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Linzzz 10-19-2005 12:46 AM

Weather from Louisiana to Cancun
Hello to all,

I am in El Salvador and I am finding it difficult to get some sort of general information regarding the weather I might expect to get on a delivery from Louisiana to Cancun Mexico.

I intend to leave after the current hurricane season probably around January sometime.

Can anyone help me?

My resources here are terrible. I cannot even buy a chart.

Cheers for now,

Jack Tyler 10-19-2005 03:43 AM

Hi, Lin - here are a couple of thoughts to consider:

First, since you made it to this website, considering downloading January's N Atlantic Pilot Chart; you can find it on-line now at The Gulf is included in those charts.

Second, keep in mind that January is the middle of N America's winter, which consists of one LP cell after another sweeping W to E, with the frontal tail dragging across the Gulf. You can wait for a frontal passage and, while the wind is NW clocking N then NE, enjoy/suffer from fair winds, short/steep Gulf waves and low temps (made lower by being on the water) OR you can wait for a break in the frontal weather and (mostly motor)sail hard to beat the next front. You need to be watching the wx off the E Pacific & the BC coast to get a sense for the timing of the systems, and to avoid a real stinker of a low. Fronts pass approx. weekly at that time of year.

Nigel Calder's NW Caribbean Guide is dated with lousy sketch charts, but his weather discussion is a good one, and as current today and the late 80's. See if you can snag a copy when back in the States to help you with the passage planning.


Linzzz 10-19-2005 05:52 AM

Thats great response Jack.

I really appreciate it.

I have plenty of time so my departure may be delayed to match up with optimum conditions.

Thanks for the link.

Ill go and research it now.

Jack Tyler 10-19-2005 07:58 AM

Lin, I should have mentioned the currents, as well. The massive current running N thru the Yucatan Channel splits, of course, the E branch becoming the Gulf Stream. The remaining current which stays in the Gulf splits as well, one side sweeping W along the N coast of the Yucatan while a N spur appears to head right against your rhumb line...but there's all kinds of variability in these currents, both in the position of the main N-going current as well as the S-going returning current (parallel to FL's W coast) and also the position and direction of eddies. Were I doing that run, no matter what time of year I would get a last-minute up-to-the-minute chart of the current positions AND try to leave someone behind that has an HF rig who could update me on the position of all this moving water. (On a run up to St. Pete from Isla I used Winlink to download these current charts as .gif files; however, I notice they are no longer on the catalog). Anything you can do to stay current on the current (so to speak...) will make a big difference over the full run.


Linzzz 10-21-2005 02:07 AM

Thanks Jack,

I suppose I should try to get hold of a cruising guide of some sort.

I imagine there are many that cover the trip from somewhere on the Gulf Coast down to Panama to transit the canal.

I am not going to the canal but my delivery instructions are to terminate in Costa Rica for the moment.

It s an old 52 ft Motor Sailer in not fantastic condition but definitely seaworthy.

I have no real time echedule and I would need to fly to New Orleans to commence the trip.


Jack Tyler 10-21-2005 05:54 AM

Lin, there really aren't cruising guides of that area. Rauscher and Calder are both very dated, especially after numerous subsequent hurricances but also given Belize going a bit bonkers on park fees. Steve Pavlidis is researching a guide for the W Caribbean right now but it won't be published for 2 years.

Here's what I would do, were I planning your run: Visit and go to the Store, select 'publications' and then buy the CD of the last 8 years of SSCA Bulletins - at $25, half the cost of a guide and by far more info on that area (about which many people write). Best to wait a month, if you can; the new CD should be done soon (if not already) and it has a lengthy update from Eric & Carol on DRIFTWOOD on Belize. I know you'll be moving right along if it's a delivery, but I think you'll find the CD to be helpful.


Linzzz 10-22-2005 11:23 AM

Hi again Jack,

Just as luck would have it my owner has taken an offer for his boat which means my delivery has been cancelled.

Thats a bit of a shame I was looking forward to my first Caribbean sailing and experience.

Many thanks for your prompt and helpful answers.

If you ever need South Pacific answers I am your man.


Jack Tyler 10-22-2005 06:03 PM

Well, let's try a question in the other direction, then!

It seems like the Tonga or Fiji to NZ run (and back up) can be the chancy, sometimes dangerous exception to the otherwise more benign cruising in the South Pacific. What weather f'cast sources are available to the HF-equipped boat down there that are most useful on that run? (I'm thinking primarily of voice, since we will have text and graphic products to look at via Winlink or Sailmail, assuming we have reception in that area).

Some years ago, I learned that one line of ancestors participated in the first Wakefield migration and helped to found the city of New Plymouth, which has provided even more reason to visit NZ. However, that run has produced some real surprises for some boats, so any local advice on timing and wx routing info sources would be most welcome.


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