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Synesthesia
11-09--2009, 03:59 PM
Just out of curiousity (and slight planning of fulfilling dream) if I was to own a narrowboat. How about mooring up in the Netherlands? There are canals there. But are they suitable for narrowboat living? Anyone with experience? And also, if so, how would the canal connection to other European countries be like - say France, Italy, you know. Or any other suggestions. Cause I've got the impression that the UK is wonderful for narrowboats. But how about central Europe?
How would entering Venice in a narrowboat be like? (Never been there, all I know is that the streets are canals, haha. Sounds suiting to me?)
But mainly the Netherlands. Imagine having your floating home moored up in Amsterdam or something. But would also very much appreciate the freedom of movement. It wouldn't be limited?
(I could always go google a map over European canal connections and so on, and I will too, but I do prefer hearing from people talking from their own knowledge and experience)

Another question that's been bugging me - if I did moor up in a Dutch city. How are the possibilities of taking my boat to the UK again? I wouldn't be able to cross the channel by myself, right? Is there any way of getting it across, and if so, how (and for what cost..)?

Still only very much in the dream fase, so just asking all these (probably somewhat dumb) questions to find out a little more about oppurtunities and so on, and here on UK Hippy I only find info about living in the UK!
All answers are very much appreciated!

:hippy:

Barefoot_Surfer
11-09--2009, 04:33 PM
Your biggest issue with getting the boat across the channel would be its sea worthiness. Most narrow boats are class D which is really inland water only and trying to cross the channel in anything other than flat calm would be dangerous.

Your best bet is to get yourself a dutch barge which has a design category of C or even better B. With a design category of C it should be able to handle coastal waters, B offshore waters.

I think there are other things to consider when using the waterways of continental Europe like licensing. The Royal Yachting Association should be able to give you information on this http://www.rya.org.uk (http://www.rya.org.uk/)

Barefoot_Surfer
11-09--2009, 04:36 PM
Oh you would also need an ICC certificate, which is also available from the RYA. This is pretty much like a driving license for the waterways if you like.

Synesthesia
11-09--2009, 05:08 PM
Yes, I know I know. But I was wondering more if it is possible to get it across the channel somehow, with some help? Can't imagine how, but so you know, that's why I'm asking :D

Was picturing something like a big, big ship or ferry or something that would be able to maybe bring it across, somehow? Or is this very unrealistic?

Nono - no Dutch barge. Narrowboat is the dream :)

But so then it pretty much comes down to EITHER UK or Europe then?

Barefoot_Surfer
11-09--2009, 05:53 PM
I am sure there are ways to get it across the channel. Depends on the length of the boat as to what your options are, the longer the boat the more difficult it is going to be. It maybe possible to crane the boat onto a lorry and cross via a ferry. If you are to cross over sea, the best solution would be to make the boat sea worthy and lashing to another narrowboat wanting to do the same journey. Then employ the services of a tug and get towed across.

Synesthesia
12-09--2009, 11:48 PM
Aw, thank you thank you thank you! Exactly the kind of answer I was hoping for. Brilliant!

Just got back from a Saturday in Amsterdam. What a lovely city! And the canals, ooh, it's a powerful fantasy of mine to once travel through the city in my floating home. Really, what an amazing way to live.

No one here with more information on the canals around this part of the world?

julianthegypsy
13-09--2009, 01:59 PM
You can easily truck a narrow boat across the channel. The poles were bringing cheap boats across to sell here (not recommended) until recently, now the exchange rate has dropped a bit you can get a british one with far better build quality for the same money.

Synesthesia
13-09--2009, 10:40 PM
Well now I'm a very very happy person! :D

Cheers!

regtheveg
13-09--2009, 11:12 PM
Hi, I have read before of a group of canal boats crossing together to France. A couple took their boat over after some modifications. The story is here
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1451294/Retired-couple-conquer-the-Channel-in-a-canal-boat.html

Barefoot_Surfer
22-09--2009, 05:48 PM
If you want to sail it across there are some modifications which you must make to make it seaworthy. Firstly you would need somebody who has a good knowledge and experience of the waters you are crossing. You will also need to make sure all the inlets and vents near the water line are sealed. You will also need to install marine VHF radio, you will need to make sure you have flares, life jackets and a liferaft. Also consider installing EPIRB as this will give your last location if you have the miss fortune of sinking.

You will also need the charts for the area you are crossing, along with this you will need to have a compass, however there is a problem you will need to get around and that is to work out how your boat affects it. You can have the compass professionally installed and corrected so that the iron hull is taken into account. You will also need to work out your passage including timings and work out what tide is best for you to depart and arrive on. It surprises me the amount of people who can't figure out the tide and how to compensate for it. You will also need to work out what conditions you need to sail in and wait for a favorable forecast which coincides with a favorable tide. Which can be a long wait sometimes.

Last of all and this is vitally important, you need to make sure the boat's engine is up to the task. This may mean that you will have to beef it up a bit, but more importantly you need to rely on it, so it will need to be serviced and run for a bit to iron out any problems. You will need to keep it on tip top condition so it is ready to go as soon as the conditions dictate. When crossing you will need to ensure everything is stowed away and you have a few people with you. Colregs dictate that you need to keep a constant look out, it is esspecially important in the waters you have to cross as it is the busiest shipping lane in the world that you have to cross. Familiarise yourself with the colregs as you will need to know who is the give way vessel.

I hope this advice was useful :)

groove st
22-09--2009, 06:11 PM
not entirely true about the polish stuff, our steelwork was built in england but the boat was shipped to the chzech republic for lining as the woodwork from there is excellent - which brings me round to saying it is entirely possible to take a NB across the channel, but i wouldn't recommend not putting it onto a lorry-ferry.........

julianthegypsy
22-09--2009, 10:05 PM
It was the steelwork I was talking about, and the electrics. Im sure the czechs have excellent chippies, as do the english but they probably have to pay more for decent wood.

groove st
22-09--2009, 10:16 PM
It was the steelwork I was talking about, and the electrics. Im sure the czechs have excellent chippies, as do the english but they probably have to pay more for decent wood.


no worries.
i must say when we first saw our boat interior the craftsmaship was superior to pretty much anything we had looked at previously.

oh and a handy hint for anyone thinking of fitting out a new NB, don't go for oak and brass, it is doulbe the price and half the availability of, for example, beech and chrome.

Barefoot_Surfer
22-09--2009, 10:56 PM
no worries.
i must say when we first saw our boat interior the craftsmaship was superior to pretty much anything we had looked at previously.

oh and a handy hint for anyone thinking of fitting out a new NB, don't go for oak and brass, it is doulbe the price and half the availability of, for example, beech and chrome.

Beach is probably a better colour I think, I would go for something that doesn't make the cabin look like a dungeon.

groove st
22-09--2009, 11:15 PM
hey we don't live in a dungeon lol!!
it's not that dark actually...........

samzillion
23-09--2009, 11:30 AM
when i was a child we lived in holland belgium and france on a small dutch barge for about 3 years. it was great!

i still have a bit of contact with people in france, there is a bit more paperwork than there used to be, but it's all still pretty easy, especially if your boat is under a certain length. 12m? you'd have to check. after this the driving licence (a pretty new thing) turns from mickey mouse to actually a proper test.

insurance is worth pricing up. the boat safety thing would probably still be a survey every 4 years, though if your boat is registered in the UK it only used to need a ticket... while in the UK!

if you're on the move diesel costs, you used to be able to buy red diesel in belgium then cruise into france with it. i think they now have a toll system for going through locks, again, something to check.

mooring in holland has got pretty expensive in the last few years. my sister was there and found it super pricey, maybe it was just that town.

in france if you stay on the move you can moor "sauvage", ie against the earth bank on the outskirts of towns n villages. it's a lifestyle that is part of the heritage, though of late the work stopped for the barges, so it's more leisure n lifestyle. but it's not looked at in a negative light in the same way that somethimes in uk it is.

with friends i have living in france on boats, by the time they tally up the mooring, insurance, river tax and a few other bits, it works out about the same as UK narrowboat living - except on a boat with maybe 10 or 15 times the room. (maybe a grand or two a year) 38 m barges, either cut to 30m or left as original, with the hold fitted out. totally brilliant homes.

either way it's gotta be fun, getting the boat there and back is either 9 hrs cruising on a calm day after a week of calm weather, or on a truck on a ferry. not sure i'd want to float a narrowboat over, though the calm days really are pretty flat.

boats are cheaper to buy in mainland europe.

best of luck either way,

sam

Barefoot_Surfer
23-09--2009, 11:50 AM
if you're on the move diesel costs, you used to be able to buy red diesel in belgium then cruise into france with it. i think they now have a toll system for going through locks, again, something to check.


I have heard of boats being impounded and owners being given large on the spot fines for having red diesel in their tanks in Holland. It seems that Dutch customs officials take a very dim view of boats nipping across the border to fill up with red too.

GyroLady
24-09--2009, 04:48 PM
You might want to have a read of this:-

"Narrow Dog to Carcassone" by Terry Darlington
ISBN 978-0553816693

They take an British Narrow boat over the channel and then travel there. Good story and good info, including about the crossing.