The Brittany Canal

The Brittany Canals

At first glance the Brittany canals look like a good way of cutting the corner of the more challenging waters around Ushant.

 There are two major problems with this canal route. The max draft is 1.2 metres for much of it and the width of many of the locks is narrow, apart from the huge sea locks.

The trip through the sea lock at St Malo up to Dinan, without taking down the mast, is a good experience, with a pleasant little commercial quay at the end of it and a very steep climb up to the lovely town. It is essential to carry the tide for this passage and from Dinan onwards to the sea there are some depth issues which can be a problem even for centreboard lifting boats.

  In high summer this canal does, sometimes, almost dry!

 The route is this:-

St Malo – Rance Maritime

 Châtelier lock – Dinan.(1 lock)        Air height 19mtrs        Max Draft 1.6mtrs

The trip to Dinan with the mast up is possible for most boats with a draft of less than 1.6m on the tide with lots of forgiving mud!

 Dinan  - Rennes  (47 locks)              Air height 2.5 metres      Max Draft 1.2 metres

 Rennes  - Redon (13 locks)              Air height 3.2 metres      Max Draft 1.2 metres

Redon – Sea (1 lock)                       Air height 27 metres        Max Draft 1.3 metres

 For the benefit of catamarans thinking of this route the width of the locks is 4.5 metres and you need to allow room for fenders and planks…

 I have never met anyone who has been further than Dinan and all the information above is culled form various publications and I recommend you buy the relevant NAVICARTE which is No 12 Bretane – de St. Malo à, Arzal, de Lorient à Nantes and check out that the information in the Navicarte is in fact still correct! They are reprinted very infrequently and can contain some duff information.

Home Up SN1- south  by sea SN2south by Canal du Midi SN3 Calais or Le Havre SN4-north via Atlantic coast SN5-north via Azores SN6North by Canal du Midi SN7-Calais, St Valery Lorry option The Scenic Route Log Canal du Midi Log Rhone River Parks Places The Brittany Canal French Waterways

French Canal Routes to the Mediterranean

Gentle Sailing Route to the Mediterranean

Gentle Mediterranean Routes to the Islands

The Pacific Crossing Guide

Caribbean Islands Cruising Guides

Strait Sailing to Gibraltar

Living Aboard Around the World

Easy Navigation

For my sailing books and French canal guides please go to





I am pleased to say this web site is

who have been kind, helpful and understanding. I really recommend them

Click here to purchase web hosting with HOST 100