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Old 09-12-2017, 21:17   #1
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Cruising rivers in Europe

Are there any rivers in Europe that make sense to visit from a sailboat?

In terms of being navigable for a vessel of reasonable draft and having places to anchor or moor, and access to interesting things.
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Old 10-12-2017, 00:19   #2
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

If you are willing to pull the mast, there are tons of rivers and canals.

No affiliation but below has some details:
Cruising Guides for the Canals & Rivers of Europe

Obviously, shallow draft boats are the best option. If you have an 8' draft, a lot of routes drop off the list. If you have a 3' draft, there are tons of routes available.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:09   #3
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
If you are willing to pull the mast, there are tons of rivers and canals.

No affiliation but below has some details:
Cruising Guides for the Canals & Rivers of Europe

Obviously, shallow draft boats are the best option. If you have an 8' draft, a lot of routes drop off the list. If you have a 3' draft, there are tons of routes available.
Thanks for the link. I'm contemplating a vessel with a draft just under 5', and would be willing to pull the mast.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:57   #4
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

Haven't done it yet but cruising the rivers and canals of Europe is on my bucket list so have done a lot of reading on the subject.

With a draft under 5' you do have a lot more options but even with a deeper draft you have enough to keep you busy for years.

If you have a good engine the Seine from Le Havre to Paris could be fun.

Without pulling the mast there's a cruise through western Netherlands named appropriately the Standmast Route (Dutch Staande Mast Route).

With a shallow draft one of the classic cruises is enter the canal system on the Atlantic side and cruise to the Med through the Canal de Midi.
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:42   #5
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

just saw the thread and got curious on how much enginge power does one need to cruise safely through the rivers of Europe (of course it depends on boat engine you have) is there a thumb rule?. How about a 3500kg sailboat with a VP 2002 18hp?
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:28   #6
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

to modern viking: for your sailboat 18 hp are good. I sailed the river rhine with a 30 foot sailboat and about 5metric tons with a Volvo MD 10 with about 10 HP. Slow on the river against current but on the French canals the speed is limited to 6 km/h about 3,3 Knots.
From Northern Europe to the Med I would prefer to sail from the Netherlands to gain the River Maas and then over the Canals to the Med, or if one is patient to sail up the River Rhine in very short distance from the bank (keep a vivid eye on the chart as there is sometimes construction under the water level to brake current and one should avoid to hit that) up to Koblenz and then up the River Mosel (really beautiful, only very slow current) to France.
For the River Seine I would recommend only to pull the mast in Rouen, as there are many cranes in the commercial harbour and building supply for construction for transporting the mast on board. If you start one hour after low water from Honfleur you may reach Rouen in one Tide (my own experience so far).
I have crossed France during my active Sailingtime several times and so have now a little catamaran what I use as a River Cruiser actually on the River Saone.
Good luck
James
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:58   #7
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

The rivers and canals of Europe have been on my Bucket List ever since reading about them in National Geographic as a child 65+ years ago. The RMD (Rhine-Main-Danube) canal has been completed for several years now, allowing connecting from the Amsterdam area all the way to the Mediterranean via the Black Sea - with many side trips available.
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Old 10-12-2017, 15:03   #8
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

And this is a canal cruising classic: Weston Martyr's story "The 200 Millionaire." It keeps my dreams of canal cruising alive, even though I know the world it describes has changed enormously in the 85 years since it was published.

The 200 Millionaire by Weston Martyr
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Old 10-12-2017, 16:05   #9
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

I have hired a bareboat on the Canal du Midi twice. Wonderful! From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean through the wine-growing region. But a yacht would need the mast in a tabernacle to lower for the bridges and locks.
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Old 10-12-2017, 16:31   #10
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

Mast up routes also include a canal through Sweden which would be fab and the Calendonian Canal, but be aware this means transiting Loch Ness
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Old 10-12-2017, 16:53   #11
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

about 20 years ago, some friends and I rented a 42' canal boat in Amsterdam and spent a month cruising the Netherlands. It was a wonderful trip and worth the price.
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Old 10-12-2017, 16:56   #12
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

We pulled the masts on our 41' Morgan in Port Napolean near Marseilles and travelled to Amsterdam via the Rhone, the Seine, the Maas and many other rivers and canals. Even without our masts we barely cleared some fixed bridges and tunnels.
What a wonderful trip it was. Every morning for 3 months we would get on our bicycles (Velos) and ride out to bring fresh baguettes and still warm pastries back to the boat for breakfast.
We were delayed in Port Napolean for 2 weeks due to the 5+ kt current against us flowing down from the snow melt in the Alps. But it slowed down enough for us to leave. The big joke in Port Napolean was that I saw a cow walking along the river. It was the same cow we saw yesterday...he was making better progress than us.
But...the current slacked off and we increased our speed from 2 kts to our cruising speed of 5.6 kts. We have a 56 hp Yanmar that burns 1.0'gph at 2800 rpm. It's a big heavy broad beamed boat. We travelled through 232 locks. Some with a lift of over 150'.
One of the trips many highlights was travelling ~100' above a river valley in an elevated canal. I think it was the Maas River in northern France.
The masts were shipped to Berlin where they were stepped and rigged and we were on our way to Scandanavia. Another story with. Wonderful adventure.
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Old 10-12-2017, 17:10   #13
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

[QUOTE=skipmac;2533791]Haven't done it yet but cruising the rivers and canals of Europe is on my bucket list so have done a lot of reading on the subject.

With a draft under 5' you do have a lot more options but even with a deeper draft you have enough to keep you busy for years.

If you have a good engine the Seine from Le Havre to Paris could be fun.

Without pulling the mast there's a cruise through western Netherlands named appropriately the Standmast Route (Dutch Staande Mast Route).

With a shallow draft one of the classic cruises is enter the canal system on the Atlantic side and cruise to the Med through the Canal de Midi.[/QUOTE
I did it the other way from the Med to Rouen. 5' draft Re stepped at Le Havre. No problems
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Old 10-12-2017, 17:47   #14
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

My wife and I have a home in France and in the past have spent a lot of time exploring the region. If your vessel is less then two meters draft and your willing to pull your mast you can cross all of Europe.
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Old 10-12-2017, 18:58   #15
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Re: Cruising rivers in Europe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
And this is a canal cruising classic: Weston Martyr's story "The 200 Millionaire." It keeps my dreams of canal cruising alive, even though I know the world it describes has changed enormously in the 85 years since it was published.

The 200 Millionaire by Weston Martyr
A great yarn Cormorant, sounds like it has struck a chord with you. But don't wait too late. It all sounds so very enticing and would have 'hooked' me for sure if I were still living in England. As it is, and considering my age, I have to admit, my river cruising will be done on one of the current stretch models we keep getting brochures and infomercials about, complete with all mod cons. and room service to boot. Yup, that's definitely the way for me now.
.
The sad thing is, my little boat (she's for sale) fits the bill entirely per the description in the story: Affordable; 4 ft draft; 9 ft beam; 24.5 ft lod; 30 ft loa; mast (33 ft air draft) mounted in a tabernacle; Cutter rigged; economic 12 hp single cyl diesel; oodles of storage space; low maintenance f/g hull & deck (no painting req'd); etc. etc. ... but here she sits at her dock in the marina at Point Roberts WA ... It's not impossible she could make the trip to Europe on her own, but it would have to be with a much younger skipper than me ... it's the thing that dreams are made of.
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