Ah, how majestic and exciting to be aboard an elegant three-masted yacht with 32,000 square feet of sails, transiting the Panama Canal, one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World.
A dream for merchants throughout the centuries, this historic 48-mile canal is an engineering marvel that connects East with West, allowing ships to cut through Central America – traveling through man-made lakes, channels and three sets of locks – instead of having to go all the way around South America.
The French abandoned their attempts at building the canal in the late 19th century, and America completed the passage in 1914. All told, the building of the canal cost 27,500 people their lives, mostly due to disease and landslides.
FYI: It takes eight to ten hours to travel through the canal’s man-made lakes, channels and three sets of locks.
Due to be completed in 2015, six new locks will vastly increase the size of ship that can be accommodated. A New Panamax ship can be 1,400 feet long, 180 feet wide and 60 feet deep. (In comparison, the sailing yacht Sea Cloud II is 384 feet long, 52 feet wide and 18 feet deep.)