PANAMA is the southernmost country of Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica. Its location on the eastern end of the Isthmus of Panama, a land bridge connecting North and South America, is strategic. One of the great engineering feats of the 20th century, the Panama Canal, accomplished what nature forgot to do by connecting the Atlantic via the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean and thus reducing the 12,000 mile sailing distance between New York and San Francisco by more than 7,000 miles.
Without question, the best way to experience every mile of this magnificent wonder is from the deck of a transiting superyacht. From this privileged vantage point you get an incomparable perspective while passing through the canal’s three sets of locks. The Canal is 45 NM long and requires about nine hours for an average superyacht to transit. During this brief time, the guests and crew on board have an opportunity to see one of the modern wonders of the world in operation.
Its principal physical features are the Atlantic and Pacific termini, short sea level sections of the channel at either end, three sets of twin locks, Gatun and Miraflores Lakes and the Gaillard Cut. The vessel is raised or lowered 25.91m (85ft) in a continuous flight of three steps at Gatun Locks. Each lock chamber is 110ft wide and 1,000ft long. Transiting the canal is one experience every superyacht owner, captain or crewmember should experience at least once in their careers. Using a reputable agent is vital to ensure an efficient and trouble free transit.
Captain’s Log: Panama – Transiting the Panama Canal in a superyacht