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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 09-24-2013
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Sailing from California to Florida via the Panama Canal

Hi all. This is my first post. Just joined the forum.

I have a question. What is the best way to sail from California to Florida? In the next year I want to do this. Some of my relatives moved the Southern US recently from California and I want to be closer to them. I'm planning on keeping my boat in Miami, FL. I'll be leaving from Long Beach, CA.

As for the trip I'll be doing it in a 1966 26-foot Islander Excalibur sailboat and will be doing it singlehanded except for my dog. My plan is to sail off from Southern California and go offshore about 15-20 miles and sail down Baja. Get to Cabo San Lucas. And then sail down the Mexico mainland down into Central America. Then finally get to Panama and go through the canal. From there sail up the Caribbean side of Central America to Cancun, Mexico. And then head out offshore through the Gulf to Cuba and finally to Miami.

Has anyone here ever done a sail like that? Any tips or suggestions? Like the best time of year for the trip or how long it would take. Or different route suggestions. Would I have to worry about sea pirates or drug cartels?

Thanks and appreciate the feedback.
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Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Sailing from California to Florida via the Panama Canal

Wonderful sense of adventure! But...

There is a couple that tried it on a 28-foot Pearson Triton. You should read their blog before you try it:
3knots | Man, Wife and Dog drifting to warmer climates

Or you could just skip straight to where they wrecked their boat:
Staring into oblivion | 3knots
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Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Sailing from California to Florida via the Panama Canal

In case Minnesail hasn't discouraged you, have you looked into what this will cost versus what it would cost to have the boat trailered from CA to TX and then sail over to FL? It sounds like you have some sailing experience; have you singlehanded at night before? Have you considered the political "issues" in Mexico right now, and how that might impact your ability to get help, food, fuel medicine, etc. if necessary?
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Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Sailing from California to Florida via the Panama Canal

lots have done and still are doing that--just go if you are gonna---remember not to sail in summer and to be in a safe place from major named storms between mid may and early november.
political issues in mexico are less ugly than political issues in usa at present, and not a problem for cruisers.

most bahias on mexicoast have fuel food water and whatnot. he can even walk his dog on the beach without getting a freeking ticket--even sans leash!!!!!!!--how backward is that..omg he may not survive---folks are so friendly and helpful. will not survive that at all.
no . he should not do this. he will die.
christmas in barra de navidad is spozed to be cool.
christmas in zihuatenejo is gorgeous..town looks like a christmas tree from water. .
come on down. be aware and be safe--get visa and fishing license before you leave san diego--take doggie to vet for certificate for out of country


done slowly, this could be the time of your life
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Last edited by zeehag; 09-24-2013 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 09-24-2013
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Sailing from California to Florida via the Panama Canal

As a one time owner of an Excalibur 26, its a nice boat for coastal sailing, but I don't think it is remotely adequate for this trip. I sold mine over 30 years ago and it was already tired, though a year newer than yours. I doubt yours got stronger. In particular, there was flexing in the fin keel that was suspicious, and the standing rigging and chain plates were dubious. Have you gone over every inch? Is your outboard in the well or on the transom? In the well it slows you down because of the effect of the opening under water. If on the transom, it will lift clear of the water in any kind of swell. Where will you store fuel and supplies? Do you have a spare tiller? could you repair the rudder? Is the core intact?

Unless you plan the whole trip in coastal hops of very short duration, I don't think it is realistic, and I am not sure that trip could be done that way.
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Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Sailing from California to Florida via the Panama Canal

there are many bays in which to stop along the way south from kali to panama-- once past mexico there is bahia del sol, el salvador, there are many other bays in which to stop and rest an d provision. folks have done this in 27 catalinas, 27 ericsons, pearson 26, cal 28, columbia 28, many smaller boats. there is no reason a small boat cannot sail down wind and down current to panama.
and he doesnt even have to die in the process...go figger...the entire trip is down wind and down current most of year.
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formosa 41 and ericson 35mII
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Old 09-24-2013
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Re: Sailing from California to Florida via the Panama Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
there are many bays in which to stop along the way south from kali to panama-- once past mexico there is bahia del sol, el salvador, there are many other bays in which to stop and rest an d provision. folks have done this in 27 catalinas, 27 ericsons, pearson 26, cal 28, columbia 28, many smaller boats. there is no reason a small boat cannot sail down wind and down current to panama.
and he doesnt even have to die in the process...go figger...the entire trip is down wind and down current most of year.
Hmmm, seems you're forgetting about that tiny little bit at the end, beating back out of the bottom of the Caribbean Sea and on up to Florida...

No doubt some here will say of such a notoriously boisterous passage, "No Problem", in such a boat...

For sure, that trip would be do-able... But, not by me... :-)
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Old 09-25-2013
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Re: Sailing from California to Florida via the Panama Canal

May be worth PM-ing Capt. Aaron to get some pointers for the trip north from the Canal to FL.
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Old 09-25-2013
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Re: Sailing from California to Florida via the Panama Canal

i didnt include the eastern side of mexico as i have yet to do that part--i figgered you guys with all the experience would chime in to set the poor soul straight--like, after he pops out the canal how he is gonna die......
seems it should be do able in a small boat-- one sees enough of em sailing everywhere and some have gone round the planet----so--what does he need to beware of on the other side--i need this info as well, so please bring it on...... <3

the trips down this west coast has been done in small boats and those are still surfing mexicoast--good souls and small boats---one merely becomes a better sailor than are we...... isnt hard . downhill run all the way on this side---it isnt until one pops out the canal that fun begins...seas south of conception i kali and south of cabo corrientes in mexico are quite smooth and windless on many occasions---is a drift place--southerly drift is less and there is actually a tidal flow, i noticed when i was drifting here.. of course if one finds a storm in pacific , one has a bit more fun---oops--challenge....
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Last edited by zeehag; 09-25-2013 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 09-25-2013
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Re: Sailing from California to Florida via the Panama Canal

The issue here is getting NORTH from the Panama Canal is a very tough passage indeed. I would not try this in the boat owned by the OP.
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