The Panama Canal

Timelapse video of the Canal transit

The first 12 boats in the World ARC 2023 transited the Panama Canal on 29 & 30 January 2023. We were divided into four “nests” of three boats each, with Mistral as the starboard boat of Nest 1. After collecting our Panama Canal advisor next to Shelter Bay Marina, we motored down to Gatun Lock which we cleared through in the dark. Next we continued on to Gatun Lake where we moored up for the night.

The next day was a long motor through Gatun Lake to the Pedro Miguel Lock and the Miraflores Lock. Unfortunately our advisors were unable to prevent Nest 1 from colliding with the lock wall as we exited Miraflores – the stanchions are being repaired as I type.

Passing under the Bridge of the Americas marks the transition from the Atlantic to the Pacific – we’ve now sailed our boat from France to the Pacific Ocean!

Tim & Jane have now flown back to the UK and Shirley & David are joining us for the next leg to Las Perlas Islands and Galapagos.

Read more at:
Karen’s Travels
World Cruising Logs
YB Tracker

World ARC Leg 1: Rodney Bay to Santa Marta

Poled-Out Genoa
Poled-Out Genoa

So we’ve finally set off on the grand adventure. For this leg and and the next we have Tim & Jane aboard to help.

The race start went well. Without trying too hard (too risky to challenge hard when you’re in your home!) we were third over the line, but boats 1 & 2 were judged to be over the line at the start so we were officially the first boat across.

Sunrise at Sea
Sunrise at Sea

After an hour or so, as the boats started to spread out, we took some time to rig the pole and set the sails for the 800 nm of downwind port tack sailing ahead. With that done, we were able to pretty much stay on the rhumb line (direct) for Santa Marta. We did have to gybe to starboard a couple of times but we simply furled the main and sailed on just the genoa until we could gybe back and put the main out again.

The only fly in the ointment was that Jane was poorly for most of the passage. A cold turned chesty then coughy then ear-achey. We called our medical support service and they recommended antibiotics, which we have onboard. She’s now on the mend.

Overall it was a very pleasant passage. No big seas, no bad squalls, winds below 25 kt most of the time, and we had success fishing!

The first fish that took the hook took the whole line and lure as well. Rerigged, the next one just took the lure. Third time lucky – a Mahi Mahi took the bait and Tim and Karen reeled it in. The fish was a beautiful yellow-green colour and it’s now in the freezer ready for our next meal onboard.

We are now in Santa Marta, Colombia, and can’t quite believe we’ve sailed our boat from France to South America! It just doesn’t seem real.

Next are a few days’ R&R and boat maintenance, then World ARC 2023 Leg 2: Santa Marta to the San Blas Islands.

Read more at:
Karen’s Travels
World Cruising Logs
YB Tracker

2022

Spain to St Lucia
Spain to St Lucia

Here’s how we got to Rodney Bay, St Lucia, from Spain, in 2022. We leave on Saturday 7 January on the World ARC 2023. You can see our position (updated every 4 hours) at the YB website.