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Old 18-01-2008, 07:06   #1
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Passage to Panama in Hurricane Season

Hi There
it looks like I will have to make a double handed passage to panama (from the med) and passing through the caribbean in the peak of hurricane season -july-aug. Can this be done safely if I initially base myself in Trinidad, watch the weather and make a dash for panama when it looks good? Also how long in advance will the weather gurus give warning of a storm building?

Many thanks,
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Old 18-01-2008, 09:30   #2
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You usually get several day's warning of an approaching tropical wave. Whether or when it will become a hurricane is a different story.

Trinidad to Panama is a long dash. Many people sail the southern Caribbean in hurricane season and you can island hop it: Trinidad-Grenada-Venezuelan islands-ABCs-Catagena-Colombian islands-Panama.
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Old 18-01-2008, 09:55   #3
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The hurricanes start developing in the N Atlantic, off the coast of Africa. As mentioned before, they come across the tropical zone in what is called "tropical waves" then develop into tropical depressions, tropical storms and eventually hurricanes. Sept/Oct being the worst months. However, Aug can be risky, July.....not so much.

You might want to consider hopping down the W coast of Africa to Cape Verde:

From there, you could drop down to 10N and motor the 900 miles to Trinidad, staying below the tropical belt. From Trinidad, you could move to Panama more safely and have plenty of warning of impending storms.

IMHO, sailing direct from the Med to Panama without dropping below 10N would be extremely risky. No matter how good the forecast and how much warning you have, it is impossible to maneuver out of the path of an on-coming tropical system. The biggest problem is knowing which way to run. If you head south, it may turn south.
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Old 09-02-2008, 23:51   #4
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I have sailed twice from the VI to the Panama canal during hurricane season. KEEP MOVING Don't be silly with your life, but watch the weather find a tropical wave and stay with it. It is also a good idea to stay south.

good luck
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Old 10-02-2008, 04:54   #5
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September is the peak month of the season. In Miami we get the radar imagess when they are 7 days out and developing. There will be many windows in July and August.
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Old 10-02-2008, 05:41   #6
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Atlantic storm data


If you would like to look at some data to help you decide, there's a pretty good article on tropical storm formation probabilities by month on Wikipedia: Atlantic hurricane - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here's a link on Wunderground that has detailed Atlantic storm tracks and data by year since 1887: Hurricane Archive : Weather Underground

You'll be essentially playing the odds if you sail during hurricane season. It could work out fine, but then again, these storms are pretty unpredictable.

Good luck,
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Panama Canal, Panama

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