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Old 08-09-2010
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MDRHUNTER is on a distinguished road
Panama Canal

Leaving next month from Marina del Rey to east coast and looking for CURRENT ideas and help on the canal procedure. I have heard rumors of trouble for small craft getting clearance. I'm in a 45' with crew of 3.
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Old 08-09-2010
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a sailnet member imaginetofrolic just took his 40+catamaran through [from east to west] a few days ago,you should send him a private message,i'm sure he can give you lots of info
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Old 08-09-2010
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Will do; thanks.
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Old 08-09-2010
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I'd point out that as a 45' boat, you'll probably have less of a problem than smaller boats. You need to have FOUR line handlers and a pilot IIRC. You've got three crew, so have three line handlers, and will need a fourth.

Don't skimp on the quality of the food you feed the pilot, as they can be pretty vindictive if they think the meal is wanting as I understand it.
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Old 08-09-2010
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The Peace Corp Volunteers will be most happy to assist. The Yacht Club burned down, but there are still kids out there (I hope, that's how we did our transit!)
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The Captain is not counted as crew- he/she must stay at the helm and is not allowed to assist in any line handling but be constantly vigilant as to boat handling through the transit. You post bond before you transit to insure no mishaps occur. They send this back to the address on file, so if you have someone doing your banking, they see the post and know you did okay (my dad!)
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Thanks for the Peace Corp tip

How far in advance did you make a reservation for the locks?
Approx how much in fees/ Credit Card/ Cash One day South to North?
(Pacific to Atlantic)
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Old 08-09-2010
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You get admeasured in Balboa, or Colon (depending on which side), After clearing in with customs, the Port Director, and Customs. Not necessarily in that order - it's been a while.

They assign you an admeasurer who will bring a tape measure to document the size of your fuel tanks, water tanks, LOA, beam, width, etc., look at the gross tonnage if you are documented, they then come up with a tonnage figure. That is how they charge - the tonnage - they like ships - not recreational sailboats. Best thing is to smile a lot and be patient! Offer donuts, cookies, anything of hospitality. We didn't make it in a one day crossing (we got the same pilot the next day) anchored in Gatun Lake, made a memory of it all and got the bail deposit back.

An awesome highlight of my life!
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Old 08-10-2010
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I found a detailed article and links for agents; looks like a week in Panama ahead.
http://www.noonsite.com/Countries/Pa...ties#Clearance
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Old 08-11-2010
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As posted we came through recently. Don't count on advisors accepting anything more than a drink, and head to use. One declined everything, and the second had breakfast with us.

You can do the paperwork yourself, and get through cheaper. It is only time consuming, and many were frustrated. Speaking Spanish will get you far during office visits. We did not encounter an English speaking person behind a desk.

By the third office we bumped into Stanley who is a broker. We had shopped, and shopped for prices of brokers. There was a variance of about $500. Stanley was cheapest, and went well over his duties as a broker to help us.

You can get free linehandlers from other cruisers, or Maritime students hoping to get into the trade. We paid their bus fare, and fed them well. As far as time. We could've went through in 2 days, but we were not ready. We wanted to work on the boat. This was June, so winter may take more time? We made no appointment for transit, and I have heard that, but never met anyone who has, we just showed up.

If you use a broker there is no buffer fee of $850.00, but you will wait for your check months if nothing goes wrong. The buffer is in case something goes wrong with your vessel. I opted to just pay for the broker, and be done with it. My total cost was under $1100.00. This included line, tires, checking in & out fees, and it was hassle free. P.M. me if you have any further questions, or ask here for knowledge for all........i2f
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