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Old 22-05-2017, 03:16   #16
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

Thanks guys, that's what I was looking for. I'm glad to know it's technically possible. I'm still several years away at least -- kids in high school and college -- but I like to fantasize, and on the practical side, get all my ducks in a row.
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Old 22-05-2017, 04:40   #17
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

The UK has narrow and wide canals. The problem is the narrow boats less than 7' wide are serious compromises for living on.

The narrow canals make up the bulk of the UK system.

If you are set on doing both, I would suggest a few years with a narrow boat in the UK and then switch to a larger boat for the continent. This also allows you to get a boat suitable for moderate coastal cruising.

As a non-EU resident, you get 18 months before VAT would be due but if you put the boat under bond, you can extent that. Also, if you make it up to Switzerland, you can reset the clock (and yes, you can get there).
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Old 22-05-2017, 04:48   #18
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

Hi everyone, thank you for taking the time to respond to our plans, and giving us food for thought and research ideas. We're a bit overwhelmed with the wonderful response.
From what we can make out of the general consensus, 2 boats are better than one 😄 ( as usual), which is a little hard on the budget, but we've see some of those narrow canals and they're stunning. I'll be doing a whole bunch of research, and maybe even chatting to friends about a group boat. Hmmmm
One more question please. If the narrow U.K. Canals suit 6'10" beam ( I'm assuming that means 2x 6'10" vessels can pass each other) what are the draft and height ( I believe some call it air draft) restrictions?
We're getting quite excited. 👍 Amazing what a bit of dreaming over a g and t can do. 😄
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:21   #19
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

In the French canals, it gets shallow in dry years. Our friends sailed there about 2004 and their 1.7m draft sailing boat and got stuck for a time. So, if in France, opt for a shallow draft craft.

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Old 22-05-2017, 05:25   #20
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Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

Don't worry about passing. Narrow boats are basically steel tubes. They bounce off anything . The whole system is brilliantly thought out and standardised to avoid you getting into problems. If you buy a narrow boat it will fit where it matters and will bounce past the squeezy bits. My caution about length remains. More than 65 feet and the biggest problem is finding turning bays and they are important. I had to motor our hire boat a full half day in one direction just to be able to turn it around and get back to where I started that evening.

On the issue of hire boats... put simply.. don't. Don't hire, it's bloody expensive and very limiting. Unless you are doing one of the small circuits you end up coming back over your track to return the thing which is crap. Just buy one in the knowledge that if you buy reasonably carefully you'll have no problem selling it later. Also I got on the phone to a whole lot of the yards and most of them assured me that if I was anywhere near them when I'd had enough I could store the boat with them with just a few days notice over the whole winter. And their quoted storage costs were trivial, at least compared to Oz.

Regarding taking one to Europe, hard to know. The practical guy in me says no but the romantic says yes. Read that narrow dog book, it is oddly informative.

Finally, there's a canal boat equivalent of cruisers forum. Check it out, there are even some posts from me working out the whole feasibility of pretty much what you are considering. It is feasible and it is unbelievably fun. Find me a yachtie who is not just slightly envious of the thought that you can tie up just about anywhere and know you are only a short walk from the pub. :^)
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:30   #21
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Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

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In the French canals, it gets shallow in dry years. Our friends sailed there about 2004 and their 1.7m draft sailing boat and got stuck for a time. So, if in France, opt for a shallow draft craft.

Cheers,
b.


Narrowboats draw about two feet and a bit, at least the ones I saw out of the water.

They are NOT a thing of beauty below the waterline, best to avert your eyes, it spoils the romance of the boat.
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:31   #22
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

Thanks b. Drought. Like a very long term low tide? 😄
Funny. I'm just rolling the idea of enclosed waters cruising around in my head. No tides. Not much of a bother about wind strength or direction. Who cares how much swell? Sounds decadently relaxing.
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:38   #23
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

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Thanks b. Drought. Like a very long term low tide?

Funny. I'm just rolling the idea of enclosed waters cruising around in my head. No tides. Not much of a bother about wind strength or direction. Who cares how much swell? Sounds decadently relaxing.


And a pub in walking distance plus some of the best gentle walking tracks you'll ever meet. The old horse paths have been preserved

If you don't have a dog, buy one with the boat. Some big shaggy lab or something you can take to the pub without getting beaten up or ridiculed. The dog and you can stroll ahead and open the locks while your significant other drives the boat.

And they will drive it. My wife is pretty ambivalent about sailing, and my son loathes anything to do with sailing, but I had to prise the two of them out of the canal boat at the end of the two week hire period with a crowbar. And the second we got back to Oz they started pestering me to buy one. My son even considered using one as student accommodation if he were to study in the U.K. (Dual UK/Aus citizen).

Matt
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:40   #24
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

Aw stop it G. In a minute I'll be on webjet booking fares.
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:41   #25
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

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Aw stop it G. In a minute I'll be on webjet booking fares.


Get me a seat too please. Spring in the U.K. on the canals. Superb.
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:42   #26
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

I'm off to the study to see if I can dig out that narrow dog book. It was very good.
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:42   #27
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

I gather you're a fan of UK canals rather than EU. Wonder if you could sea freight a narrow boat.
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:46   #28
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Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

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I gather you're a fan of UK canals rather than EU. Wonder if you could sea freight a narrow boat.


Yes and yes.

Freighting them is reasonably common with people taking them back and forth with the seasons each year.

I concede the point that they are underpowered for the speed of the European canal system and from memory the guy who took his boat across the English Channel under its own power (with an escort) was more stressed by the ferry and barge wakes once he got to the canals on the other side.

You've got to find that book. It tells you all you need to know. Seriously.
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Old 22-05-2017, 05:48   #29
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Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

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I gather you're a fan of UK canals rather than EU. Wonder if you could sea freight a narrow boat.


Just to be clear, I think I would be a fan of both systems if I had the chance. I simply haven't had a go on the European stuff though I've read lots about it including a book written by a guy who rowed out of his UK teaching job and ended up somewhere in Eastern Europe before he'd had enough.

PS. I'd also like to do the intracoastal waterway if I ever got the chance. So much water to see... so much going to the office getting in the way.
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Old 22-05-2017, 12:26   #30
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Re: Which boat for the canals of the UK and Europe

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Just to be clear, I think I would be a fan of both systems if I had the chance. I simply haven't had a go on the European stuff though I've read lots about it including a book written by a guy who rowed out of his UK teaching job and ended up somewhere in Eastern Europe before he'd had enough.

PS. I'd also like to do the intracoastal waterway if I ever got the chance. So much water to see... so much going to the office getting in the way.
Cheers Matt. Note taken.
I've read that book. Was it a Mirror dinghy or something he travelled in. All the way to the Black Sea. 👍
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