Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Of Tides and Boats

The bay surrounding the Mont Saint-Michel has the highest tides of Europe. The tides move so fast that Victor Hugo wrote that the waters come in at the speed of a galloping horse. In fact, the entire north coast of Brittany is famous for its great range between low and high. This means that, as the waters recede, a lot of boats end up lying there on the floor of the harbor. In visiting the Emerald Coast, I saw a number of approaches to dealing with the problem of tides for boats.

One way to deal with low tide, and I would say the most prevalent, is simply to let your boat come to rest on its side.

If you're antsy about having your boat lie on its side on the harbor bottom, you can provide supports on each side of the boat that hold the boat upright as the tide goes out.

An even easier way to do this is to have a boat with twin keels that, with the rudder, form a tripod that keeps the boat vertical. I'd read about this, but I'd never actually seen this before. The twin keels aren't as effective for sailing as a single keel, but if you moored your boat in a big-tide area you might well choose this solution.

What else could you do? Instead of twin keels, how about twin hulls? This boat was docked at--and then below--the jetty at la Houle, Cancale's main harbor.

And for a truly radical approach to dealing with the tides, consider this truck rolling on the beach at La Houle.

Just drive into the water...

... and motor away into the bay!

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