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Old 13-07-2012, 23:19   #1
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Transiting Panama Canal in a Catamaran

I have previously transited the Canal in a 49 foot monohull but am now planning to do so in a 57 foot catamaran. Any advice would be welcome.
What (very roughly) are the costs? The boat has been through before recently (W-E) so I imagine that she is already measured, etc.
How long should one allow for the whole operation?
Can anyone recommend a marina on the W (Panama City) side?
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Old 14-07-2012, 00:57   #2
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Re: Transiting Panama Canal in a Catamaran

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Originally Posted by Galatea49 View Post
Can anyone recommend a marina on the W (Panama City) side?
sorry to be way off topic, but an interesting issue is that the Panama Pacific Side of the Canal is actually further east than the Colon - Carribean side.
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Old 14-07-2012, 01:08   #3
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Re: Transiting Panama Canal in a Catamaran

Accepted - perhaps I should have used "north" and "south" - but generally one is still travelling from the east (Carribean) to the west (Pacific) ot visa versa.
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Old 14-07-2012, 01:44   #4
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Re: Transiting Panama Canal in a Catamaran

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Originally Posted by Galatea49 View Post
I have previously transited the Canal in a 49 foot monohull but am now planning to do so in a 57 foot catamaran. Any advice would be welcome...
Welcome to CF, Galatea! Our data is old & I'm sure it's changed, but there was a significant increase in cost (like 50%) when going over 50'.

If you've been through before, then you know that the options are to go through 1) by yourself (center tie), 2) in a raft, 3) against the wall, or 4) side-tied to a tug. 3 is a non-starter unless you have foot-thick rub-rails, as the wall is very rough. Having been through using the other 3 methods, I can say with authority that side-tying to a tug is MUCH easier & less hassle than the other methods.

You tie to the tug, the locks close, the water does its thing, the ship uses its OWN power to move forward (creating quite a current, especially if the prop is near the surface). Then you UNTIE from the tug & move to the center of the lock, the tug takes up its new position in the new lock, & you RETIE to the tug. Do not attempt to remain attached to the tug as it moves (neither the tug nor your adviser should allow this, as there have been disasters in the past).

The nice part of this is that you don't have to adjust your lines as the water is pushing you around (& it pushes HARD). The tug rides up the wall & you just ride with it. Unfortunately, you still need a full crew (4 line-handlers & 1 at the helm) even though they won't be needed.

If you don't side-tie, you should cover your solar panels & any other delicate electronics that could be damaged by a Monkey-Fist.

We wrote up our Panama Canal Transit in our Cruising Info section. It's a bit dated now, but there are track files (including the San Blas) & other info that you might find useful.
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