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Old 17-05-2012, 13:03   #1
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Sailing West Coast Vancouver to Panama

does anyone know what is the best time of the year to sail 200 miles offshore from Vancouver Island to Panama?
Also is there a map(one peice) of the Pacific ocean(West Coast of Americas) that has ocean currents and wind patterns on it?
Thanks Catman
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Old 17-05-2012, 13:17   #2
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

Due to hurricane considerations I think you don't want to go south of Guadalupe island (about 30 deg N) before November. So leaving Vancouver middle of October, earlier if stopping on the way.
I have not done this, but looking to sail to Mexico in January.
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Old 17-05-2012, 13:22   #3
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

For pilot charts:
Atlas of Pilot Charts for the Major Oceans of the World
North Pacific charts by month
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Old 17-05-2012, 13:51   #4
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

I sailed to Mexico from Vancouver last September. Leaving later than mid September adds risk of storms off the oregon coast. I'd suggest leaving in early September and spending a few months in San Francisco and San Diego to wait for the hurricane season to pass around November before heading further South.
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Old 17-05-2012, 13:56   #5
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

My friend was planning on leaving in June, is that a bad time?
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Old 17-05-2012, 13:58   #6
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

Thanks for the link to Blue Seas Pilot Charts.
Any thoughts on how I could have a large copy made from the info on teh website?
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Old 17-05-2012, 14:13   #7
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

Leaving in June is good time to go. Optimal would be July/August with the lowest chance to gales, but June shouldn't be a problem. So long as they don't go lower than 30N deg until November.
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Old 17-05-2012, 14:16   #8
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

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Thanks for the link to Blue Seas Pilot Charts.
Any thoughts on how I could have a large copy made from the info on teh website?
Copy the desired PDF files onto a flash drive and have Kinko's or the like print copy in size you want.
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Old 18-05-2012, 10:29   #9
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

Thanks for the information.
He is determined to leave beginning of June which would put him at Guadalupe Isl.
July beginning. Is that typiclly when the winds start? or??
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Old 18-05-2012, 10:31   #10
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

He will be 200 miles offshore, does that change anything?
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Old 18-05-2012, 10:33   #11
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

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Originally Posted by jaredko View Post
I sailed to Mexico from Vancouver last September. Leaving later than mid September adds risk of storms off the oregon coast. I'd suggest leaving in early September and spending a few months in San Francisco and San Diego to wait for the hurricane season to pass around November before heading further South.
What he said....
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Old 18-05-2012, 14:49   #12
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

Pressing on in July would be very dangerous. There is generally at least one severe storm that travels up the coast each July. Being 200 miles offshore would increase the danger as he is further from a harbor and the leading edge of a tropical storm will have building east winds making it difficult to get to port. Not every harbor in Mexico is safe during a storm, and those that are can be a large distance apart.

If he cannot possibly change his mind, the only way is to be close to shore, watching the weather forecasts closely, ready to head to safety. There are no VHF weather advisories in Mexico, so he will need to monitor SSB nets.

You can see the historical storm tracks on NOAA's website:
Historical Hurricane Tracks
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Old 18-05-2012, 16:30   #13
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Re: Sailing west coast vancouver to panama

Departing south in May/June from the Straits of Juan de Fuca has been optimal for me on deliveries. Usually stopped in SF, San Diego or Ensenada because of hurricane season south of 30N (around Cedros Island) until after November. The advantage of heading south 100-200 miles off is you are out of much of the marine traffic but still have access to buoy info for weather conditions that give wind and sea conditions out 600 miles. Tankers run between 40-50 miles out to Alaska and back north of about 35N and east of that traffic lane, fishing, pleasure and coastal traffic.
A plan to consider if you have the time is to pull in to San Diego in July, wait until November than head to Guadalupe Island and from there south beyond Mexico making landfall in southern Costa Rica then gunkhole down to the 'ditch'. That way you see some country, miss the worst of the weather if you're lucky and get to Panama before it gets really steamy.
Insurance is problematic below Ensenada from June 1 to November 1... just a thought... Capt Phil
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Old 18-05-2012, 19:19   #14
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Re: Sailing West Coast Vancouver to Panama

Thanks so much for your input to this matter.
I will relay this and any other facts to Malcolm as soon as possible.
He is on the hard in Sooke with no access to computor.
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Old 18-05-2012, 22:26   #15
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Re: Sailing West Coast Vancouver to Panama

Catman, How much actual offshore experiance does your Captain have? If he insists on going into Mexican waters before the Hurricane season is over, he is playing Russian Roullet with your life and anyone elses on the boat. Sailing is not really very dangerous if you respect mother nature and the rules of the sea. If you ignore them, you can become a statistic rather quickly. If your Captain doesnt listen to basic safety information, you might want to look for another boat for your adventure. Best of Luck.____Grant.
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