by Jorge Ventura
After the sail from Annapolis to the Caribbean, the Leopard 46, Sky, heads down the Pacific Coast for her new home in Peru.
The Panama Canal is one of the world’s greatest engineering accomplishments and an awesome sight and experience, especially for people who appreciate the importance of maritime commerce and enjoy the display of seamanship at all levels that it provides. All manner of boats and crews can be seen transiting the canal on any given day, including everything from private sailing yachts to tugs and supertankers, during all weathers, night and day. And the people that make it all happen, the pilots, engineers, coxswains, deck hands, tug masters and lock operators, I’m confident will keep the Canal running smoothly for another hundred years.
The fears that the Canal’s operations standards would fall when the Americans left were allayed years ago and many old hands even say that things have improved. The transiting process is simple and relatively quick and one must acknowledge the effort the Canal Authority makes to accommodate the number of yachts coming through here, considering that in the big scheme of things, they are but a nuisance to its overall operations. In fact, the fees collected from the owners of these pleasure boats barely cover the expense of transferring them from one ocean to another.