The one thing that people remember about the Trolhattan Canal is the size of the locks. The enormous 9 metre drop
seems to swallow the yacht whole, but in practice, due to the locks double bottom, turbulence is non existent and the whole
Unlike the Gota, the canal is a commercial affair, set up for large ships. The waterway is wide and deep. There
are only 6 locks in the 47 miles, and 4 of those are in a staircase at Trollhattan.
Everything is operated remotely, supervised by TV cameras, and controlled by lights. These are a bit confusing
at first, as there are separate lights for the locks/bridges and the canal, but you soon get the hang of it. Payment (660 SEK
for us - £50) was taken at the canal offices at Trollhattan top lock.
The locks do need a rather different technique. There are bollards set into the wall at about 5 foot vertical
intervals, and you must get a rope onto these. As you rise or fall, you put a second rope on the next bollard up or down, releasing
the previous rope. The drop is too big to leave ropes in place. There is also the odd ladder, where you can use the rungs. The
best thing on entering the lock is to aim for a ladder, and put the stern rope on a rung and the bow rope on a bollard.
Bollards are fairly well spaced out and are mostly on the Eastern wall. The west sides of the locks are hewn
out of bare rock and best avoided if possible.
There are few places to stop once below Trollhattan. The only real options are Lilla Edit by the southernmost lock, which has a small
Marina, and Kungälv, where there is a pretty castle, but limited depths. We did the whole canal from Trollhattan to Gothenburg
in a day. The lower reaches of the canal are actually the Gota Alv river, and though pretty, are frankly, rather boring.
A couple of bridges, notably at Vänersborg and Gothenburg, have 18 meters or less of height when unopened. You
must be sure of your height or talk to the controllers on VHF.