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  #21  
Old 01-15-2014
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Re: Raymarine ST1000 vs. ST2000 tiller pilot

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Originally Posted by mrhoneydew View Post
I knew the Panamanian Extortion Service wouldn't be cheap, but wasn't aware of the 8 knot minimum.
Oh yeah. What they say is that 8kt is the min speed to complete transit in their allotted time. Absolute minimum once in the canal is 5kts. If you tell them your boat will only do 6kts and get in the canal against the current and turbulence and can't maintain what they think is "reasonable" they'll jerk you out and make you pay.

There's 26 and 28 foot boats that have done it. But here's thing - if you're a cruising couple on a 28 foot boat in the Caribbean you can live pretty high on the hog on $1,200/month living expense. You're going to blow two months worth of cruising money for two on passage through 55 miles of canal. That canal is is great for commercial shipping lines. Not so great for cruisers on a budget. They rook a 50 or 60 foot or less boat (can't remember what the cutoff is) $1875 for the fees and the next step up in boat size only goes up to like $2375. You can do a LOT of cruising and go a lot of places in the Caribbean on that money, and have the time of your life. Unless you really think you need the experience of doing the canal.
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  #22  
Old 01-15-2014
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Re: Raymarine ST1000 vs. ST2000 tiller pilot

Well... the question then is whether I go down and give the Canal a go... would be kind of a cool experience, I think, or do I ship it? I would be looking at between $2K and $3K to ship San Diego to Corpus Christi (based on Uship estimates). So if I budget even $3500 for whatever means of getting to the Caribbean side, which is better? Surely shipping would be more stable and insured and all of that... though pretty boring. However, there would not be the element of corrupt officials and canal personnel leeching unplanned money out or the prospect of being turned back and then costing even more. I assume they don't offer a full refund on the $1875 if they turn you back? Given the choice and all costs being the same I would choose the Canal, but now I'm not so sure.
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Re: Raymarine ST1000 vs. ST2000 tiller pilot

The Uship estimates don't include haul out, unstepping the mast, and doing the reverse on the other side. I think you'd realistically have to pay about twice as much. You'll also need to transport yourself (you won't be on the boat) and pay for hotels until the boat arrives.
The canal is probably cheaper and more fun, even if it is expensive.
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  #24  
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Re: Raymarine ST1000 vs. ST2000 tiller pilot

Good point(s). Always something to pay for that you don't initially think about. I guess I'll likely go the Canal route, budget a whole lot more, and do it like I do most things... make it up as I go and figure everything eventually works out. The Canal does sound like a lot more fun and part of even going in the first place is the adventure aspect.

Now I just need to work out a way to get a '69 Columbia 28 to go about 8 knots... anybody know if it's possible to retrofit foils?
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Old 01-15-2014
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Re: Raymarine ST1000 vs. ST2000 tiller pilot

As of I believe it was Oct 2012 they changed the minimum speed to 8kts for yachts. After you pay all the fees for registration, transit, inspections (your boat has to undergo inspection to make sure it meets minimum equipment requirements), tolls, etc., you'll wait 8-12 days before you get to make passage. When your time comes you'll probably go through with a smaller commercial boat. If you can't maintain speed to make lockage with the boat you're assigned with you're going to pay extra for transit pilot delays (commercial boats have to have a canal transit pilot), and a whole bunch of other stuff that totals up to about $900 (besides the above).

You will be required to maintain your transit time, regardless of weather. If you have to pay for a Canal tug to make your allotted transit time it's going to cost you about $200 an hour for a 28 foot boat.

You have to have a Canal Advisor onboard and you have to pay him and feed him. If he has to order a meal box because you don't feed him it costs like $30 bucks plus a $185 delivery fee for ONE meal. You're also going to need crew - four line handlers. You can hire them too - they'll be there waiting to get their piece of the action (meaning money). And you have to pay for their return ticket to back where you picked them up from.

You're going to have to rent tires from a local marina to protect the sides of your boat. And you have to arrange for return of your rented tires to back who you got them from. If you don't have four 125 foot x 7/8" lines on the boat you have to rent those too. Same deal as the tires - you have to make arrangements to get them back to their rightful owner after you make passage.

In the end there's a whole bunch of people from the agent that you're going to pay about $800 to handle the paperwork (unless you're fluent in Spanish and know how to do it yourself) to the people that will take care of getting your rented tires and lines back, that make money off a passage though the Panama Canal. If you got money to burn it will be a neat experience to say you have done it. If you're on a budget - look for a different way to get to the other side.

If you do decide to do it it would be a good idea to just get an anchorage for your boat and hire on as a linehandler so you can learn what's required before you try it. Private yachts that have never done it usually go through with a "buddy boat" and they crew each other as linehandlers and each yacht makes its passage at the allotted time.

My wife and I crewed on a friend's yacht that made passage thru the canal once. We sailed with them from San Andres to Tobago and Rio De Janeiro, then flew home. They were in Rio for 3 weeks and we flew back and crewed to get them though the canal so they could sail to Hawaii. After seeing all that's required we would never do it with our boat. I'd sail the other way around the planet to get to the other side instead. We're happy with the Caribbean. Have no desire to get to Hawaii. And Panama is the last place on earth that we're in a hurry to get back to

Totally off-topic, but hope that all helps. I think I'd find somebody with a sailboat trailer and a one-ton diesel pickup. Rig up an A-frame to unstep and step your mast yourself, and just get the boat to the Gulf so you can have fun. If you don't have the money for the Canal it's not going to be fun because you'll be broke when you get to the other side
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Re: Raymarine ST1000 vs. ST2000 tiller pilot

Wow, I tell ya... Cape Horn is looking like a more viable option all the time. Or just selling my boat and picking one up in Florida or somewhere.
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Re: Raymarine ST1000 vs. ST2000 tiller pilot

Yeah. I'm going with the selling your boat and getting one in Florida. It doesn't sound like you're married to your boat at all.

From what I've read above, it sounds like it would e best to say you've done it, but it doesn't sound like a fun experience at all.

What kind of person would order a $210 lunch off a cruising person? I wouldn't.
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Re: Raymarine ST1000 vs. ST2000 tiller pilot

It's fun as long as you don't have to pay for it. It's really for commercial shipping and private boats can use it because of laws or treaties or whatever - I'm not familiar with the legal aspects of it. But what is a fact is that small private boats are a burden to the Canal officials that run it. Things change down there just about weekly and what one boat runs into going through it will be different for the next. Some people have done it and had a good passage. Others not so good. I know I will never do it again either crewing or on our own boat. I will find a different way.

Cape Horn? That's an ambitious cruise, baby! And COLD. If you like 40-50 foot seas that's the place to go sail 'em.
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Re: Raymarine ST1000 vs. ST2000 tiller pilot

Alex, I was talking with a former sales rep from simrad, now at a different marine supply store the other day. He mentioned that the SPX5 and the simrad equals, COULD learn wave patterns etc, and do correct quicker and better than the tiller pilots mentioned here, ie st1000/2000 and the simrad TP12, 22, 32.

From online chatting at the jeanneau owners site, they go off shore, similar to what the op will do, many find the st4000 to not be enough pilot with 10-12K boats!

I know one person with a J29 using a 1000, it works, but with an outboard and the pilot, they tend to sail more, it sorta works. The rep had a Ranger 28 with a 2000, it was ok, until the wind go up above 20 or so sailing. Downwind was tough to use, not quick enough or strength to handle that kind of work.

Another fellow I know with a mid 30 Farr, has two st2000's, One that works, the other he is repairing and gets working, about that time, the one that worked is dead........

Just my 02 folks! FOr what the OP is doing, I would spend the extra! have even considered that for around here.........

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