Clipper RTW – Leg 7: Coast to Coast, Part 2

The Panama Canal. An incredible feat of engineering, best appreciated from mid-way through, or space. For me, while the physical task of carrying out such a project is remarkable in itself, I find the most impressive bit the concept of joining two oceans of differing heights together, by cutting a path through an entire country. Truly trailblazing thinking.

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As a small yacht in a big canal, we motored in, and our lines were handled by the shore workers. They ensured everything was adjusted as necessary while the water levels changed.

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We spent most of our lock transits in with the bigger boats.

Naturally, the best view of these such places is from as high up as possible, and the view from the top of the rig meant you could really appreciate how massive an operation it was just getting a boat through one set of locks to the lake within, let alone the whole way through to the ocean.

The lakes in the middle were where we spent most of the day, slowly motoring through, large cargo ships passing close by, working hard to keep to a schedule. With not much to do, and the Panama Pilot in charge, we sat back and enjoyed the ride.

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The second set of locks were another good opportunity to take in the surroundings from up high, and watching a large car carrier squeeze into the adjacent lock made one realise how big a ship they could actually fit through.

A bit of time on the Atlantic side waiting for the other yachts allowed us to have an explore of the canal by land, and look at the various engines and technologies that have progressed to serve the canal over the years.

When all 12 yachts were through, we set sail for Jamaica, and had a very bumpy, largely upwind sail for the few days it took us.

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