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belizesailor 22-11-2012 08:45

Panama Northbound
Left the boat in Bocas del Toro last season. Returning to do some more cruising in Panama soon. Probably leave the boat in Panama another season and then return to the NW Carib. Just starting to look at Pilot Charts and potential return routes. Considering getting East, maybe as far as Cartagena, and then returning via the Cayman Islands and on to Mexico.

Looking for routing suggestions from those who have made the return trip from Panama.


bruce smith 22-11-2012 09:14

Re: Panama Northbound
Cartagena is about as far east as one can get in a regular boat, as you may already know. wall of current beyond.
Strap in and just go north from there, keep your fingers crossed that you can leave Jamaica to port.
worked for me.

sailronin 22-11-2012 09:26

Re: Panama Northbound
Northbound out of the Canal, don't turn right. The clockwise rotation of wind and current in the Caribbean all "piles up" on Panama. Going right (West) puts you head on into the wind, current and waves, a miserable combination unless you really have a great weather window. Most boats go North towards Roatan. This will leave you with beam seas and wind and once north of there you will pick up the Gulf Stream behind you for an added 3 knots up the Yucatan Channel towards Key West.
Watch the weather patterns and try to get a few days of calm as you depart Colon, the first couple of days can be unpleasant with 10 foot seas on the beam if the wx isn't cooperative.

belizesailor 24-11-2012 08:37

Re: Panama Northbound
Thanks for the input. Hoping to avoid that area of ugly seas off of Colombia. Long runs are already not my GF's favorite thing. She's never been in any significant seas and I expect if we encountered 10 foot seas she would probably decide to fly in and meet me next time.

Regardless of whether I leave Jamaica to port or starboard...leave it I will. I left it astern a number of years ago and that is my favorite, and preferably my last, recollection of the island.

We were hoping to stop in to visit friends the Caymans, but not willing to do a long bash to windward to do that. If the winds don't cooperate then we may just turn a bit further West and head for Mexico/Belize.

chuckr 24-11-2012 08:55

Re: Panama Northbound
belizesailor -- i can only tell you what worked for us -- we did the run from porveniror (sp) in the san blas to 20 off jamaica as our destination was jamaica and sailed all the way 42deg on the wind - incrediblely great sail - but we waited for a good wx window - 6-7 days -
you can do it from cartagena - which in our opinion is one of the safest and most beautiful cities in the caribbean - and it would move the winds more the beam and seas more to the stern - could be a great ride

we had friends who did bocas to caymans then on to cuba and across to jamaica and down the eastern isl chain -
if you want to return to panama you can do it from jamaica on an almost downhill run

the thing you have to watch is the winds - relax and get the right wx window and you can have a great run

just what we did and our opinion
chuck patty and svsoulmates
in trinidad

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