A lot of boats sail from
Panama to French Polynesia via the Galapagos Islands, but we
decided to sail direct, making ours a non-stop trip of about
4,000 nautical miles.
We were quite a bit slower
than I had anticipated, with frequently light winds from right
astern - a slow and inefficient way to sail. I had raced a similar
distance in Naga in the Route du Rhum a singlehanded
transatlantic race in 1982, and it took me about 19 days. This
trip took 25.
The trip also offered a
number of surprises, like the very unreliable character of the
Southeast Tradewinds - frequently weak and variable in direction
- or how surprisingly cold it could be at the equator! We found
that we had indeed been spoiled by Caribbean weather and didn't
realize the the South Pacific Convergence zone can sometimes
give days and weeks of overcast and rainy weather right across
large areas of the tropical South Pacific.