Originally Posted by Konsensus
The first question relates to which way it is best to circumnavigate South America with the Caribbean Sea as a point of departure. Would it be clockwise or counterclockwise?
We have gone both ways.
The answer to your question depends on how you feel about reasonably long ocean passages.
If you are up to or even enjoy pretty long ocean passages, the easiest way is actually counter clockwise - you can make a route that is almost entirely off the wind
: Thru panama
, out to marquesas
and then gambier, in to Puerto Montt, down the channels, out the beagle at the bottom, to the Falklands, out to St. Helena, and to Antigua
If you want to go clockwise from the caribbean, you have first to go upwind AND upcurrent to the bulge of Brazil
(you can avoid this by going Bermuda
and then to Brazil). You have a nice reach from there down to the Beagle, but once in the channels it is all upwind into very strong winds west and north up the channels (the winds are slightly better in the winter for this direction but the days are shorter, its colder and there is more ice). From there you have a pretty nice sail up to Panama
, but once thru Panama you have a real slog upwind back to the Caribbean against the trades.
If it was easy, then everyone would be doing it!
PS . . . a plastic boat is fine for this. The ice is not so bad . . . easier than greenland
for instance . . . South Georgia
on the other hand is perhaps a little worse than greenland for the ice . . . but we have a metal boat
PPS . . . tons of info on cruising in the south on our website