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Old 29-06-2009, 10:58   #1
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Panama Canal Line Handlers Available, Late July

MY girlfriend and I are going to be backpacking through Central America through the month of July, and will be in Panama around July 25-29. I am an intermediate sailor, having been racing for 2 seasons as foredeck and learning trim as I have been going. My girlfriend is a beginning/intermediate with some sailing experience, and is able-bodied and comfortable on boats.

If you are planning on sailing through the Panama Canal from either Colón or Panama City in late July and need line handlers, let me know and we can work something out.

Also, I am aware of the common practice for cruisers to go to the local yacht clubs to look for line handlers. However, from what I have found online, both the Balboa Yacht Club in CP and the Panama Canal Yacht Club in Colón are closed. Where would someone go these days if they are looking for line handlers?
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Old 29-06-2009, 13:27   #2
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I did my transit in the latter part of 2001 and was able to stay within the canal for three months and things have changed somewhat, but this will get you a ride.

Ask a taxi driver!!

Leave your name at the hostel

visit any dinghy dock! On the Colon side there has to be a place for the cruisers to leave their dinghys when coming in from the anchorage at the 'flats' to check in'out of the country before/after a transit.

Flamingo marina on the Pacific side

the mooring field at Balboa

Ask any cruiser, they're very easy to spot, old T-shirt, shorts, sandles, backpack, cap, great suntan, most always the men have a beard. Real cruisers don't do marinas, ever.
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Old 29-06-2009, 15:24   #3
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Shelter Bay Marina on the Colon side (I dont know where the rest of the mob are going since the Panama Canal Yacht Club closed)

Balboa Yacht Club is still open.

Remember, there are more people coming west than east and as the Hurricane Season is on the go in July in the caribean I dont think there will be many heading to the Carib. So best to go to Colon. (You need safe accomodation in Colon, its a bit of a nasty town, but dont be daunted)

Line handling is a wonderful experience!

Before our boat went through we line handled on another boat - a cat - and had a ball! The photo below is after the last lock on the Pacific side: the Bridge of the Americas.
For any cruiser circumnavigating the world it is a very special moment.

Take your camera, take some nibbles and a drink for the long bus trip one way, the boat should supply you food during the transit which is overnight both ways.
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Notes on a Circumnavigation.

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
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Old 16-07-2009, 17:02   #4
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My girlfriend and I are also backpacking through Central America and are currently in Panama City. So with Mike and his girlfriend, and me and mine that makes a complete set of line handlers.

I've been looking around locally without much luck since its not really a good time of year for cruisers. I do have a local friend that owns some mooring balls nearby, so I'm in a good position to get a boat the local help they might need crossing the canal.

I'm not trying to hijack Mikes posting, so if you just need two handlers please talk to him first!

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Old 17-07-2009, 19:09   #5
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Cannot believe that you cannot find someone at the Balboa Yacht club bar that needs you. Seems to me there are always more folks there needing handlers than there are folks. BTW it is good to have a cell phone so that you can be called on short notice. The Canal Authority sometimes changes times (moves them up and down) and folks are needed on short notice.
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