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Old 24-06-2017, 17:16   #1
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Interesting Western European canals

We are considering a boat for sail in France and it occurred to us that we could use it for a couple or three seasons in Europe before heading to the Caribbean. We would like to cruise to Scotland and the Baltic but are also interested in doing some canals in France or adjacent countries. This would be more of the experience than to actually get somewhere although I guess we could end up in the Med. What canals would people recommend? Years ago we did a week charter on the Canal du Midi and loved it. Would it be possible to do this canal with a boat with around 1.4 m draft? Thanks.
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Old 24-06-2017, 18:10   #2
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

You might be able to do the Midi with 1.4m but it will be tight. Firstly the minute you take a yacht into fresh water the depth increases. Not much but you don't have anything to spare to start with. Secondly during the summer the water levels are going to be lowish so you will be ploughing the mud with a fin keel and hitting rock were they cut the canal through bedrock.

https://www.french-waterways.com/pra.../canal-depths/

http://www.michaelbriant.com/sn6.htm

We can sail in 1.1m so could get through the Midi and the Nantes / Rance canals.


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Old 24-06-2017, 18:55   #3
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

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You might be able to do the Midi with 1.4m but it will be tight. Firstly the minute you take a yacht into fresh water the depth increases. Not much but you don't have anything to spare to start with. Secondly during the summer the water levels are going to be lowish so you will be ploughing the mud with a fin keel and hitting rock were they cut the canal through bedrock.

https://www.french-waterways.com/pra.../canal-depths/

Canal du Midi

We can sail in 1.1m so could get through the Midi and the Nantes / Rance canals.


Pete
Interesting. How much higher would it be in say April? Does it get snow melt from nearby mountains? We are totally flexible about timing.
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Old 25-06-2017, 05:42   #4
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

Yes, but it can vary year on year, its a bit like saying how much snow will Toronto have next winter.

Water depth in the Canal du Midi
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Old 25-06-2017, 06:13   #5
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

However, if you can do the Midi, it means you cut off the awful bash from Cape St Vincent to Cape Finisterre which is a long slog again prevailing winds and current. Getting out of Gibraltar can also be a slog.

So a month quietly wandering along the Canal Du Midi does sound quite tempting if you are going that way.

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Old 25-06-2017, 08:33   #6
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

You will really, really want different boats for European canals, and ocean crossing. The vessel does not exist which can do both well.

I would do the canals in a motorboat. Every inch of draft counts, you will need a lot of power motoring against river currents, and there will be very few sailing opportunities. I would love to do this myself, and it is definitely on my bucket list.

Then sell it and buy the yacht you want for the ocean.
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Old 25-06-2017, 09:52   #7
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

gotta drop the mast
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Old 25-06-2017, 09:58   #8
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

Years ago we could not make any westerly in the Chanel and after days in a very smelly Boulonge harbour, with moral dropping, we headed for back Calais, dropped the masts and made our way to the Med via the french canals. We had a fantastic time in Paris and at one point we were 1,000 feet above sea level and entered the Med at Port St. Louis. There are many routes and we had no problems with our draft. There are several canal guides books in English. It might be an idea to consider the above
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Old 25-06-2017, 11:40   #9
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

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gotta drop the mast
Full information for the canals and rivers is available by VNF (Voies Navigables de France) The authority of maintaining most of the France canals.

You can also cross the Netherlands and Belgium with a lot of rivers and canals.

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Old 25-06-2017, 14:35   #10
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

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Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
We are considering a boat for sail in France and it occurred to us that we could use it for a couple or three seasons in Europe before heading to the Caribbean. We would like to cruise to Scotland and the Baltic but are also interested in doing some canals in France or adjacent countries. This would be more of the experience than to actually get somewhere although I guess we could end up in the Med. What canals would people recommend? Years ago we did a week charter on the Canal du Midi and loved it. Would it be possible to do this canal with a boat with around 1.4 m draft? Thanks.
No problem, did Port St Louis to Paris with 1.5m Oh yes it was a long keel heavy displacement yacht great for ocean sailing
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Old 25-06-2017, 19:31   #11
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

A bit out of your area but the Mosel from Koblenz to Trier is a good one.
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Old 25-06-2017, 21:17   #12
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

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A bit out of your area but the Mosel from Koblenz to Trier is a good one.
Mosel Valley wine country. I've done it by land, and it's glorious
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Old 26-06-2017, 00:54   #13
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

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Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
Years ago we did a week charter on the Canal du Midi and loved it. Would it be possible to do this canal with a boat with around 1.4 m draft? Thanks.
Shared a beer yesterday with a couple who did it calais - Med. 1.7m draft. They loved it, but depth was tight and getting close enough in to the side of the canal to tie up could be a problem, the sides of the canal aren't vertical. Would be a lovely way to see the country though.
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Old 26-06-2017, 03:03   #14
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

I have a Dutch steel cruiser which I bought in Holland sailed it to Nueport across the Channel to Ramsgate then up to my home port of Grimsby. Then did the return journey and travelled down through France on the Inland canals and rivers with a few trips up the Canal du Midi. My boat is currently moored in Beaucaire at the Rhone end of the Canal Rhone a Sete. As I have now bought a sailing boat in Greece I am putting my boat up for sale. If you may be interested I could send you some photos and description of the boat. Hope you get your wish to do the journey you want to do and look forward to a reply.

Terry
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Old 26-06-2017, 11:32   #15
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Re: Interesting Western European canals

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Originally Posted by stewie View Post
Years ago we could not make any westerly in the Chanel and after days in a very smelly Boulonge harbour, with moral dropping, we headed for back Calais, dropped the masts and made our way to the Med via the french canals. We had a fantastic time in Paris and at one point we were 1,000 feet above sea level and entered the Med at Port St. Louis. There are many routes and we had no problems with our draft. There are several canal guides books in English. It might be an idea to consider the above
We've looked at doing this, but we have a 20' beam.

Maje
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