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Old 14-11-2014, 13:59   #1
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Too Wide for Some Canals?

I've been watching some clips of the show Distant Shores and I noticed when they went to Europe they traveled through some very narrow canals and lochs in their Southerly 49. As a man planning to buy a cat, it got my wondering how many places do you lose access to with a wide cat?

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Old 14-11-2014, 17:33   #2
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

AFAIK, all the British and Irish canals, many of the European and Scandanavian ones, easier to find only ship canals, and make sure the locks and canals are wide enough for your beam on a case by case basis. Or, you could hire a canal boat where you can't take the cat, so as to at least have the canal experiences.
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Old 14-11-2014, 17:41   #3
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

18' or so is the max for the French canals.
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Old 14-11-2014, 19:16   #4
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

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18' or so is the max for the French canals.

We are in the beam range, what about the draft?


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Old 14-11-2014, 19:18   #5
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

This fellow has the answer
Canal Routes to Med
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Old 14-11-2014, 19:18   #6
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

Keep in mind that the British canal system is designed around 50' long and 7' wide. Even most 40' sailboats are going to be too wide for much of the canal system there.
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Old 14-11-2014, 19:46   #7
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

5' is generally considered max on draft, I do know a couple that told me they made it from the med to holland via canals with 6.5' but they told me it was very difficult with lots of plowing thru with the 85 hp Perkins in their 40' boat and of course they took only the deepest routes and this was 20 or so years ago. a purpose made canal cruiser is probably the best bet really or maybe the 26 or 31' prouts.
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Old 18-11-2014, 07:21   #8
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

Wow, the British canals sound crazy. With boats at 50' and no wider than 7' they must be pretty damn straight.

Tom
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Old 18-11-2014, 07:59   #9
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

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Wow, the British canals sound crazy. With boats at 50' and no wider than 7' they must be pretty damn straight.

Tom

Yep, they are pretty straight, on any tight bends they will be widened out a little.
About 72 feet is the max length of canal boats over here.

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Old 18-11-2014, 08:44   #10
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

The Gota Canal in Sweden is on my bucket list. I once rowed across the lakes of Sweden and promised myself a return. The entrance to the canal system is near Gothenburg and is about the same width as my beam of 24 feet. Does anyone know exactly if this can be done? Once past the entry lock all is good for me and it will be clear sailing (or, mostly motoring) all the way to Stockholm and the Baltic beyond.
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Old 18-11-2014, 08:51   #11
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

Canal cruising is ace.
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Old 18-11-2014, 09:19   #12
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

To clarify, the British canals are divided by narrow or wide.
- The narrow are the 7' beam limited canals.
- The others allow wider beams but many won't allow you to transit from sea to sea (they were originally built for farm to market purposes not transiting)

On the continent, if you stick to the commercial canals, they can handle fairly large beams as the commercial barges are fairly large. When you get off onto the smaller quieter canals, both depth and width can be an issue.

Also, don't forget air draft. Even with the mast down, some are still quite limiting.
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Old 18-11-2014, 17:23   #13
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

Just a bit more info re british canal system - true most of English canals are restricted to 7 feet - generally by the locks, although some rivers are accessible by larger craft.

However you would be hard pressed to fill the Scottish canal locks - which happily accept trawlers and biggish cruise vessels. They also join east to west - ie North sea to west coast scotland (Caledonian, Forth Clyde plus the Crinan which is a west coast short cut, all worth a visit.
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Old 18-11-2014, 18:30   #14
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

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However you would be hard pressed to fill the Scottish canal locks - which happily accept trawlers and biggish cruise vessels. They also join east to west - ie North sea to west coast scotland (Caledonian, Forth Clyde plus the Crinan which is a west coast short cut, all worth a visit.

Certainly hope to be visiting Crinan and the Caledonian next year (before the midges are about)
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Old 18-11-2014, 19:00   #15
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Re: Too Wide for Some Canals?

One of the Pardeys' books tells of their travels in the canals in France, and goes into the limits of depth and breadth but also, HEIGHT. Some of them are literally tunnels, and very much restricted in height. Others have draft limits--but a drought year can affect that in a big way. If you don't find specifics for all that, for the areas that you do want to go in, you might try to chase down their book.
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