Arrival: Lilla Edet 58:08.266N 012:07.192E

Frans & Sarah Toonen
Thu 31 Jul 2014 18:11
31 July 2014. SW 4 / 5 on the nose. Sunny. 17nm. 4.9 engine hours. 

Set off from Vänersborg at lunchtime to start the 82km run down the Trollhätte canal and Göta Ålv river to Gothenburg. Only 10km is manmade canal and there are only six locks with a total drop of 44m. Commercial ships use this waterway to move iron ore and timber from the shores of Lake Vänern so the locks are huge compared to the Göta kanal. For each lock operation 8000-12000 cubic metres of water has to be moved. Rather than use sluice gates for this vast volume the locks have been designed with a double floor so the water moves through grates in the floor very softly so the boat is not thrashed around by turbulence.  With a fall of up to 8m we had our hands full enough anyway keeping our position in the lock with just 2 of us and 24 knots of winds. Even as the lock dropped we still had some windage on the rigging. You have to move your lines down the bollards as well as you have no control if the lines go straight up for several metres.

The canal is particularly spectacular at Trollhätte itself where the flight of four locks is cut through the rocks to bypass the waterfalls on the river. There are 2 disused flights of locks here as well. The original 1800 waterway was replaced in 1844 and then again by the current 1916 set as the ships became larger and larger. 

Sweden is not big on birds (leggy blondes in hotpants excepted) and so we were delighted to see a group of 10 cranes at the riverside. With their bustle shape and long necks we thought at first they were farmed ostrich but as we got closer they were clearly cranes. We have not seen these before and we did not have the camera handy. Given these are rare birds we wish we had turned around to take some snaps.

When we reached the tiny guest harbour of Lilla Edet it was full and the only space was to go alongside some wooden piles on the small island. We still had over 20 knots of wind to contend with and a very confined space so we were pleased to see 4 skippers from the other boats all coming to help. They tied us to 2 trees and a wooden walkway and everything was fine. Explored the little town and found a Thai cafe for a change. At around £25 this is the cheapest place to eat in all Sweden. 

Trollhättan Sluss

We normally like to go starboard to but the rock was inhospitable: "quickly change fenders and lines to port crew (please)!"

Handy trees.