Gulf of Tehuantepec

November 2015

IT was time to cross Golfo De Tehuantepec. Winds funnel through Chivela Pass, between mountains in Mexico and Guatemala. These winds reach fascinating velocities of Gale and even Hurricane force. This is most common between the months of October and February. The winds propagate into swells that sometimes reach 1000 NMs into the ocean and can effect the Galapagos Islands.

Along with winds come seas and waves. We were on a delivery from Boston to California via Panama and were trying our best to make progress. We completed the clear in process for Mexico and were ready for the leg between Chiapas and Hualtualco. Between the two lies the Golfo de Tehuantepec. Several recreational vessels were waiting in Chiapas for the winds to abate. One boat had been waiting since May. Another crew left their boat and flew home. That's no way to make progress. After all, I was hired to make progress as eficiently as safely possible.

When the winds are doing what they do, the course across this gulf should not be a simple rhumb line. We needed the lee of shore to facilitate the passage. I route near shore serves to tame the waves before they develope into the monsters they are distined to become.

Our weather window called for a 0430 departure. Although our route would provide a reasonable passage, everything onboard was wedged in place, and there would be no cooking.

Thank you to WRI for their forecasts and weather routing software. We use the same weather routing systems used by ships at sea to move our yachts around the world's oceans.

Keep calm; and Sail on!


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