AN Panama to Jamaica Bahamas and USA

Waypoints: Di'funhni

Intermediate landfall


Distance (M)

Knuto AVUD

AN93S Paruina

AN933 Navassa

AN33- Ma.S:

Matthew Town ,,


20'57% 73'41'W

Cockburn Town

24*03% 74'31.5'W

AN S3 5 Aoaoo


26°50'N, 76'30'W

- N, 76'40'W

AN936 Bahama



27"30,N, 78'00'W

32c44% 79'50'W

This northbound route through the Windward Passage is favoured by those who wish to reach ports along the east coast of the USA, although the times when this route can be sailed comfortably are relatively short. The best periods are either between April and June, when the trades have lost their winter strength and winds have a southerly element in them, or November, before the onset of the strong winter trades. When sailing this route late in the year, there is also the danger of encountering a norther. Passages during the hurricane season should be avoided, especially during the months of highest frequency (August to October). During all other summer months the weather should be observed closely.

Navigation in the central Caribbean Sea is made difficult by the large number of banks, reefs, and shoals, aggravated by the strong west-setting current. Because of this current, a direct course for Jamaica leads dangerously close to the New Bank and Pedro Bank and adequate allowance should be made for leeway when setting a course to windward of them. Both these banks can be very dangerous in heavy weather and their vicinity should be avoided. From Panama and WP AN930 the direct route (AN93A) passes east of the various banks to WP AN931 south of Plumb Point, in the approaches to the Jamaican capital Kingston.

If a stopover in Jamaica is not intended, on leaving Panama from WP AN930, the course should be set for WP AN932 about 20 miles SE of Morant Cays, SE of Jamaica. This offshore route (AN93B) leads well clear of all dangers. From AN932 the course can pass either to the west of Navassa Island, or between this island and Cape Tiburon, the SW extremity of Hispaniola. In strong winds it is safer to take the westerly route to WP AN933, 10 miles west of Navassa Island, to avoid the breaking seas on the shallow banks lying close to the Haitian coast. The course then leads through the Windward Passage to WP AN934, SE of Cape Maisi, at Cuba's eastern extremity. A traffic separation zone is in operation off this point.

Having reached the Windward Passage boats bound for South Florida should take the route which runs along the north of Cuba and passes through the Old Bahama and Santaren Channels (AN93C). No waypoints are listed for this inshore route. The route to northern ports on the US east coast (AN93D) cuts right across the Outer Bahamas. Initially the route passes west of Great Inagua and those who wish to stop in the Bahamas can clear in at Matthew Town, the main settlement on that island. The route continues northwards through the Mira-Por-Vos Passage, west of Acklins and Crooked Islands and also west of San Salvador Island before gaining the open ocean. From San Salvador, a direct route can be set to ports north of Cape Hatteras, whereas for ports to the south of Cape Hatteras, the route turns NW and runs parallel to the chain of islands. Attention should be paid to the current setting strongly to the NW along the Northern Bahamas, which is a continuation of the Antilles Current. From WP AN935, north of Great Abaco, the route turns north and enters the Gulf Stream. For ports in Northern Florida or South Carolina, it may be necessary to continue to WP AN936, north of Grand Bahama, before the course is altered for the port of destination. To take full advantage of the Gulf Stream, especially if one's destination is in North Florida or South Carolina, that initial course may have to continue in a NW direction so as to reach the area of the strongest current closer to the Florida coast.

The Windward Passage is clear of dangers but attention is drawn to those continuing their voyage northwards through Caicos Passage, between

Because the prevailing winds in the Caribbean Sea are NE or E, all destinations on this route are to windward of Panama for most of the year. Unless there is a shift of wind to the south, it would be better to follow directions as for route AN93B and then work one's way eastward along the south coast of Hispaniola with the help of land breezes. Close inshore there is sometimes an east-setting current. Boats bound for the north coast of Haiti

Mayaguana Island and the Caicos Bank. Strong currents have been recorded in the Caicos Passage, which have caused many ships and yachts to be lost on the reefs surrounding Mayaguana Island. The currents appear to be much stronger than stated and are difficult to detect, especially if one sails through the area by night.

and Dominican Republic should follow the same directions as for route AN93B as far as the Windward Passage.

From WP AN940 outside the entrance to the Panama Canal, a direct course leads right across the Caribbean Sea to WP AN941,10 miles SSE of Punta Palenque. The course is altered there for WP AN942 in the approaches to Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital.

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