Friday, 28 June 2013

Major Engineering Works

We are actually in Greffern, Germany as I write this, we arrived today, so I thought a round up of the last bit of France would be a good plan.

We are on the Rhine at present, which forms the border between France and Germany at this point, so it's partly by chance that we are actually in Germany - the first marina was on the German side of the river.

Anyway, back to France. We were on the Canal de la Marne et Rhin heading towards Strasbourg, and that canal has some major engineering, hence the blog title.

First, across an aquaduct:

Then into an enormous lock at Rechicourt. You sail toward this great wall of concrete ........

And into the gate at the bottom of the wall.

This is the view from inside the lock

And looking forward. We have to rise right to the top. Thankfully, this lock has floating bollards, so we don't have to shin up a ladder to get a rope around a bollard at the top, the bollard floats up with us.

This is the top, no clue of the immense distance we have risen

Except our depth-ometer, which shows we have 17.1 metres of water beneath the bottom of our keel. Our keel is about 1.3 metres, so we've actually got 18.4 metres of water beneath us. This is not the time to be dropping anything overboard.

Next, we are onto the Niederviller and Arzviller tunnels. The Niederviller tunnel is 475 metres long and the Arzviller 2,306 metres long, with just a short gap in between the two

Now, two tunnels, of this length, one straight after another would be dramatic enough, as the tunnels are pretty dark and low. But we actually had to do them three times, as we lost a big fender coming through the first time. Stopping, reversing and generally fiddling about inside the tunnels is not permitted, so we had to finish the journey, turn round, do it again (collecting the missing fender) then finish the return trip, turn around again and come back.
I am officially done with tunnels for the foreseeable future.
Next day, the inclined plane, also at Arzvillier.
Basically, an inclined plan is a large bath into which you sail your boat, that bath is sealed at each end and you slide down a slope.
It's a very slow and controlled slide, but it's still a slide dropping you 44.55 metres.
This is the view from the top: 

And this is the view from the bottom:

And this is a nice side view:

Pretty impressive, huh?

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