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Go Back   SailNet Community > Contributing Publishers > Good Old Boat > Navigating locks
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-20-2014 05:28 PM
Re: Navigating locks

Any experience and advise dealing with the Panama Canal would be greatly appreciated. We are under 50'. Understood at that a true LOA ( measured including sprit and davits) under 50' we are allowed to not have to hire professional line handlers. Is that still true?
02-20-2014 05:13 PM
Re: Navigating locks

Whats the most important to remember from this?
01-03-2014 05:07 PM
robert lawson-smith
Re: Navigating locks

Being moored on the Thames near to Marlow there are 13 locks to navigate before the tidal waters of London . I find that putting a single loop round the locks stays and holding the rope in the hand is the safest method when going up or down. As the boat rises you can slowly play the rope in and take up the slack. When lowering you simply hold a small tension whilst playing the rope out. This way you can quite easily untie with a flick of the rope to cast off.
the lock keeper will normally indicate which side he wants you to moor up to.
05-23-2013 02:06 PM
Re: Navigating locks

Having recently gone through the NY locks to the great lakes, we were told (and followed this advice) to NOT cleat lines and to HOLD them by hand.
10-31-2012 06:25 PM
Re: Navigating locks

Look closely at the lock before you enter, choose the side that offers the best protection for your hull. Have long lines available so that they can be looped over the locks cleats. That way you can clear yourself once the gates open.
05-30-2012 02:46 PM
Gulf Sailing
Re: Navigating locks

I wish the lock was the only thing I had to deal with. Once I get through the lock, then I have to contend with a low bridge immediately on the other side. That means I have to plan my trips by tide cycle. If the water is too high, I can't get back to the house where my dock is. Most of the time I just trailor it down the road to the public boat launch to avoid this issue.
04-08-2012 02:52 PM
Re: Navigating locks

What a wonderful post! If you don't write professionally, you should. Thanks
04-08-2012 12:17 PM
Re: Navigating locks

Navigating locks is truly an experience. Here's what happens with our Finnsailer 35. We try to time the lock so we don't have to hold position or scramble to secure ourselves to a dolphin. Of course we have the mast down, so I don't have much to hang on to when I'm on the bow with my boat hook.When we went through the Champlain, Dismal Swamp, and Okeechobee waterway locks, we were usually alone. Then once we are in, I start grabbing for lines(in the South) or wrapping around a pole, etc (in the North), and Captain Bob reminds me that he has to get the entire boat in the lock for this to work. So I throw the lines back to him until he finally grabs one that suits him or point out each possible tie up until he nods. It's at this point I am envious of the big cruisers with chest high gunwales. Then once I have the line, I hold on for dear life. By that time Captain Bob has wrapped his line around a winch to pull in the back end. He reminds me that it's easier for me to slacken my line than for him to try to pull in 13,000 lbs. I get the message. Then the water comes in/out. We go up/down. The gates open, and off we go. With a sailboat, each lock offers a unique experience. In one of the Champlain locks, the wind caught us before I could secure us, and we did a 360. Oh, the adrenaline rush that was. Fortunately no other vessel was in the lock. In the North, you supply your own lines. In the South, the lockmaster will throw you the lines and chat you up. I keep thinking with having more 30 lockings logged, the procedure should get easier. I hasn't. Maybe I have recessive genes for locking. Then again, maybe locking a boat is like landing an airplane. If you are still able to stand afterwards, it was a good one.
04-02-2012 10:52 PM
Re: Navigating locks

I'm glad this thread was revived, I hadn't seen it. We navigate the locks from the sea to the fresh water lakes in Seattle. There are two separate locks, one large and the small one at the same location. Generally, the smaller is the one most often used except for busy summer weekends and for large commercial traffic. The biggest hassle isn't the locks themselves, it's the railroad bridge just on the salt water side of the locks that is invariably down meaning that sailboats have to mill around in the strong currents either upstream or down until it opens, while dodging all the power boats. It seems like there is always one boat completely unprepared and inexperienced every time we lock through which provides the entertainment for the day, as long as they aren't tying up next to you:-((
04-02-2012 06:26 PM
Re: Navigating locks

The most interesting locks we have done were on the Canal du Sud in southern France. This canal opened in 1680 (really a remarkable feat of engineering for the time) and the lock sides are curved outward several feet to form an arch - I guess that thought it would be stronger. Does make it interesting to line up to.
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