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Old 10-02-2007, 15:42   #1
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Panama to ABCs or Yucatan

I'm in the early stages of planning a trip from Seattle to Boston via Panama. I've sailed most of the west coast, east coast and N. Caribbean - but have never done anything in the gulf (other than vacations to Belize and Costa Rica).

I've heard piracy is an issue along Columbia and Venezuela but would love to sail up the windwards starting at the ABCs.

I guess the other option is to sail north from Panama which would be pretty cool (Honduras, Belize Island chains) but then you're sailing along Cuba. Is that a nightmare of paper work for Amercans (or even allowed)?

I'd love to hear from people who've done these routes.

Also - if anyone has book recommendations from people who've done this (in the last 10-15 years) I'd love to hear about those.
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Old 10-02-2007, 16:51   #2
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You might want to contact Steve Pavlidas as he is working on a soon to be published guide to the Western Caribbean and is currently in the Rio Dulce.
He has published numerous guides for various areas of the Caribe and has done the routes you are thinking about. His guides are great and he is usually pretty good about supplying his thoughts on how to get from one place to another! Island Hopping
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Old 10-02-2007, 17:01   #3
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I've been studying those routes myself. I understand that you can go from the Panama Canal to the San Blas Islands and then work your way North or South. South would consist of one or two day trips to Cartagena and beyond but the work is all up wind. Jimmy Cornels book has alot of info in it on those routes. Another option is to go from Panama to Jamica (a one leg beat) Timing makes a difference too. Some times of the year you don't want to so the trip at all.
Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 10-02-2007, 18:16   #4
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Panama to Honduras or Columbia

My experience is that one can leave Panama or the San Blas islands towards the "break" between Nicaragua and Honduras relatively hard on the wind. One can also closely hug the coast, depending upon the trades, and sneak up towards Columbia.

One cannot easily sail from Panama to the ABC islands. Sometimes the trades are such that there are clear blue skies and 50 knots of wind against you! In other words, between a close haul towards Honduras and a sneak along the coast there is relatively no alternative without a very nasty beat without some unusual break in the wind.
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Old 10-02-2007, 22:14   #5
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I've done it twice, first time Panama to Isla San Andres , Providencia then Key West, not too difficult . Second time San Blas, Cartgena then north to Grand Cayman, even easier and Cartagena was terrrific, stayed 6 weeks coz we liked it so much.
Pity you Yanquis can't go to Cuba, you are missing some great cruiising.
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Panama, Panama Canal, yucatan

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