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Question About Gulf of Tehuantepec Winds

By doina — last modified Mar 02, 2007 01:46 PM

Published: 2007-03-02 13:46:36
Topics: Weather
Countries: Mexico

In planning for a cruise from San Fancisco to Panama, I have read two statements about how far out the effects of gales in the Gulf of Tehuantepec are felt in December-January. An early 1990s edition of World Cruising Routes says 150 miles. The Rains' book of similar vintage warns of feeling the effects up to 500 miles out. Some of the scientific material on the web makes it look like the lower, Cornell figure is more likely a good number. If I want to sail around the Tehuantepec weather, how far out would I have to go to have a reasonably comfortable ride in a 40' sailboat?

In my latest edition of World Cruising Routes I do say that some skippers suggest that one tactic is to virtually sail with one foot on the beach so as to seek shelter should a storm be predicted (a lot more is now known of their behaviour as they are being monitored as they form on the Caribbean side, so there is usually some warning of their approach). The offshore alternative also has merits, but I do feel 500 miles is a bit of an exaggeration... you then might as well sail via Hawaii!!!

Try to get my latest, 5th edition of World Cruising Routes as it has a lot more than the early 1990s edition.

Good Luck!

Jimmy Cornell

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