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Old 05-10-2015, 12:38   #1
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Panama to Puerto Rica

i am hoping to transit the canal in november living here i have all the input i need for the crossing. i plan on laying up in shelter bay for a week do some bottom work new thru hulls etc. then on to san blas ? lay up there wait for favorable weather maybe hook up with some back packers for colombia ?? from there recommended to cartegenia colombia check in then on to santa marta lay up wait for favorable winds ?? again ? 800 plus miles to ponce puerta rica ? any advice as far as this right time of year or bad timing ??? any links to blogs or input from those that have made this trip ?? any volunteers for the trip ??? i have never been out of sight of land in my boat ,, day sails to perlas islands longest voyage .. good boat 42 solaris motors and sails in good shape ..
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Old 05-10-2015, 13:23   #2
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

Sounds like you are leaving the passage a bit late. Dec is much more likely to have the trade winds (aka the Xmas winds) kick in than early or mid Nov. The months with the best likelihood of low winds and unlikely hurricanes are Nov and May.
Leaving Panama to go east into the Carribean is usually a tough, gear breaking slog. We left the San Blas in early May after waiting for the trades to die out and had an easy passage to the Caymans.
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Old 05-10-2015, 14:12   #3
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

It is guaranteed to be a brutal trip. Guaranteed.
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Old 05-10-2015, 15:42   #4
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
...We left the San Blas in early May after waiting for the trades to die out and had an easy passage to the Caymans.
Good to hear that, I'm thinking of Cartagena to Caymans next year around May.

But, PR is likely to be a hard slog to windward any time.
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Old 05-10-2015, 17:30   #5
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

there are boats leaving san blas and puerto lindo almost weekly taking back packers to and from cartegana. i dont expect to hear from them as i think most are " under the radar so to speak" . i am assuming Christmas winds are out of the north ?? i was hoping to find a blog i read years ago a cruiser that had made two trips and documented it both ways ? any input is greatly appreciated ..
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Old 05-10-2015, 18:50   #6
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

Xmas winds are the trades. They are primarily E winds, split between E and NE in Nov. The entire Carribean sea builds up from the consistent trades and Marches toward Panama. Getting to Cartagena is not the problem. It is working anywhere east from there. The area between Cartagena and Santa Marta up to a few hundred miles offshore is well known for some truly rambunctious seas and winds.
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Old 06-10-2015, 09:00   #7
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

Take a look at the winds... going east will be rough
Sailing North west seems the only option.

earth :: a global map of wind, weather, and ocean conditions
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Old 06-10-2015, 09:09   #8
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

a few years ago we did the trip from the san blas to Jamaica - we think we left in January and sailed 45 deg to the wind all the way and ended up about 15 miles north of bloody bay so just motored in -
the run from Cartagena east can be a truly testing experience with the permanent Colombia low that makes the place very nasty --

go to Cartagena then back to san blas then across to miss the low and then from Jamaica work your way down to pr
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Old 06-10-2015, 09:21   #9
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

We made passage last Feb-March and it was a rough beat. San Blas to Cartegena was very rough. Waited for two weeks in Cartegena for the weather to improve to make a run to Aruba. Then Aruba to Grenada. Once you get to the Lesser Antillies it's wind on the beam for the first time since leaving Panama. You need good fuel capacity and a strong engine.
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Old 06-10-2015, 09:52   #10
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

I haven't done this trip, but know the reputation of the trip to windward from the Canal eastward to Columbia, and then NE from there - and would not look forward to it. One possible alternative to look into might be to head north first, and cross to whatever point on the south coast of the Greater Antilles islands you can lay on a closehauled (but reasonably fast and not too uncomfortable or gear-busting) course; and then work your way along the south coasts of those islands.

Others might weigh in on where might be a reasonable landfall to expect; possibly no better than Jamaica, but if winds are more E than NE and your boat sails reasonably weatherly, hopefully S coast of Hispaniola - Haiti or even the DR. From there the rest of the way E is upwind, but much more sheltered if you hug the coast, where you motor-sail in night-time calms and sometimes even reach in offshore katabatic winds caused by the mountainous terrain and diurnal heating/cooling cycles. You may also get lucky with some fronts that will cycle the winds around to S-SW-W-NE-N before coming back into the NE-E. We made that passage along the S coasts of Hispaniola and PR to Ponce last winter, after transiting the Windward Passage coming S from the Bahamas - and it was a relatively fast and easy passage.

This would be a significantly longer distance, but very often - especially in a sailing vessel - the shortest distance between two points is NOT a straight line!

If you do consider this, I would encourage you to take a look at Frank Virgintino's "Thinking Man's Guide to Voyaging South", and send him an email to get his opinion and further suggestions. He has decades of Caribbean experience and was quite helpful in planning our trip.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:17   #11
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

Does he have to worry about malicious elements of human behavior if he hugs DRepublic? Sometimes the sea is only one element to worry about...the other is the two legged psychopaths...just sayin'
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:12   #12
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

Not particularly a problem any more than much of the Caribbean (Venezuela-Trinidad would worry me far more) - we had none. The worst was a fisherman we bought cheap lobsters from who didn't have any rub rail so marked up the topsides when he came alongside....and off Haiti we were visited by a bunch of fishermen in their little wooden sailing fishing boats, but they just wanted to socialize and ask for a little handout when we slowed down enough for them to approach. By and large very friendly people.

The Customs & Immigration in Boca Chica were tough though - drug-sniffing dogs even when we were checking OUT (probably at the request of the US / DEA). Most difficult of the whole trip were US CBP in Ponce (and we were US flagged and all US citizens, even registered under SVRS/LBO). They interpret very strictly the rules about which port of entry you should go to - coming from the DR you better not stop (even for a minute to take a piss) until you've sailed far enough E to be in the Ponce district. Otherwise they'll want you to go all the way around to the Mayaguez (which may be on the way if you're crossing the Mona Passage from the NE coast of DR, but sure isn't when going from the S coast and continuing on towards Ponce).
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Old 06-10-2015, 18:32   #13
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pirate Re: Dominican Republic / Panama to Puerto Rica

I'm a resident of the R.D., expat American. You'll not find any difficulties with the Dominicans. Other than more out of habit than otherwise, they will certainly ask for a financial handout. BTW, don't forget that when checking in/out of a port. A bottle of rum, or a couple of $5 bills will bring smiles to the officials. A bit of Spanish is very handy, except in Santo Domingo where there is a bit of English spoken.

That said, don't leave your boat unattended.

Haiti, however, is very poverty stricken and though in general they are kind an gracious, their economic conditions have created a bad element. Also, unless you speak their dialect, almost impossible to communicate.

As above, but don't even think of leaving your boat unattended.
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Old 07-10-2015, 00:00   #14
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pirate Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

check out windyty app and then decide if u want that much punishment...Id just head to mexico
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Old 07-10-2015, 00:03   #15
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Re: Panama to Puerto Rica

or belize
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