The World’s Longest Yacht Race – Heather’s Update 6


Transiting through the Panama Canal was quite a unique experience! We sailed through the two sets of gates, filled with rivets that slowly opened. This transit took one day, and in passing through, we had crossed over from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side of the world. The lock itself was quite impressive, especially considering it was constructed almost 100 years ago. There are 3 locks, each with either 2 or 3 sets of gates in each. It was like walking up and over a bridge as the Pacific locks brought us higher and the Caribbean locks brought us back down. What an amazing feat of engineering! There were workers that walk along the edge of the lock. They have lines with weights at the ends of them that they sling onto the boats. We then attach our lines to theirs and they anchor us to the sides. As the water fills or empties, we adjusted the lines accordingly. This is another experience that I will never forget, and am happy to be able to share this with you! Unfortunately our communication system broke down at the end of the last Race, so we had to navigate and be in touch with Clipper via the Radar and satellite phones. It was quite difficult for me to have no communication, and in some ways I felt cut off from the world and the people I loved back home. My friends and family had written me letters and notes for each day of my journey, so those became a lifeline and irreplaceable encouragement. After a few day’s stay in Panama, we are now back on board, and I am happy to say that our communication system is up and running once more. We’re now motoring to a given point off the coast, where we will do a Le Mans race start at sea. I am so excited about this, and will tell you all about it in my next blog!

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