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Kerr Barging Blogs

We have spent a fair bit of time cruising in the South Pacific aboard our 33 years young 11.1metre yacht, Pastime of Sydney. We are now cruising through the canals and rivers of France on our old barge, "Anja", which was built in the North of the Netherlands in 1903. Anja was 110 years old in May 2013 and we celebrated with good French Champagne- but the boat did not get any! In 2014, for Anja's 111th, we took her back to where she was built in the North of the Netherlands.
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The Pouilly Tunnel

While we were climbing up the locks from St Jean de Losne to Pouilly, we learned that there were water shortages on the Burgundy Canal. We hoped this might mean that the summit level was depressed. However, when we got there, we learned that the level was normal. Maybe we could have requested a lowering of the water level. However, this did not seem the right thing to do with serious water restrictions- letting water out of the summit to make an easier transition for us.IMG 5739

We assembled the heavy wooden beams we constructed in 2015 to assist us in keeping central to the tunnel. These "arms" extend out to 5.65metres width at the stern and the tunnel is 6.00metres wide. So, in theory they keep us within +-17.5cm of the centre. Unfortunately, we touched the tunnel wall twice in the first 334metres- once on each side. The first time was when going from the very bright sunshine of a 35degree day to the relative dark of the tunnel (so that it was not possible to see the waterline for a while) and the second was in trying to get the exact right spot for steering. Boats with a single propellor do not move in a perfect straight line, so you have to steer the bow a little off-centre the whole time. It is ironic that the ends of the "arms" did not touch the walls for the final 3,000metres and only the couple of times in the first 334. The damage proved to be less than in previous years and extended inwards 1.5cm from the edge of the roof. In other words, the "arms" need to be about 2.5cm longer on each side, giving a width of 5.7metres and the necessity to steer within +-15cm for the whole distance. Penelope was exhausted by the end as she sat in the rear seat and relayed the distances of the arms from the tunnel walls to the captain. In fact, the captain was also exhausted.IMG 5740

David would dearly have loved to get through unscathed. We stayed an extra day in order to make some repairs to the damage. Fortunately, we had put off repainting the roof and the sides just in case of mishap. So, the extra work of fixing the scrapes only added about three hours and the painting  happened with the overall painting (now completed).

So here we are in Pouilly, through the tunnel and poised to descend the Burgundy Canal for the last stage of our trip.


Best Regards,

Dave and Penny

Nearing the end
Up the Burgundy Canal to Pouilly

Comments 1

Guest - Max Nankervis on Thursday, 31 August 2017 09:06

Ingenious. But too bad about those extra missing centimetres! Max

Ingenious. But too bad about those extra missing centimetres! Max
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Thursday, 30 May 2024

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