I just came back from a sailing trip with the Zao and captain Leonardo.
First the good things: We arrived in Panama on time and San Blas is amazing!
But there are a few things that anybody should know before getting on the Zao. The Zao is not in a good condition. It's dirty and the security items have been checked last time 1998 (You could see that on the label at the EPIRB). We had no autopilot and the GPS wasn't working properly. So we had to make 2h-shifts and navigate with only a compass. We arrived in San Blas, but I don't want would have happened if we there would have been a storm or any other problems. The anchor is also to light for the boat and Leonardo knows that. But he doesn't want to buy a new heavier one. But that is really dangerous because one time we were anchoring but the current drove us into an other ship. We saw it and could prevent any damage, but if that would have happened at night...
Leonardo is also not a good captain. Without GPS he couldn't find the islands we wanted to go (San Blas consist of nearly 400 islands), so that we had to drive around for one hour and he really lost the orientation. And that in an area he says he traveled more than 150 times... He also mixed up the fuel with the water tank and filled water in it. Thanks god that we had good wind conditions and didn't need the engine.
One other thing is that he is a really strange character. If he likes you then you won't probably have any problems, but if not it will be an horror trip for you. I had no problems with him but I saw how he treated a old German couple. He even wanted to kick them out of there room, so that there would have to sleep outside on the deck (both being over 60 years old!). He finally didn't do it, but only because it was starting to rain... He also pointed out that he hates to work with backpackers, but he has to because of the money. Sometimes you feel that this is the only thing he interested in!
We also weren't allowed to take any showers during the five days because we had to safe water. No problem with that, but his "girlfriend" took a shower every day and even he took one. The food was OK, but we had to cook be ourselves. We all paid 350$ for the trip and between 250 and 350 for a motorbike. That's a lot if you think of that one guy even had to sleep on the floor because there was no bed for him. All in all if you compare that to the service of other boats that are sailing between Cartagena and San Blas than its really a bad deal.
So if you have a choice then don't go with Leonardo! If you don't have a choice then try to talk with him about the price...
One ting that also really annoyed me, but that is now my personal opinion and has nothing to do with the trip itself, is his poor "girlfriend". She only 17 and pregnant and Leonardo is 62!!! He was kissing and touching her all the time and everybody could see that she didn't enjoy that at all. She is really a child and Leonardo in my view a sick pervert!...