Skip to main content

Sic Transit

May 2024
1min read

Considering the toil, time, and hardship it took to build the Panama Canal (see page 64), it seems almost flippant to report that a three-foot-long model cruiser named Ancon II last year became the smallest vessel ever to pass through the Canal. The boat, built from a kit by Major Kenneth Thomas of the U.S. Air Force, made the journey from the Atlantic side to the Pacific in eight and a half hours. Ancon II carried two and a half gallons of fuel for her nine-tenths-of-a-horsepower engine. She could reach nine knots when fully loaded, twelve knots as she became lighter. The boat was guided by a radio transmitter and was lifted from one level to another through the locks by being tied to a control boat, aboard which was a Canal pilot. Major Thomas paid seventy-two cents for the fifty-mile transit, the minimum rate for a ship in ballast.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate