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BUILD "BETTER FOR LESS" WITH BRUCE ROBERTS BOAT PLANS

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 PLUS check out the links to the beautiful boats they have built with our help ! 

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Illustrated Custom Boatbuilding.
We recommend that you read this hardcover book -
ORDER NOW and we will pay the postage.

NEW EURO / CANAL RANGE / KITS
Canal friendly cruisers for Coastal cruising as well as canals, rivers & bays.

This new range of canal friendly cruisers feature low 'air' draft, minimum draft and the beam is designed to suit locks widths on all the popular canals and rivers of Europe and elsewhere.  After many years of extensively cruising the rivers and canals of  Holland, Belgium and France as well as Mediterranean coastal voyaging, we can recommend these new designs as ideal.




EURO 1000 CANAL FRIENDLY - SEE MORE
 




EURO 1200 - CANAL FRIENDLY SEE MORE
 

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EURO 1400 - CANAL FRIENDLY SEE MORE

 

WAVERUNNER 44 - CANAL FRIENDLY SEE MORE
 

PASSAGEMAKER magazine January / February issue 2000 ... article about Cruising in Europe

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Dorothy Stufft on 'Allegheny'

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The beautiful village of Pont sur Yonne
Photos by 'Gwenda'

Just one of the 18 pages in PASSAGEMAKER that is devoted to cruising in Europe. The 5,000 word text will wet your appetite and the many photographs show the beautiful French waterways and countryside.

Cruising in Europe ... An overview:
A
very short extract from Bruce's book "CHOOSING FOR CRUISING"

In the case of Holland paperwork is kept to a minimum. For boats of under 49 ft 3 in (15m) in length, and whose top speed is less than 8 knots (20 km), all that is required is a recognized form of operators certificate such as the certificate of Competence issued in the UK by the RYA. As with any  cruise you may be planning the requirements may change so you should always check with the local authorities of each country you plan to visit. Make sure you are equipped with the correct ships papers and local guides and rule books before you leave your home port. In Holland you are required to purchase a copy of the Dutch ANWB strip maps, and although the text is in Dutch, they will prove most useful.  

As some of the locks (sluizen) are muti chamber affairs it is essential to have a VHF radio available to call up and ask advice as to which is the next available lock. Make sure you let the lock keeper know if you are travelling upstream or downstream.

On arrival in Belgium, you have to pay 35 Belgian francs (about 75P or US$1.20) for using the canal system. The modest fee is offset by the fact that one of the crew will have  to climb up to the office at every lock to have the 35BF piece of paper stamped and recorded in the computer or occasionally entered into a log by hand.

Before crossing into France you can take the last opportunity to fuel up with the tax free and therefore much cheaper Belgian diesel fuel. On crossing the border you are now able to use the excellent French Navicarte maps which have English, French and German text; the various editions cover the entire French canal system.

It is a requirement to purchase a Vignette, the French permit to travel on their canal system. At this lock leaflets explaining the various permits are available in English, Dutch and German. There are different options such as a 20 day pass  designed for holiday makers and must be used on 20 consecutive days, a 30 day pass, which can be used as you wish, you do not count the days you are not actually travelling on the canals, or a one year pass for those who plan to be on the move for more than 30 days.

The locks on the Rhone are the largest in France and the Ecluse Bollene is over 80 ft deep (24.40 m) and large enough to take most ocean liners. It is advisable to call the Rhone locks on your VHF radio to advise of your impending arrival; this can save you up to two hours delay if you just miss the lock cycle. With a few phrases spoken in French you will greatly enhance the chances of the lock master holding the cycle for up to 20 minutes or more, on occasions when others are already in the chamber. The right time to call ahead depends on your speed. If you call from too far out you may be holding up the lock for too long and annoy the lock keeper (not recommended). Most canal users find that calling when about 10 to 20 minutes from the estimated arrival time is correct. If the lock-keeper does not reply leave it for a few minutes and try again, he may be handling a lock full of barges and be unable to get to the radio. You must supply the correct information in French if you want this useful system to work in your favor.

If you have the time, take your time as there is much to see and enjoy. You can easily travel from Holland, Belgium or from one of the French channel ports to the Mediterranean in 18 days ; a leisurely trip through France can take a whole Summer.

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