Capestang bridge – Canal du Midi PK188.5 – is one that is often reckoned the lowest on the canal. We think it isn’t (pointing that finger at the ecluse bridges at Carcassonne PK105 and PK108 – or maybe the water levels there are consistently higher), but it is an awkward shape and it’s fairly narrow too, or seems it.
Whilst the apex is at the ‘book’ height of 3.3m, the ‘shoulders’ are less curved than is usual and this can cause problems. For us, even though headroom at the centre of the arch was passable without a problem, we still squeezed our aft deck side guard rails through with just a few millimetres to spare. There are stories – are they apocryphal? – of boats loading up with big containers of water, or extra passengers, so as to float lower and get through.
Mike Hoffman measured the arch in March 1996 – this is our dimensioned illustration of what he found.