RCR helps recover stranded Canal du Midi cruisers

On the 15th October three months of rain fell in a few hours in south western France,  causing widespread devastation and a later breach that emptied the Canal du Midi.

Canal du Midi

The flash flooding in the Aude region resulted in 13 reported deaths and considerable damage to property, structures and boats. River Canal Rescue were called upon to assist in the recovery of a number of stranded vessels.

There were initially 21 vessels stranded, but most of these have been recovered and suffered only minor damage. Six vessels however suffered major damage and three are still in precarious positions. The GRP cruisers, valued between £50,000 and £180,000, are insured with one of RCR’s insurance partners, and with no local businesses having the recovery experience of the breakdown and emergency assistance firm, directors Stephanie Horton and Trevor Forman flew out to the area to assess the damage and potential costs, and advise on next steps.

Update 2nd November
stranded boatFour vessels have now been refloated or removed from the water and one is waiting for a lift-out. One vessel, Vision 25, sunk at the main lock with water ingress and its hybrid prototype engine and generator drive system suffered major impact damage, prompting remedial repairs.”

“This vessel was caught in the worst of the floods and it came to rest on the lock entrance barriers,” comments Stephanie. “It was jacked back into the water and pumped out prior to refloating, and has sustained considerable damage.

“The boat with its bow vertically out of the water, Royal Classic, was a tricky job as it was locked into position with a wooden cruiser whose bow rail and anchor impacted the side door and window, entangling both vessels. There were also trees and obstacles like mooring bollards, benches etc on either side so the crane driver and hire boat team did really well to refloat it.”

This craft suffered damage to its rear cabins and bathroom and impact damage to the door and window. Minor hull damage was repaired before it was lifted in, which involves pumping out and lifting simultaneously and then lifting back into the water.”

The boat, Continental 67, had its stern out of the canal so was lifted in and pumped out. It suffered minor internal damage to the front cabins and when Stephanie and Trevor arrived, the customers explained that when they tried to pump out, water came in. “We suggested they pump out whilst we were on site, only to discover a large crack in the hull was causing water ingress,” continues Stephanie. “We guided them though fitting a tarpaulin and sealing the crack, and luckily as the crack usually sits above the water line, the boat will come out of the water for repairs in due course.”

Thanks to River Canal Rescue for report and images.

All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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