Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-08-2015, 02:42 AM   #1
Member
 
City: Adelaide
Country: Australia
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 12
European Canal Boat Planning

We intend to retire early next year and hope to purchase a boat in Europe with a view to spending up to 6 months a year (it might be too cold for us to spend winters on board) cruising the rivers and canals. This whole idea has been generated by one magical trip on the Canal du Midi in 2014 and the desire to do it while we still can. Our boating experience is very limited (I can recognise a boat at close range) so we are trying to gain as much knowledge as possible in a short period. Any advice that members have regarding licences, best place to purchase a boat (would probably prefer to buy privately), must have fittings, layout issues, how to find competent and trustworthy marine surveyors etc would be greatly appreciated.
We had wondered whether it might be easier to buy in the UK (for language and cultural reasons) and then have the boat taken to France (I wouldn't have the confidence to take a boat across the Channel) but have not yet been able to find much information about the benefits or difficulties in doing this.
Any and all advice would be appreciated.
__________________
Advertisement

Retirement Planning is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 05:45 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Roger Long's Avatar
 
City: Albany, NY
Country: Albany
Vessel Name: Gypsy Star
Vessel Model: Gulf Star 43
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 196
We were convinced for two months last spring that we would do the same thing. We only gave it up because it would only work for us as an expat experience or committing to six transatlantic flight a year. We're now refitting a boat for the Great Loop (or maybe the Great "U")

From our research, there are much better deals to be found in Holland. I don't know how you could do this without a broker. We found a very good one:

(The forum bot still won't let me post email addresses so you'll have to figure it out.)

Peter Copeland

peter (the "at" sign) dutchbargesforsale.co.uk

He is in the UK but specializes in selling Dutch barges to Brits. This is the place to start. Barges come up for sale frequently and the good ones go fast so you need to plan to go over and spend at least a couple weeks so you can grab the one you want.
__________________

Roger Long is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 09:52 AM   #3
Member
 
City: Adelaide
Country: Australia
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 12
Thanks for the suggestion Roger. We plan on going to the UK in Spring 2016 to start the search for a boat. I've noted the broker's details and will make contact.
It's interesting that I had never heard of the Great Loop until you mentioned it and I have just spent the last hour or so Googling it. Certainly looks like fun but might be advanced for our skill level. We'll get Europe sorted first and then review our options.
Retirement Planning is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 12:20 PM   #4
Guru
 
djmarchand's Avatar
 
City: East Greenwich, RI
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Bella
Vessel Model: Mainship Pilot 34
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,883
A few years ago I got interested in doing what you are thinking of and started this thread on Trawlerforum: Living aboard a French canal boat

Buried in the thread are tons of references and info. Working through an English broker of Dutch boats is a good idea. But I suspect that English will work fine for some of the French brokers. Here is one: H2O boat - New and used motor boats for sale, boatyard, Marinas since 1986

How was your Midi canal experience. Who did you charter with. I hope it isn't like how the BVI has gotten where everyone leaves their mooring early in mass to race to the next mooring field before it fills up.

David
djmarchand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 06:41 PM   #5
Member
 
City: Adelaide
Country: Australia
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
A few years ago I got interested in doing what you are thinking of and started this thread on Trawlerforum: Living aboard a French canal boat

Buried in the thread are tons of references and info. Working through an English broker of Dutch boats is a good idea. But I suspect that English will work fine for some of the French brokers. Here is one: H2O boat - New and used motor boats for sale, boatyard, Marinas since 1986

How was your Midi canal experience. Who did you charter with. I hope it isn't like how the BVI has gotten where everyone leaves their mooring early in mass to race to the next mooring field before it fills up.

David
Thanks for the advice David. I haven't yet looked at H2O Boat and will do so shortly. Your thread sounds really useful so I will look at that with interest.

The Canal du Midi experience was wonderful. We were too optimistic about our capabilities so the trip wasn't as relaxing as we anticipated but we can see what we should have done and will have a much better idea for our future activities. We booked through France Afloat/France Fluviale and travelled from Capestang to Port Lauragais. With only 2 of us on board and all but 1 of the locks going uphill we had a steep learning curve. We moored on the canal bank several times so had little trouble with nightly stopovers. The most challenging was in Carcassone where we were expected to reverse into our berth which was something we had never done before. In future we will practice in a secluded area before submitting to a public viewing for that sort of activity. We also now understand the benefit of bow thrusters so they will be high on our wish list for any vessel we purchase.
Thanks for your advice.
Andrew
Retirement Planning is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 08:32 PM   #6
Guru
 
Insequent's Avatar
 
City: Brisbane
Country: Australia
Vessel Name: Insequent
Vessel Model: Ocean Alexander 50 Mk I
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,427
David gives good advice and links, although I may not have read all of the first one. I did visit H2O Boat about 4 years ago. Their English is fine. There was a good range of boats there, but some were in poor condition. Oddly enough it was my trip to that region that put me off canal boating as an extended lifestyle choice. Nothing specific, not H2O, not the region itself or the people there. Just a gut feeling that developed over a period. Not many boats were moving along the canals. Lots were moored in marina's with liveaboards who never moved and many had 'for sale' signs. I came away with an impression that it was kinda like a trailer park. The people were fine, but the whole environment just seemed depressing to me. If you keep on the move it would be different, I'm sure.

Tom Sommers website has lots of info
EuroCanals-Cruising the Canals & Rivers of Europe
I have the pdf version of his France Guidebook and it is very good.
__________________
Brian
Insequent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 10:14 PM   #7
Member
 
City: Adelaide
Country: Australia
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Insequent View Post
David gives good advice and links, although I may not have read all of the first one. I did visit H2O Boat about 4 years ago. Their English is fine. There was a good range of boats there, but some were in poor condition. Oddly enough it was my trip to that region that put me off canal boating as an extended lifestyle choice. Nothing specific, not H2O, not the region itself or the people there. Just a gut feeling that developed over a period. Not many boats were moving along the canals. Lots were moored in marina's with liveaboards who never moved and many had 'for sale' signs. I came away with an impression that it was kinda like a trailer park. The people were fine, but the whole environment just seemed depressing to me. If you keep on the move it would be different, I'm sure.

Tom Sommers website has lots of info
EuroCanals-Cruising the Canals & Rivers of Europe
I have the pdf version of his France Guidebook and it is very good.
Thanks for the comments. We want to use the boat as a way to tour and experience much of Europe rather than living out of a suitcase so we should be safe from the trailer park syndrome.

The Tom Sommers website looks to be very useful. I will probably subscribe as it also appears to be good value.

Andrew
Retirement Planning is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2015, 11:12 PM   #8
Veteran Member
 
Daveo's Avatar
 
City: Boston, MA
Country: U. S. A.
Vessel Name: Navigator
Vessel Model: Nordhavn 46
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 57
welcome aboard,
like you, i found the french canal experience to be enchanting. Have done Alsace-Lorraine and Burgundy via LeBoat. Those trips helped get me over an aversion to over-night boating caused by canned ham overexposure on a lengthy Pacific crossing. Thirty years on I still can't stand to hear "Plumrose". Unlke the BVI, on French canals you can basically pull over and stake out your boat anywhere, just pick the spot with the best view, farthest towpath, friendliest cows or whatever. Zero competition for position outside of the large towns. Good luck!
Daveo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2015, 08:05 AM   #9
Dauntless Award
 
Wxx3's Avatar
 
City: New York, NY
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Dauntless
Vessel Model: Kadey Krogen 42 - 148
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,313
All the advice I have read above sounds really good.
The Tom Sommer's Guides are well worth it.

There are also a few hear on TF who are in Europe on the canals.

The market for boats in general in Europe continues to be a buyers market, especially so in France, compared to the Netherlands.

I would be inclined to start in France with looking at boats to buy, just because I think the market is better and a boat already in France will have less issues, IF there are any issues.
__________________
M/Y Dauntless, New York
a Kadey Krogen 42 Currently https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
Blog: https://dauntlessatsea.com
Find us: https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
Wxx3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2015, 08:34 PM   #10
Member
 
City: Adelaide
Country: Australia
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 12
Thanks Richard - your comments about the market are appreciated. I've had a quick look at your blog and will read it with interest when I have a little more time.

Andrew
Retirement Planning is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2015, 06:21 AM   #11
Guru
 
menzies's Avatar
 
City: Jacksonville
Country: USA
Vessel Name: SONAS
Vessel Model: Grand Alaskan 53
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2,204
PassageMaker has a nice article this month about a couple who took their "55 Dutch Steel trawler" through France, from the English Channel to the Med.
__________________

menzies is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:41 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012