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Old 13-03-2011, 05:47   #1
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San Pedro to Galapagos - Sailing Directions, Please

I am intending to purchase a boat on the west coast of U.S. around January (if possible and the right boat comes along) and sail back to Australia by October and beat the cyclone season. I'd like to arrive at Galapagos in early March, so allowing 1 month for preparations/vessel readiness I anticipate a departure date in early February.

What would be (A) a realistic itinerary as I sailed south along the Central American Coast and (B) a suitable departure point from the American continent to achieve the most comfortable/efficient passage to Galapagos.
Regarding the port of departure - what is the best port to provision and refuel prior to the ocean passage?

I'm sorry if this request sounds a bit vague, but I really need to pick the brains of experienced cruisers to avoid 'traps for young players'.
Please feel free to criticize the timeline and make alternate suggestions.
Cheers,
Hotboy
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Old 13-03-2011, 06:22   #2
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Re: San Pedro to Galapagos-sailing directions please.

timing is correct for this trip,favourable wind and current,golfito or panama would be good jump off points in late march april.

ille coco is also a pos stop on the way to galapagos,from there all bare foot for an arrival in aus in oct,thought if heading further south than brisbane may want to jump off from noumea.
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Old 13-03-2011, 06:28   #3
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Re: San Pedro to Galapagos-sailing directions please.

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Originally Posted by Hotboy View Post
. I'd like to arrive at Galapagos in early March, so allowing 1 month for preparations/vessel readiness I anticipate a departure date in early February.

What would be (A) a realistic itinerary as I sailed south along the Central American Coast and (B) a suitable departure point from the American continent to achieve the most comfortable/efficient passage to Galapagos.
A couple comments:

(a) one month to prep a newly purchased used boat to cross an ocean is aggressive. It is possible, if you know what you are doing and especially if the vessel is already in a port with decent marine/repair facilities, and you are reasonable about your expectations.

(b) If you want to go to the Galapagos, then you should depart the continent as far south as possible. There are prevailing southerly winds from about 5N and south. If you leave from further north it can be a tough beat to make the Galapagos. So, Typically Panama (panama City) or Ecuador (Salinas) have been popular kicking off points. A few years ago, Ecuador created some administrative problems with cruisers - I don't know what the current status is, perhaps someone else has an update.

We have made that trip from Panama and from Costa Rica, and it was certainly way easier from Panama.

(c) You need to get well south of Mexico by late October - start of the N Pacific cyclone season. And you don't want to arrive in the Marquesas until about late march/early April - end of the cyclone season. You can figure a week sailing from Panama to Galapagos, say a week there and then 3-4 weeks from Galapagos to Marquesas. Those dates give you a pretty clear time frame for the coastal cruise.
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Old 13-03-2011, 12:44   #4
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Re: San Pedro to Galapagos-sailing directions please.

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. . . .
(c) You need to get well south of Mexico by late October - start of the N Pacific cyclone season. . . . .

Given your January schedule this is not so important but I screwed that sentence up . . . was distracted when I wrote it.

Meant " You need to stay well North of Mexico from June until late October - end of the N pacific cyclone season' . . . but you can in fact be well south, as in Panama, as well and also be out of the cyclone belt.
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Old 13-03-2011, 12:54   #5
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Re: San Pedro to Galapagos - Sailing Directions, Please

Hi,

Having just sailed the whole Pacific coast of Central America, unless you're really interested in in touring that area, I'd skip it and go straight from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (La Cruz, really). That way you avoid a long slog SE along a swell-fretted coast with all the excitement of Tehuantepecers, Papagallos, frightful bar crossings, and a dreadful paucity of supplies (Mexico has the last really good accessible provisioning until you get to Panama, which is pretty far E of Mexico).
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Old 13-03-2011, 14:23   #6
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Re: San Pedro to Galapagos - Sailing Directions, Please

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Hi,

Having just sailed the whole Pacific coast of Central America, unless you're really interested in in touring that area, I'd skip it and go straight from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (La Cruz, really).
We enjoyed Costa Rica.

If you leave from Mexico, then you will probably have a bit of upwind work (couple hundred miles perhaps) to get to the Galapagos. But if leave from Mexico and skip the Galapagos you have a nice wind angle to the Marquesas.

Getting to the Galapagos is a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity and for me it would be difficult decision to skip it.

I just talked with some friends in Ecuador and the official/administrative situation there is still difficult and for now they recommend against it as a jumping off spot.
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Old 13-03-2011, 15:05   #7
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Re: San Pedro to Galapagos - Sailing Directions, Please

Thanks for the great feedback.
I know a month sounds ambitious to prepare a vessel. I have done some pretty extensive repairs to previous vessels. My experience is this, think of a time to finish a project then add a zero to the end of that time. BOAT means Bring Out Another Ten-thousand. I have also encountered more pirates on land than at sea.

I intend to engage the services of a good surveyor and rigger to give me an accurate appraisal before flying over to finalise the deal. So I would hope to have a reasonably accurate work schedule before even departing Oz.

My reasoning behind departing Feb for March arrival at Galapagas is to take advantage of the 'kinder' weather in that area. Then down to Easter, Pitcairn etc.

I agree it will be (perhaps) a once in a lifetime opportunity, so my wife and children will accompany me, hence the meandering route homeward.

The suggestion of ille coco sounds interesting but will have to check on the prevailing winds at that time. I think the timeframe for the entire cruise gives plenty of leeway so I'd prefer to do as little beating to windward as possible. "I'm here for a good time, not a rough time"

I take on board those comments to head as far south as possible before heading west. As the southbound leg will in a sense be a shakedown cruise, are there suggested anchorages/ports to pull into as we make our way towards Panama/golfito?
Cheers,
Hotboy
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Old 13-03-2011, 17:36   #8
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Re: San Pedro to Galapagos - Sailing Directions, Please

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suggested anchorages/ports to pull into as we make our way towards Panama/golfito?
Its a big coast with lots of possibilities but our three personal favorite stops along that coast were:

Bahia Magdelena, Baja (whales!)

Drake Bay, Costa Rica

Bahia Elena, Costa Rica

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My reasoning behind departing Feb for March arrival at Galapagas is to take advantage of the 'kinder' weather in that area. Then down to Easter, Pitcairn etc
Easter and Pitcairn have lousy roadstead anchorages, and that time of year will still probably have a large winter swell rolling in. Easter Island is worth seeing, but there really is nothing on Pitcairn. My own approach would be to sail from Galapagos to Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands and the fly to Easter Island from Tahiti.
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