Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

  • January 2016
    M T W T F S S
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Archive for January 31st, 2016

Fragnes to Chagny

Posted by contentedsouls on 31/01/2016

11 locks, 11 kms, 4 1/2 hours

The timing of our trip to clear the river Saone was absolutely spot on. We received an email this morning to say that the Saone was closed again to pleasure boats. It’s nice when you get it right – well done G.

I, also, was absolutely right about the church bells; they started with a discordant melee and then broke into the 7am chimes – I misjudged the poor cockerel though, who never made a squeak let alone a crow – so we were up bright and early again. We had been expecting VNF to appear at the first lock, but there was no sign of them and the lock was set with a green light showing so we carried on; our exit from each lock setting the next one. We sailed through the first 6 locks with no problems – despite the fact that we were going uphill and we couldn’t reach any bollards; as long as we lurked right at the back we easily controlled the boat with the engine and we quickly fell into the routine required for this flight:-

Enter the lock exactly down the middle of the chamber (or the radar doesn’t detect you) head right up to the front of the lock and put the nose onto the side with the ladder. Behind the ladder lurks two bits of manky cord – yank the blue one and hold onto the ladder whilst you wait to see if the gates open; if not, repeat cord yanking. As soon as the gates start to move, reverse to the back of the lock and get your arse over to the wall.


Happily pootling along this pretty canal we reached the 7th lock of the day; this one is 5.2 metres and we were delighted to spot that it had rising bollards.


A slightly modified technique required for these:-

Get the long rope over the rising bollard and pay out the rope as you go right to the front for the ladder/manky rope combination. As soon as those gates start to move (and never once did they start after the first attempt) reverse right back and get your arse over and hook the other bollard with the stern rope before moving forward again to a suitable position at the forward bollard. Then hang on in there as ground paddles open viciously and water surges up all along from beneath the boat. The rising bollards need to be further back in the chamber away from the filling action.

4 out of the remaining locks were of this type and the only good thing about them was that we didn’t loose any paint in places that we shouldn’t and that, under this pressure of needing to manoeuvre quickly and get it right first time, my boat handling didn’t let me down. When I was on the front end I managed to keep the long rope (which I hate) payed out, gathered in and not trip over it and fall in or tie it in knots. All of the above G takes for granted – I don’t. The last lock of the day seemed even livelier and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the odd whale or the Loch Ness Monster rise up out of the waters below us. Fortunately G was on the helm for that one and he had to let the back of the boat cross the lock. We were both very pleased to moor up for the night knowing that there would only be the ordinary 3 metre locks the next day.


I walked Muttley into the town which, like so much of this part of Burgundy, was still hanging on to all things Christmas


You can tell our days are pretty long at the moment; each blog seems to start with a photo of sunrise and finish with pictures of me walking dogs at dusk or in the dark!

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