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Water flowing underground
same as it ever was
To Montchanin - What adventures we've had Ratty!! 
15th-Jun-2004 02:17 pm
cruising log
And ones we could have done without. We now know that we shouldn't have raged so much at the lock keeper at lock 19 (see previous entry). The series of 5 metre deep locks on the rest of the flight are criminally dangerous. They do have rising dollies but the automatic pull switch is set right at the front of the lock. That requires someone strong to pull it from the front deck and then the boat has to be manoeuvred backwards to rope off on the dollies. There is not enough time to do that before the gates close and the lock begins to fill.

We tried all sorts of things. MWNN climbed the ladder, roped off on the bollards at the top of the lock walls and then pulled the switch and tried holding the ropes. We crashed over to the opposite wall. We tried reversing and roping to the dollies, not enough time to get both ropes attached. We highjacked a 'roving' lock keeper to pull the switch for us AFTER we'd roped off on the dollies. We STILL crashed to the opposite wall. We tried both of us holding ropes on the lock side, leaving the boat unattended with engine off. We STILL crashed over to the other side.

Result of enduring 5 such 'adventures' - I completely lost my nerve and became a gibbering wreck, something that's never happened in over 25 years of boating. And we've vowed NEVER to come UP that flight ever again. We are moored in the boatyard at Montchanin where Jeff, the mechanic, tells us those locks have always been set too fast. Corners were cut when they installed the automatic features - both slackers were installed in the same gate and open simultaneously. This has the effect of sending hundreds of tons of water into the lock like a waterfall, right onto the side of the bows of any boat that is tied off on the dollies, which are set too far forward. Jeff tells us that many boats come into the yard to have their fuel tanks drained and cleaned because the violence done to the boat in the locks stirs up the sediment of diesel, which sometimes contains bacteria, which then blocks the fuel pumps.
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