This is the most difficult of passages to predict.
The website sea-distances.org shows the distance from Balboa, Panama to San Diego, California to be 2844 nautical miles. Make a modest four knot average and you’re there in four weeks, the length of time I have now been in Panama.
However, with perhaps the last thousand miles or more to windward and parts of the rest given to light and variable winds, we will have to sail considerably farther than 2844. As I have said I will not beat GANNET or myself up bashing into strong headwinds. I will wait them out. And almost all this passage will be made under sheet to tiller steering which often does not permit maximum performance.
Our present position on the Balboa Yacht Club mooring is 08º56’N 079º33’W, which is slightly east of Miami, Florida.
The entrance to San Diego Bay is 32º40’N 117º14’W. So we sail about 24º north and 38º west, except we have to first go down to 07ºN in order to get out of the Gulf of Panama before we can turn west and north.
The 38º of longitude is like sailing across the entire United States, with the 24º of latitude adding about 1500 miles north.
I do not know how far we will have to sail to reach San Diego or how long it will take. I’m provisioned for about two months. If it takes longer than that I’m in trouble.
While I could and may fall off and divert to Hilo, Hawaii, which is much easier to reach than San Diego, I very much want the symmetry of completing the second part of my life, which I have called ‘being’ in San Diego where it began on November 2, 1974, when I pushed the engineless EGREGIOUS away from her slip at Harbor Island Marina for my first attempt at Cape Horn.
More than most people do theirs, I have clearly understood my life even as I have lived it. – Webb Chiles.
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