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Old 12-04-2021, 18:41   #1
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Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

My husband has located his dream 72í catamaran motorboat in of all places, the landlocked country of Paraguay. We have extensive offshore experience in the South Pacific but none in the Atlantic. Our plans, once COVID dies down, is to fly to Paraguay for inspection and negotiation. Then, motor down the Paraguay river, then up along the South American coast to Florida, where we would refit the boat with new engines, and other work. We are avid game fishers and want to explore the Caribbean before heading through the Panama Canal and bringing the boat home to New Zealand, taking a couple of years for the adventure including the Galapagos. My question is: Is there a best time of year to do the passage north up the South American coast? Keep in mind, while we are a twin engine diesel motorboat, we arenít too keen on going to oncoming seas for weeks at a time.
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Old 27-04-2021, 05:36   #2
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Re: Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

Following!
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Old 27-04-2021, 05:50   #3
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Re: Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

So the plan is to motor some 8000miles, much of it in areas with limited services...then replace the motors?

I would argue
- if the motors are in good enough condition for an 8000mile trip, they probably don't need to be replaced.
- if they need to be replaced, they aren't good enough for a 8000 mile trip.
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Old 27-04-2021, 05:55   #4
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Re: Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

Yeah. What valhalla360 said. Moreover, I cannot believe that it is impossible to find the right boat anywhere except Paraguay. I think your husband needs to keep looking.


Good luck, whatever you do.
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Old 27-04-2021, 13:10   #5
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Re: Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
So the plan is to motor some 8000miles, much of it in areas with limited services...then replace the motors?

I would argue
- if the motors are in good enough condition for an 8000mile trip, they probably don't need to be replaced.
- if they need to be replaced, they aren't good enough for a 8000 mile trip.


Are you sure services are limited? We have known people that that custom built 68 foot motor cat in Uruguay. But my question wasnít about motors but the weather.
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Old 27-04-2021, 13:21   #6
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Re: Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

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Yeah. What valhalla360 said. Moreover, I cannot believe that it is impossible to find the right boat anywhere except Paraguay. I think your husband needs to keep looking.


Good luck, whatever you do.


Part of the appeal is that the boat was originally built in New Zealand, so by bringing her home, we would avoid a huge chunk on import duty. Also, itís a big part of the adventure dream to cruise her all the way back to NZ. My husband spends hours every night looking at long range motor-cats. Finding ones with good fuel efficiency that are suiting for large game sport fishing, and crossing oceans is as rare as hens teeth without spending millions. Our 58 ft Cat in NZ is almost perfect but the range is a bit too short for crossing the Pacific. Sheís been to Hawaii and back but not further.
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Old 27-04-2021, 13:22   #7
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Re: Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

Can't imagine you could not find a competent marine yard in Argentina or Uruguay to do the engine swaps. Might even be cheaper.
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Old 27-04-2021, 13:32   #8
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Re: Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

Except for the very southernmost part of your journey you'll be in trade-wind zone along the Brazilian coast and then up into the trades in the Caribbean. During the summer months (Nov-March) the trades are generally pretty light along the coast, and the wind can be very much diurnal. Wind will mostly be E to NE and will have an entire ocean of fetch. So the swell can be significant and it will be between on the nose and on the beam. During the winter the winds get stronger and so does the sea as you get leftover slop from storms to the south.

Once you turn the corner at Natal the wind and general swell will fall away to the stern quarter, although you can get some long distance swell coming in from the North Atlantic making for a confused sea state.

From there you get into the Caribbean, which is pretty standard stuff. Unfortunately you probably want to be there at the same time (Nov-June) just to avoid the hurricane season. So you either have to make a very sedate pace up from Paraguay and spend a summer in tropical South America (warm and steamy) or make a pretty good pace up the coast so you can spend some time in the Caribbean.

Either way you have to decide what to do then with hurricane season, my personal vote would be the far south of the Caribbean but that's very subjective.

If you can find a copy of Ocean Passages for the World (the Admiralty publication not the similarly named Cornell book) they used to have specific routes for "low-powered steam ships" that are a good reference for motor vessels doing 8-12 knots.
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Old 27-04-2021, 20:11   #9
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Re: Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

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Originally Posted by PearlsinOysters View Post
Part of the appeal is that the boat was originally built in New Zealand, so by bringing her home, we would avoid a huge chunk on import duty. Also, itís a big part of the adventure dream to cruise her all the way back to NZ. My husband spends hours every night looking at long range motor-cats. Finding ones with good fuel efficiency that are suiting for large game sport fishing, and crossing oceans is as rare as hens teeth without spending millions. Our 58 ft Cat in NZ is almost perfect but the range is a bit too short for crossing the Pacific. Sheís been to Hawaii and back but not further.
For your 58, I assume you've thought about using fuel bladders for the (probably?) rare times you are doing huge distances in one go? It's pretty cheap to add a couple of 500L bladders which, for a good fuel consumption boat, may be enough to cover your "range is a bit too short"? Certainly cheaper than a new boat, however fun that may feel .

Also I hope you've done your homework on NZ import duty. In Aus, if the boat has been away from the country for a few years you are likely to have to pay import duty again. Unfortunately Aus Home Affairs (customs) is atrocious at defining, writing, and communicating policy in things like this, so there's evidence from people who were charged the cost after being away for 2 years, and others who have been away longer and not been charged.

We bought our 50' aluminium powercat in the Caribbean as there's only one of her in the world, so we totally understand the need to go a long way from home to find what you want .
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Old 28-04-2021, 03:42   #10
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Re: Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

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Are you sure services are limited? We have known people that that custom built 68 foot motor cat in Uruguay. But my question wasnít about motors but the weather.
The entire route...no.
On some stretches...yeah.

Odds are in in 8000miles, you will hit some bad weather, so starting with suspect motors is poor seamanship.
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Old 28-04-2021, 03:58   #11
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Re: Motoring from Paraguay to the Caribbean

What a thrilling adventure you have ahead of you! Congratulations on finding (possibly) the boat to fit your needs. I hope your inspection goes well, once you can actually get there.

I'm afraid I can't comment on the best time to do that trip, up the atlantic. But I'm sure your husband's research will have all the bases covered. There'll always be downsides to your timing, as nothing's ever perfect in Ocean travel, but you'll figure it out. I'm excited for you in any case.

Ignore the naysayers. There's always a bunch of folks who can't see the upside to an adventure.

Cheers.
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