only wondering where you are and whether you're OK, but also wondering if it makes sense to remain married to someone who would be willing to leave her for so long and for such a reason.

It would take an especially understanding woman to sign off on such a plan and never resent the agony it would subject her to. If it turns out your wife is not quite that understanding and the adventure, sadly, should lead to divorce, the money you might make when you sell the boat in Vancouver will quickly disappear in the heated "negotiations" that are generally a part of that.

If you go ahead with the plan, you might want to not only fly her down to the Caribbean for some cruising there, then have her meet you again in Colon for the Canal transit, maybe sail to the Galapagos and have her fly there, too, then either sail to the Marquesas so she could fly in to get a taste of cruising in the S. Pacific, or sail directly to Hawai'i and have her fly in for a little more cruising there.

I would be concerned that if you don't make her more a part of the sailing adventure, she may never agree to living aboard even if she wants to remain married to you. But a taste of the sweeter side of cruising in just the highlight places should change her mind.

TaoJones
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