Panama to San Diego: Halfway There

2100 hours/Halfway to San Diego – A great sail (top speed 28.5 knots), and since it looks like they’ve got 48 hours of good weather ahead, they decide to skip Acapulco.

2100 hours. All sorts of news tonight aboard the good ship BEOWULF. First, we’ve officially past the half way point – just 1412 miles to go to San Diego. We’re presently abeam of exotic Acapulco, and as we still have a fair wind we’re continuing on up the coast. To celebrate our half way point, we’ve opened a tin of special Virginia peanuts, which we purchased in Norfolk last fall.

Our ESE breeze has continued unabated. In fact, we’ve had a steady 18 to 20 with puffs to 25 during the day. For one three-hour period we broad-reached alongside a nice big squall, averaging sixteen knots, carrying just working sail. The waves are not very big, maybe six feet at the most, but a very good shape and we’ve been getting some great rides – Kowabunga, Dude! Top speed today was a couple of hours ago while we were talking to Sarah on the Globalstar phone – 28.5 knots.

The weather remains unclear. Some models are predicting the oncoming tropical wave, and the local low (which is creating this nice wind) will start to spin up into something unpleasant Sunday or Monday. We’ve got Manzanillo as a potential next stop, a little under a day up the track. After that comes Puerta Vallarta, about a day and a half, and then last is Cabo San Lucas at around three days. We figure there’s a one-in-three chance we can carry this fair breeze all the way to Cabo – now that would be a coup! Of course if that happens, the low that is creating this will interfere with the Pacific High, which always makes the leg from Cabo to San Diego such a drag.

We’ve been reviewing our tropical weather rules this afternoon. Given all of the faxes, Commander’s Weather, and the MaxSea Chopper, we still are keeping our eyes on this low – in case is does something unforecast. The first issue is wind direction. The current open circulation indicates wind direction should stay in the SE to S. If the wind were to start to back to the E or NE as we move up the coast, this would indicate the circulation on the low was closing – something we want to avoid! Another warning sign is the barometer. As you know, very small changes of pressure in the tropics have large consequences – so we’re keeping a close eye on the barograph. It has dropped from an average of 1020mb in Panama to an average of 1017 over the last 48 hours. That’s cool. But we don’t want to see any precipitous drops – which we define as 2mb in 24 hours.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 7, 2002)

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