But the main danger in the locks wasnt the angry water. The majority of traffic on the canals nowadays is made up of extremely sturdy motorboats that are chartered out to anyone--no license needed, no experience expected, and no questions asked. They are, consequently, built to crash into one another. The problem is that the average yacht isnt as armored as these floating tanks and so doesnt fit into this arrangement. We do mind if another boat crashes into us, and we had some extreme adrenaline-pumping moments. In one lock, I found myself shouting, something Id normally be ashamed of. Having barely fended off one of these destroyers, I turned around just in time to see another one aiming purposefully toward our self-steering gear. Picturing this vital piece of equipment as a tangle of scrap metal dangling off the stern like a piece of modern art, I lost my cool and yelled at the top of my voice at the poor, terrified devil behind the wheel of the charter boat--ruining his day, no doubt, but saving our windvane. After that, and after similar occasions, we repeatedly told ourselves we should be grateful to them. After all, without the charter-boat trade that flourishes along the entire length of the canal, this wonderful waterway might by now have fallen into decay and be closed to navigation. Partly making up for the threat of the destroyer-boats, whose operators, given the lack of regulation, couldnt be expected to know better, is the fact that theres normally no commercial traffic whatsoever on the Canal du Midi or the Canal Latéral à la Garonne.