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Old 04-07-2013, 11:53 AM   #41
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The question of fees are interesting - yes there are fees in France. The VNF charge about €600 per annum and that gets a lot of canal, service and use of waterway use. There are some fees in Holland but not sure how much, Germany too but we are not there yet. Good service on the waterways and lots of info make the funds a good deal.
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:37 AM   #42
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So you are canal cruising quietly thru the countryside one day,....and you run into this


I'm new to this forum, and just today went looking for 'euro canal subjects'. Some interesting postings here. I'll be back with some I have contributed to some other forums (and I promise they will be more serious than this posting....
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:39 AM   #43
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BTW, did the original poster every get his canal vessel?
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:37 AM   #44
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Wink Roi Soliel......my favorite canal boat

It's been a dream of mine to one day charter a nice canal specific vessel and take a leisurely 2-4 week cruise thru the canals of France, stopping along the way to make short excursions off to small villages, and of course visits to the many vineyards via bicycles carried onboard. I would think this would be a most enjoyable manner to spend a month cruising 'on the water'. It might even be a healthy trip if you watched your total food intake, and did a considerable amount of biking along the way .

I've known for years that its often said that the canal systems in europe are more extensive in milage than the road system. I'm not sure this is still true today, but suffice it to say the canal system is EXTENSIVE.

Only recently I added a 'canal boat' link to another subject thread I was participating in, and it brought this dream back to the forefront of my mind. So I decided to start this new subject thread devoted to this whole theme of canal boat voyaging. Here is that linked page that goes to what I consider to be the most beautiful canal barge of them all Roi Soleil.

http://www.bargesinfrance.com/roisoleil-pictures.htm[/URL]

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Of course there are MANY other variations on this canal and inland waterway theme, and they are not all based in Europe. And why shouldn't we have one here in the USA that takes a week to leisurely cruise from Miami down to Key West, and then a separate return trip back up....in style
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:46 AM   #45
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...a few more photos
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:25 AM   #46
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<And why shouldn't we have one here in the USA that takes a week to leisurely cruise from Miami down to Key West, and then a separate return trip back up....in style>

For a private boat , or a rent a boat , no problem , for a charter , even just a 6 pac the Jones Act might be a problem.
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:23 AM   #47
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Miami-Key West 'Canal' Vessel

I'm not saying a duplicate boat to that French one, but rather one that is of that 'style' but designed for the shallow waters down that route.

It might built for a reasonable price in the same method I am proposing for the Pilgrim boat re-design,....steel hull, with polypropylene honeycomb cabin/superstructure.
Redesigning the Pilgrim 40 Trawler / Canal Boat

It might even be done in a nostalgic old riverboat theme, or a Great Gabsy theme, or a wide body Trumpy-Mathis houseboat theme.

I'd be willing to bet you could put this thing together for a surprising low price, and do it right here in the USA,...so forget the Jones Act problems. And stay at the 6-person max for the first boat. (wait till you see what I have in mind for the Pilgrim redo)

If anyone has driven that route lately I'm sure they have a lot to say about the traffic. Wouldn't it be much more pleasure full to take a slow cruise down stopping at various watering holes and restaurants overnight. It would be a one-way trip so you wouldn't have to retrace your route,...just hop a small tour bus or a plane for return. Meanwhile the next charter group has made their way down their by public transit and are waiting to make a fun trip back up to Miami.
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:45 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post

For a private boat , or a rent a boat , no problem , for a charter , even just a 6 pac the Jones Act might be a problem.
A MARAD waiver is easy to obtain in order to charter your American citizen owned, American flagged, European built canal boat in the U.S.
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:39 PM   #49
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Bridge Clearance on Euro Canals

I know that Roi Soleil operates on the Canal de Midi, and clearances there can be quite restrictive
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My question to the group of posters here is are MANY of the canals that restrictive,...or is there greater margins on many canals?? Could something like these two vessels navigate MANY of the canals?
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:10 AM   #50
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Quote:
...are MANY of the canals that restrictive...
Have you ever looked at just how many canals there are in Western Europe alone? Few are as restrictive as the Midi.

Get thee to the cruising guide section of a good nautical book store.
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Old 08-17-2013, 07:11 AM   #51
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Brian, having spent time on a canal narrow boat in the UK 2 yrs ago I can certainly recommend it. It is one of the most relaxing pastimes one can do. You travel along at such a stately pace, and pass so much interesting scenery and such friendly people, often passing quite close going the other way, I kept finding myself wanting to call out, ( and sometimes I did until the wife started clipping me over the head if I said it too much), "it's a hard life, but somebody's got to do it".
As an aside, that boat you put up is lovely, and very roomy, and the canals over in Europe tend to be wider than those in the UK, but a narrower vessel would be easier to use I think. Ours was 65 feet long, but only 7 feet wide, yet had plenty of room.
He he, let's see if Marin can resist this one...
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:02 AM   #52
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:17 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by brian eiland View Post
Here is that linked page that goes to what I consider to be the most beautiful canal barge of them all Roi Soleil.
Roi Soleil Photo Gallery - Special Places Travel - Barges in France[/URL]
Somehow that link got screwed up so we will try again:

Roi Soleil Photo Gallery - Special Places Travel - Barges in France
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:29 AM   #54
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Barging Thru Burgundy

...a favorite posting from another forum


Barging Thru Burgundy
We've done several drive-it-yourself canal barge trips in France and absolutely loved every second. We've done the Burgundy area a couple of times (on the Nivernais and Yonne Rivers) and we did the Midi Canal from the Med across to the Atlantic. Each is different: Burgundy is lush and green, with small villages (each with a free quay for you to stop), meadows, chateaus in the distance and great beauty. The Midi is drier, with rows of plane trees lining the canal edge. You'll encounter tons of yachts on the Midi, passing one way or the other so they don't have to sail around Gibralter.

Canal cruising, as some said with a hint of sarcasm, is exactly that: going slowly and getting nowhere. At the end of a week of barging, we'd gone less than a 100 miles, but every inch was new. We'd take our bicycles in the mornings and ride along the tow path to the nearest village to buy fresh chocolate croissants, we'd stop mid-day to shop in street markets for veggies and meat, and, at night, we'd stop anywhere we wanted. If we weren't at a village, which provides quays to encourage your visit, we would simply drive spikes into the bank for our mooring lines, put the gangplank to shore, and we were set.

I highly recommend two barge companies: LeBoat is a sister to The Moorings and Sunsail bareboat charter companies and they have a new electrically powered barge with bow thruster and a very pleasant interior. We've always used Locaboat, which has classic peniche-styled canal barges, and they are spotlessly clean and very comfy. Though there are only two couples, we get their 50-footer with four staterooms, which gives us space for luggage and camera gear, and we're never crowded. Easy to handle, and fun going thru the locks. Every lockkeeper, knowing you're his captive for twenty minutes, is an entrepreneur: some sell watercolors, some sell veggies, some sell pottery, but they all sell wine. We rarely spent more than two euros a bottle and I would say that 90% of it was superb (and I'm someone who knows a Sassacaia from a Red Mountain!). We laughed that we would have spent a 30-40 bucks a bottle for most of our wines in a wine shop in the U.S.

Canal barging isn't bareboating the Caribbean with sandy beaches and palms, but it's entirely wonderful. And, if you have someone who gets a little queasy at the sight of bathtub ripples, this is the ideal boating holiday: you get your boat on a millpond.

Great fun. Don't miss out. Here are some pix.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:52 AM   #55
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British canals vs french canals

...a private message I had been sent...

Quote:
Brian--- My wife and I have hired narrowboats in the UK more times than we can remember. We also visit good friends in France and have seen (by air and from shore) much of the Canal du Midi.

While the canals in France go past interesting places to visit, the canals themselves are very boring compared to the older, narrower, and "do it yourself" nature of the canals in the UK. The French canals, being newer, are wide, composed of long, straight sections, and are often lined for miles with plane trees. The locks are operated by lock keepers or in some cases are automatic.

In comparison the British canals are winding, passing through a huge variety of environments-- in one instance sneaking beneath the city of Manchester literally through the underpinnings of some of the larger buildings. They climb hills, they cling to the sides of narrow valleys, they cross rivers on stone and iron aqueducts built in the late 1700s-early 1800s, and you run all the locks manually yourself.

France is a great country-- I am half French-- but compared to the canals in the UK, the French canals compared to the British canals are very boring. Not where you can go, but running a boat on the canals themselves.

Interestingly enough, of the people I have met who have done both, almost all have said the same thing.

And the canals in the UK, while muddy, are quite clean. Not so the canals in France although I'm told they are getting a bit better in this respect.

We love traveling in and exploring France, but doing it by canal boat holds no appeal for us having seen the canals.
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:07 AM   #56
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> but doing it by canal boat holds no appeal for us having seen the canals.<

Esp since when you go ashore all that is there is French folks.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:30 AM   #57
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While living in Berlin from 2007 - 2010, my Admiral and I rented Euro 400 43' Diesel river trawlers and cruised the 375 miles of connected rivers, canals and lakes of the old GDR (East Germany). The canals wind through an area about the size of Connecticut and are, in our opinion, the real secret of cruising in Europe. We never had any problem with finding a private spot wherever we went. Often, we wouldn't see another boat for an hour or more, and you can always depend on easy, lonely anchorages in one pristine lake after another. Having to store grey water in addition to black water force you to at least visit the marinas a couple times per week, but when you combined them with town explorations, it worked great. Handling locks was simple, sometimes unattended, but easy. My Admiral and I worried about it, but after the first couple of times alone in a lock,.....no problem with that either. We thought we would be among the most hapless cruisers, but in the end, we were apparently among the best. Common sense is ones best asset there. You can always find people that speak English, by the way. Flight to Berlin, one hour by train, an hour later you're cruising.
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:55 PM   #58
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Sounds like a great trip... Vicky and I toured the Canal du Midi several years ago and enjoyed every minute... very friendly encounters among the natives offering wine and other regional treats. We asked about menu items at one canal restaurant, and the waiter made sounds like a chicken, cow, pig... lots of chuckles from other patrons... most relaxing and fun experience... will try another canal trip with my kids in a few years... highly recommend other cruisers experience a European canal boat trip.. nice folks out there...
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Old 08-21-2014, 05:36 AM   #59
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I don't know if this thread is still active. We live on board permanently and cruise the French canals as well as along the French/Spanish coast.
Canal side moorings are free and you need to buy a vignette(permit) to cruise. There are no marina's inland, they are all called Ports in France.
Old barges have their attractions but moorings can be difficult to find in popular places and the regulations can be tiresome. Many old working barges have been run heavy loaded and over years rubbed the canal bed and subsequently many have very thin plating which may need to be renewed, maintenance can be very heavy and expensive. The DAF diesels you refer to were originally designed by Leyland and fitted to their trucks and built under licence by DAF who later took over the patents etc. The engine are excellent and parts are still readily available, easy to work on and very popular and some examples are 40 plus yrs. old and still going strong. The engines are now built in India under the brand name Ashok Leyland. There are no places that can lift out barges for winter storage on the canal du Midi.
If you wish to read of the Canal du Midi go to Amazon and search for a book called 'How To cruise Between Two Sea's' and that will give you details from actually cruising the canal.
H20 are a good company but I respectfully suggest you proceed with caution.
If you need any more info I will be delighted to help, just drop me a private message.
P.S the poster who asked about the car sign in the photo, it means no cars except for residents/access. (Sauf access)
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Old 08-21-2014, 05:55 AM   #60
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Apologies, I missed out a couple of points in an previous post.
The Canals in Southern France, The Midi, The Robine & Lateral A Garonne are also liberally used for irrigation purposes, there are no pump out facilities generally available at all and I'm not sure the local farmers would be pleased to see any installed.
The plane tree's associated with the canal du Midi were planted to anchor the banks with root growth and the shade they provide is to reduce evaporation as well as preventing weed growth.
The canals are closed for 6 months of the year from 1st November until 31st of March.
The lowest bridge is at Capestang on the canal du Midi 3.50 metres high over 2.5 metres wide, the canal depth varies but 1.2 metres is generally considered to be standard.
The lock dimensions are, length 40 metes, width 4 metres, commercial barges were built 39.5 metres long and can carry 350 tonnes,, this is known as the 'Freycinet' Gauge after the French government minister who brought in the act to standardise canal/lock dimensions throughout France to allow barges to travel widely throughout France without the need to tranship cargo.
If I can help with any more info just get in touch.
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