The seas between the ABC Islands and Panama off the coast of Colombia are notoriously rough. We backed up our own weather forecasting with the skillful guidance of weather guru, Chris Parker, to chart the safest and most comfortable course we could from Aruba to Panama.
As you can see from our track, we sailed in a northern arc to stay away from Colombia’s mountainous coast that was kicking up fierce katabatic winds upwards of 40-50 knots.
We also wanted to stay offshore to avoid the monstrous spring waves in coastal Colombia that result from thousands of miles of fetch (when the wind blows in a constant direction for a long distance, building into huge waves).
Our sail was “spirited” with winds clocking over 30 knots (as you can hear howling in this video). Seas climbed to more than 5 to 6 meters (15-18 feet), but generally they came from behind us giving us an exhilarating yet relatively smooth ride.
Fortunately, Rand and I don’t get seasick, and with our sturdy Antares craft under our feet, we always felt safe, comfortable and secure, even under these conditions.