Our second attempt to leave was another bust.
We hit a storm, tore our headsail a bit, lost our wind instrument sensor at the top of the mast, and found our spreader lights had both burned out.
We had also used quite a bit of fuel clawing out of the Gulf of Panama against the current.
The storm, with sustained winds in the high 30's with gusts into the mid 40's was totally unexpected. Our weather report predicted light winds. We expected to be motoring. After about 6 hours of high winds, total darkness, waves about 5 seconds apart and a thunderbumper with lightening ahead, we turned around and run with it. Ending up back where we had started the day before, we anchored, got some sleep, sewed up the tears in the headsail, then decided another attempt to head south against light wind and big current would leave us short of fuel. Since we depend upon diesel to generate power as well as moving the boat, we decided not to use up what was left of our reserves just to get out of Panama. Back in Panama City we have refueled, and replaced our wind sensor and spreader lights.
We will be leaving again real soon for the third attempt. Since I never get anything right until at least the third try we are hopefully optimistic.
We left with two other sailboats. Maryann, a beautiful one-off custom boat had to turn back early in the day, and rode the storm back to Panama City to repair their engine's high pressure fuel pump, the pump that gives fuel the last push through the injectors into the engine cylinders. Nave, the second sailboat, managed the storm well and continued on westward toward the south Pacific. They had several days of excellent progress until they hit a whale, damaging their rudder and cracking the fiberglass of the hull near the rudder causing a small water leak. They have reached Salinas, Ecuador and are waiting to be hauled out of the water for repairs.
Maryann left this morning again with a freshly rebuilt pump, We just got off the radio with them and found that the pump has failed again. They are now about 15 miles out essentially adrift in very light wind. They are hoping to get through the night without any conflicts with the numerous ships transiting the area on the way to or from the canal. They have been in contact with a local who may tow them in tomorrow. If this doesn't work,out we will volunteer to tow them back.