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Panama Canal

Warren Holybee

Active Member
I have just transited the Gatun locks and am moored on Gatun lake. Way cool experience. Tomorrow i transit the locks on the south side and enter the Pacific.

For those that Facebook, i posted numerous videos to s/v Eliana's page.


Mark Pearson
Staff member
Very awesome Warren! Thanks for keeping us posted. Soon you will be back in Océano Pacífico!

Warren Holybee

Active Member
Sunrise on Gatun lake.


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Warren Holybee

Active Member
They are rented, along with 8 very large fenders. The 4 line handlers that adjust them as the ship rises are paid crew. All arranged by an agent.

Very glad to have had the paid line handlers. The boat next to me used friends/family, and while rafting up (while underway just outside the locks) they fumbled badly causing the raft to spin around in the narrow channel and my crew had to assist/instruct them while i used reverse power to steer the raft back to course.

They also used normal fenders, and my large ones took a beating protecting both our boats as they smashed together. No damage, but would have been with normal fenders.
Glad you came out of that ok!
I have read and watched YouTube vids about the Panama Canal process. So many recommend do it without an agent, seems like false economy hearing of your experience.
Safe travels,

Warren Holybee

Active Member
Yes, money well spent. The paperwork could probably be done without an agent. But arranging experienced line handlers and lines/fenders is really needed.

Interestingly, that's how people save money, by using their own crew and fenders.

Sadly, it wasn't a 100% clean passage. One of the boats in the raft is a good friend who i am buddying with to California. Althea, the Westsail 32 in the video.

Anyway, after we were all done, seperated, advisor and line handlers off, we decide to raft back up to rest and talk about the next leg to Chiapas, Mexico. Big rookie mistake. He pulls beside me and i toss him a line. As we were starting to position the boats, a huge wake hits us, and our rigs hit, hard. Multiple times.

No damage to Eliana. However, the spreader brackets on Althea are screwed to the mast, not welded like the Morgan. The screws on one of the brackets striped and pulled out.

Should be an easy fix with some thread repair inserts(heli coil). Might have to change to a metric size, if we can't find SAE, but that's ok. We went into Panama city today, and supply shops are closed Sunday, but we got a good lead of who sells them. So hopefully tomorrow morning we can get some inserts and get him fixed.


New Member
Warren -

Would you have any recommendations for marinas in Panama, near the city, for long term stay?

Warren Holybee

Active Member
La Playita Marina. Its a nice marina, with several Chandeliers nearby, and and easy bus/subway ride into the city. You will need to taxi to the city the first trip to buy a bus card.

I didn't stay at the marina, buy anchored next to it and used thier dock.