PN Central America and Mexico to Panama

Best time:

November, May

Tropical storms:

June to October

Charts:

liSSWilfl^

Pilots:

[il Kïli^

US: 152, 153

Cruising guides:

Cruising Guide Acapulco to Panama Canal.

port of entry, for boats arriving from the east, is Hilo.

For those who prefer to break up this passage into shorter stages, it is possible to sail first to Costa Rica, either in one offshore leg, or in short hops along the coast. From there similar directions apply for the rest of the voyage to Hawaii as for route PN26.

unsettled, with thunderstorms and variable winds. The winds offshore are very steady during the early summer, especially west of longitude 120°W. In November and December the trade winds are much stronger and there is often a big swell, the result of gales further north.

A direct course can be normally sailed at the recommended times. Landfall will be made at WP PN263, off Cape Kumuhaki, at the eastern extremity of Hawaii Island. A convenient port of entry is Hilo, on the east coast of that same island.

Intermediate landfall

Destination

Distance (M)

PN271 Acapulco 16e50'N, 99'58'W

PN272 PN273

10°00'N, 95'00'W PN274 Coiba 7J10'N, 82iQ0'W PN275 Frailes 7,10,N,80WW

Balboa

1533

Because of the lack of protected harbours in Guatemala and the political situation in El Salvador and Nicaragua, until recently most boats preferred to sail nonstop from Mexico to Costa Rica. In spring and autumn, the winds are often light and there are frequent calms. The situation is very different in winter, when gale force winds make the crossing of the gulfs of Tehuantepec and Papagayo a daunting experience. When sailing relatively close to the coast, the strong NW setting current has caused problems for those closing with the coast thinking that they were already in Costa Rican waters but were in fact still in Nicaragua. The topography along the south coast of Nicaragua is very similar to the north of Costa Rica, so it is easy to make such a mistake. It is therefore advisable to keep well offshore and only approach the coast when absolutely sure of the position.

The reception extended to visiting yachts by the various Central American countries depends very much on the political situation at the time, and occasionally also on the nationality of the yacht in question. Stopping at one of the ports on the Pacific coast of Guatemala has little attraction, whereas in El Salvador the situation has improved dramati-

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