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San Diego to Panama

Discussion in 'Marinas & Waypoints' started by bvimatelot, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. bvimatelot

    bvimatelot New Member

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    I read the "sticky" about marinas etc from San Diego to Panama and it just so happens that I am shortly to do that trip in a sailing catamaran.

    My first inclination is to do a straight shot but as I am not often on the left hand side, and have a bit of time in hand, can any one recommend any "must sees" etc. Any other comments or tips on that little trip would be much appreciated.

    Tony
  2. sailronin

    sailronin Senior Member

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    Tony,
    Have you got fuel for the non-stop run? If not let me know your range and I might be able to help.

    Don't plan on being able to sail much, usually no wind until north of Puerto Vallarta, then it's on the nose.

    Good luck,
    Dave
  3. bvimatelot

    bvimatelot New Member

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    Hi Dave, Many thanks for the reply - I was beginning to think we didnt have any real sailors at all reading this board:cool: ....! Anyway - its a cat with a 200 US gal tank (although I can always take more in jerry-cans) and previous experience tells me that in cruising mode, I have a motoring range of about 800 miles. So the answer is, No, I can't motor the whole way!! She's very close winded (for a cat!) and I'm pretty much used to bashing through head winds but it is as near as dammit the mileage for a transatlantic and it would seem a bit silly not to take advantage of being able to do a bit of tourism and refuelling at the same time as getting the boat down there.

    Tony
  4. sailronin

    sailronin Senior Member

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    Hi Tony,
    From Balboa, Panama to Los Suenos is about 450 nm. You can fuel there and then either head to Barillas, El Salvador (about 350 nm) or approx. 760 nm to Salina Cruz, Mexico. Heed the warning my other post about the Gulf of Tehuantepec, stay on near the beach.
    Salina Cruz to Acapulco is approx. 300 nm or a much nicer stop would be Zihuantenejo at about 410nm (Ixtapa has a marina and fuel dock 10 miles away). Barra de Navidad would be about 610 nm from Salina Cruz and would be my preferred stop. Barra to Puerto Vallarta is only another 130 nm. PV to Cabo San Lucas is about 325 nm and then you are ready for the trip up Baja.
    The other guide has the stops along the way.

    I really would plan the trip by motoring range as the wind is very light most of the time. If you are used to Caribbean sailing and steady wind you will be suprised by how much you need to motor.

    Good luck
    Dave
  5. bvimatelot

    bvimatelot New Member

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    Thanks very much for that, Dave and for the "light wind" info. Just a couple of last questions since I'm actually doing the trip Southwards from California to Panama, would you say that there is a prevailing wind? And if so, its normal direction: also current - direction/strength? I seem to remember seeing that the current is essentially South going and strong enough for it to be worthwhile for sailboats coming up from Panama to go quite far into the Pacific to avoid it. If that were true, coming South I should be able to take advantage of it. Many thanks, Tony
  6. sailronin

    sailronin Senior Member

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    HI Tony,
    The trip from San Diego southward is much more pleasant. You will probably be able to sail from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas without having to power much. From Cabo south the wind get very light towards Bahia Banderdas (Puerto Vallarta) and from Cabo Corrientes (just south of PV) the wind is for all purposes non-existent. The Japan current runs south along the California coast as far south as Punta Mita (the north end of Banderdas Bay), the Equatorial (not sure the correct name) runs north from the equator to Cabo Corrientes (the south end of Bahia Banderdas).
    Sailing south in the past I have stayed 30 to 100 miles offshore down the coast of Baja (chasing strong wind), cut close to Cabo San Lucas and then hug the coast (motoring) from Cabo Corrientes south to Acapulco. Keep "one foot on the beach" through the Gulf of Tehuantepec then usually 20 +miles off the coast until coming into either Barillas in El Salvador or Golfita, C.R. From Golfito stay inshore and avoid the shipping lanes south to Cabo Malo and turn into the Gulf of Panama. Make sure to contact Flemenco Control on the radio as you approach the Canal Zone for traffic control. You will be a skateboard on the freeway with the shipping in and outbound for the canal so make sure traffic control knows your location and speed.

    Take Care,
    Dave
  7. bvimatelot

    bvimatelot New Member

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    Dave - you're too kind! Many thanks for your good advice. Cheers, Tony (Actually, I've just got to knock off a little BVI-Belize delivery first, then I'm hot to trot for this one)
  8. aeronautic1

    aeronautic1 New Member

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    Flamingo

    Flamingo Marina would be your first opportunity for fuel in Costa Rica southbound and you will not have to run up the bay to Golfito. But then why not? It is a beautiful place. Los Suenos es muy caro!!

    Barrias Marina in Bahia Jiquilisco El Salvador. A bit of a run up the estuary (they'll send you a piloto on radio call) but a nice way to see El Salvador. Usulutan is the nearest city to the mooring and worth a visit.

    Buen Viaje
  9. aeronautic1

    aeronautic1 New Member

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    Also

    Also, I always try to by-pass Cabo and P.V. and continue to Barra de Navidad. Very nice place and old Mexico village. Cheapest fuel I have found is at the Pemex fuel dock past the Mexican Navy base in Manzanillo. Stay out of Salina Cruz (a real hassle) and if you are inshore, follow Dave's advice about Tehuan-a-pecker. I have run this coast a dozen times with one foot on the beach, in a 50 knot sand blast with no problems. Puerto Madera, though a commerical port does allow you get to visit Tapachula, one of my most favorite cities in Mexico. Go to the zocalo in the evening for great food, coffee, handmade ice cream and live marimba music.
  10. bvimatelot

    bvimatelot New Member

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    Many thanks for additional infos, Aeronautic!! I'm beginning to look spoiled for choice and yet, as you know yourself, you dont get too much time for sightseeing on what is, at the end of the day, "just another delivery"! (albeit slightly extendable for tourism purposes).

    Tony
  11. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    If you do anything right follow that advise! I had been through a very bad experience there with another captain leading the way who was not aware of Tehuanapeck(er) and the proper way of crossing that area. It looked like scences from the Perfect Storm except there was no storm over head.
  12. aeronautic1

    aeronautic1 New Member

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    Tapachula

    Actually, when you get to Puerto Madera, you have to take a cab into town to arrange a fuel truck, so you will be there at least one night. You and your crew should not miss an evening in Tapachula.

    On delivery, I have always allowed the boat to vote by majority to go "off the clock" when encountering an interesting place worthy of an extra day. Call it enhancing crew moral or a hedge against crew fatigue.

    Remember, our job is to get a boat from Point A to B in a responsible amount of time.:cool:
  13. bvimatelot

    bvimatelot New Member

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    Thanks once again guys: all great points and well taken!!

    Unfortunately, it looks like this delivery is fading away like snow in Summer. I dont think the owner realised how much it was going to cost him!! Even though my quote came in considerably better than a Dockwise transport trip, and the timings were better.......hey ho - its the nature of this game! I'll just have to hope that my quote for another trip from the Caribbean to OZ works!

    best to you all, Tony

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