North on the Saône

With about three weeks left before we head off for our Baltic cruise we decide to explore the northern reaches of the Saône.

We’ve had a couple of really hot days but, for the most part, the weather has been lovely. The nights are usually in the high 50’s to low 60’s and the days usually top out in the mid-80’s.

Leaving Gray, our second night out on the Saône

We usually try to stay in marina’s or towns with electricity service so we would have fans in the evening (I am working on changes to the boat wiring to allow us to have fans when we are not on shore power).

We are feeling more comfortable about nature mooring (nosing up to the bank and shutting off the engine) since I think I have found (and fixed) the engine starting problem.

Bert helming through the “Souterrain de Savoyeux”

Most of the time we are in the river with short “deviations” through canal sections to bypass portions of the river that are not navigable. We usual do 2-4 locks per day though they tend to be pretty deep (3 meters or so). And we did have one bad experience sharing a lock with a couple who clearly did not know what they were doing – their boat kept hitting the front doors. Not good.

Cocktails on shore

We often have dinner off the boat when we are in marinas since there is often little shade. We deploy our table and chairs and enjoy the shade.

We stop during the day at any place that looks interesting (a chateau or the remnants of a 13th century castle for instance). And we took a short side trip to Traves to see the “Pierre Percée” (pierced standing stone). They have no idea how old it is or who put it up.

And we always try to slow the boat when we pass fisherman so as not to disturb them, though sometimes that is difficult.

Typical French fisherman.

3 thoughts on “North on the Saône”

  1. Does he catch stone fish?
    I hope the engine problem is now a thing of the past because nature mooring looks so much more relaxing than the marinas.


  2. Hello, we have been planning what you are doing since a while. We also have an eye on a penichette. However, she is a very unstable boat as we experienced her.
    I wonder if you’d mind to kindly share a bit more your experiences in regard to your boat?
    What do you think meanwhile about her? Is she stable in rougher conditions?
    Is the shipyard holding up to it’s promises in looking after you? Were they always straight forward with the condition of the boat? Any nasty surprises? Any weak points? How much do you spend a month in upkeep/repairs of your boat? Do you think the motor is strong enough?
    I know penichettes handle very well and I found them easy to live in, but I only had a short holiday, so really cannot comment too much based on my experience.
    Looking forward to hearing from you. I wish you two a further wonderful time in Europe!


    1. Bonjour! These boats are designed for canal/river cruising so am unsure what you mean by “rough conditions”. They certainly cannot handle open water or waves larger than a few feet but we have never experienced significant waves (the largest waves we’ve had are the wakes from large commercial barges in the Saône and our boat handles those with no problem). We picked our boat (over a dutch cruiser style) because she is set up for guests and we have a lot of visitors. H2O shipyard has done a pretty good job with the tasks we have asked them to do. They took longer than estimated (of course). We have been pleased with the quality of the work. We are still doing improvements on Decize so can’t give you a number on monthly costs (but H2O website will give you an idea of mooring fees). Top speed for us is about 10 km/hr which is slower than the 15 km/hr that the dutch cruiser type boats can do. But we have had not problems in the Saône, the Yonne or even the Seine going up river. Hope this helps! Good luck!


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