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Navigating and living on the waterways of Continental Europe and news of canal developments.
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TOPIC: When to leave Valence to go south

When to leave Valence to go south 26 Aug 2019 09:43 #108988

  • Paul Hayes
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Hi Chris.
I seem to remember those figures from the Rhone information sheet that the late Mike Hoffman produced way back in the 80's or 90's. I'll dig it out and check later.

I was giving speeds that I've observed.

I have heard of conditions that Charles mentions, but never experienced them. Friends went down in February six years ago, ice on the decks, very cold Mistral and for a couple of days 12 - 15 kpm flow. Not nice.
April, May and early June are months not to expect low flow rates.
I can't stress enough, observation of conditions, not only in the Rhone valley, but in the Central Massif, the Jura, the Alp's, pre Alps, Burgundy and Vosges for a couple of weeks should be taken into account. Three days rain in the Doubs valley sends a slug of water down to Beaucaire in about five days. Also watching the Debits on Inforhone.fr.
Having said that it's a lovely trip, glorious country side, and impressive engineering.

Paul

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When to leave Valence to go south 26 Aug 2019 09:10 #108985

Les, we headed south from Burgundy in March 2015 and had a great trip until we got to Valence on May 2nd and had some difficulty getting into the port for diesel against a flow of about 15kmph (over 4,500). The river was then closed to leisure traffic for a week. The first cruiser left again on May 9th on a flow still at 3,200 and had done 90 km by 3pm. We left the next day and averaged about 15kmph on tickover (our normal top speed on 1500rpm was 7kmph) - so a fast ride down to Avignon.
Had we left Chalon sur Saone a week earlier we would have made it down all the way by May 1 and missed the increased flow from snow melt off the Alps - so each year will be different but you may find on average that leaving Valence to Cruise the few days to the Rhone a Sete Canal a better bet in March or April rather than leaving it till May but either way it will be down to local conditions at your choice of time and there is no way to know about that this far in advance! Much more fun going down the Rhone than coming up though!
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Charles Briggs.
Wb "Xenia".
www.xeniaboatlog.wordpress.com

When to leave Valence to go south 25 Aug 2019 11:13 #108962

Hi Paul

So the 0.0036 factor for Beaucaire is wrong and should be 0.0072?


Cheers
Chris

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When to leave Valence to go south 23 Aug 2019 14:35 #108930

  • Paul Hayes
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Hi Chris and Les
Beware the "Mean Flow Rates" for any month.

About 14 days ago the Debit rate at Beaucaire was 565 - which would give a water speed of about 5 km p h at the bridge, which is a short section of river 1/4 km either side its slower.
Then because of 48 hours rain upstream, five days ago it was over close to 1300, which is a roaring 9 - 10 kph.
Now its dropping again 839 today, which is going to be about 6 - 7 kph.

The fastest stretch on the river is a long way up at Pont Mediterainee, the river narrows for about 2.5 km, and again its the buttresses of a railway bridge that narrow the available river width that causes the speed increase. When the river is flowing well it's not the place for the faint of heart.

Obviously all of the above is of more interest of those going upriver. But high flows do make shooting some of the bridges difficult, and even entering the lock approaches something that can get the heart beating.

Hi water also hides the angled walls in a lot of the deviations that are built to reduce bank erosion, keep to the middle, do not short cut the (unmarked) channel.

Wind is also to be taken into account, it blows hard at times from both the north and the south, which gives horrible waves, wind over tide.
As with all navigation, it's safe if undertaken with care and planning, look at weather patterns, rainfall over the ast couple of weeks, the ongoing forecast, (including wind - Google - Mistral Wind). Look at inforhone.fr for flow rates.

It can be fine to go south as early as March (water held as snow on the high ground) - Spring - expect fast flow rates - high water. Summer, if long periods of no rain - should be good. Autumn - if it rains in the high ground further north expect "slugs" of high, fast water to surge down. Winter - make sure you have thermal clothing and a heating system that works, and expect to face delays - above 15m moorings, very few other than locks , above 20m almost none, 25+ expect to use Duc D'albs / pontoons at locks and little else.

Hope this helps
Paul Hayes
PS Use "DBA Mooring Guides"
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When to leave Valence to go south 22 Aug 2019 07:46 #108911

Hi Les

Recent threads on this subject (May/June 2019)
barges.org/discussion-forum/waterways-continental-europe/24729-flow-on-on-the-rhone
or for those going other way
barges.org/discussion-forum/waterways-continental-europe/24788-motoring-up-the-rhone-river-in-june-2019

There is a table in French Waterways . com of the average speeds in knots (plus minimums and maximums) by months based on Nigel Orr's work. By July the mean falls to 3.4 (Lyon) and 2.7 knots (Beaucaire).



Cheers
Chris
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When to leave Valence to go south 22 Aug 2019 00:03 #108909

  • Les Easom
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Planning ahead, we hope to over-winter at Valence for 2020-2021.
How early in the year should we sensibly aim to move south from Valence, aiming for the Midi.

I am sure this topic has been covered numerous times before but I have given up searching as none of my keyword combinations produce a useful answer.

Thanks
Les

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