DBA Rally in Paris

La Chouette
La Chouette
The steam up the last 30km of the Seine was surprising for the lack of both commercial and liesure traffic. We were passed by one DBA barge, La Chouette of Bob and Bobby Marsland, heading for the rally which could obviously turn a better speed than us. We then shared the last 4 locks to the basin. Our combined length was 57m and the locks were 65m long so, to allow the gates to shut behind us, we had to overlap slightly and try to keep our thick iron bow from damaging their paintwork.

Bunting

All went well and we snuggled up with the 25 barges lining the basin and started rigging flags and bunting.

Photo winner

This is one winner of the DBA photo competition and shows the dawn light on the dressed barges.

There was a lot of socialising and swapping of ideas plus some competitions for best kept barges etc. We didn't have a chance at those competitions as Waterdog is a long way from finished with the external paint job only halfway through. We were persuaded to join in the barge handling competition though and as the largest barge to take part and therefore the last to go we became quite nervous about the whole thing!

Barge Handling

We were finally called forward to the start area and a friend from the neighbouring barge took some photos. Of course, the mast had to come down so we could pass under the bridge on part of the course.

Barge Handling

First we had to avoid the others who were still on the course. We crept around the bow of Marianne who was struggling to reverse down the length of the basin, not an easy task with the gusty wind from ahead. Shell V was waiting at the finish position to return to her berth.

Barge Handling

Then we had to turn and take up the start position which was alongside the far side of the basin near the passenger boats.

Barge Handling

We don't often get black smoke from the engine so we must have pushed it hard during the turn. A nice backdrop for all our manoeuvring though.

Barge Handling

Marianne has gone alongside to finish and we are heading down to the foot bridge to turn short about just past the piers.

Barge Handling

Through the foot bridge and we had to turn short about to come back. Lorna was keeping an eye out for other boats and the bridge supports.

Barge Handling

Use of hard ahead and hard astern has stirred up the mud from the bed of the basin. It's only about 2m deep all over and we draw 1.3m.

Barge Handling
Back under the bridge to start the slalom, the French courtesy flag can be flown on the bow when there is no mast to fly the flags from and together with the small orange bergee it shows us the direction of the wind.