depth of the canal du midi and canal de Garonne - SailNet Community

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Old 04-22-2014
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ChuckBuck is on a distinguished road
depth of the canal du midi and canal de Garonne

Hi everyone.

I'm considering getting my sailboat from the UK to the med via the canal system.

Couple questions:

1) what's the max draft to do this comfortably? I draw 1.8M, and have heard mixed reviews about if this would work or not. I'd like to comfortably make it to the med without running aground daily, or worse, get stuck part way down only to have to turn around?
2) duration of time to allocate for this trip? we'd want to stop to take in the major sights but every day we spend on the cannal takes away from our 4-5 months sailing in the med.
3) what to do with the mast? the boat is 9.4m and the mast is 11.8m (so there is going to be some overhang if I bring it onboard. So Id need to either have it shipped to the med or rig it to the boat and navigate around it.
4) other suggestions? if the canal route doesn't work I will have to explore shipping (via truck) or having her delivered - but as it currently stands both options are beyond what I can afford.

thx in advance.

Chuck Buck
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Old 04-23-2014
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TQA TQA is offline
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Re: depth of the canal du midi and canal de Garonne

Check out this site. Maintained by someone who cruises the canals.

Waterway Depths, Heights and Widths |

A you can see from the map you should be OK at 1.80m on the blue route south. But expect some groundings in the 1.80 section.

Midi is too shallow Garonne might be marginal and more groundings are likely.

Lots of people have done this with the mast on deck but it is less fraught if you get someone to take it south for you.

These guys do it Yachtgraf

but there are others that come and go. Call the marina where you plan to pull the stick.

How long 2 months is about right to enjoy it but

By our reckoning, a direct passage through would take in the region of 30 days, although it’s also feasible to cut maybe a week out of this by going relatively non-stop. Conversely, taking in the sights and taking time to enjoy would add a week or more.
Costs? Anticipate a budget of 2,500€ (fuel, moorings and provisions)

Last edited by TQA; 04-23-2014 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 04-23-2014
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Re: depth of the canal du midi and canal de Garonne

We have done the Erie Canal is the US with the stick on deck and it is not too bad. I just commented on the difficulty on the Canal du Midi because of the unique lock design. I think on the other canals with parallel lock faces it should not be too bad. Here is a smallish boat in a lock. It looks OK but their mast does not seem very long.

Here is why it is so lovely. You can tie up anywhere, either in villages or just along the canal wall (they give you a couple of stakes and a sledge). We went out for lunch each day and went to the markets and vineyards to buy stuff for that night's dinner and the next breakfast. Plus there are lots of historical sites along the canal. Don't rush it. It will easily match up to any sailing you might do.

They planted something like 1.5 million plane trees along the canal. Unfortunately in some areas they did replant as the old ones died, but still

Heading back to Lake Ontario for this summer. Relatively few stops along the way from Grenada. Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin (must have something to do with the French food), then Bermuda, New England and up the Hudson/Erie Canal. We were going to go via Newfoundland and Labrador but June remembered that one of the kids is getting married this summer - details, details!

Last edited by killarney_sailor; 04-23-2014 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 04-23-2014
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Re: depth of the canal du midi and canal de Garonne

Travelling with the stick on deck is not bad at all if well placed and properly supported. I would recommend that if you are not a carpenter then have a carpenter build the rig. Unfortunately i see some very unseaworthy, cobbed together rigs travelling the canal. Triangles fore and aft with mid-bracing, with lots of rachet straps run as diagonol bracing.

Add this trip to my wish list.
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