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  #1  
Old 04-08-2013
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BVI to Panama Canal

The trip to Portugal from FLL did not work out, it has to delay until next year. I found another substitute sailing to Panama City from Virgins instead.


Question to those who have done this.

What is your prefer route if you have to do it again?
1. Just take the Rhumb line to Panama
2. Hug the coast of of PR , Dominican Republic, Haiti/Jamaica and head south and hug the coast of Colombia.
3, Rhumb line from BVI to Santa Marta and Colon?

What are the ports we can seek shelter if case of weather?

It should be an easy sail with the current and trade wind. We should have enough fuel and water in one shot, but looking for Plan B and C just in case.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: BVI to Panama Canal

We went direct from the Windward Passage to Panama and had a great sail with just about the right amount of wind all the way. When we were in the Eastern Caribbean and listening to Chris Parker's weather forecasts he frequently (most days) was talking about 30 knots off the coast of Colombia. That way be a winter pattern only though. Going direct the only place to stop is the east end of Jamaica.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: BVI to Panama Canal

Excellent, thanks.

I have been following the weather in the last 10 days. The wind is always blowing from East to West until near Panama. It is going to to a good sail. The boat has a 140% jib, spinnaker with sock and drogue.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: BVI to Panama Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post

It should be an easy sail with the current and trade wind.
"An easy sail", huh? Uhhh, have you ever actually sailed in the open waters of the Western Caribbean Sea before? (grin)

You really should pick up a copy of Jimmy Cornell's WORLD CRUISING ROUTES, or at least have a glance at it sometime... Here's how he opens his discussion of Route AN74 - Lesser Antilles to Panama:

Quote:

This can be a very rough passage, confirmed by the fact that many experienced sailors describe their passage across the Caribbean Sea as perhaps the roughest part of their voyage around the world. This is usually the case at the height of the trade wind season, when the constant easterly winds pile up the water in the western Caribbean making sea conditions hazardous. Many boats have been knocked down or pooped by the steep following seas, while others have been lost on the coast of Colombia after having been set off course by the strong current.
A few winters ago, I met a guy beginning a circumnavigation on a well-found IP 38 in Port Antonio, Jamaica... He'd been waiting there for weeks for the perfect window for the run to Panama. When he finally did get the green light from his weather router, he still had a very boisterous passage, wound up suffering a serious injury, and had to abandon his boat... So, following seas, and a fair current, are still no guarantee of "an easy sail" in that neighborhood, even this time of the year when the trades should be starting to ease up... And, "hugging the coast of Colombia", where the seas will become much steeper and more confused in the shallow waters there, doesn't sound like a very good plan, to me...

Not very likely that spinnaker will see much use on your trip, although you never know... Personally, however, I'd trade it for a spare autopilot or 2, if I had the choice... Perhaps most importantly, are you certain that your crew will be physically up to such a potentially rigorous trip, without becoming debilitated by seasickness, or exhaustion? That's not a recommended passage for newbies, after all...
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: BVI to Panama Canal

I did it. Wing on wing with interlocking jibs, main down the whole way. We left just after new year's eve. I remember because I was still hung over. We actually left from San juan P.R. passed south of Jamaica by about 30 miles. 10 day's the way I remember it. Auto Helm working away. it was 23 years ago, uneventful. I have sailed off the north coast of Columbia a lot. It's messy. I sailed from Venezuala to Belize non stop as well. 8 day's. I don't remember any thing weird happening. Last time I was in Port Antonio Jamacia, there was a load of people waiting to run down to Panama. Good place to stop. Eryll Flynn yacht club.
( Just don't buy weed. I had a crew member try an sneak some on board and long story short I was deatained, and bribed my way out of it. he said he only wanted a 10 dollar bag for himself and it turned out to be as big as his leg.) Don't do the "when in Jamacia do as jamaicia does" thing. Any way's I would run down to Port Antonio Jamacia, and then cross on down to Panama. I make these runs all the time. No biggy.
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Last edited by Capt.aaron; 04-08-2013 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: BVI to Panama Canal

I did the east side Yucatan channel last year, It was not bad at all except that when we were in Florida Strait, we lost jib and main sails at 2 am in the morning. We had the easterly wind (20 to 25 kn) against the Gulf stream. I made the call and returned to Key West.

To address your concerns:

1. I have Cornell's book, I will consult it before heading out. But I am not overly worried, becasue what do you expect Cornell to say. One must evaluate each condition carefully. A Chinese proverb says: It is better not read the book, if you must believe it entirely.

2. It is going to be a short handed crew only the owner/captain and I which I prefer. We have autopilot and Wind vane, no other back up. I carry Phenegan suppositories and injectables, I am prepared. I don't know about the owner, but I can stay up at least 48 hours without missing a beat. Give me another 3 hrs sleep, I am good as new.

Thanks for the heads up. I will consider your points carefully. I often draw on many expert advices in from many sources. I am caution but not worried. If sh*t hits the fan, I know what to do to save the boat.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: BVI to Panama Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.aaron View Post
I did it. Wing on wing with interlocking jibs, main down the whole way. We left just after new year's eve. I remember because I was still hung over. We actually left from San juan P.R. passed south of Jamaica by about 30 miles. 10 day's the way I remember it. Auto Helm working away. it was 23 years ago, uneventful. I have sailed off the north coast of Columbia a lot. It's messy. I sailed from Venezuala to Belize non stop as well. 8 day's. I don't remember any thing weird happening. Last time I was in Port Antonio Jamacia, there was a load of people waiting to run down to Panama. Good place to stop. Eryll Flynn yacht club.
( Just don't by weed. I had a crew member try an sneak some on board and long story short I was deatained, and bribed my way out of it. he said he only wanted a 10 dollar bag for himself and it turned out to be as big as his leg.) Don't do the "when in Jamacia do as jamaicia does" thing. Any way's I would run down to Port Antonio Jamacia, and then cross on down to Panama. I make these runs all the time. No biggy.
Thanks "Captain A".
Note to myself:

1. No Weed
2. No weed
3. No weed
4. Thank you Captain A for above

5. Your suggestion makes sense. We will make west to Jamaica and head south to Panama and the wind will be coming from port aft, hopefully.

BTW, last year run to Belize, the details and encouragement you gave me, it is comforting knowing what lie ahead. I was smiling all the way to Belize. It was a great run. Thanks.
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Re: BVI to Panama Canal

Oh, thanks, I remember just missing you, they had called me into work early. I owed them day's because they let me go home for a Hurricane that passed through Key West. I spoke breifly with you on the phone as I was driving to meet my tug boat in Miami.
Any way's, I don't remember what I said to you about the Belize run. I do remember it was my first single handed passage on my boat. I was 19. I'm doing that run basicly next month, Key west to Honduras non stop. I'll be on the east side of the Yucatan Channel out of the current reaching south with my brand new Capehorn wind vane...can't friken wait! I'm going up to Sailorman in Ft. Lauderdale on wed. with permission from my wife to spend as much as I want on whatever I think I need! I have been waiting for this day for 20 years. I'll be like a fat kid in a chocolate store. But I digress. I think the B.V.I to Panama is a great passage for any body to get out and do a longish run, be a great run to take a newbie on. It's day 4 that you really get into the groove, and on day 9 you feel like you could keep going for another week or 2. If you make for Jamaica, a newbie would know if they wanted off the boat or not. If you have good weather you can decide not to stop, The only sea's around the area that are worse than the straights of Fla. with an opposing east wind at 25 to 30, is the Yucatan channel in a strong norther, and what I call the "blue circle" off the north coast of Columbia. So if you have stuck your nose out in to the straights with an east at 30, you can handle running down the trades. No reason to run down to Columbia in my oppinion. (Except that Cartegenia is the jewl of the Carribean as far as city's go.)
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Last edited by Capt.aaron; 04-08-2013 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: BVI to Panama Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post

1. I have Cornell's book, I will consult it before heading out. But I am not overly worried, becasue what do you expect Cornell to say. One must evaluate each condition carefully. A Chinese proverb says: It is better not read the book, if you must believe it entirely.
I expect Cornell to give his honest assessment of any passage he's describing... What are you expecting him to say?

I find WORLD CRUISING ROUTES to generally rather dry and sober, and somewhat understated in many of his descriptions of routes... I certainly don't see him being purposely 'alarmist', in any way. When he opens a description with "This can be a very rough passage", it's probably worth noting... His overall description of the passage between the NE and Bermuda sounds rather tame, for example - and yet history shows it can often turn into a brutal trip, with boats now being lost or abandoned with regularity...

Your citing that Chinese proverb would appear to make little sense, in this context. Cornell's descriptions of cruising routes should not be viewed as a long-term weather forecast, and it's entirely possible your passage may indeed turn out to be an "easy sail"... But if you do indeed have better sources from which to "evaluate" this passage than a book like Cornell's, or the Pilot Charts of the North Atlantic, then by all means use them, and it probably would be better "not to read the book" at all... (grin)

How did your trip down the Thorny Path turn out, btw?

Last edited by JonEisberg; 04-08-2013 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 04-08-2013
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Re: BVI to Panama Canal

The rhumb line from the VI to Colon will take you too close to the Columbian coast and into a rought spot that varies in intensity with the seasons. You'd be wise to check the pilot charts where you'll see the spot north of Columbia where the significant wave height is higher than elsewhere. While the exact routing will depend on the weather of the day, you may find that a rhumb line from the VI to somewhere around 13 N, 77 W and from there direct Colon will serve better.

The pilot for May is athttp://msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/St...106/106may.pdf

A blow up of the relevant area is below:
Attached Thumbnails
BVI to Panama Canal-carib-may-pilot.jpg  

Last edited by billyruffn; 04-08-2013 at 09:49 PM.
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