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Inland Waterway Cruising; Boats, Barges, etc.

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by brian eiland, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    I have often wondered why this subject has not been introduced to this Yachting-forums site. 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

    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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    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  2. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    Roi Soleil

    ...couple more photos of this beauty

    ...wouldn't this make a great live-aboard vessel :cool:

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  3. chuckb

    chuckb Senior Member

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    We did a week on Canal-du-Midi (and saw Roi Soliel), absolutely one of the best weeks boating I've had. It's on the retirement list to buy a canal boat and spend shoulder seasons cruising. Apparently it takes about 5 years to cover the majority of France. France is very easy cruising, Germany and beyond means jostling with much bigger commercial traffic.

    It's a wonderful dream, thanks for starting the topic!!
  4. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    Do you recall how your vessel was powered...both propulsion and aux generator?

    I don't suppose there are power outlet for shore cords all along these canals??

    ...just a thought I have in mind...want to explore the subject.
  5. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Go nowhere at slow speed and high expense..? :D

    Heard good things about the canal cruises however, wish I had time and money to sample some of it. French country side sure is pleasant..Been there, done that, sans barge.
  6. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    Mom & Dad did a cruise through Ireland a few years ago. A beautiful Dutch barge restored to a high standard and a young French chef among the crew.
    The other passengers were a couple from Texas with an eye to buy some horses for breeding.

    The days sort of melted away over the 2 weeks. The 2 Dads disappeared after breakfast to buy some bread and ended up in the pub to see if the 'Black Stuff' had changed flavour from the day before. They wobbled back to the boat on push bikes with the bread missing some crusty bits from one side.

    The girls, however, had planned a little ahead. In the mornings a dapper young Irish lad was waiting for them in neat tweeds and an embarressment of a flat-hat that had seen a bit too much 'farm' (it had it's own microclimate apparently). As they clambered into the back of the rusty Range Rover, a bloodstock agent was waiting to sell them "..some of the finest horses in all Ireland. Perhaps one of them has only t'ree working legs but very, very fine..." sort of sales blarney. They too returned to the barge after some aromatic 'working tea' from the yard owner.

    After long lunches on deck and local foods for supper, they bimbled towards Dublin and just wanted to turn it around again and go back.

    Can you blame them?
  7. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    Have you got the name of the vessel, and/or some photos?
  8. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    Dad can't really remember going to Ireland!!!! :D
  9. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Now we are talking about the kind of cruising that really appeals to me!

    Here are some pics taken on the Midi and the Rhone not too long ago. For those with more interest in the lifestyle and techniques, there is a series of books written by Bill and Laurel Cooper, an older English couple who cruised the inland waterways of Europe for years and written in amazing detail about how to do it and what it's like.

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  10. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Here's one of the tourist shuttles provided by the Blue Boat Company in Amsterdam. If you ever visit, I recommend taking the tour....

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  11. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Hundreds of barges line the seawalls in Amsterdam. Many of them converted to live aboards, offices, or even retail businesses. Unsure of the status on this one...

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  12. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Taxis in Amsterdam have class...

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  13. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Flower Power...

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  14. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Is that a rudder on the bow? Sometimes hard to tell if they are coming or going...

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  15. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Traveling one country north, we found ourselves high atop a building having a late afternoon ale and overlooking Bremen, Germany. Below, the "Oceana" awaited Weser River sightseers...

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  16. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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  17. Laurence

    Laurence Senior Member

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    England

    Photo is from our trip to England a few years ago, extensive canal network and charters.

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  18. chuckb

    chuckb Senior Member

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    A few favorite links to fuel the canal barge fantasies...

    The key is to get into the brokerage areas, and then select "Converted Barges" or similar... that gets to the good stuff.

    http://www.h2ofrance.com/
    http://www.luxe-motor.com/
    http://www.bourgogne-marine.com/Home.html

    I've heard of folks that have actively sailed the world retiring to this lifestyle. No fog, no navigation worries, fall overboard... just stand up and walk to the edge of the canal!

    And to the comment "going no where slowly at great expense", the operational costs are dirt cheap compared to ocean going yachts. A 100' foot converted barge is typically <$10K/yr for maintenance (not counting fuel etc.).

    I think canal barges are a "must" chapter for boaters... wouldn't want to spend a lifetime there, but 5 years... absolutely!
  19. FutureYachter

    FutureYachter Member

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    Hybrid Erie Canal Boat Doing the Great Loop

    Here's a couple that have converted a 40 foot canal boat to run on electricity as well as diesel. Supplemental power is provided by solar panels. They are taking a year-long sabbatical to ''do the loop" (at speeds as fast as 6 knots ;) ).

    www.slowboatcruise.com

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  20. Ward

    Ward Senior Member

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    Nice little canal boat

    Closer to home, I was just reading the latest Epoxyworks magazine and they had a couple articles about a 30' classic-looking diesel/solar/electric boat that will mostly be used for canal cruising in Canada and the US:

    http://www.epoxyworks.com/32/index.html

    And here's some more information and a ton of construction pictures on the builder's web site:

    http://www.bearmountainboats.com/launch.htm

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