USA to Panama in April

Published 16 years ago, updated 5 years ago

I’m leaving Charleston, SC aboard a 42′ catamaran 01APR08 for Panama Canal (and NZ thereafter) and I’m wondering:

  • if we should stay inside (West) of the Gulf Stream and take FL Straights to Old Bahama Channel around E end of Cuba
  • or cross the GStream further north (is it as close to the southern FL coast as it appears on and cut through
  • where’s the best place (Jamaica) to reprovision?

I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on, but this trip came up quite suddenly and I’m afraid I won’t have enough time to sort through everything. Any advice you can share would be greatly appreciated! Also, aren’t we getting a late start? How long/where should we lay up if we are?

You are not too late leaving the US if you do it before the end of April. The best and most direct route from Charleston is to get a good 2-3 days forecast and go immediately offshore, cut across the Gulf Stream at right angles, then set a course for San Salvador in the Outer Bahamas. If you need to stop, you can get fuel and basic provisions there. (On the way to the Windward Passage you may also stop at Inagua). From there set a course to pass through Windward Passage and ideally continue nonstop to Panama – not worth stopping in Jamaica just for a few supplies that you can get before you leave the US. Once in the Caribbean Sea, you will have E winds, possibly strong, and a sizeable swell on the beam.

You can go south and through the Old Bahamas Channel but I would prefer the offshore route.

Do let us know how it all went as I am sure other noonsite visitors would like to read about it.

Jimmy Cornell, noonsite

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