2016 a Year of floods repair and delay

I am rather late in posting our activities for 2016 it has been a case of finding the time to sit and write about our adventures. Last year I tried more of a log book approach,but it turned out to be a little boring so this year we revert to more of a story.

We started the year by purchasing and fitting some solar panels, something I have been toying with for a while. Cost was always a factor in this but I had decided that it is unsocial to run the generator when we are moored in company so I bit the bullet and placed the order.  we went for two 300 w 24 volt panels these were the maximum size I could place on the cabin roof and still get around on the deck.

This turned out to be a good move as on our first night out for the season and on our way for repairs to the stern gear we ran our generator only to find out when I checked the engine room an inch of water over the floor. It turned out to be the heat exchange’r and at the time of writing is still not fixed. the leak I found after inspection was caused by water being forced out of the overflow. Vetus assured us it was caused by O ring failure these I have replaced now three times and as I write this post the heat exchange’r is with the engineers being rebuilt. If we had not have installed the Solar panels we would have been in trouble.

we were booked in to the dry dock at Saint Jean de Losne and arrived a few days early after the week end we entered the Canal de Burgoyne ready to enter the dock. we were shown to a temporary mooring and told later that day, this turned into tomorrow and so on and we were about a week late getting in. We thought OK not to bad it was due to take a week so they striped out  the rudder and shaft and engineered a plug for the hole and we were re floated. Apparently there was an emergency with another vessel. Below is a shot of the stern bearing before removal. there was considerable wear caused by the failure of the top bolt holding the bearing in place. we had already agreed the complete replacement of the system as I had been chasing this problem since a bad repair in the Netherlands.

After we finally got back in to the dry dock two weeks later the new system was welded in Pictures below, a new shaft size upgraded to 55 mm and engineered for our propeller and a re engineered rudder made into a shilling rudder done at no cost to us because the owner of the yard did not like the original.  This has improved the handling and turning of the boat immensely.

you can see from the Pictures that the new bearing and shaft etc are much heavier than what was there. and we have had a full seasons cruising without having to worry about the condition of the shaft. From arrival on the 7th April we ended up mooring on the town quay with work completed on the 24th May. I did not waste the time we were there as I replaced all of the ventilators on the roof with new stainless steel vents the old mushroom vents were a mix of brass and aluminium and had corroded badly.The following day we set off after filling our fuel tanks, intending to moor overnight in Verdun sur le Doubs. The river was flowing relatively strongly as we turned up the Doubs  towards the mooring and I had to increase power to make way. it was immediately apparent that there was going to be a problem the mooring that we would have used was well under water and the flow was very strong so we had got to turn around and think of another plan. the new rudder proved its worth here as we whipped round in the current and shot back out on to the Soane. we decided that the only alternative was Fragnes on the canal du Centre so Carol rang the Capitain to make sure we could get in and she reserved a mooring for us. After a very long day we moored and I went to check the new stern gear only to find a leak on the threads around the stuffing box. a phone call to the Yard and an hour later two engineers were with us to take it apart reseal and reassemble. Problem solved and excellent service from Atelier Fluvial. Mind you the whole job had just cost us 17,000 euro. The plan for the year was to have been to meet up with Bill and Vicky and go on to the Dutch Barge Association Rally at Briare however there had been a breach above Briare that had cut Bill and a good many other members  off and he was also marooned by the flooding ,so plans were made that they and Friends Torild and Nills would leave the boat and come down to stay with us aboard for the duration of the Rally. and so we now had plenty of time to take a leisurely voyage to Briare.

Here are a few Pictures of the run up to Briare you can see that the rivers were high due to the rain which at times had gone on for days at a time. in some places flooding was right up to the canal where the river should have been about half a mile away.

    At last Carol was able to visit some vineyards and sample the wares as we traveled through Sancere. We came across some impressive canal engineering on the way .

Here we go about to cross over the aqueduct into Briare.

Arriving a week early for the Rally we took our mooring alongside the wharf, pictured below are some of the boats that made it to the Rally 14 eventually made it we are the front boat on the left.

We had a great time meeting up with other members and friends, drinking so much wine that half way through the week a trip out to one of the lock keepers who sold wine was made to purchase further crates to replenish stocks. During the rally we hosted Bill and Vicky and Nills and Torild on board and had a fantastic time taking part in the activities. The reception with the Mayor of Briare where we were treated to a fanfare from the hunt horn players, visits to the mosaic factory museum and the canal/boat museum, various meals and I also took part in the Rowing race! around the island in the port. I won a special trophy of a mosaic tray, not really very hard as it turned out I was the only row boat. the other members all took advantage of the Canadian canoes, slight advantage here as they all had two crew /paddlers and faced in the direction of travel. never mind at least I did not come in last.The evening finished off with a fireworks display put on by the town as part of their celebrations.

After the Rally we were joined by our Daughter Emma son in law Steve and grandson Louis for twelve days of cruising and some lovely family time for ourselves.Leaving Steve’s car at Briare to be collected later we left on the morning of 17th July 09-30 heading up the canal de Briare towards the breach which had cut all those members off from the Rally. The weather had now improved and the sun was beating down hard as we left the first lock.for the next four days we traveled north and turned round at the furthest point we could reach before the breach St-Satur. Returning back along the way we came and taking the embranchment to finally moor in Nevers. The next day myself and Steve traveled back to fetch the car while the other three had a day of shopping in Nevers. Steve then took us the day after to Bourges, a wonderfully unspoiled medieval town full of half timbered buildings.  Pictures from the cruise below.Here we found that it was not the Ducks that came around to be fed it was Coypu,  they were that tame our grandson was hand feeding them.



We often come across memorials like this where soldiers of the last war lost their lives in trying to defend against invasion. 

Bourges. wonderful buildings and Chocolate shops.


WE departed Nevers after the family returned home on the 28th July to meet up with Bill and Vicky who are making their way to Fragnes from above the breach by an alternative route. after we meet up the plan is cruise up the Doubs and back .The weather is again beautiful very hot and clear blue sky. So different from the wet cold weather we had in the spring, it takes us nine days to retrace our steps back to Fragnes and we arrive at 13-51 on the 5th August having reserved places for ourselves and Bill and Vicky,we stay until 7th. At )9-56 we left having booked the lock intending to moor for the evening in Seurre,we arrived there at 15-15 and moored as planned only to be told that we would have to move as there was to be a fireworks display. Now we had a problem as we knew that it would be unlikely to get a mooring in Saint Jean de Losne. On the way up we made some phone calls and as we suspected there were no moorings however we were told by friends and H2O  that we could both take refuge in the old lock cutting in Saint Jean for the night we were grateful for this and arrived in the old lock chamber at 16-49 pm weather still good so we decided on a BBQ for the evening meal.The next morning 8th we moved up to the town Moorings in Saint Jean and on the !0th after fueling up we set off for the canal du Rhone au Rhin mooring in Choisey. Then on to Dole. Note the parks department two horsepower watering tanker refilling.

The Doubs up to Besancon. with views of and from the Citidal Roman remains some impressive military engineering, note the well sunk 150 meters into the solid rock with the man powered wheel for raising the water.

We traveled on up to Montbeliard where we visited the Peugeot museum absolutely fascinating and well worth it.A great collection of vintage cars, motor cycles, cycles, machine parts, aero and marine engines, sewing machines, tools, bullets and shells ,and even salt and pepper mills. much of which is still in production, and you thought Peugeot only made cars.  A few of the exhibits pictured below. They also have a great restaurant on site where we had a fantastic meal, although there was a slight incident I had ordered the local sausages and when they arrived I set about one with a fork as soon as I touched it there was a fountain of oily juice released that shot across the table between the shoulders of Bill and almost Vicky across the gap between our table and the next placing a neat pattern down the back of two diners nearby. Lucky for me no one noticed.


who new that a washing machine could look like a BBQ

This is where we turned back to return to Saint Jean de Losne retracing our steps through the stunning Scenery and with clear blue sky’s and searing heat much use was made of our sun shades.

Bill is seen here watching a Deer swim across the river difficult to see but if you look carefully it can just be picked out in the second picture


   22nd of September and we moored in the park Rochfort sur Nenon, beautiful evening sitting there when a noise from behind the trees alerts us to a hot air balloon drifting past on the slight breeze. Next morning we take a short run into Dole and I was lucky to arrive just as a barge the same size as me was pulling out allowing me to slip in to the last place on the park side. Bill was able to slip into a box as he is only 15 meters.

That evening the roar of gas burners from across the road in the park signaled a display of Hot air balloons taking off loaded with passengers.

What a sight and quite beautiful to watch. Two days later we left Dole and moored for the night in Abergemont la Ronce then on to Saint Jean de Losne the next day mooring on the quay at 11-00 hrs we have now covered 1161 km we will stay here for a while as this is where we are to part company with Bill and Vicky.

Leaving Saint Jean and saying goodbye to Bill and Vicky we head up to Auxonne on to Pontiller sur Soane and finally Gray before turning round and heading back to our winter mooring in Auxonne.

Back on our Winter mooring getting ready for Christmas and enjoying the social scene



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