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Old 05-06-2011, 12:50   #1
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San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via Sailboat

Greetings all

My friends and I are in the process of planning a sailing trip to panama this fall after the hurricane season is over. We are planning to get to cabo in 1-2 weeks leaving mid october and then leaving there early november to head towards the southern parts of mexico and further to the other countries. I've noticed that there are very few ports and maybe none where sailboats are welcomed as most seem like there only accompany commercial vessesls. We have a lot of questions with respect to pirate dangers and simply being able to go to port and visit the country sides. We are worried about theft and leaving a boat at a marina or pier or whatever or even at anchorage. Does anyone have experience with this or could recommend some ports. Also any feedback on length of time to travel from cabo to mananillo would be awesome.

cheers
jake

i've checked out world port source, have my 25 T captains near costal license and have read through the most recent sailing instructions from the US....i've done the sail from SD to SF in about 2 weeks on a 45 hunter in the summer and have def seen some weather along with many sails to the channel islands BUT we are relatively inexperienced when it comes to international travel.

I know we have to get a marine radio operators permit and a call name for the boat along with having visas and passports but thats about all

thanks!
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Old 05-06-2011, 13:25   #2
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

Welcome to the forum! This subject has been covered numerous times here in this forum so I'd suggest a few searches.
I don't know were you got your information about a lack of ports, but it's wrong. I made the trip and found over 2000 sailboats enjoying the times of their lives.
Try to obtain the many cruising guides that detail all the possibilites.

IMO it's now June and you wish to begin cruising in mid-October with no knowledge of what's involved? The best of luck.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:31   #3
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

Check out the archives here and the notes on the Noonsite web site (a lot of info on international travel):

Noonsite

A little thought experiment may be worth while - other people sail around the coasts of Mexico and many many people live there and make their livelihood on the water, so it is likely that conditions are amenable for visiting by boat...

Michael
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Old 08-06-2011, 18:31   #4
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

Hi, I just returned to San Diego from a sail to Puntarenas, Costa Rica where we left my friend's boat for the season. It was a great trip with every kind of sailing and varied places to put in. Glad to hear you're getting ready to do it. Things really started getting interesting from Z-town on south, Barillas in El Salavador was very cool, hanging at a surfers camp in Nicaragua, sailing in near-gale-force winds into Santa Elena in Costa Rica. Am now getting my boat ready, can't wait to get back out there! Would love to get together and share some stories and beers. Cheers, Ken Chula Vista Marina
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Old 17-06-2011, 16:01   #5
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

if ye get to mazatlan before i leave for panama, wanna buddy boat???
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Old 17-06-2011, 16:34   #6
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

The trip south is pretty easy, going with the wind and current presents no major problems. The area to watch out for is the Gulf of Tehuantepec; keep "one foot on the beach" from Oaxaca to the Guatemala border. Watch wx reports and wait north of Huatulco if there is a high in the Gulf of Mexico. The "Tehuantepecers" come up with little warning and wind can build from 5 kts to 70 kts in less than 10 minutes. Stay at about the 15 fathom curve so even if the wind blows up you'll have no seas.
The next area of concern is the Gulf of Papagayo, again watch the wx reports and hold up to the north if a Papagayo is blowing.
Barillas in El Salvador is a nice stop on a river and my next favorite stop is Golfito, CR.
Have a great trip.
Dave
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Old 17-06-2011, 16:47   #7
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

70 kts--oh good--enough to propel my brick!!!!!! rofl...
someone on some forum promised i would have northers across sea of cortez--LOL i had nothing but dead calm..... LOL...... bring on the winds.--they make for a good day's sailing....
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Old 17-06-2011, 19:09   #8
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

The Tehuantepecers are the result of high pressure over the Gulf of Mexico and a low on the Pacific side of the mountains. A weather router service can provide very accurate predictions for these winds.
A few years ago a friend of mine was in a USCG Falcon jet overflying the gulf. He was 500 feet above sea level and fighting 100 knot headwinds as he overflew a Tybee class cutter (144 feet) hove to in survival mode 15 miles offshore.
On the other hand, the last two times I've crossed the gulf it's been flat calm, but I stayed on the 15 fathom curve just in case.
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Old 17-06-2011, 19:39   #9
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

dont plan on sailing too close to shore---i prefer 40-60mi + out to sea-especially if i am on a prefrontal wind or have a good wind blowing me souf.....and fishing while i sail.
ken--check noonsite.
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Old 17-06-2011, 21:28   #10
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailronin View Post
The Tehuantepecers are the result of high pressure over the Gulf of Mexico and a low on the Pacific side of the mountains. A weather router service can provide very accurate predictions for these winds.
A few years ago a friend of mine was in a USCG Falcon jet overflying the gulf. He was 500 feet above sea level and fighting 100 knot headwinds as he overflew a Tybee class cutter (144 feet) hove to in survival mode 15 miles offshore.
On the other hand, the last two times I've crossed the gulf it's been flat calm, but I stayed on the 15 fathom curve just in case.
When I made the crossing, the weather reports were for a 4 day window and was blowing 15 on the "beach" so several of us decided to cut the corner and were 10 miles off shore when we experienced 8-10 foot swells from the west, with the winds about 25 knots from the east. When we went back to the 15 fanthom line the seas came down to 2-3 feet.

The commercial port of Salina Cruz has an average of 135 days of gale force winds per year.
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Old 17-06-2011, 23:05   #11
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

I went through Tehuantepec in the end of April. Apart from some squalls passed Salina Cruz it was nice and flat. South of Cabo Corrientes was less gentle to us.
I would strongly recommend Sarana's guidebooks for the south of Huatulco part
Guide Books -- Cruising Guide Books to Central America
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Old 19-06-2011, 12:33   #12
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

you don't want to fool around. mexico is very benign. once you get to huatulco that's where it gets interesting. the information you're getting here is right on. you can avoid a tehuanapec by finding a weather window. i would stay very close to shore and that way you avoid the fetch from wind buildup. i've done it both ways and point to point we had 70 kts+. along the shore it was totally calm but we waited for a weather window there's lots of marinas all along to panama to stop at. no problems with pirates and lots of good anchorages in the islands off of panama. just do your homework and you'll be fine. i did the trip last year as your schedule implies (parked the boat in vallarta for the summer) and the papagayos sucked. other than that, everything was cool except when you head into the gulf of panama and get hit with a pretty good counter current. it's really a pretty easy trip.
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Old 18-07-2011, 08:46   #13
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Re: San Diego, CA to Panama (C.A) via sailboat

Hey Jake, My Girlfriend and I are planning on going to Panama around the same time. We want to meet a few other boats and buddy boat down from southern Mexico. I am currently in San Carlos, Sonora Mexico and have been cruising since first of march. We will leave here in mid to late Oct and work our way to La Paz then cross back over to Mainland Mexico sometime in late Nov or early Dec. IMO it is a good idea to travel in Central America with a few the boats.
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