If you're a beginner, handling and mooring your pénichette© or canal boat can seem a bit tricky at first. But if you follow a few expert tips, it's child's play!
"It all depends on the type of canal boat or pénichette©, the weather conditions and the kind of mooring point (a quay, a bank, a lock, etc.). For example, mooring on a bank can be the trickiest to get right, but it's nothing to get worried about", says Ferhat Halli, a technical assistant at the Locaboat base in Joigny. He believes that you just need to follow a few basic guidelines and use your common sense:
1/ adjust your speed to the circumstances.
2/ make sure your mooring lines are tidy, in other words, properly stowed, coiled and without any knots in them.
3/ get one or two crew members to help you (one forward and one aft).
As regards speed, the faster you are going, the more engine power it will take to stop the canal boat. So you have to take into account the speed of the propeller in reverse: when the propeller turns to the left, the front of the boat will tend to veer to the right. A simple tip is to choose a landmark on the bank or the quay to check whether you're moving, and in what direction. Most important of all, it's crucial to tell your crew members not to jump off the boat until it has come to a stop.
As regards any knots in the mooring lines, there's a danger they will get caught in the masonry joints of a lock. So it's always better to attach the mooring line to the boat's cleats and not to the quay: one loop around the bollard and then two figures of eight round the boat's cleat should be enough to tie up the boat. If you do it this way, you can release the mooring line without having to get out onto the quay.
And when you leave a mooring, it's important to stow the mooring lines properly so that they don't get caught in the propeller – and, of course, so that they're ready for the next manoeuvre!