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We are getting closer to our move, and have taken on board the advice re renting rather than buying in the first instance. However, being mad, we are looking at the purchase of a boat on the Mediterranean coast, and living in it for a while. We are flexible re location, and like both Mandelieu and the Bezier/Canal de Midi area. I have been scouring LeBonCoin, and have seen quite a few possibilities for between 10,000-20,000 Euros with possibilities of marina moorings. Anyone out there tried it or has advice for us?? We have spent months before in Europe travelling in a motorhome, so still get on at close quarters:)
 

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We are getting closer to our move, and have taken on board the advice re renting rather than buying in the first instance. However, being mad, we are looking at the purchase of a boat on the Mediterranean coast, and living in it for a while. We are flexible re location, and like both Mandelieu and the Bezier/Canal de Midi area. I have been scouring LeBonCoin, and have seen quite a few possibilities for between 10,000-20,000 Euros with possibilities of marina moorings. Anyone out there tried it or has advice for us?? We have spent months before in Europe travelling in a motorhome, so still get on at close quarters:)
Good Morning Jake. Quite jealous about your future plans and hope they work out, cruising up and down the Midi and into the Med would be great. When you are considering your plans take into account that unlike cruising in the UK, when getting out into the country you probably be unable to moor up for the night wherever you more or less wish as the Canal du Midi is quite shallow at the margins and privacy laws will apply I think. That means that you can only moor up in designated marinas and council owned mooring spots in towns. In the summer time these spots are packed with holiday makers,in rented "Noddy Boats". Complete with radios, sound systems, brats and bbq's, so be warned on that one.

Regarding the type of boat that would be suitable. For canal cruising consider approaching any of the UK hire boat companies at the end of the season and enquire about purchasing an ex hire boat. They are purpose built for the job, plenty of space, stable and usually well maintained. You could, in the past, pick one up for about £10k.
After purchase, find yourself a mooring in France if you can and have it brought over by road, try and get a boat transport coy., that has got an empty lorry going down to the South of France that could drop yours off en route, you may have to wait a bit longer, but it will be cheaper in the long run. Golden rule. Fix up your mooring spot before embarking on the project. This again may take time and can be very expensive, insurance is a necessity on the French river system and you will have to take a three day course and exam, all in French before you take to the water. This is done only to enable you to pass through the giant lock systems. If you were to turn up in France for a holiday and hire a 12 berth noddy boat then you do not need the exams, absolutely ridiculous.

Before retiring to France one of my hobbies was restoring old wooden boats, my last one was four tons and I would use it on The Thames. Unless you have some form of carpentry skills and love painting, varnishing and constant upkeep of your " new house", then go for a plastic yoghurt pot. With a wooden boat of any description you will spend as much time caring for it as cruising about in it. As the saying goes in boating circles," The two happiest days of in a boaters life is the day he gets his boat and the day he gets rid of it". Boating is not a cheap option and will certainly be more expensive than travelling in a camping car.

I do hope it works out for you as once you have overcome the initial problems you will find no better way to see another country.

A boat can be described thus. " A hole in the water surrounded by wood/plastic into which you constantly throw money". How true.

Regards. Fletch.








Before retiring to u
 

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Our home in the Lot et Garonne was deliberately chosen because it backs on to the western end of the Canal laterale which takes you from the Canal du Midi to Bordeaux. We've done boats from dinghies to tall ships ,sails and motors, UK and abroad, almost all our lives. We are RYA qualified sailing skippers with international Certs but now including European Inland Waterways though were offshore yacht racers.

Re: the canal. Not only does it have transitting boats, but also numerous boat hire companies. People moor up as and where they please on this canal, not just for lunch but overnight too. The vast majority head for the haltes nautiques but that I think is because of the proximity to a depot de pain for baguettes and also toilet facilities.
In winter parts of the canal get drained entirely so as maintenance can be carried out: 2 years ago it was the turn of the aqueduct in Agen , very impressive! This means that once you've chosen a winter mooring, you may not be able to move very far until the spring reopening.

Re: the boats. The hire companies here use identical, or near identical, boats as those in the UK. Thus if you buy from one of them you do not need to pay lorry transportation costs, you hop on and go where you please. None of these boats will be certified for offshore use though. They are meant for inland waterways and that's it. If you think Mediterranean coasts other than France would appeal then make sure then get one that it is rated for offshore. You do not want to end up with a weather damaged boat. The Med can have just as nasty weather as the North Sea. Been there, done a Force 9 overnight, (result of an inaccurate weather forecast) never again!

Re: your preparation. The RYA does theory and practical qualifications. Some theory courses can be done online if you want or you can attend classes in your area. Check them out. http://www.rya.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx
As with any move of dwelling, practical experience of this type of boating should also be obtained prior to purchase.
 

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Our home in the Lot et Garonne was deliberately chosen because it backs on to the western end of the Canal laterale which takes you from the Canal du Midi to Bordeaux. We've done boats from dinghies to tall ships ,sails and motors, UK and abroad, almost all our lives. We are RYA qualified sailing skippers with international Certs but now including European Inland Waterways though were offshore yacht racers. Re: the canal. Not only does it have transitting boats, but also numerous boat hire companies. People moor up as and where they please on this canal, not just for lunch but overnight too. The vast majority head for the haltes nautiques but that I think is because of the proximity to a depot de pain for baguettes and also toilet facilities. In winter parts of the canal get drained entirely so as maintenance can be carried out: 2 years ago it was the turn of the aqueduct in Agen , very impressive! This means that once you've chosen a winter mooring, you may not be able to move very far until the spring reopening. Re: the boats. The hire companies here use identical, or near identical, boats as those in the UK. Thus if you buy from one of them you do not need to pay lorry transportation costs, you hop on and go where you please. None of these boats will be certified for offshore use though. They are meant for inland waterways and that's it. If you think Mediterranean coasts other than France would appeal then make sure then get one that it is rated for offshore. You do not want to end up with a weather damaged boat. The Med can have just as nasty weather as the North Sea. Been there, done a Force 9 overnight, (result of an inaccurate weather forecast) never again! Re: your preparation. The RYA does theory and practical qualifications. Some theory courses can be done online if you want or you can attend classes in your area. Check them out. http://www.rya.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx As with any move of dwelling, practical experience of this type of boating should also be obtained prior to purchase.
Found your info very interesting. My knowledge is somewhat dated and I did not realise that the RYA did navigation courses for the French river systems. I would presume that any certificates obtained through the RYA are valid in France. I think that a couple of the larger hire boat companies in the UK are part and parcel of the French hire boat business, Hoseasons and such like.

I live on the banks of the River Vienne which is not so navigable due to lack of draft for motorised craft. Kayaks and small fishing boats are mostly seen and used. One of the reasons that I bought my place on the Vienne was for privacy from passing boaters as on The River Thames, every larger boat has a pair of binoculars on board as you know and I must admit I have been guilty of looking into peoples gardens etc., when passing by from Lechlade down to St. Kats.

Regards. Fletch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the very useful info from both of you. I am looking into something around 9-10 m suitable for both "fluvial et mer" and expect to take a course before use. I have built boats in the past, from small dinghies to a 42' James Wharram design catamaran when living in Mauritius, but have done very little sailing other than a Lazer many years ago. I am trying to find one already with a mooring that hopefully can be transferred. As with everything I read about France there always seems to be paperwork involved, but c'est la vie!
 

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Fletch,
Those leisure sailors who have bothered to get their RYA qualifications at day skipper level and above, simply download an ICC (international certificate of competence) application form from the RYA, complete it and send in their logbooks. The RYA annotates the logbook and returns it for free.
The European Inland Waterways qualification or CEVNI as it is called can be obtained by those who need it and also added by the RYA.
With regard to people on the Thames having binos, I see that as reasonable behaviour. Ha,ha. Binos are essential after all for navigational fixes. Besides I had a flat , and binos, for a while , just beside the Thames below Greenwich. I just had to get up and look out at each and every passing boat even if I heard the engine throbbing past at 01.00! I loved it, possibly a bit too much as I was often tired the next day. I also loved going down to the pier each day to commute on the Thames Clippers into town. A perfect way to travel I thought.☺
 

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Fletch, Those leisure sailors who have bothered to get their RYA qualifications at day skipper level and above, simply download an ICC (international certificate of competence) application form from the RYA, complete it and send in their logbooks. The RYA annotates the logbook and returns it for free. The European Inland Waterways qualification or CEVNI as it is called can be obtained by those who need it and also added by the RYA. With regard to people on the Thames having binos, I see that as reasonable behaviour. Ha,ha. Binos are essential after all for navigational fixes. Besides I had a flat , and binos, for a while , just beside the Thames below Greenwich. I just had to get up and look out at each and every passing boat even if I heard the engine throbbing past at 01.00! I loved it, possibly a bit too much as I was often tired the next day. I also loved going down to the pier each day to commute on the Thames Clippers into town. A perfect way to travel I thought.☺
Yep, quite agree. Worked in the City in the eighties and used to travel up and down from Tower Bridge by river, much better than the tube and I could see all the wooden boats. Thats one of the good things about river and canal travel, you get a completely different perspective of a town/ city from the waterway. Fletch.
 
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