Please select your home edition
Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - SW LEADERBOARD

2023-24 World ARC - A hive of activity in Shelter Bay

by World Cruising Club 2 Feb 16:35 PST

Having enjoyed a few days in the stunning San Blas Islands, the World ARC fleet headed for Shelter Bay Marina, just near Colon, Panama. The marina was a hive of activity for the entire time, with boats having work done, scrubbing the hull and getting fumigated ready for Galapagos, being measured, and getting ready for the transit of the Panama Canal. Most of our participants still managed to fit in a few sundowners and a day in the village of the indigenous Embera people.

Lifts and maintenance

About a third of the fleet needed to get lifted to carry out some kind of maintenance. Knowing that facilities are sparse on the other side of the canal for the next 3-4 months, there were boats with rudder bearings being replaced, engines being serviced and descaling and antifouling being carried out. The Galapagos Islands are understandably very strict on their biosecurity, so every single barnacle and keelworm needed to be removed!

Embera Visit

About 95 people joined one of our visits to the Embera Puru village, and enjoyed learning more about the culture and day-to-day life of one of the largest groups of indigenous people in Panama. They accessed the village via dugout canoe, up the Pequeni River, and arrived to traditional music and a warm welcome. After being displaced from their original area of Panama, the people live in the Chagres National Park, where they are not allowed to farm to make money, so they are very happy to host tourists to assist their income stream.


Crews were slightly trepidatious about the fumigation necessary before entering Galapagos, but it was a very simple procedure lasting about 5-10 minutes, and subsequently, our crews had to leave the boat for 2 hours. In fact, one crew were delighted to have it done, as they had left some fruit slightly longer than they should and wanted to get rid of the fruit flies too!


The Canal Authorities take their job very seriously, and whilst we have supplied them with each boat's dimensions, they need to confirm this by measuring each boat themselves. It is a quick process and whilst it is compulsory to comply with the authorities, we also like to comply - it makes sense to get it right.

Buoys and lines

Excellent talks were given on managing the all-important lines that hold each 'nest' or raft of boats safe in the centre of the canal lock. It is a tougher job that one might imagine, and requires absolute concentration at all times, as the line handler is not just responsible for the safety of their own boat, but on this occasion, two others as well. Large fender balls were delivered to each boat along with their 40m lines, just in case the line handlers slip up.

Transit Briefing

Having been through the canal quite a few times, Andrew explained the process in detail to the skippers of each transit group. Without photographs and diagrams, the prospect of transiting the canal can be quite a daunting one. Andrew set our skippers' minds at rest by leaving them in no doubt as to what would be happening during the transit.


The fleet left the marina in stages, without incident except for a couple of accidental free floating fenders! They went out to anchor and await their Advisors, who were shortly on board. Once each boat had an advisor, the fleet left 'The Flats' and started out towards the first canal lock, leading up to Gatun Lake. Next stop, the Pacific!

Related Articles

The Ocean Race Leg 3 Day 24
From Point Nemo towards Cape Horn The Ocean Race fleet passed Point Nemo just after 17:30 UTC on Tuesday afternoon, leaving the most remote and isolated place on the ocean in their wake. Posted on 22 Mar
2023 Ides of March Regatta
We talk with Scott Tuma about the 2023 Ides of March Regatta Sail-World checked in with Scott Tuma, regatta chair of the 2023 Ides of March Regatta, via email, about this exciting multihull regatta. Posted on 22 Mar
The best mixed crews at 52 Trofeo Princesa Sofia
The inclusion of two mixed classes will be one of the great new features of Paris 2024 The first qualifying event for the Sailing World Cup 2023 will muster 75 470 Mixed and 55 Nacra 17 crews in the Bay of Palma, the two mixed classes that will compete for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Posted on 22 Mar
11th Hour Racing deploys buoy in Southern Ocean
Deploying these surface drifter buoys makes it possible to collect vital data As Malama was passing through one of the most remote parts of the most remote ocean in the world, the team deployed a surface drifter buoy to contribute towards ocean science. Posted on 22 Mar
Wingfoil Pacific Coast Championships preview
Bring on fun, fast competition and post-racing camaraderie! Making the leap from kiting to wingfoiling these past few years has been a refreshing change and a new challenge for Erika Heineken. Posted on 21 Mar
IMA Maxi Europeans grows in quality and quantity
For a second year the event will be part of Tre Golfi Sailing Week Pre-registration for the International Maxi Association's second Maxi European Championship ended on Wednesday with the entry list already exceeding the 25 that participated in 2022. Posted on 21 Mar
2023 Newport Harbor to Cabo San Lucas race
First overall was the RP 52 Vitesse owned by San Francisco Yacht Club member Thomas Furlong The 2023 Newport Harbor to Cabo San Lucas race results are in and Liz and Dave Moore's Santa Cruz 52 Westerly representing New York Yacht Club and Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club is 1st in ORR class E and 2nd overall ORR corrected time monohull. Posted on 21 Mar
2023 Deep South Lightning Regatta interview
We talk with Adam Young about the 2023 Deep South Lightning Regatta Sail-World checked in with Adam Young, Savanah Yacht Club's sailing director, via email, to learn more about the 2023 Deep South Lightning Regatta. Posted on 21 Mar
2023 St. Thomas International Regatta interview
We talk with Pat Bailey about the 2023 St. Thomas International Regatta Sail-World checked in with Pat Bailey, regatta co-director of the 2023 St. Thomas International Regatta, via email, to learn more about this exciting Caribbean regatta. Posted on 21 Mar
The Ocean Race Leg 3 Day 23
Close together, far from home The four IMOCAs charging towards Cape Horn are approaching Point Nemo on Tuesday. Defined as the most isolated, remote place on earth, Point Nemo is a spot in south Pacific Ocean, 2,688 kilometres from the nearest land. Posted on 21 Mar
SailGP_Technologies_Foil_1456x180 BOTTOMRS Sailing 2021 - FOOTERVaikobi 2021 Boots - FOOTER