From Cancun to Punta Gorda

Sailing from Cancun to Punta Gorda

Sailing trip around the Dry Tortugas puts book learning to the test

By Dannela Varel

After many years of boating experience—living aboard, running a marina, working for a cruise line, being a member of two squadrons and completing all USPS courses—I decided to put my boating knowledge to the test.

A local boat, Calypsa, was offering passage from Punta Gorda, Florida, to Belize and back, but I could only join for the Cancun to Punta Gorda leg, so I arranged to fly to Cancun to meet Calypsa at the Hacienda Del Mar Marina.

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In Transit through the Panama Canal

Panama Canal Transit

Sailing through the Panama Canal and back

By Patricia H–F Moore

After sailing Hope and Glory, our Island Packet 420, down the Central American Coast, we arrived at the Panama Canal Yacht Club in Colon on a dark night to await transit through the canal. We looked around in dismay to find the harbor crammed full of sailboats.

“Let me have a go,” John, an English crew member used to crowded English and Mediterranean coasts, said as he took the helm.

“There’s no space anywhere,” we chorused, but John sailed slowly ahead.

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Avoid common sailing injuries

By Anthony Pozun

A sailboat’s many working parts combined with its movement can result in sailing injuries and accidents, but you can avoid them with a little planning and forethought.

Don’t go overboard

Everyone on deck should wear a personal flotation device. Those alone on deck, at the helm or sailing single-handedly must also wear a safety harness tethered to the boat.

When moving about, remember the adage “one hand for me, one hand for the boat.” Move slowly, low to the deck and with purpose. To retrieve someone from the water, boats should have safety equipment such as a man overboard pole, life ring, throw ring, floating cushion, hoist and lifejackets with GPS locators.

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