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Old 17-05-2008, 02:31   #1
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French Canals - Depth and Height Limits?

Hi all,

Im sorry if this has been asked before- I searched but couldn't find anything.
I would love to get from Northern France to the Med via the canals. Does anyone know the max draft/ height out of water for a boat to do this? We have a 5.8ft draft and Im not convinced we could do it.... although I am contemplating massive inflatable cushions tied underneath our keels to lift us up a bit!!

Thanks
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Old 17-05-2008, 02:45   #2
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funny thing....I was just looking up the same question....seems that 1.8 metres will get you a lot of the places but my new boats 2 metres restricts me enormously. I am amazed that some canals are as shallow as 600 mm !! Way back then when I first started the project , I was going to reduce the keel height and put a lead torpedo on to keep the ballast low. Too much trouble. Sort of wish I had now. My other boat would be ideal (1.4) but I aint sailing it there !!
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Old 17-05-2008, 03:56   #3
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Canal Routes to Med

About a quarter of the way down the page there's a listing of draft/height restrictions.
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Old 17-05-2008, 07:25   #4
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Quote:
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funny thing....I was just looking up the same question....seems that 1.8 metres will get you a lot of the places but my new boats 2 metres restricts me enormously. I am amazed that some canals are as shallow as 600 mm !! Way back then when I first started the project , I was going to reduce the keel height and put a lead torpedo on to keep the ballast low. Too much trouble. Sort of wish I had now. My other boat would be ideal (1.4) but I aint sailing it there !!

Can 2 metres get you anywhere in the canals?? Lazy french- couldn't they have just dug the thing a bit deeper!! When you thinking of coming over?

Knottybuoyz- brilliant link. Thank you very much.
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Old 17-05-2008, 09:50   #5
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Can 2 metres get you anywhere in the canals?? Lazy french- couldn't they have just dug the thing a bit deeper!!
I suspect it has a bit more to do with them filling in over the years.
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Old 17-05-2008, 19:58   #6
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......
Quote:
Can 2 metres get you anywhere in the canals?? Lazy french- couldn't they have just dug the thing a bit deeper!! When you thinking of coming over?

Knottybuoyz- brilliant link. Thank you very much.
Yep it sure does look like I should have cut the bottom off : (


Not likely to be over for quite some time. I just like to spend some hours going through options and gathering up information. Would love to visit though, my mums side of the family are all in the uk.
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Old 18-05-2008, 03:30   #7
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I suspect it has a bit more to do with them filling in over the years.
Waddya think they do with all the empty wine bottles?

Some of the canals go back to roman occupation times and I don't think they had any concerns for modern fixed keel boats. It's still a dream of ours to someday have our lil' trawler floated across the big pond to Eu and putter along the canals.
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Old 18-05-2008, 03:41   #8
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hey now theres a weird but possible idea. I could cut the keel off and plate it (would only take two days including painting) dont need it in the canals. Send the keel by truck to the other end and stitch it back on !! Being a steel boat its not that hard to do. Strange idea but...... : )
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Old 21-05-2008, 02:46   #9
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hey now theres a weird but possible idea. I could cut the keel off and plate it (would only take two days including painting) dont need it in the canals. Send the keel by truck to the other end and stitch it back on !! Being a steel boat its not that hard to do. Strange idea but...... : )
There are no words!!!
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Old 21-05-2008, 05:06   #10
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yes there is...
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Old 29-05-2008, 13:32   #11
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Canals of Europe

We're sitting at Port St. Louis waiting to start north when we get our bent shaft repaired (see tech forum). We came down from Copenhagen in 2000. The max draft is indeed 1.8 meters and the air draft is 3.5 except in a couple of places--3.2m, but you don't have to go thru there to get from No. Europe to the Med. We've been in the Med for 8 years and now we're going back up. We just draft 1.5m, so no problem. I've suggested to a friend that they unbolt the 2m keel and pour a half meter concret 'shoe' and come with us. He didn't go for it, but some of you might!

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Old 27-08-2008, 12:39   #12
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hi

Saw your note on canals etc through europe - try the dutch barge association at http://www.barges.org/. They have route maps and depths, bridge heights etc for just about the whole network.
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Old 28-08-2008, 00:52   #13
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We've just come back from a week away hiring a small river cruiser in the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy. Have put some pictures on the blog - amazing week really considering I am not really a motor boat man.
But what did surpise me was the relative low cost of river cruisers (we were offered a 35 foot steel /100 hp tidy looking coastal cruiser for 40,000 euros), the number of deserted yachts simply left tied to river banks, and the amount of dirt carried on board plus the bashing and crashing these boats take in traversing the lock systems.
I'd suggest if one wishes to cruise the canals longer term, it might make sense to buy a purpose built second hand river cruiser one end, spend the time needed, and sell it at the other end. I seriously doubt the depreciation would equal the preparation and maybe damage repair costs if doing it on ones own yacht.
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Old 05-11-2009, 22:41   #14
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We are planning a trip through the Canal systems of Europe, down the River Danube and out into the Black Sea.

We would then like to sail south into the Aegean Sea, around the Greek Islands heading west until we finally make it back to France.
Our boat is a 24ft Hirondelle bridge deck catamaran, narrow enough to cope with canals but hopefully big enough to deal with the various challenges that such a voyage will bring to us.
We are looking for information from anyone who has done a similar voyage and who would be happy to share any information with us.
Look forward to hearing from you.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:57   #15
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French Waterways info.

Lots of information and photos on the Grehan website, including depths and heights.
VNF Facts and figures about costs, depths and heights in the French Canals and Inland Waterways - Grehan's French Inland Waterways, Rivers and Canals Information Guide
and routes through to the Med
Waterways routes through France - Grehan's French Inland Waterways, Rivers and Canals Information Guide
There are no 'Roman' waterways !!! and the waterways were built for barges and other shallow draft river transport, not yachts with long fins sticking out the bottom !!
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