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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Med
    Posts
    277

    Default French canals going north 2020?

    After 6 years in the med we are looking to return home via the French canals next year. The trip would be over a period of 2 to 4 months to allow a lot of site seeing and imbibing the local scenery!

    I have been researching the forums and the web but still have a couple of questions that I have not been able to answer:
    1) what is the best month to set off north.? Boat is a 48ft ketch with 6ft (1.8m) salt water draft.
    2) Approximate price to transport both masts, both booms, furler plus sails and battens to say Rouen.

    I hope that with the rig removed we will float a bit higher and even with the fresh water our draft would be about 1.75m.
    All help great fully received.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Inland France + Oxon.
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Through the French Canals

    Bonjour
    1) Best month to set off northwards, i.e up the Rhone would normally be May or after. In other words, after the heaviest of the rainfall feeding the river and after snow melt feeding the upper reaches or tributary rivers like the Isère. That said, we've done a downstream passage in April without any problems (or noticeably serious currents). And weather conditions can affect the river in any month, as can Mistral winds. The best policy is to be patient, waiting at Port St Louis (etc.) for a favourable forecast - just like 'normal' sailing, in fact.


    2) Mast transportation service link on this page and yes, Rouen is the optimal choice for re-stepping because one then travels the busy tidal river mast-up and stable.


    3) You will float approx. 2.5% lower in fresh water. 1.75m to 1.8m draft is feasible and you ought not to encounter too many serious problems, although you are 'at the limit'. The critical section is from the Saone through to Paris on the traditional canals and you should plan to take the 'Champagne' (Marne) route, not the 'Loire' (more westerly) option.


    Plenty of practical information (400+ pages) on French-Waterways.com
    Last edited by Grehan; 11-08-19 at 11:59.
    > french-waterways.com < Information+Inspiration!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Med
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Through the French Canals

    Many thanks Grehan for the links, I have spent the last couple of weeks going through them and extracting information.
    The plan is now to get to Port St Loui late May / early June and have the sticks removed and then make our way north via the Champagne route and Paris to Rouen where we will meet up with our rig and sails. We plan to take about three or four months with some side trips ( by road) to see rural France.
    We hope to meet south bound boats in Port St Louis to arrange a fender board and fender swop etc, so if you are going to be around in May June pm and we can make arrangements.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Ronda & Marbella Spain
    Posts
    3,394

    Default Re: Through the French Canals

    The mast is going to cost about 1400€ to transport and the boom another 200€. The mast needs the spreaders removing and it needs wrapping if you don´t totally undress it. I think sleeping bags plus gaffer tape is one method or bubble wrap. There are a couple of yards at Port Napoleon who will do the removal etc for you... Or DIY

    You are going to have problems getting close to the bank in the canals for the night so you need a long plank or passerel.. Plus a couple of stakes and a hammer to bash them in. mooring lines across the tow path to a tree or fence a big no no

    Its all in my book French Canal Routes http://www.gentlesailing.com/french_canal_routes.htm

    You need to contact Rouen in advance and make sure the mast length is not a problem...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Inland France + Oxon.
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Re: Through the French Canals

    Quote Originally Posted by rjcoles View Post
    Many thanks Grehan for the links, I have spent the last couple of weeks going through them and extracting information.
    The plan is now to get to Port St Loui late May / early June and have the sticks removed and then make our way north via the Champagne route and Paris to Rouen where we will meet up with our rig and sails. We plan to take about three or four months with some side trips ( by road) to see rural France.
    We hope to meet south bound boats in Port St Louis to arrange a fender board and fender swop etc, so if you are going to be around in May June pm and we can make arrangements.
    I wouldn't bank on swapping fender boards and fenders . . . although you might be lucky. However, fingers crossed for a couple of big round bow fenders which most won't want for sailing uses, and I reckon it would be fair to recompense for them, they don't come cheap!
    Not relevant for you, since you're transporting your mast, but it's more usual to hope to pick up mast supports from an 'outgoing' yacht (or at the yard), although even if that's possible they may well not exactly suit your boat and moving comfortably and safely around the boat, under the mast (which then also fits under traditional canal bridges) is important.
    https://www.french-waterways.com/pra...ab-content-0-4
    Fender boards are more relevant for 'traditional' locks than the big Rhone and Saone locks, which although large are fairly gentle.
    > french-waterways.com < Information+Inspiration!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Durban, South Africa. 'Elle' Briare FR
    Posts
    491

    Default Re: Through the French Canals

    I don't know what flag you fly (sometimes makes a difference) but don't be shy of asking if you can breast up to a moored boat which will effectively put your keel in deeper water but this does make taking bikes across other boats' decks an issue so you might need to compromise in these instances.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Inland France + Oxon.
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Re: Through the French Canals

    As is ever the case, it all depends.
    Over the years we've found that pontoons and other conventional moorings providing reasonable depth are fairly readily available, particularly at the villages and small towns one might actually want to stop at (for example, Briare, although that's not on the Champagne/Marne route). Not universally so, admittedly. In the countryside as well as 'mooring off' with plank access to the bank, it's also a recognised technique to moor at an angle, bows in, stern (and prop) out, although we've only done that where passing traffic will be light to non-existent - lunchtime closures and after navigation hours. And the OP's boat is near 16m long.
    Breasting/rafting is more associated with barges, which sometimes can't find the necessary free quayside/pontoon length. In fact the DBA provides 'Happy to be moored alongside' wheelhouse stickers. I think there was some discussion on their forum recently about the legalities of mooring alongside and someone found chapter and verse in the waterway regulations that actually laid down that any boat must allow this to happen where necessary. However . . 16m is quite long, perhaps too long for comfort alongside something smaller, 10-11m. In spite of the foregoing, it is not often seen, or understood inland IMHO. On a traditional canal two largeish boats side-by-side occupies a fair width and might affect passing boats that can't 'move over' due to keel(s) or draft.
    Too many boats ignore the requirement to slow down to 3kph when passing other boats, so wash needs to be foreseen, ropes-wise.
    All of this will only be relevant to the Marne Lateral and Marne-Saone (ie traditional) canals for the OP's route.
    > french-waterways.com < Information+Inspiration!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Inland France + Oxon.
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Re: French canals going north 2020?

    I doubt that one's flag would make any difference, one would either be accepted or turned away.
    Although after f*ing Brexit the British and their boats might end up banned entirely, in which case getting a suitable anglophone false flag of convenience could be useful. Or us poor benighted red ensigned souls might be given the utmost sympathy for our plight and a warm, sympathetic welcome extended.
    Who knows what things will be like in . . May-June 2020 . . .
    Last edited by Grehan; 30-08-19 at 15:31.
    > french-waterways.com < Information+Inspiration!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Inland France + Oxon.
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Re: French canals going north 2020?

    Oh, I also meant to comment that leapfrogging boat and car along the route using the train is very possible. Rivers and canals are usually found running through valleys, like railway lines. Takes a little bit of planning, sometimes some walking or bussing. But I don't think there are any tracks near the Marne-Saone canal.
    Last edited by Grehan; 31-08-19 at 08:19.
    > french-waterways.com < Information+Inspiration!

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