Yacht Latina Trip Review – The Curtises

We recently caught up with the Curtis couple upon their return from a Yacht Latina sailing trip in the San Blas.

San Blas Yacht Latina

Sailing aboard Yacht Latina’s 50′ Gulfstar Monohull with Capt Dave and his wife Elizabeth:
Dave and Elizabeth were outstanding.  Elizabeth’s cooking is amazing, and she does a really good job of keeping a neat, clean, and tidy ship.  Dave is very good with catering to whatever the client wants to do.  We fished, snorkeled, explored some islands, and learned a little bit about sailing.  He has a calm demeanor and is very engaging.  Dave and Elizabeth also do a very good job with the Kuna.  They get information from other boats and networks on weather, boat traffic, sea conditions, and any other happenings in the region.  They also are very polite with the Kuna and buy lobster/fish/coconuts from them to support their lifestyle.
We had a very good trip and would definitely do this again.
Thanks,
Jonathan
 50 Gulfstar San Blas Islands

Trip Report – sailing San Blas on Yacht Latina’s 46 Catamaran

Hola Lita,

 

We had a fantastic time!!! Wow we loved sailing. The Pajot is fast and we had no problems going 13 knots! Brais and Geraldine are so sweet and wonderful! Not only did they give us sailing lessons but as an extra bonus, Brais is a kite surfer and we all part took in a various forms. ( I was dragged in the water behind Brais, hanging on for life and bikini bottom, shrieking throughout the anchorage.) We had a lot of fun! Even Erica managed to lighten up and I think enjoyed herself!!! She also knows Anne Marie through Pilates, small world n’est-pas?

 

No sweat about the return, carnival was a gong show even in San Blas and I was grateful to be crammed into the back of a truck with Erica, Werner and Dennis! We had a couple of glasses of wine, dinner and fell into bed. I am making arrangements to fly to Fort Lauderdale next week to look at more cats. We have friends that live there and then we fly home. We loved Panama and can see ourselves returning. If we don’t see you this time, then we will next time. Thanks again for your assistance Lita.

Warm regards,

Christin and Dennis

Welcoming a new (to us) 50′ Gulfstar sailing yacht to our fleet

50′ Sailing Ketch Monohull – San Blas Islands

This Yacht is a 50 foot ketch rigged monohull with tons of space both on deck and below. She provides room for up to 6 guests with both double and single accomodations, available in three staterooms. A large main salon for dining and gathering is stationed midship. The gallery is well stocked with all the provisions and ingredients needed for great meals and libations while sailing or anchored. Her spacious cockpit has a Bimini cover to provide shade during the day and is a great place to check out that beautiful Caribbean island sunset. The large decks on board let you sun bath in comfort.  Snorkel gear is included and we have a large dinghy with a 15 hp Yamaha to deliver you to the best reefs and islands. Fishing tackle is also available for your use.

 

  

 

Announcing a 42′ Sailing Yacht for Charter – San Blas Islands

42′ Monohull – San Blas Islands

This is our most recent addition to the fleet – the 10th vessel of Yacht Latina’s group.  The yacht Kokomo is a Sabre 425 created by the Sabre Design Team.  It is clean and well kept and features 2 private guest cabins.  This sailing yacht featuring 3 cabins and 2 bathrooms.  It has been updated recently with newer running gear, safety equipment, and additional convenience items.  The crew, Denny and Becky Flannigan are originally from Tacoma Washington and are experienced blue water sailers – including racing in the Pacific Cup Race to Hawaii.  The vessel accommodates up to 4 people for as few as 3 days and as long as 10 days for sailing trips in the San Blas Islands.  Currently taking charter groups for the months of Dec 2012 thru March 2013.

boat sketch  

An interview with Captain George

We recently had a chance to sit down and visit with Captain George Salley, who has been pleasing Yacht Latina guests with iconic sailing cruises aboard his 42′ catamaran in the San Blas Islands.  George is an expert cruiser and wonderful person to hang out with.  Here are a few tidbits from our conversation.

Capt George

Captain George Salley

YL – How long have you lived in Panama?

CG  – We have been in Panama since December 2008.

YL – Tell us about your yacht?

CG – Southern Belle is a 42-foot Fountaine Pajot Catamaran built in 1995. We bought her in 2003 and have lived aboard since 2006. She is well equipped for blue water cruising. You can get a much more detailed description of how she is outfitted on the Yacht Latina website.

YL – What are your favorite islands to visit in the San Blas and why?

CG – We love the Lemmon Cays because they have outstanding beaches and great reef for snorkeling. We also adore the Robeson Cays because the people are fantastic.

YL – What are your favorite aspects of the Guna Yala?

CG – The clear blue water, the beautiful islands, and the wonderful Kuna Indians

YL – What is your most memorable moment with guests sailing in the San Blas?

CG – Playing music on the foredeck while we watch the sun set into the Caribbean Sea

YL – Well, thanks for the chat Captain George (and also Melinda & Josh…).  Great to catch up with you!

Yacht Latina cruisers: If you’d like to meet captain George or get pricing on a sailing trip click the Contact Us link on the website.

    

An inside look at the Kuna – New issues for an emerging culture

Palm Trees at dusk

Dusk in the Kuna Yala

Here again to talk about why and how various rumor is about. Rumor about difficulties of operating yachts for trips in the San Blas (Kuna Yala). It is June 2012 and I was only this week again in the local congresso ‘hall’. (A quaint place where three or four ‘elders’ lay in hammocks and smoke, and presumably listen, but also every so often erupt into dialogue with no one in particular.)  There does seem to be a point to the proceedings somewhere, but any one discussion moves from one evening to the next with the focus being more on how much can be said on the matter. Still, where we come from perhaps we have learned impatience?

So some time in the past, like more than 2 years ago, a few island ‘cabana’ owners, or hotels as they call them too, became a little jealous that some visitors chose the relative comfort and freedom of seeing San blas from a yacht. Since the incumbent older congresso members appear to be unseat-able (or unhammockable) they eventually have felt pressured into speaking up on behalf of these hotel owners. (-by the way I have several hotel owner friends and allies out here) So – the way of all bogged down political structures, slowly more and more congresso members have defaulted to the line of least resistance and verbalized that maybe its better to discourage the yachts from operating here.

Thing is, all those Kuna people around me, that I see almost daily, include the most active younger business men, one of the customs officials who issues boating permits, several hotel owners, and families of congresso members not only poo-poo the subject (as in ‘its so much talk’) but in fact I do not know of any actual control mechanism with respect to which vessels are unwelcome. In fact on the contrary, they ask me when my next trip is!

We have a mixture of old style Kuna and new Kuna. So I said ‘new’ Kuna. That’s what’s happening in San Blas. The real progressives are making good lives in a stunning landscape. They are doing business. Of course, however these are the guys who try and find something of more value than settling into political positions and pointing fingers. As I say -they are doing business -not just putting their hands out for money. (I stop at naming the well know location) Rumors abound too. Like Guna Yala and Kuna Yala. Who wrote that on the web? None of these locals know anything about that.

Anyway, back to being here…these fellows I mix with do not show the resistance to gringos or yachtsmen or the like. As I see it they want to do business, not just put their hands out for money. (un-like some other well know locations). So what’s wrong with that?

Up to early last year I was operating yachts for trips in San Blas. This year I return with much bigger and more comfortable craft. Wow! It was nice. (but what is nice?) What is nice is that despite all the talk I am welcomed with my plans. I don’t really understand people who face open resistance? What of it? We run excellent trips here. We use the local transport. (and that’s also ‘nice’, these guys I knew who worked doing fairly menial stuff for me last year, now have their own lancha businesses. Wouldn’t you? )

So as an ex Civil Engineer I give the local Kuna people real technical help on their much needed water projects. Twenty thousand dollars and no design from a well meaning open sandaled, Europe based ‘fundacion’, is not going to work.  (Though I applaud the sentiments) It needs the correct grade of pipe to be used.

Anyway I am getting to the point soon………

…and the point is………..we do great trips in the (web rated) 5th most unspoiled place in the world. We do yacht trips of three, to whatever, days… tailored to suit your but also very ‘digestible’, since we offer several options like your choice ‘cabin fill’ or charter the whole boat. For digestible read ‘value for money’.  We do great trips and darn if I am not fazed by any talk.  (see above) Have you picked up and browsed Eric Bauhaus ‘Cruising guide to Panama’ recently? I have. Actually I use it every second hour. Why? Because it’s brilliant. Also because he is a pioneer and I like to go where the other yachtsmen don’t bother to read. Hey – German mapping! It’s like German engineering.

So come on out and join us!  We have many San Blas cruises available for this summer.  The San Blas is a magically wonderful place to experience – the idyllic coco-palm lined islands, tranquil and transparent blue seas, a culture of wonderfully friendly peoples, and memories that will last a lifetime.

Cheers and hope to see you soon!

Capt

Photos from a recent cruise

We checked in with Yacht Latina guests Mike and Martha Vuytowecz, Jamuna Berry, and Kara Patrick on their recent trip out to the San Blas Islands and were amazed by the photos they brought back.  The San Blas region never seizes to amaze me with how photogenic it is.  Here are a few highlights from their trip.  Let us know what you think…

San Blas Paddle Boarding

Paddle Boarding in the San Blas

Children in San Blas Islands

Children of the Islands

San Blas Outhouse

Anybody know what this is?

Kayak with Yacht Latina

Kayaking in the San Blas Islands

Lady Lu Image

Relaxing on the Lady Lu

Relaxing on deck

Relaxing on deck

Cultural visit to the islands

Cultural visit to the islands

Huts in the San Blas Islands

Huts in the San Blas Islands

Evening dining aboard Yacht Latina Cruise

Evening dining aboard Yacht Latina Cruise

Trolling at sunset

Trolling at sunset