Best time: Tropical storms:
PN232 Coiba 7'10'N 82 jC'W PN233
Directions for this route are similar to those for route PN22 and in fact skippers are faced with exactly the same dilemma whether they intend to sail from Panama to California or all the way to British Columbia. The choice is between a relatively direct route along the coast of Central America, an indirect offshore route or a grand detour via Hawaii. If the prospect of such a long detour via Hawaii is not acceptable, the choice is between the other two routes, both of which have advantages and also some serious disadvantages. The choice of route should depend primarily on the windward performance of the boat itself as much of the voyage will be hard on the wind, and for this reason those who are not prepared to face a beat of several thousand miles, or whose boat may not be up to the challenge, should perhaps reconsider their plans.
The offshore route (PN23A) offers a greater cer tainty of favourable winds for the first half of the voyage but then becomes a hard beat against the prevailing winds. The route that runs parallel to the coast (PN23B) is shorter but depends more on the use of the engine. In both cases the final leg north of latitude 30 °N may prove to be the toughest because of the high proportion of N and NW winds during the summer months. No waypoints are given for the second route as the best way to go should be decided by the weather conditions at the time.
If route PN23A is sailed in April or May, from WP PN232, off Coiba Island, the shortest route should be sailed to WP PN233. From there, the route continues due north following as closely as possible meridian 130 "W before the course is altered for the coast. Much will depend on the position of the North Pacific high, and one may either have to go further west to avoid it altogether, or power through it, if one is so inclined. In the first instance, depending on the season, it may be necessary to go as far north as latitude 43 °N before turning towards the coast of British Columbia (see also route PN32, page 219). If the passage is undertaken in November, the time of arrival in British Columbia will be so late that one should consider spending the winter in Hawaii. At that time of year, a great circle route can be sailed from Panama to Hawaii and one can count on both favourable winds and current for almost the entire distance.
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