P.O.D. - Entre Dos Aguas


Prologue: For practical purposes...the descriptiveness of vessel and program came losely from this E-mail I sent sent to an alumni and coach of a college sailing team enumerating the salient points... My purpose as then and now to elicit support.

It’s A New York Thing:

In 1903 the sovereign nation of Panama came into being in a hotel room at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. There was an accord signed by Secretary of State John Hay and a young dynamic French engineer, who was made an Ambassador at Large of the newly formed Republic of Panama.

How they got to that point is rather interesting. This young engineer Vanilla was in a long line chief engineers appointed by F. de Lesseps to head up the Panama Canal effort. It was literally a suitcase parade with most dying from either malaria or yellow fever in their failed efforts that began in the 1870s.. The failure was attributed to mismanagement, corruption, poor technology and disease. A second feeble attempt was made by the French, worth mentioning because Vanilla went to Bogotá Columbia to negotiate a treaty called the Buena Vanilla treaty which renewed the Fr. Concession to continue their efforts to build the Canal. When the second attempt fell through it became apparent that the endeavor be put on the shoulders of the United States who was emerging as a dominant power, at the least in the Americas.

What is significant is this. The US was poised to build the Canal across Nicaragua, a foregone conclusion, and an expected resolution forthcoming in Congress favoring Nicaragua. Vanilla was befriended and sponsored by the New York Chamber of Commerce.. He worked tirelessly to persuade the US to continue upon the French efforts in Panama. Because of his impressive technical background and experience, he single handedly impressed and persuaded Congress in the 11th hour to pass the resolution in favor of building the Canal in Panama. The resolution passing by a rather narrow margin. On the other side of the fence there was a law firm named Cromwell & Murphy, Cromwell graduated from Columbia University Law school, New York. His father a Civil War soldier was killed in the war. Cromwell was raised in Brooklyn from a rather humble background. At the time, the small Firm had a young attorney working for them John Foster Dullas, later to become Sect. of State under both the Eisenhower Administrations. Cromwell and Murphy represented the French company who owned what is called the Concession to build, all the accrued legal rights, the rights negotiated with Columbia along with the physical plant the French possessed associated with the Canal. This the US purchased for $24 million from the French to build across this area of Columbia. The Columbians balked over this. They wanted to hold up the U.S. for more money.. Teddy Roosevelt a man of little patience was advised to go easy with Columbia, balderdash, he clubbed them over the head.. ”Speak softly but carry a big stick”, Teddy. Columbia, a poor nation was broke due to continuous civil war and uprisings. Teddy, orchestrated a civil war in Panama bloodless, buying off the destitute Columbian military officers resident in the area. Panama declared its independence. Their was a ceremonial barrage with one casualty, a civilian Chinese National. The terms of the Buena Vanilla treaty for the Canal right-a-way was amended in the new formed Republic, legally adopted in New York’s Waldorf Astoria Room 1642 and thus American efforts commenced with the successful opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Hailed by the world as a technological marvel, right before a planned International celebration, WW1 broke out. and the Panama Canal story became just a distant event. The US had its Pacific Fleet... on its way to now becoming the world’s dominant power.

Given the history of these remarkable events I felt strongly that any efforts in designing the soon described organization should maybe reside in N.Y.

Having sailed to Panama I enjoyed several unpleasant incidences. I was held up in Colon at gunpoint resulting in a loss of passport, My dinghy and outboard engine both stolen. Almost in front of my eyes, the personal witnessing of the hostile demolition of the Panama Canal Yacht Club by the Chinese, while I was taking a shower no less. "I the last to shower in this 1928 Institution" The Chinese control the Canal Administration franchise; and lastly, I think a very professional orchestrated pick pocketing resulting in loss of all forms of identification; notwithstanding credit cards and a small amount of cash. Cruising can be very much a contact sport, most of these events are somewhat familiar with other sailors I might add…“A contact recreational sport/ lifestyle... you take the lumps and bumps along the way

I like many other cruisers spend much time reading, anything and everything... My major in College History. I find myself gravitating to this area both fiction and non-fiction. Having Read several books on Panama, the one that affected me the most was the award winning book Path Between the Seas by Pulitzer prize winning historian David Mc Culloch.

The Panamanian One Design

The story of how this boat came to my Design Board is rather interesting and germane to inaugurating the program soon to be described “Entre Dos Aguas. My passion for History continued and continues long after my graduation from College. 40 + years ago. I became rather engrossed and perhaps psychologically affected by Mr. McCulloch‘s book, a lengthy publication, the kind I find hard to put down. I was fascinated by the character of Paul Gaughan, the great impressionist artist who subsequently made his mark as the great impressionistic painter of course in French Polynesia.

Prior to his traveling to Polynesia, Paul worked as a laborer for five dollars a day on the Panama Canal. He was quite the rogue and adventurer and I found myself, to a degree, identifying with his activity before I myself gave up drinking many years ago. (LOL). Paul was a problem drinker who more than once got himself in and out of minor jams as a result of his conduct under the influence. One time he got arrested for urinating in the streets of Panama City… His inebriated defense… ”Panama City is a sewer anyway“… He was fined and sent on his way.. The French work force suffered severely working on the Canal. They experienced an extraordinary amount of deaths resulting in the aforementioned illnesses of malaria and yellow fever. Gaughan came down ill. The French had an Infirmary on an island 7 miles across the Bay from Panama City. The Island of Taboga, a hilly tropical Island. He was sent there either to die or recover. He recovered and so enchanted with the island, he tried to borrow money off a relative to retire on Taboga. He was refused the loan, and subsequently moved on to Polynesia. I was on a mooring for 3 or 4 months in an area not more than 300 yards from the old infirmary, the remains covered over completely by the tropical foliage. At low tide, when there is in fact a walkable beach, (There is an 18ft tidal range in this area) I would anchor my dinghy off the beach and explore, looking for signs of the past, looking for history that was so fresh in my mind

One morning upon waking up, following my routine of putting on a pot of coffee, gazing around at a panorama of tropical splendor, I found myself in quiet meditation and became instantly inspired by a quiet voice appealing to my conscious mind, the persona of Paul Gaughan.. my reaction ..Thanks Paul... What was born, the basis of the Panamanian One Design. What came through was this. The engineering lines of the US One Design representing the inheritance of the Panama Canal by Panama from the US... which physically occurred in the year 2000, combined with the engineering lines of the International One Design, representative of Panama‘s place at the crossroads of International Trade, combined with Panama‘s indigenous Cayuga. Not to forget the memorialization of the French effort and the loss of so many French laborers, the very elegant French designed and mfg. Isomat mast and boom....Paul Gaughan himself, represented in a small impressionistic interpretation of the Chinese Peony…the National flower of Hope in China. As mentioned earlier, their was one casualty in the Panama effort of independence a Chinese national a civilian…”All inspiration occurring in a matter of seconds”

My first impression, incredibly simple and elegant befitting someone of the artistic caliber of Gaughan himself. Both the US One Design and International One Design can be viewed through Google search engine relatively easily. Both vessels in the definition and application of yacht design were based upon what is known as the 6 meter rule, a formula of yacht measurement. I would be remiss if I did not mention that perhaps my predisposition to be exposed to this inspiration was perhaps heightened in my euphoria in that recent World Series win by the New York Yankees, my team going back over 6 decades. The Panamanians big Yankee fans. Shortly thereafter, I wrote up a paper on this vessel perhaps a bit of self serving, but expressing exactly my feelings as I had viewed it at that time with no thought of its potential application. I’m a boat designer, that’s what I was educated 8 years, and trained to do. I gave a copy to the man I leased the mooring from, telling him that some of the residents of Taboga would perhaps like to read about it. This was warmly received by several acquaintances I knew in the 4 months moored out on the Island’s waters.

I will go into the Physical description of the vessel, it’s purpose and the significance of what a One Design actually means; but first, I would like to mention there was no consideration for even possible development until over a year later. My primary focus was to cross the Pacific. There were certain issues on my boat needing to be addressed and it was an El Nino year not the best conditions for me at the time heading across the Pacific; so, :I decided to head to the yard at the Balboa Yacht Club instead. There is a limited window of crossing the Pacific, usually February through March the most ideal.

Taking a cab into town early one morning, passing through a slum area, the worse I ever did see. I saw a good looking young man dressed in whites. The same uniform the cadets wear at the US Naval Academy, spotless shoes shined. This is the dress of the students who attend both on a high school and University level the maritime academies in Panama City. They also wear the informal Kacki uniform on days as well.. Of course I‘ve seen these young men and women many times, particularly in the local malls in Panama City,: but this somewhat incongruent site had a striking effect on me. I was soon to find out they had no training, or hands on experience, yet they are training to be part of the large maritime service industry in Panama, or merchant seamen. They row on blocks in the classroom, so I’ve been told

The thought of the of the Panamanian One Design resurfaced. I initially considered a practical way of financing these vessels. First, I thought, appealing to the business community, but; soon realized that contributions to charitable causes were not part of their vocabulary and that I was spinning my wheels. Then it dawned on me, it’s an educational program for the youth of Panama, the maritime cadets. Get the international maritime community who ply the Canal to make tax free contributions. This would enable setting up some sought of Foundation idea, something like a 501c3 program. A friend in Panama, Rex who like me was in the maritime business as a sailor, Rex holding an unlimited Master’s license, now associated with a shipping agency in Panama, thought it a marvelous idea. I proposed that after the legal organizational apparatus was in place, solicitation of funds could begin. Rex was also a friend of the Minister of Education who thought it a wonderful plan. If any law was needed in Panama, it probably would easily pass. One must realize that a firm like Mersk spends over a million dollars a day sending their ships across the Canal in both directions every day.. A Company like Shell spends 4 billion dollars alone in legal fees a year. Certainly firms like this would be more than happy to make appropriate contributions. I was also acquainted with the head toll collector of the Canal, an American, and have talked to him at length about one significant point, the priority of vessels crossing the Canal. Irrespective of the monetary fees, the competition for priority is fierce. Delays can cost companies thousands of dollars when spots are not readily available. They will from time to time have open bidding on availability. Never come between a mother and her child’s education. The Minister of Education is actually a woman, an ex TV station news personality. There are many, many companies crossing the Canal; hypothetically, should certain interests prove to be recalcitrant, they may get a visit from a nice young lady in a white hard hat, looking for the Captain, informing him about his delay because he did not submit a form, as a hypothetical example, a crew swine flu exemption waiver form 3S285... potentially costing a company thousands of dollars in delay time… needless to say that’s what’s called political power. It’s not the intention to hold up companies or twist arms for contributions, but it’s possible, It’s to the companies own best interest to get a highly trained educated work force to manage affairs related to the industry. I’ve crossed the Canal many times and somewhat familiar with protocols. My last trip was while sailing on a ship, chartered by Shell Oil. We loaded in Houston bound for Long Beach California with a fuel additive needed to meet California emission standards.. very important, we had top priority on arrival, anchored no more than 12 hours, then passage through the Canal. Our agent spending big bucks for that slot.. My point in all this is that funding will be ample and companies eager to help, appreciating all the dynamics of involvement.

Entre Dos Aguas

So what are the contributions for? Using an arbitrary figure, close to the mark... 30 Panamanian One Design Sailboats. These are day sailing sail boats with trailers to train the maritime cadets to sail, then upon proper demonstration and application, race competitively both on the Atlantic and Pacific sides…”That’s why it’s called “Entre Dos Aguas” in English “Between Two Waters”. The organization financed through the aforementioned contributors will, in addition, finance the training through such an organization as the U.S. Sailing Association. Young people coming down setting up a Panamanian Sailing Association instructing and training this Association to train these kids how to sail and how to race these vessels. It is the intention that within three years to commence in the development of a Panamanian Olympic Sailing Team and establish an International Olympic Sailing Facility. There is no better place quite possibly on both Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean to inaugurate a facility of this nature. Weather permits 365 days a year sailing in various and differing conditions on both sides within two hours of each other. For sailing “It’s God’s Country“…particularly in the winter months...Once the spark is lit, and the wind blows, the fire to expand will be prolific…notwithstanding an entire new industry will be developed in this quickly emerging nation.

In the 4 years that I spent in Panama, I have seen 3rd world old U.S. used school busses employed as de rigueur transportation, to the recent deployment of modern air conditioned busses with “No rap music: (LOL) now standard first world equipment. The undergoing efforts to build a subway system in Panama City was in full bloom when I left. I might suggest at this point that one Google the additional new locks that will be opened soon, hopefully for the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal to accommodate even larger ships over 1000 ft.

Is It Practical:

The cost of each boat and I may be on the high side: but, I can do that because I feel money is no major consideration because ALL costs are moderate. Each boat with trailer should not exceed an estimated ball park figure $35,000 dollars to maybe $40..a cost approximately one million dollars for the entire fleet built in Panama…In short the physical facilities are already in place to launch these boats, with a little improvement, with a much improvement planned implemented as the program expands. “My point, when everything seems to fall in place, it’s a good sign it’s meant to be.

To be more specific first about the boat, then about the tactical plan to build and implement the program I’ll begin with the specifics of the Panamanian One design. The boat is approximately 30 ft long weighs about 3500 lbs with a trailer for mobility. The sails: A Headsail, Mainsail and Spinnaker.. The training to teach, the respective crew of three sailors per boat, to sail and ultimately compete in a triangular course sailing to weather on a mark positioned upwind.. rounding and proceeding cross wind on a reach and then to the finish downwind employing a Spinnaker.

How do I expect going about effecting this Plan

I thought probably return to the States to finish the plans initiating the technical plans and arranging construction for the prototype; in addition initiating the legal apparatus for the tax free structure for contributions with adequate legal assistance.

My first choice is to have the prototype built in the North East.. When the prototype is built, plan on negotiations with a reputable mfg. of series fiberglass molders of sailboats.. . After appropriate licensing agreements.. I would intend to send some very reputable personal friends of mine, a New Zealand boat builder who has been building boats in Panama over 30 years to the facility for orientation to begin construction of these boats in Panama. I might add, I have already talked to him about this plan.. One point here it’s not appropriate to expect me to give you a proper rendering. now. Google a 5.5 meter sailboat which has many of the stylistic characteristics of the vessel. You might want also Google the US One Design and the Intl. One Design, as mentioned earlier to view a family similarity between all these boats, the latter two influencing the design as stated earlier. the Panamian Cayuga suggesting added beam and canoe shaped midsection with a leaded removable bolted semi full keel.

What does these sailing boats specifically have to do with Education

There is a lot more at stake than what you may casually think at this stage. As Panama begins emerging from a third world status, and I say emerging, perhaps an explosion in 2014, the need .for a well rounded and well educated young person is vital. Currently this is not the case. Granted the children go to school, learn the 3 R’s but they have not learned a sense of leadership and responsibility. This can be traced to their relationship to the U.S. While we were in possession of the Canal the indigenous population always worked in the subservient positions. They did their jobs, most of which were menial, got paid and that’s it.. A person like that does not need to take responsibility. These were low paying jobs, the standard of living in most cases fairly low.. Let me be a little more dramatic, the city of Colon is considered in Panama to be a “Hell Hole”…some of the older residents like my taxi driver Ellington, who I befriended while staying at the Panama Canal Yacht Club, told me Colon use to be a nice city. Back in the 40’s, many of the residents spoke English, they worked for the Americans and got paid well. When the US pulled out, they had no more work. There was no entrapaneurship, so they turned to crime. They are so socially and spiritually undeveloped that when a James Bond movie was being shot several years ago, Colon was used to simulate Haiti.. (and that alone says much) about the level of poverty. They could not get the people to work as extras...(how pathetic)... they had to go to Panama City and bus the people. Crime is rampant.. ”I got held up at gunpoint, losing my passport “my first day in town” My engine and dingy stolen first day in the flats… let’s not forget the students are maritime cadets.. I expect the program and its potential areas of expansion to be prolific, reaching into these hopeless slums... There are many students in Colon, bussing in each day to these schools in Panama City, one hour away by bus. I must add as an aside most people, on an executive level who work in the maritime areas offshore as well as office personnel, Americans, are generally avid recreational sailors.. the motivation of many to enter the profession.

I sailed from Florida, around the Caribbean and then like many cruisers to Panama on the Atlantic side where there is an international congregation of sailboats who cross the Canal to the Pacific side to join another congregation. In the months January and February close to 200 vessels are at anchor from all around the world. Most boats poised to cross the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia and beyond, some coming down from the West Coast of Canada and the US on their way to the Atlantic side. Many others from Europe who sailed across the Atlantic on the southern route, crossing the Canal on their way across the Pacific.. It’s quite a site yet sailing is alien to the Panamanian culture. Much can be accomplished with the implementation of this program in education and the realization of their heritage as a nation situated between two waters at the crossroads of International Trade.. This need is vital, not only to educate but to aid in the political stability of the region. (I’ll touch upon this in the next paragraph) but it is also important and worth mentioning on an economic standard it will open needed channels of this emerging industry particularly in the service field of chandleries and sail makers servicing the specific needs for sailors, so sourly lacking as I and many others, painfully experienced.

It would be satisfying to no end to see a young Kuna Indian raised up on the water, or a descendant of a Jamaican or Santo Domingo laborer on the Canal, who generally was immune from malaria or yellow fever, from this humble heritage, a descendent, a sailor on the Panamanian Olympic team.

I previously alluded to perhaps an important aspect to this program in the field of politics. On the surface Panama would appear, viewing its Skyline, modern beautifully designed buildings in the down town area of Panama City, the Nation’s Capitol, and the presence of modern shopping Malls’ rivaling anything you would see in the States. On the surface only, appearance of a rather modern society. This is simply not the case. Much can be traced to the fact that it is one of the largest factors in money laundering particularly by the drug trade, much attributed to nearby Columbia. This does not benefit society, in the least, and has rendered a non existent aire of sophistication. Slum areas and ignorance, particularly sanitation in these slums are more the rule than the exception, salaries are low. In 1989 Operation “Just Cause” was launched to win back Panama from the drug dealer Noriega. Make no mistake, this could happen again, another costly Operation of necessity. We were all familiar with Hugo Chavez the butcher of Venezuela. This man was in office ONLY because of the ignorance, and lack of education of that majority who voted for him.. I saw his invasiveness even in Panama. He was selling fuel off his anchored fishing fleet, which is, so I was told, owned by his brother, gasoline for 25 cents a gallon to the native population of Taboga, the island I mentioned earlier. With an uneducated population a man like this would appear to be a savior, that’s how they get into office.. I could never even imagine sailing to Venezuela, I’d last less than 48 hrs. before I would be killed. The police turn the other way, It’s open season on cruisers, particularly American.. If they don’t run you over coming in on a dinghy, they will shoot you in a convenience store. That’s the way it is. When the police look the other way, and crime is unofficially tolerated watch out. This could happen anywhere particularly in the volatility of Central America.. I’ve seen portions of our foreign policy in action. .Waiting for a Taboga Ferry one Sunday afternoon.. I got talking to a US Naval Officer, while watching an NFL game on TV at the outdoor restaurant. He was the logistics Officer on this US drug interdiction vessel. They were at anchor on a planned visit. He was telling me about these Columbian submarines. They would spot one of these crafts, they would invariably surface.. the crew escape and sink the vessel all in one swoop eliminating the evidence, his vessel now postured, little more than rescuing a distressed crew. I was amazed at the cost and technology of these drug dealers. He told me that anchored off not more than a mile from this restaurant, the Navy was spending about $120,000 call it foreign aid money. I’ve also seen similar practice by the US in Costa Rica When I think of this, facetiously I see with a degree of irony Entre Dos Aguas could give the State Dept a lot more bang for the buck in stabilizing the region particularly in the attention drawn upon the emergence of a Panamanian Olympic Sailing Team bred upon their native waters. The inevitable pride of the people of this small nation of 3 million people. The identification of this program, from the U.S. to the education of their children would have a ringing effect. The region never forgot the clubbing they took from Teddy Roosevelt in 1903 “speak softly but carry a big stick” …This alone is fair justification of this simple, modest in expenditure by comparison program. It points in the right direction for many positive reasons, like the Tradewinds point to sailing westward across the Pacific.

For some of the reasons I mentioned, and briefly touching upon the practicality of application, I foresaw a potentiality a considerable amount of funds apportioned to Entre Dos Aguas, especially with the various contributors, before their eyes, seeing the positive results of this program. I see a considerable amount of funding inuring to the Foundation from many other International areas as well. These funds designed specifically for educational purposes needs responsible and moral organization for its distribution and management. It needs to set an example by producing and demonstrating one of the finest intercollegiate sailing teams setting an educational example for these kids.. It is possible looking positively to the future, keeping in mind the location of the orgazational physical plant in Panama the development of an International learning center and library. I can see important business leaders, such as those who frequent the conferences of Davos Switzerland. coming to the area for business conferences, and ’don’t forget recreation” in a tropical nautical environment, “much already in place“. One needs to go to Ft. Lauderdale, or Miami to view more sport fisherman boats proximate to the intended. physical presences, of the area slated for “Entre Dos Aguas”. A 10 minute helicopter ride from the private airport.15 minutes from the International Airport; in addition an easily accessible area by auto. Current neighbors the Smithsonian Institute’s facilities and a new Frank Geary Museum.,. the architect noted for his design of University buildings .But let us not forget that the discipline and sport is also “Fun in the Sun” closely associated with glamour fashion and good taste attracting substantial business interests. .

Being so intimate with all this, which to my mind is so simple, I’ve found to many confusion as it may relate to many people which is understandable. I would be happy to elaborate upon any and all areas to alleviate problems of understanding..

Before the turn of the 20th century few are aware of the genesis of the modern Olympics. A field on the campus of Princeton University. Many thought this professor somewhat cracked with his assemblage of student athletes who were translating the games from a book on ancient Greece. From interpretation and translation emerged, swimming, shot put, Javelin throwing, the cornerstone, the Olympic race of 26 miles + the additional yardage.. The movie humorous in nature points out at the beginning the “resistance of the empty values of the Ney -Sayers” both in his endeavors and development of this team as they went to Greece and competed with several other countries including Greece.. who remembers this? Very few I trust....human nature doesn’t change easily.

I can’t foresee the future with guarantees. But I do know when there is a favorable breeze