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Capt Ken Appleby sent in this comment.
From: Capt Ken Appleby
Date: 2006 May 12
Subj: Paris bridges
I saw your comment about sailing vessels gerring under the bridges of Paris. I spent many years a Captain of British Ships mv Normandy and mv Anjou which travelled from London to Paris wit fourteen day round trips carrying 2000 tons of general cargo -- Whisky Gin and everything from small packets which could go into your pocket to excavators and parts for Concorde. Return trips were mostly barrels of wine Brandy cheese and veneers, for the Paris London Line. They even made the bateau mouches look small as you can see in the first picture.
I thought you might like to see a couple of pictures of how we did it too. Note that not only the mast is lowered but also the radar and wheelhouse and lifeboat davits. The highest part of the ship became the steering wheel.
When containers came in they and their sister mv Seine, were sold to Iran where they still work.
Capt Ken Appleby
OK, maybe I can just barely believe that a boat that big could somehow navigate the Seine. I mean, he provided photos. But how did they turn the boat around?!?! I guess they needed helicopters for that part.
Captain Appleby wrote back a week later:
Here is another picture. Of a caterpillar tracked digger vehicle being offloaded in Paris.
Our berth in Paris was at Quai d'Austerlitz, just across the road from Austerlitz train station. To turn around we put a rope out from the bow and around to the starboard side. We would then start the engines with the rudder hard to starboard and go around 180* with the bow touching the quay on a fender all the way round until it led down the port side. There was about ten feet to spare at the stern when she was at right angles to the river. It was tricky in winter to Spring time when the water from the Alps was melting and running fast
My son on one of the thirty tractors we carried on deck, going under Tancarville bridge en route between Le Havre and Rouen..... The last essential item going on board and always first off. My car -- an Austin Mini Cooper S. :o)
Capt Ken Appleby