Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: French Canals

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    16

    Default French Canals

    I am planning a trip on the French Canals and am seeking advice in particular and in general.
    My boat is a Legend 356. She has bilge keels, draws 1.52m, is 10.82m LOA with a mast length dismounted of 15.8m.
    I am concerned about 5m of mast overhanging the boat and wonder at the practicality of carrying the mast on board or whether to consider having it transported to my destination. Has anyone done it with this amount of overhang? Would you do it again and what advice would you give?
    My other specific query is about the dismasting process. I plan to have this done at LeHavre and would like to have some idea of how much preparation is required by me or does the boatyard take care of everything. Do I remove the sails - the main furls in the mast - is it practicable to leave it there? Do I need to give the yard notice of my arrival or do I simply turn up?
    In terms of general advice anything you consider relevant would be most welcome.
    Regards to all. Mike Martin

    <hr width=100% size=1>

  2. #2
    chrisc is offline
    Location : SWEDEN and working again UGH.....
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    785

    Default Re: French Canals

    2.5 Metres front and back doesnt sound too bad.
    we took our Bav 34 down from amsterdam to med. with mast on ,propobally
    2 metres either end . with sail rolled inside -best place too keep it !
    There are advantages to having the mast on very usefull for putting a cover on
    if it rains ,or,as you get south, for a sun cover .as to masting and demasting,we have usually done this ourselves with hand operated cranes in marinas etc.but have twice used shipyards 'proper 'cranes to do the raising and lowering while we do all the attaching and detaching of shrouds ,furlex and backstay. these are the only connections that have to be dissasembled at this stage as you should already
    have taken boom off with sheets and diconnected electrics at base of mast and made a neat bundle of all the halliards on the mast .dropping the mast only takes 10 minutes although if you are going on canals you will have already sorted some frames for supporting the mast (simple X frame fore and aft ,and a support in centre propobally bolted on the mast step?)I think we are a Blåse about this as we take the mast down every winter .main problem can be the weight the mast this is quite a bit with inmast reefing ,but we have always managed with just two of us.

    <hr width=100% size=1>

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: French Canals

    Thanks Chrisc for helpful guidance. Did you take any precautions to protect the mast in the locks?. I have heard tales of yachts swinging violently as locks are filled with resultant damage to mast overhangs - I take it you didn't encounter such problems - or were sufficiently prepared.

    Mike Martin

    <hr width=100% size=1>

  4. #4
    jerryat is offline Registered User
    Location : Nr Plymouth
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    3,570

    Default Re: French Canals

    Hi Mikey9!

    I agree with Chris's comments and have also made the trip from the Med to Honfleur with the mast aboard. Ours had an overhang of just under 2 metres each end and caused us no problems. However, we removed ALL the masthead equipment (transducer, VHF aerial, Windex etc) and simply tied a mini tyre over the end.

    Yes, one or two locks were a bit splashy, but generally the locks are extremely well maintained and the flows controlled automatically and will cause you no concern.

    One thing to remember, which we believe it to be absolutely essential. Most problems with the mast come as a result of the bow swinging inwards/outwards towards the lock side. If the masthead does bump the side and is fixed in place by a 'A' type frame, you definitely risk bending or other damage to the mast. To eliminate this, ensure that your forward support frame has a FLAT top (say 450mm wide) and lightly lash your mast to this, but obviously in a way that prevents it falling off each end. The mast can then move in the event of a bump and absorb the knock before any damage is done. It really does work!!!

    Don't get overly concerned about the locking procedures though, as I say above, where they are still manually operated you will never have a problem (a beer for each lock-keeper will be very well received and will assure you a smooth passage through each lock!!) and even the massive locks on the Rhone are amazingly gentle considering the huge quantities of water being used.

    Just relax, don't get impatient if there's a slight delay, enjoy the fabulous scenery, the people, wine and food, and you'll arrive in the Med. almost with a sense of disappointment!!

    Have a great time!

    Jerry

    <hr width=100% size=1>

  5. #5
    chrisc is offline
    Location : SWEDEN and working again UGH.....
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    785

    Default Re: French Canals

    We didnt have anyting on our mast foot and did scratch the anodising of the base
    it would be sensible to put a pad of some sort on front of mast.many people have a bucket over front of mast I think this helps give you something to focus on ,it can be difficult to estimate the length of the mast in front of you .Only other damage incurred was when I trapped the flag in between bollard and rope when going down in lock ,looking forward talking when theres this bang from behind me and the flag pole had broken off.


    <hr width=100% size=1>

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    394

    Default Re: French Canals

    I agree with everything said so far except that there are some locks are a bit "fierce". There's one at St Omer that has a rise of 13 metres and it chucked us about a bit. We had an overhang of about 4 metres and had more of it at the stern so that we could pull the bow into the wall and ensure that the masthead was kept clear of the wall at the stern. We also fixed a stout pole across the pullpit such that it would bear against the wall if we were swinging about, and thus reduced the risk of the pullpit banging against the wall as we rose or decended.
    We found all the lock keepers were a pleasant bunch (all civil servants) and many would be pleased to sell you a kilo of spuds or a dozen eggs.
    I agree absolutely that it's better to rely on yor own efforts to lower and raise your mast. You cannot guarantee that there will be anyone (or any facilities) to do it, despite what all the books say.
    Make sure that you paperwork is correct. The French Customs give no quarter if you have anything missing or incorrect.

    <hr width=100% size=1>

  7. #7

    Default Re: French Canals

    I like the idea of a post athwartships at the bows to protect the mast - didn't think of that. We fixed a sausage fender either side of the mast at the front to absorb any shocks from contact with lock walls. It doesn't matter how careful or well prepared you are, sooner or later it will happen - so devise something but don't worry unduly about overhang - any contact is usually gentle.

    Make sure you are positioned near to the rear of the lock when ascending, where the turbulence is least. Never enter a lock while a peniche ahead is still getting into position or you run the risk of getting propwashed. It happened to us once and we were spun through 180 degrees! If you don't have cleats amidships, I would advise fitting them. Sometimes you need to secure the boat quickly, maybe to a lock ladder while you sort out bow and stern lines. You might only get the chance to moor to a single point, say a floating bollard, and a line from the centre of the boat is very useful.

    You should have a great time doing the trip. My wife and I were surprised at how much more enjoyable the experience is than we had anticipated. That's why we are only as far south as Digoin at the bottom of the Canal Lateral a la Loire after 2 years. Incidentally, we found depth way down for a stretch of 6.5km between locks 5 and 6 on this canal - guaranteed only to 1.4m at the moment, due to a leak that they can't trace. We ploughed through with our draught of 1.6m so I guess the composition of the bottom is soft but the tiller felt stiff and lifeless. If you plan on going south by the canaux du centre you might want to check this. Apart from that, we found plenty of water throughout.

    I agree about the use of a mast as a frame to support an awning - absolutely essential that you have cover from both sun and rain, I believe. We dropped our mast in Calais and did all the work ourselves except operating the crane. Cost about £7.00!

    <hr width=100% size=1>

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    8,347

    Default Re: Propwash

    Snap, I got cocky and followed a peniche in - it bounced me off the lock gate, luckily I had large ‘space hoppers’ as bow fenders.

    <hr width=100% size=1>

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: French Canals

    Hello Peter. Thanks for info and encouragement. After 2 years you must know all the angles which encourages me to pose a few more questions. - whats the availability of fuel?. & fresh water?, & how often can you pick up shore power?, & presuming you are not permitted to discharge effluent into the canals, can you
    get your holding tank emptied regularly?
    Regards Mike Martin

    <hr width=100% size=1>

  10. #10

    Default Re: French Canals

    Hello Mike,

    Finding fuel has never been a problem. We carry 18 gallons only, split between fixed tank and jerry cans but we have never run short. Buy the Navicarte charts and they show places to stop, nearby villages, location of garages, supermarkets etc. You can order them online from Bookharbour. If you don't have folding bikes, it might be worth considering getting them. A collapsible shopping trolley is another useful addition - makes the job of ferrying diesel cans much easier.

    There are marinas, though I use the word loosely, dotted around, which have water and electricity. There is also a reasonable number of quays with services that are provided by the local authorities, sometimes free. The frequency of these stops increases as you head further south. When you do have to pay, you will be pleasantly surprised at the cost, typically about £5.00 or less for a night, reducing sharply for a longer stay. These stopovers can't be considered numerous but they always seem to crop up when you need them.

    As far as effluent is concerned, holding tanks are optional in practice. Even if you do have one fitted you are unlikely to find anywhere to empty it. I have noted only one place where this has been possible, so you only have one option. Everyone does it-no one talks about it. This probably sounds pretty horrid but the canals are not as polluted as you might imagine; the numbers of people fishing bear this out. I met a couple who swam from their boat every day without getting ill.





    <hr width=100% size=1>

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •