Weather for our first leg to the Panama Canal!



1) The current weather map shows high pressure out across the central Atlantic with a ridge axis stretching west and SW with the tail end of the ridge close to the south Florida area.

a) The western end of this ridge is very weak in the SE Gulf of Mexico.

2) A front is stalled off the east coast of the U.S. with a series of weak lows moving SW to NE along it, one of which has been named Tropical Storm Franklin.

a) Franklin is racing NE out into the open Atlantic and is of no concern to your route.

3) There are a number of weak tropical disturbances across the central and eastern Atlantic, all of which seem to be struggling to develop and if anything does develop over the next week the upper level steering currents look to keep them away from your route.

4) Overall this is looking like a very light wind trip at this point which is not unusual for the Gulf of Mexico and western Caribbean in late summer.

5) It looks like light S to SW winds on Sun as you head out with speeds 10 knots or less, then just light/variable conditions for most of Mon.

6) A weak high looks to develop in the central Gulf of Mexico Mon night and Tue and this may bring a bit fresher N to NE to E winds Mon night into Tue.

a) But speeds will likely not exceed 10 knots.

7) For Wed it looks like light E winds heading out of Isla Mujeres which will back to more NE for Thu and Fri with a better wind angle but again speeds still look to be on the light side.

8) Winds may become more NW or N late Fri into next Sat and very light, but confidence is low this far out.

9) Seas will be very low along your route over the next week with no major swell or wind waves to deal with.

10) General weather will be somewhat unsettled on Sun as there is a weak upper level system across the SE Gulf of Mexico which will produce some showers and squalls/thunderstorms, then any activity looks to be isolated Mon onward.

11) The tropics appear to be trending more active over the next couple of weeks, but at this time it looks like any threats will be well to the E and NE of your route – usually the western Caribbean is relatively quiet in August especially the further south you get.

12) Suggest getting another forecast Tue PM or early Wed before leaving Isla Mujeres but we will wait for you to request one to make sure you are still on schedule.

Routing…

1) Have you coming west out of Key West for about 60 miles to a waypoint of 24 30n/83w to avoid foul current to the S and SW of Key West associated with the Gulf Stream.

2) Then have you heading SW towards 21 20n/86w avoiding getting into the Gulf Stream off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula until you are set up to come east through it then straight west into Isla Mujeres with current coming on to your port side.

a) You can check out the Gulf of Mexico and NW Caribbean currents analysis here: http://www.7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/global_nlom32/navo/GOMSP1.gif

3) Then have you coming back out of Isla Mujeres to the east kind of retracing your route and getting some easting in heading for about 21 20n/85 40w and then more SE toward 20 30n/84 30w and then toward 15n/81w avoiding the shallower waters off of Honduras and Nicaragua and then direct to Panama from there.

4) Some estimated positions listed below.

Wind Forecasts

Wind directions are TRUE, wind speed in kts, and time is EDT

Sat, August 13 – Key West

14: 250-270/ 4-8

20: light/variable

Weather: Partly to variably cloudy with a few scattered showers and thunderstorms

Seas 1-2 ft

Sun, August 14

02: 160-180/ 4-8

08: 170-190/ 4-8

12: 180-200/ 5-9          approx departure

14: 180-200/ 5-10

Weather: Partly to variably cloudy with a few scattered showers and squalls/thunderstorms

Seas 1-3 ft, briefly choppy near any squall/thunderstorm

Mon, August 15

02: light/variable

08: light/variable          near 23 45n/83 40w

14: light/variable

20: bcmg 340-360/ 5-10

Weather: Partly cloudy, chance of an isolated shower or squall/thunderstorm

Seas 1-3 ft, briefly choppy near a squall/thunderstorm

Tue, August 16

02: 010-040/ 4-8

08: 060-080/ 5-9          near 21 40n/85 35w

14: 060-080/ 6-11

20: 070-090/ 5-10        near or into Isla Mujeres

Weather: Partly cloudy, chance of an isolated shower or squall/thunderstorm

Seas 2-4 ft

Wed, August 17

08: 050-070/ 5-10        approx departure from Isla Mujeres

20: 080-100/ 5-10

Weather: Partly cloudy with a few widely scattered squally showers

Seas 2-4 ft

Thu, August 18

08: 050-070/ 5-10        near 20 30n/84 30w

20: 010-040/ 6-12

Weather: Partly cloudy, chance of isolated showers and squalls

Seas 3-4 ft, ESE swell

Fri, August 19

08: 010-040/ 5-10        near 18 10n/83 10w

20: 300-330/ 4-8

Weather: Partly cloudy, chance of isolated showers and squalls

Seas 2-4 ft

Sat, August 20

08: 360-030/ 3-7          near 15 50n/81 30w

Weather: Partly cloudy

Seas 2-4 ft

Best regards,

Oliver Lucia