I have not yet made a voyage in that area, but I have studied it as preparation, because I would like to sail from Panama
(as crew on a boat
, going either direction). Since I have not yet sailed that route
, you can take my opinion with a splash of saltwater. However, I value the opinion and experience of others who have sailed there before.
Consensus among reports I have read is that going East from Panama to Trinidad (or the ABC) is a VERY difficult slog upwind and upcurrent if you take the southern route
(along South America). Something called the trade
winds causes the problem.
It can be difficult or hard on the crew and the boat.
Reports I read indicated that several boats turned back after trying, because of the difficulty and slow going.
One 40 footer wrote they only made 25 miles a day for progress toward Trinidad.
Other reports mentioned damage to boats, due to pounding and stress.
With a new-to-you boat, I would avoid causing unnecessary stress on unproven rig and engine
etc. And on the crew too.
So, I think the prudent thing to do is “go with the flow” and head
North on the usual Clockwise loop rather than going anti-clockwise against the flow.
Good luck on your decision.
By the way, I recently finished a 1700nm voyage from Grand Cayman. At times we had to motor
, due to lack of wind
. At other times we went with the flow, and at some times the current
was against us. With a counter current
, it can be frustrating to make little progress towards one’s goal. And pounding to windward is no fun on either a monohull
. Better to go with the flow.
I would be happy to join a boat going North from Panama or clockwise in Caribbean
or “with the flow.”
If that was not enough reading for you,
I suggest you read the following (from my notes).
Skip down the long list of letters to find: 'West to East Across the Caribbean' in June 2006 'Latitude 38'