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  #1  
Old 17 Feb 2007
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Cartagena to Panama on the 'Sy Zao' ?

Anyone used this boat ?

Looks like thats the next one leaving from Cartagena but have had a vague warning about it....nothing specific but apparently there have been some complaints.

Anyone used this boat before ? If so more information would be welcome.
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  #2  
Old 17 Feb 2007
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Don't like the sound of it

Does it say "hecho en China" on the side? I guess you`ve had no luck with the Stahlratte then. Their site has just been updated, and they are claiming to be in Cartagena.

Suerte
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  #3  
Old 18 Feb 2007
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Hola

We reckon we should be up to Cartagena round about the end of March, maybe a bit sooner and are keen to get a boat to Panama (GS1150 & KLR650).

Is the German one the one we should be going for or are there any other recomendations?

Cheers
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  #4  
Old 18 Feb 2007
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Imho

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Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Is the German one the one we should be going for or are there any other recomendations?
I've done the crossing twice now, and would recommend the Stahlratte if it's available, a completely different experience - so much space!

www.stahlratte.org: Ongoing Tours

The Melody, is a good second choice;

freshaircharters(at)yahoo.com
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  #5  
Old 24 Feb 2007
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Unfortunately they ain´t going again till 10 April and we´ll need something a bit sooner. Will try the Melody.

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stretcher Monkey View Post
I've done the crossing twice now, and would recommend the Stahlratte if it's available, a completely different experience - so much space!

www.stahlratte.org: Ongoing Tours

The Melody, is a good second choice;

freshaircharters(at)yahoo.com
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  #6  
Old 2 Nov 2009
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Smile

Hi,
I am trying to post (quite difficult...!) the report of my last trip with my big bike from Panama to Cartagena (the same trip opposite direction!) with leonardo on his vessel ZAO. I took his boat because was the only available and with reluctance because two bad reports. But I cannot understand why, because actually I had an excellent trip. Zao is a very strong safe and roomy sail vessel. ok it is not painted, but it is not the paint who tooke make safe and comfortably over 250 nautical miles. Leonardo is a special person, sure a strong carachter but full of knowledge, excellent sea men, with an extraordinary culture (he was an high energy phisicist) and, very important and not usual, no drogue, no alchool. I am sure to strongly recomand you for your trip and your bike.
fritz
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  #7  
Old 31 Jan 2010
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Hi,

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!...

Cheers,
Mathias
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  #8  
Old 6 Mar 2010
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Just Lies !
By michele luporini (not verified) - Posted on March 3rd, 2010I was in the trip Matthias is speacking about. He is just saying lies and there is a reason. let's see
1. the boat is not painted, that is true, but she is not dearty at all, at least it was not when we left, and has to be said that in the boat everythingh, EVERY works perfectely
2. It is true on the EPIRB there is the old label of 1998 but there is also the new of the 2003 ant it is valid for 10 years, the same for the liferaft.
3. Leonardo choose to have two lighter anchors on the same chain instead of one heavy. the result is exactely the same (perhaps better) but it is much easier and faster to lift it up.
4. Every one knows that when your are anchoring some time the anchor does not get into the mud and you have to anchor again. that happens quite often. What is important is that once finished the procedure of anchoring the boat does not move anymore. It is excatley what happened and the boat never moved after finished the anchoring procedure. In all the anchorages (many) were we have been.
5. The GPS worked perefctely. The GPS is a GPS receiver which send the information to the computer and the data are seen on the computer. The computer was working, some time, on his own batteries so some time he went in sleep mode. Leonardo had to "wake it up" and to establish the comunication with the GPS receiver again. Routine, simply ordinary routine.
6. Yes at a moment he made trhe mistake to poor water in one of the 5 diesel tanks. No one is perfect in the world! any how we had another 4 tanks and we had diesel enough to go and to come back.
7. Every one had to cook in the boat. That had been said from leonardo to everyone before we pay, every one knew and accepted that before going!
7. Every one had a bed ! if some one was sleeping on a matterass on the floor was because leonardo said that this was the best place to fight against the seasickness
8. Every one was allowed to have a shower every two days (in all the sail boat the water is limited). His girl friend the same. as far as I know!
9. His girl friend: Leonardo is not 62 but 52. Minellys, is girls friend is 25. That's true there is a big difference in age, but believe me, Matthias shows just to be a stupid jalous man: it was very evident to every one that the girl was full in love with leonardo. it could look strange but after knowin leonardo you can understand: he is really a special person!

Finally why Matthias write so bad about leonardo? Note that usually the price for the bike, in ALL THE BOAT, is the same as for the person and leonardo took his bike for 100 dolars less because Matthia claimed not to have money. so why to write so bad about him? the reason is simple. Beacuse the old german (as Matthias) couple. They were the worst people I met in my life. They had the best cabin (huge and full of comfort) in the boat in reason of the age. They never helped in any thingh, they never cooked, they never wasched dishes. They never did anythingh in the comunity. but everytime the meal was ready (an italian couple mainly cooked) they were there to get the food. some time they said "thankyou", some time. But never NEVER they helped in any thingh. The maximum was when the man was seasick and had to vomit. All of us we were sick and vomit out of the boat or in the sink: he vomited on the feet of leonardo who was stearing, and just in face of the italian girl who was near by. Umbelivable! and he did not apologize. Leonardo Had to clean his vomit from the floor of the cockpit!
The contract was for 5 days and 4 night. After the 5th day Leonardo asked them to leave the boat and to go sleep in some hostal (it is perfectly normal and obvious after the 5 full days payed) waiting for the day after to download the bike, they said they had no money to pay the hostal (can you believe that?) so leonardo let them to stay one night more in the boat....but with really a bad face: after 5 days of work he wanted back his cabin and he could not just because they did not want to pay an hostal for a night out of our contract!
The German couple were not speaking any english or spanish....just german, so theyr "connational" Matthia toke the charge! poor Matthia !
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  #9  
Old 22 Mar 2010
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Hi,
I just wanted to say that there was no Michele Luporini on the boat and that all the writing sounds to me as if it was written by Leonardo himself. I mean he needs the money he gets out of these trips, so I can understand why he is defending himself, but everything I wrote is true. I just want everybody to have a safe and good sailing trip between Cartagena and Panama and there is plenty of choice, so trust me and take a different boat than the Zao...

By the way, the other guys that were on the boat with me wrote also negative reviews about it. You find them on tripadvisor or facebook as far as I know!

Cheers,
Mathias
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  #10  
Old 24 Jun 2010
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Do Not Go On The Zao

Hello all
my name is rich. i am english as you can tell by my correct typing form.
(i say this for a reason, let me explain 1st)

i was on the boat 'zao' with captain leonardo, on the same trip Mathias_234 was on (hi Mathias! made it to Guatamala then!)

i can confirm there was no one called "michele luporini" on the boat at all!!
there was only myself, Mathias, Micky, Martina the german couple (the 60 year old+ couple) and leonardo and his girlfriend.

there are several points i wish to clarify:

i believe michele luporini is infact Leonardo (the boat captain) because 100% of the paying guests on the boat DID NOT like the captain at all!! and his typing is terrible! for the purposes of this reply i will assume that michele luporini is Leonardo (captain of the Zao boat).
(if it wasnt him why does he sound so pissed off for just being a passenger!)

i concur with everything Mathias says regarding the boat the captain and the trip, if anything he is too kind!

1- the boat is NOT sea worthy! (or habitable for humans) due to lack of cleaning and maintinance

2- the EPERB is well over 10 years old and the label clearly stated: expiary 1998.
i was also informed by leonardo himself that he has laready used it and had NOT recharged it!
(or replaced the battery!) so if the boat sinks, you may have a flat EPERB battary! or it may not even work at all since it expired over 12 years ago!!!

3- the GPS did not work. i even accompanied leonardo to the repair shop to get it fixed!!!
(thanks sven nice try but it didnt work!(the repair man)) the "computer" that leonardo talkes about doesnt even work!!! there wasnt even a screen!!

4- the life raft had a massive tare in it and good luck if you need to get in that in an emergency! its tangled up in all the other clutter on deck.

5- the anchor winch is broken and he cant be bothered to fix or replace it (like most broken things on the boat) , he said he cant be bothered to get another big anchor so he just put 2 smaller spare ones he got off a ship wreck on.

6- His girlfriend was 17!! and pregnant with his baby (probably his). i met her mum & baby sister!! (just to add a point Leonardo was 62 at the time i saw his pilots licence and his date of birth lol)

QUOTE: " it was very evident to every one that the girl was full in love with leonardo. it could look strange but after knowin leonardo you can understand: he is really a special person! "

keep kidding yourself leo! the only reason she came on the boat (illegaly she didnt have a passport to leave Colombia) was to get electronic goods for HER home for HER and HER family! i feel sorry for leo on this point! she is just using him, but he is just using here for his sick paedophilic acts. and your right you are a special person..... in all the wrong ways!


7- I was the person who didnt have a bed! initially i was given the sofa + cushion. but his girlfriend was then invited on the trip so i ended up with no bed! (i didnt mind so much since she was pregnant!) but i was still a paying customer, if you cant fit the people on the boat dont accept them as paying guests!!!!

8- NO ONE was allowed to have a shower.....apart from his 17 year old girlfriend and himself. one girl (martina) had a shower the last day and leonardo went CRAZY at her, shouting and swearing at her!! her boyfriend had to step in to prevent it from escalating!

9- we did run out of drinking water in the end. we were told to get a boat (from the zao boat) to the Kuna village at our expence to get more drinking water if we wanted more (the boat was US$30) even after being told everything was included,
we ended up drinking the green (it was green) shower water.

and what are you saying about matheus being the "worst person i met in my life" he is a great guy! we arranged to meet up later in the trip! and i am planning to see him in germany! leonardo, NOBODY on the trip liked you, no one even said thank you! since you were so rude to them!

10- i saw with my own eyes leonardo (the captain) push the 60 year old woman to the floor and shouting at her! this is after he shouted at her husband for being sick (as if he can help being sick!!)

11- he did get lost in san blas for a few hours!

12- leonardo did try and kick the 60 year old couple out of his boat as it was getting dark and the only reason why he let them back in is because his 17 year old love slave told him not too (quite rightly!)

there are LOADS of other disaster story's to go along with the zao, but i just want to let everyone know that the 9 months i was travelling south and central America, the time i spent with Leonardo was the worst! i have never met a more rude and off temper person in my life, i truly feel sorry for him.

if you do (for some stupid reason) try and go with the zao boat and leonardo then DO NOT try fishing off the side of the boat! he almost threw me overboard! and shouted at me so much people in near by boats came out to see what was wrong!

Leonardo is a nasty piece of work.

i have photos of the boat and everyone on it to prove that a " michele luporini " wasn't on the boat! and to show the terrible state of the boat!

just message me or mathius.

thanks and YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!


love rich
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  #11  
Old 1 May 2011
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Shipping advice

With all the wisdom in this particular chat room I was hoping one of you could give me some advice. When you made the crossing on the sailboat did any of you cover your bikes in plastic sheeting to keep the saltwater off of it? If so, where do you buy something like that in Panama City?

Thanks guys,

Nathan Everson
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  #12  
Old 5 May 2011
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I sprayed the entire bike with WD40 & decided a little rust would make it look like a 'real travelers bike'. :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by everson65 View Post
With all the wisdom in this particular chat room I was hoping one of you could give me some advice. When you made the crossing on the sailboat did any of you cover your bikes in plastic sheeting to keep the saltwater off of it? If so, where do you buy something like that in Panama City?

Thanks guys,

Nathan Everson
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  #13  
Old 5 May 2011
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Lashings of WD40 and plastic sheeting.

Remember lifting/manoeuvering a heavy bike still covered in WD40 from a small launch boat onto a high pier at low tide at night 'helped' by several drunk locals CAN be fun...

Quote:
Originally Posted by everson65 View Post
With all the wisdom in this particular chat room I was hoping one of you could give me some advice. When you made the crossing on the sailboat did any of you cover your bikes in plastic sheeting to keep the saltwater off of it? If so, where do you buy something like that in Panama City?

Thanks guys,

Nathan Everson
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