Sailing the Gulf question

John M - 9-25-2018 at 04:46 AM

A very rough estimate from Google Earth puts it around 500 miles from La Paz to Gonzaga Bay. Two ships sailed that in the late 1700s carrying supplies. Time of year was January/February.

Can someone give a guess as to how long either a one way or round trip La Paz to Gonzaga may have taken?

Edited for additional info. The two boats supposedly left by Feb 20 and were spotted off the coast at Gonzaga on 8 March - seems like a pretty quick journey

John M

[Edited on 9-25-2018 by John M]

SteveWil - 9-25-2018 at 07:54 AM

That is 16 days, One way I read the miles are about 1200 miles a lot more if sailing, They would need to travel 87.5 miles a day, straight line. They would need to do 3.7 miles/hour.
A 36 foot sailboat would have max speed of around 7 miles/hour.
a 100 foot sailboat about 12 miles/hour. That is non planning.
Now the big variable is wind speed and direction.
100 foot boat could do it 7 days if everything were just right.
In 1985 0r 86 there was a sailboat race from San Diego to PV and the winner did it in 5 days, it was a record for the race. Going north would be a lot different,

To answer the question I would say 16 day is about right.

Hook - 9-25-2018 at 08:59 AM

I would question that it's 1200 nautical miles from La Paz to Gonzaga. Seems like less than that.

Everything else, I have no opinion, except to say that, at that time of year, winds would generally be against you and there would likely be periods where a sailing vessel would have to lay to in the lee of some point.

David K - 9-25-2018 at 09:07 AM

Loreto, I think John, not La Paz?

David - check your U2U

John M - 9-25-2018 at 09:35 AM

Bancroft offers a little clarification


David K - 9-25-2018 at 09:54 AM

Thanks John. Interesting they were stocking supplies at La Paz only to ship them past Loreto (the capital of California) to Gonzaga! The La Paz mission was moved to Todos Santos in 1748, so it held far less importance after that other than for the black pearls, perhaps?

John Harper - 9-25-2018 at 09:54 AM

You also have to consider that square rigged ships cannot sail as close to the wind as lateen rigged vessels.


[Edited on 9-25-2018 by John Harper]

ncampion - 9-25-2018 at 09:57 AM

Sailing North at that time of year, especially in a "non-modern" boat would be quite a chore. Prevailing wind would be right on the nose all the way North.


John M - 9-25-2018 at 04:38 PM

I appreciate the opinions. John

Jack Swords - 9-26-2018 at 09:56 AM

WE sailed our boat from Guaymas across the Sea to the Peninsula and then to La Paz. We did it in February and dealt with "screaming blue Northers" most of the way (even at night). That was going south. Would have been quite difficult going north, even in a modern rigged sailboat with a diesel motor.

JZ - 9-26-2018 at 11:40 AM

Two seasons ago we went San Carlos (mainland) to La Paz. Made it in 3 days. 2 days back.

Of course we had 630hp.

chippy - 9-26-2018 at 12:03 PM

Quote: Originally posted by JZ  
Two seasons ago we went San Carlos (mainland) to La Paz. Made it in 3 days. 2 days back.

Of course we had 630hp.

N/A if it wasn´t Jan/Feb.:light:

gnukid - 9-26-2018 at 03:24 PM

Northerlies do dominate the SOC in Winter but there are occasional Southerlies, that locally are somewhat predictable, but not consistent over long distance. Stories are told of the pirates using these southerlies to surprise attack boats, sometimes at night.

Leaving La Paz in Winter there is often a nightly Southerly from 12am-7am when the northerly flips and turns south almost every night. We have used these to do long spinnaker runs at night on southerlies to the north and turn to sail downwind to the south to return on the northerly in the day resulting in a down wind or broad reach run the entire time while 360 degree circumnavigating Espirtu Santo. Apparently this is what sailors have always done before boats were efficient upwind and before powered boas were so common. There are still traditional boats on the beaches which are long faluca type hulls with a mast and simple sail without boom, keel and just a simple rudder.

Perhaps the patterns and cycles can be mapped from wind data archives to make a prediction and plan. Or taking a deeper look into what drives the southerlies, when and where could help plan an itinerary. It is probably a good idea to tuck into an safe anchorage during the northerly blasts. Once a year there is a full 50knot SOC blow for 3 days resulting in huge waves and dangerous boating you want to avoid.,-107.183,7 may have archives of previous station weather by date/yr.

[Edited on 9-26-2018 by gnukid]