Boat Life

Thought I would do a post about life on the boat. The boat, our home for the past 6 weeks is a ~20 year old Locaboat “Penichette” (little Peniché) called “Bray Sur Somme”. It has a “pullman berth” style double in the front (i.e. only one side has access) and a “wet” head (no separate shower stall).


Forward Berth
Forward Head

In the back are two sleeping areas, a second pullman berth and two single bunk beds, along with a second head in two separate rooms, a toilet and a sink/shower.

Just back of the forward berth is the galley with a stove/oven (propane), and (sizeable) top-loading refrigerator. Between the galley and he back berth is the main salon with the table and seating and also the inside helm station.

On deck there is a separate helm (the one we almost always use since it is higher and in the center of the boat so easier to use) and a table and seating for eating al fresco (which we almost always do when the weather is nice). We also have a small table and four chairs we take off the boat when the weather and mood suits us.

The boat has a 420L diesel tank and a 700L fresh water tank. We burn about 2L/Hr of diesel which means our range is about 40 days (at 5 hours running a day). This doesn’t translate directly into distance because of the locks.  Water is a lot easier to get which is good because we need it more often. Still, assuming 5-10 gallons/day/person (which is generous), we can easily go 3-4 days with four people.

The boat has a pretty decent heater which runs off diesel with radiators in all the rooms. We have only used it a couple of times (on the rainy and 40 degree days). The boat has no generator or air conditioner so we only have AC power when we are plugged in at a marina (which we do about once a week). We charge our phones off the 12 volt boat battery (there is a car-style 12V receptacle at the helm station).  We always have hot water (the water is heated from the engine and stays hot for at least 24 hours) and is usually so hot you have to be careful with it.

The toilets are electric (pump in water, pump out). Surprisingly they do not use the black water tank on the boat – everything goes overboard. We have little TP garbage cans in each head so only organic material goes overboard. This means swimming in the canal is not attractive but we have swum in the rivers.

The day starts with a walk to a boulangerie (if we are near a town) or, if not, Roberta will whip up a nice omelette. Okay, that was a joke. In six weeks we have made toast, boiled eggs and cooked a piece of salmon for a salad. We usually start motoring at 9 or 9:30 (the locks do not open until 9:00) and motor to lunch (the locks are closed from noon to 1:00). In the afternoon it varies depending on where we are trying to get to but we are usually stopped for the evening by 3:00 or so. Then a walk to town (if are near one) for sightseeing/shopping and dinner if we find a brasserie or restaurant we like.


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