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#1 Chrisc

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 03:34 PM

Home again, and to finish up with a few facts and figures which may be of benefit to anyone contemplating a similar exercise.
Over the course of the six months in Europe we spent five months and one week on board, the other three weeks being spent looking for a boat in Holland.
The cruise started in Rotterdam from where we travelled South East to Maastricht where we crossed into Belgium and from there more or less south to Givet where we entered france. From there our course was a very haphazard affair, governed by the lack of water in the canals due to the drought, but essentially we travelled through the Ardennes, Alsace and Lorraine areas of North eastern France and terminating the cruise in the city of Nancy where We left the boat in the city marina for the winter.
We covered 1098km, transited through 261 locks, 2 boat lifts, 4 tunnels from 800m to 2.9km in length, put 198 hours on the engine and purchased 576 litres of diesel. When we bought the boat she had 290 litres on board and we left her with pressed up tanks - 400 litres diesel. The diesel was a nasty surprise. When we did our original expenses calculation before we left home we allowed €1.25/litre which is what it was. The actual average was €1.46/litre. We hope for better economy next year as stupidly I never shut down the engine in the locks until I wised up a bit, late in the game. Each lock takes about 15 minutes, and multiplying that by 261 locks equates to a lot of fuel.
Happily we were on the button with the other expenses.
The boat cost us €25,000 And we spent an additional €2000 approx as you do with a new boat. By buying the boat in Holland (cheap) and hopefully ultimately selling in France (expensive) we hope to largely recoup the purchase price. A comprehensive boat insurance cost €300, and medical for the two of us was NZD900.
The use of the canal network in Holland is free, in Belgium it is €0.89 per annum and in France €280 per annum. We have heard that the Belgians have waived the 89 cents and is now also free. Oh, the savings... The French charge is good value since all berthage, locks, water, rubbish removal etc is free. Electric was often provided free and when there was a charge was about €1.50/day, except in Nancy where the marina has a one off charge of €1.50 regardless of how much you use or how long you stay. We used marinas about one day a fortnight for an average charge of €14/day.
Meat was more expensive than in NZ, dairy cheaper and the other stuff the same so we put down feeding ourselves to be of equal cost with NZ.
We estimated 25% of supermarket shelf space was given over to wine. That is a lot of isles in a big supermarket. The French take their wine very seriously. As a red wine affictionado I should have been in paradise but unfortunately I find that ageing means I can't handle more than a glass or two at most. Especially sad as a really decent red is all yours for around €2.50 a bottle. Beer is in 500ml cans and costs between €.50 for a French or German brew and up to €6.00 for a boutique Belgian beer.
Spare parts are difficult in France and as far as we could discover there are only two shipchandlers in all of France and they are in the coastal areas so it's mail order if you need something. I was told by experienced canallers that you need to be a DIY man to have a succesdful cruise on the canals and it's true.
We deemed the cruise to be successful by the usual definition that we are both still alive and the boat is still afloat. However, it would be churlish of me not to mention Joke's contribution to the success by virtue of her perseverece in meticulous planning, attention to details and her getting to grips with the French language thereby making things a little easier for us.
And to show that some things just never change, here's a picture of the aforementioned girl on a boat doing the same thing on the same canal, 54 years apart.
inCollage_20181007_020304458.jpg
And finally, if you've read this far, thanks to Matt for providing a canal boat platform on Crew and to you members for the many nice feedbacks to my ramblings.
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#2 Knot Me... maybe

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 03:59 PM

And finally, if you've read this far, thanks to Matt for providing a canal boat platform on Crew and to you members for the many nice feedbacks to my ramblings.

 

I have as they are the most excellent ramblings Chris.

I've enjoyed them all and even learnt a pile of cool stuff along the way.

 

Thank you


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#3 curly12

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 06:01 PM

I have as they are the most excellent ramblings Chris.
I've enjoyed them all and even learnt a pile of cool stuff along the way.


Thank you


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#4 Island Time

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 07:10 PM

:thumbup:


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There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing, as simply messing about in boats


#5 muzled

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 09:00 PM

Chis I think you could have done daily updates with the most mundane of matters and kept us totally entertained.

 

Looking forward to when next years updates already!  (and at least one of us will be happy with more bicycle inclusions...) 


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#6 Rangi1

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 05:57 AM

Thanks Chris - the various threads and posts have been a real highlight on Crew over the last few months, so much so it has made me do a bit of dreaming of my own.
I’m taking the family to Europe next year and will be there all of April and a bit either side. Is it feasible to rent a canal boat for a week or so in France, or does it take that long to get the hang of everything....
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#7 armchairadmiral

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 06:41 AM

Yes the from me too ! Go for it Rangi. It will be a life highlight holiday
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#8 chariot

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 07:40 AM

Have enjoyed all your posts. Will keep an eye out for the H28 over summer if you are getting away.


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#9 Steve Pope

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 08:55 AM

Cheers Chris and Joke, for me they've been the most enjoyable and informative posts, looking forward to next years installments. Now how are filling the NZ summer??


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#10 Chrisc

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 12:00 PM

Steve, you touched on a sore point - we don't know what to do over summer with no boat in NZ. Home for 10 days and bored witless.
Rangi, I was told by Joke not to lay it on about canal boating in Europe as just because we like it doesn't mean everybody else does, so some unbiased info.
There are three or four big rental boat companies in France and they have many marinas in good cruising areas from where you can pick up your boat. The average rental period is 1 - 2 weeks, with same day pick up and return ie pick up on Sunday, return on Friday. This gives then Saturday for maintenance,restocking etc. The boats range from 10 to 15 metres and ( I think) they have three classes in each type. The most expensive will be a nice looking boat, one you would be happy to own yourself. The next cheapest will be somewhat beaten up, bits of rubber fender ripped off or dangling in the water, evidence of some fairly decent interactions with locks etc and the third cheapest, well you may wonder what's keeping them afloat. I've been on some of these boats and there all in good Nick with regard to accommodation. The reason for the external condition is that they are often rented out to people who have never even seen a boat before, and the average length of tuition is 40 minutes. The above is from a dour Scots mechanic working for a rental boat company that we got to know and regaled us with many a tale of renter shenanigans. So Rangi, coming from a boating background you will not have any problems at all in handling these boats.
If you own a boat for use on the canals then you need to pass the CEVNI test, hold a current ICC for inland and coastal waters and an MSROC grade licence for the VHF. If you are a renter you need no licences whatsoever. But, I would strongly recommend that you go on line and familiarise yourself with CEVNI which covers all the various lights buoys and signage that you will encounter on the canals.
Concerning maps/charts, I don't know what the rental companies will give you. We use this publucation20181012_112351.jpg
They come in book form for various canals and cost €22 a pop but are very good. Apart from the charts there is also a lot of other good info and they are in English as well as French and German. The chart pages look like this20181012_112804.jpg
That's about it and I'm going to ignore Joke and give a recommendation. It's a he'll of a nice, laid back interesting life on the canals and I regret I didn't have a go at it sooner.
And it affected Joke as well. When we came home and she was unpacking her suitcase, she uttered a sentiment that no female has ever voiced since the creation of the universe. 'You know she said looking at her unpacked gear. 'You know, I think I took too many clothes.'
Jokes favorite info site www.french-waterways.com
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