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ejlindahl 11-02-2010 15:49

Martinique to / thru Panama Canal
 
I'm looking for advice taking a 40' sailboat from Maritinque to & thru the Panama Canal in early April.

I haven't started my research on this yet so I've got some basic questions.

How long will it take?

Is it against prevailing winds?

What sort of wind strength is typical?

Some said spend some time in the San Blas Islands, is this out of my way?

I believe this is just before hurricane season.

From 3Eagles thread on the transit it sounds like an agent isn't needed.

Background is: I'm a life long coastal sailor with virtually no experience off shore but I'm hoping to draft an experienced friend whos sailed to Hawaii. I'm thinking of puchasing a boat in Martinique, sailing it to and thru the Canal to Golfito where it will be shipped to Canada.

I will be on a relatively tight schedule unless I decide to go with a later Gofito shipping date. But I really don't want to take that much time off of work.


Thank you. This forum is great!

Eric

donradcliffe 11-02-2010 16:14

Martinique to the canal is about 1200 miles, or 8 sailing days at 150 miles/day. Wind will be with you, from 15-25 knots most of the way, but can get to 35-45 off the coast of Columbia. Golfito is another 350 miles or 3 days, and will take some motoring.

You will spend more time than that waiting for a canal transit. If the waits are really long, use an agent.

Hurricane season is not until June.

barnakiel 11-02-2010 18:46

1. How long will it take?

Distance/average daily run. Wind and current should be on your side.

2. Is it against prevailing winds?

Normally it is downwind. Look up Publication 136 (Ocean Passages for the World / Admiralty) or Cornells book, if 136 not available.

3. What sort of wind strength is typical?

20/25 is normal but it can blow more, esp. if you sail close to Colombia's coast. It can be lighter close to Panama.

4. Some said spend some time in the San Blas Islands, is this out of my way?

It is nearly on your way. Make sure you have the permit/check in.

5. I believe this is just before hurricane season.

It is before, but not just before.

6. From 3Eagles thread on the transit it sounds like an agent isn't needed.

We did not use one either, but it was back when you could anchor on Flats. Now I beleve you are supposed to use a N shore marina while the harbour authority is on the S coast (I might be wrong here).

7. Background is: I'm a life long coastal sailor with virtually no experience off shore but I'm hoping to draft an experienced friend whos sailed to Hawaii. I'm thinking of puchasing a boat in Martinique, sailing it to and thru the Canal to Golfito where it will be shipped to Canada.

Do get the friend drafted. If Golfito is far N from Panama make sure the current is not against you. I believe people say it is difficult to coast from Panama to Mexico.

8. I will be on a relatively tight schedule unless I decide to go with a later Gofito shipping date. But I really don't want to take that much time off of work.

Being on a tight schedule is not what yo want when sailing. Beware Panama transit can last.

Good luck, have fun!

Cheers,
b.


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