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Buenos Aires to San Francisco

By Sue Richards last modified Aug 28, 2012 09:48 AM

Published: 2012-08-28 09:48:32
Topics: Pacific Ocean East
Countries: Argentina , Panama , USA

Beneteau 51.5 - single-handed delivery trip back home
Buenos Aires to San Francisco
Departed Buenos Aires March 14th 2012.

Facts about this voyage:

8,820: Nautical Miles sailed on this journey (that's 10,150 regular miles or 16,335 kilometers)
54: Number of Days underway
82: Degrees of latitude sailed
111: Degrees of longitude sailed (1/3 of the planet)
39: Number of days sailing in the tropics
6.80: Average speed in knots for entire voyage
232: Most nautical miles sailed in a 24-hour period
94: Least nautical miles sailed in a 24-hour period
13: Percentage of days sailing upwind
100: Percent of days with sunshine
0: Number of days I wore foulies
71: Ounces of bottled water I consumed on a daily average for cooking and drinking
2: Ounces of alcohol consumed during the entire voyage (rum with Neptune at the equator)
21: Number of countries whose waters I sailed in
3: Number of oceans I sailed in (South Atlantic, North Atlantic, North Pacific- plus Caribbean Sea)
1: Number of fresh water lakes I sailed in (Gatun Lake in Panama - part of the canal)

Buenos Aires - Panama
This was 33 days non-stop, single-handed. Most days, wind speeds were in the 8-15 knot range, but there were two 6-hour periods of 25 knots along the coast of Brazil, and the last day approaching Panama was 15-25 knots. Only 2 days with wind forward of the beam, and lots of days with the asymmetrical spinnaker flying in warm tropical winds. As I used the engine for making electricity, engine hours isn't a worthwhile statistic.

I stopped in Panama, leaving the boat in the Shelter Bay marina for 17 days while I flew home. Total cost, including wifi and taxes, was $705, or about $41/day for a 51-foot sailboat.
See report by David re. advance planning for the Panama Canal here
Also see his Panama Canal Transit report here.

Panama to San Francisco
I exited the Pacific side of the Panama Canal on May 5, and it was 21 days, non-stop, single-handed, to San Francisco. My original plan was to take the offshore route, and I budgeted 5 weeks for that. But when I was leaving Panama, the weather said no. Winds were very light offshore, and looked to stay that way for a while. It didn't make sense to motor 500 miles directly offshore, just to keep motoring with no wind. So I headed up the coast in light winds, taking advantage of the offshore breeze to reach up the coasts of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, motor-sailing when it got too light. I crossed the Gulf of Tehuantepec a day before a Tehuantepecker blasted through, so had no issues there. Southern Mexico up to Manzanillo was light, with offshore breeze at night, and west winds in the afternoon to 15 knots, so a big zig zag up the coast, tacking twice a day. The typical NW winds were absent due to a small offshore low, which allowed me to reach from Manzanillo directly to Cabo San Lucas- very lucky. It was an easy bash up to San Diego, then light SE winds in California let me sail straight to Point Conception, and I never saw more than 15 knots after that all the way to San Francisco. By far the easiest run up the Pacific coast I have ever done.

David Kory