The Canal, well yes, but not near as tough as the Warriors who were our crew for this transit! Lennie and I had been through the Canal before on Happy Together and we brought some friends with us to make the crossing. This time we had the idea that we would offer a “beyond the camp” experience for some of the Warrior Sailing graduates. Helping those who helped our nation is easy and comes naturally to most Americans, but who knew it would be so much fun. We reached out to the organization and told them what we had in mind and within a few days we were texting and talking to three potential crew. All the dates worked and the plan was set. Now Lennie and I had to arrive beforehand and prep the boat for the crossing and prepare for our guests. Sounded simple.
If it could it did
When we arrived we had a sense that something had happened. The electronics weren’t working properly and the engines were in alarm mode along with other failures of gauges and electrical components. Lennie and I looked at each other and knew what had happened. The boat had been sitting in a marina in Panama during lightning season and we had been struck. It was morning and we immediately looked at the time and realized that our Warriors had already boarded their planes in Michigan and Boston and were coming to Panama no matter what. We knew what to do, and Lennie and I actually excel at this sort of thing. We had to fix everything “stat”. We reached out to every mechanic in each field in Panama and within hours we had 3 different crews working on the boat. We replaced fuses, wires, shore power connections, transducers, and even antennas on top of the mast. We had a driver who was braving the awful workday Panama traffic to stop at each marine store picking up various odds and ends. We completed every repair necessary to make the transit including putting the starboard engine into “safe mode” – which meant it would run but not over 2,000 RPM’s. Around 7 pm we finished our work and as the last of the mechanics was walking away from the boat our Warriors came down the dock with excited faces ready to help us cross the Canal. It was beer thirty and they helped with the celebration. They didn’t know what we had been through but they figured it out as the trip went on. They even had some helpful solutions of their own. Murphy was F*cked!
A rose by any other name….
Before the trip we kept thinking of things that would make this trip special for our Warriors and bounced ideas around. Of course we would all wear Happy Together/Warrior Sailing Gear but we needed more. Lennie came up with the idea of a banner to show our colors and then we decided to rename the boat “Warrior Sailing” for the trip. You can do that right? She said and I said on our boat we make the rules and we were outside of the Coast Guard jurisdiction so the plan was set. We made large stickers to cover Happy Together and rename the boat Warrior Sailing. We even used the name on the Radio, which added to the fun. When we tied up to a tour boat with veterans aboard inside the canal it all came together. You will see that in our newest video at the link below.
We hope you enjoy our second crossing of the Panama Canal and salute our crew!