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Old 03-10-2020, 08:06   #1
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Canal du midi, 1.5 meter draft

At the moment our boat is moored in South Brittany. The plan is to continue south next summer in beginning of June. I have previously sailed across the bay of Biscay to Galicia and further south through Portugal. This time we are thinking about taking the short cut to the Med through the canal du midi. Of what I been able to figure out the maximum draft on paper is 1.5 meter but mixed reports of what the actual depth is. Have anyone passed through with a 1.5 meter draft recently. Is the canal an option?
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Old 06-12-2020, 15:37   #2
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Re: Canal du midi, 1.5 meter draft

Totally, I have done it many times on small boats.
1.5m to 1.8m is the max draft because the Canal no longer has the heavy traffic it used to have with the big barges.
Very soft bottom, you will be OK
June tends to have more water than September.
You dismast yourself under a crane or pole, secure the mast with fenders and off you go.
Beautiful and very different experience. Highly recommend
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Old 10-01-2021, 03:43   #3
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Re: Canal du midi, 1.5 meter draft

Thank you! Sounds promising! Do you now if there's a lot of variation in depths from year to year with droughts etc. Bumping the bottom from time to time with our full keel is no problem. My only concern is having to lifting the boat and putting it on a truck or being forced to turn around 2/3 in the trip.
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Old 10-01-2021, 04:45   #4
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Re: Canal du midi, 1.5 meter draft

Marcus, have seen the dozen or so videos Ruby Rose made of their trip last year. They have a Southerly 38 with lift keel, but even so ran aground a couple times with a draft of 80cm. Their twin rudders also cause problems close to the banks. I question the 1.8m that Gidday is suggesting, perhaps in the main North South French canals, but the Midi?


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Old 10-01-2021, 05:33   #5
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Re: Canal du midi, 1.5 meter draft

I'm with Pete7: At 1.5m draft'll go through other than at the end of late summer or during other periods of drought, you'll touch bottom along the way, but you'll be OK. 1.80m though will not make it nowadays; would it ever? It's not got any deeper and we were warned off almost twenty years ago with a 1.80m draft.
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Old 11-01-2021, 08:32   #6
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Re: Canal du midi, 1.5 meter draft

Thank you! A lot of information in the Q&A video from Ruby Rose. They assessed that 5 feet ~1.5 meters would be OK as well. Their main concern seemed to be crazy holiday "sailors" with more self-confidence than skill. Main advice was that you can't bring to many fenders
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Old 14-01-2021, 12:58   #7
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Re: Canal du midi, 1.5 meter draft

I think half a dozen motorcycle tyres might be better and leave them at the far end for someone else to use.

Love to hear how you get on, so do keep us informed
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Old 14-01-2021, 13:35   #8
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Re: Canal du midi, 1.5 meter draft

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcusD View Post
Thank you! A lot of information in the Q&A video from Ruby Rose. They assessed that 5 feet ~1.5 meters would be OK as well. Their main concern seemed to be crazy holiday "sailors" with more self-confidence than skill. Main advice was that you can't bring to many fenders
We rented a boat on the canal that was about 32'. I didn't count but we probably had 20 fenders that were permanently attached every where. If you know how to handles your boat you should not need a huge number. One of the tricky things, especially if you have your mast with you, is the shape of the locks. The walls are curved so you need to watch out as you enter and leave the lock.
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Old 18-01-2021, 21:46   #9
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Re: Canal du midi, 1.5 meter draft

We did Canal Du Midi in a Le Boat a few years ago. A 42 ft single engine affair, with a bow thruster. And maneuvering into the locks (there are a LOT), we used the thruster as they typically pack it full. There were some other charterers that we ran across that obviously were not boaters, and they would tend to play bumper boat coming into the locks. The Le Boat was lined with permanent fenders. One of them managed to ram the gate after it closed, and I really thought the Frenchman was going to hang the German charterer right there. Damn if he didn't do it again at the next lock. Too much wine. But all of that said, vertical clearance for us under those bridges was an issue, and you had to go thru dead center of the arch. With the way they back the locks - and as someone pointed out, they are curved - there is no way I would try to make that run with my mast on deck and sticking out in front and/or back. If you value being a sailboat again at the end.
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Old 05-08-2021, 01:07   #10
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Re: Canal du midi, 1.5 meter draft

Thank you all for the info! In the end we decided to go along the French and Spanish coast. Great sailing, nice small fishing ports in northern Spain, amazing food and great climbing and hiking up in the picos de europa. The canals will have to wait for another time.

Marcus
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