Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 20-10-2014, 10:32   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Belgium
Boat: One-off Baron von Hoevell, 29ft steel classic
Posts: 334
Canal du midi as alternative to classic Atlantic roundtrip

Hi there,

I'm planning a roundtrip to the carribean, starting in Belgium in a few years. I was watching a documentary on the canal du midi the other night, and came up with this alternative to the classic crossings.

Technically it's perfectly possible to either follow the French coast or sail from the classic Biscay crossing ports in England towards Bordeaux. There you could, once the mast is lowered motor up the Garonne and continue up the Canal du Midi in Toulouse. 65 locks and 150m later, you'd end up on the Med, near Narbonne.

It would be a scenic ride, that's for sure, but there's a few possible "problems" with it I wouldn't mind having some other opinion on. So... What's your take on the following?

1. Timeframe

There is a fairly slow maximumspeed on the canal, and the locks don't operate at night. Going through them also takes time obviously. That combined with the total length of the waterway and the scenic stops inbetween, would it take longer to complete than the classic crossing to Portugal and following the coast? How much longer? How about the leg from Narbonne to Gibraltar?

2. Cost

I assume it'll be a lot more expensive going through the canal and shopping along the way rather then just sail down the coast, anchor for the night and do your shopping in the Iberian peninsula. Much more expensive though...?

3. Worthwhile

Do you think this is a worthwhile alternative? Or just something cool to do if you have loads of time and are really stoked about the canal and its surrounds?

I've been in the area a bunch of times, and really like it. Wouldn't go out of my way so much as to plan the whole trip around the detour though. Just something that sounded cool and might be worthwhile considering...
__________________

__________________
Orchidius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2014, 07:35   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Finland
Boat: Nautor's Swan 431
Posts: 16
Re: Canal du midi as alternative to classic Atlantic roundtrip

Hi, ten years ago I was told by several Yachtsmen that Canal du Midi is cruisable only if Your draught is around 1,4 m.


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________

__________________
ihe2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2014, 08:01   #3
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,596
Images: 240
Re: Canal du midi as alternative to classic Atlantic roundtrip

From Michael E Briantís excellent website
Canal du Midi ➥ Canal du Midi

Draft - 1.6 metres (5ft 2 inches) MAX! Less in high summer -
Width 5.5 metres - (18ft.)
Height 3 metres but be warned that the height of 3m is to the centre of the bridge arches - the sides may be as low as 2metres (6ft 5inches)
The length of the locks is 30metres (98ft 4inches)
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2014, 08:31   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Belgium
Boat: One-off Baron von Hoevell, 29ft steel classic
Posts: 334
Re: Canal du midi as alternative to classic Atlantic roundtrip

Thanks for the info guys!

The boat has a 1.65m draft according to the paperwork, I'll check that at some point.

Amazing that those big boats I've seen on the canal only draw 1.6m of water!
__________________
Orchidius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2014, 09:06   #5
Registered User
 
jstevens's Avatar

Join Date: May 2006
Location: On board Sarah, currently lying in Jacksonville, FL
Boat: Pearson, 424, 42', Sarah
Posts: 582
Images: 4
Re: Canal du midi as alternative to classic Atlantic roundtrip

16 years ago, I and a few friends chartered a self-drive barge on the Canal du Midi between Argens Minervois and Carcassonne. This was in early October, and I remember we passed a couple of medium-sized sailboats (30-35') heading toward the Med. So it is (or was) very doable.
However, I think most cruisers heading to and from the Med use the other canals from Paris to the Med via the Rhone River. Most use that route to avoid having to sail the Atlantic coast of France, Spain and Portugal. In order to enter the Gironde Estuary you will have to enter the Bay of Biscay, which means you will have completed what many consider the most problematic stretch of the Atlantic route. So if you go this route it would be for the scenery not to avoid an off-shore passage. I would do it myself just for the opportunity to once more O.D. each night on Cassoulet.

Good luck,
John
__________________
jstevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2014, 09:21   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Belgium
Boat: One-off Baron von Hoevell, 29ft steel classic
Posts: 334
Re: Canal du midi as alternative to classic Atlantic roundtrip

Hey John,

That makes a lot of sense, thanks for that!

So, just as a nice thinking exercice, what would a more favourable route be across France? And none of the other questions have been answered either: how about time/cost issues when taking this route?
__________________
Orchidius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2014, 10:10   #7
Registered User
 
jstevens's Avatar

Join Date: May 2006
Location: On board Sarah, currently lying in Jacksonville, FL
Boat: Pearson, 424, 42', Sarah
Posts: 582
Images: 4
Re: Canal du midi as alternative to classic Atlantic roundtrip

I initially planned to use the French waterways to get to the med for my European cruise starting in 2005. The plan was to use the Canal de Bourgogne to get from Paris to the Rhone River and then the Med. I abandoned that plan when the control depth for the canals was repeatedly lowered to under 1.6m (the draft of my boat). I didn't want to spend a week or more transiting the canals only to have to turn around due to depth issues. Since my planning and research is now almost 10 years old I can't offer much in the way of advice from that work. I recommend you investigate joining the Cruising Association (Public Home Page | CA) as they publish a number of guides to the waterways and likely have the most up-to-date information.

John
__________________
jstevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-10-2014, 10:21   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Belgium
Boat: One-off Baron von Hoevell, 29ft steel classic
Posts: 334
Re: Canal du midi as alternative to classic Atlantic roundtrip

How long did you estimate it would take you? To get from Paris to the Med? And where would you end up?

I'm not really looking forward to doing a ton of research towards this chain of thought if the research would end up showing it would be obviously unfeasable due to time-constraints...

I'm not "afraid" of Biscay, so that's not really an issue. Just thought it might have alternatives that are equally beautiful .
__________________
Orchidius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-10-2014, 13:18   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: UK/France
Boat: Gib'Sea 402
Posts: 217
Re: Canal du midi as alternative to classic Atlantic roundtrip

We did the canal de Bourgogne about six years ago. With a draft of 1.5m we only just made it and it's even worse now. Even 1.4m is marginal. There are other routes - Michael Briant's site has them. Once you get to the Saone then the Rhone there's no problem, though it's quite exciting if they're in flood.
I'm sure you can work out the distances, but it's a heck of a long way from the mouth of the Rhone to Gibraltar.

ps We did it with about 27 days travelling from Le Havre, though we met people who had done it in 21 days.
__________________
hoolie is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 29-10-2014, 17:46   #10
Registered User
 
Macblaze's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Edmonton/PNW
Boat: Hunter 386
Posts: 433
Re: Canal du midi as alternative to classic Atlantic roundtrip

I've done canal boating from Le Mas-d'Agenais to Montech. Its beautiful country and has great wine along the way.

I don't see why it wouldn't be doable in around 14 days and it's worth the slow pace.

The only thing I can contribute is that costs are pretty low. Avoid the marina's and stake up up on the canal banks. Hit the boulangerie's with the natives every morning and frequent the markets and you'll eat well and spend little.
__________________

__________________
---
Gaudeamus igitur iuvenes dum sumus...
Neverforever.ca
Macblaze is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Canal Du Midi Mibosa Powered Boats 2 15-09-2014 11:30
BVI-Culebra-BVI Roundtrip sloopguy Rules of the Road, Regulations & Red Tape 2 09-10-2013 15:49
Crew Available: Panama to Honduras, Panama Canal Line Handler, Atlantic Crossing baslovesailing Crew Archives 0 22-04-2012 22:27
Roundtrip Beaufort NC to Martha's Vineyard in a month vadrian Sailor Logs & Cruising Plans 1 16-01-2012 07:03
NYC to Montauk Roundtrip - Advice? Isaac Zal Sailor Logs & Cruising Plans 6 07-05-2009 08:59



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 13:31.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.