Locaboat Charters – Argens, France – 43°14’24.2″N 2°46’07.7″E
Locaboat, Argens, France (photo copied from their website)
Well, the big day has finally arrived. Catherine & I have been talking about doing this for several years & we were all set to go & then Covid-19 put a halt on those plans. About 1 year ago we started talking with our longtime friends Bruce & Barb about doing a cruise together & our plans began to be firmed up.
There are so many choices to cruise the canals in France – literally thousands of kilometers of canals & locations to choose from. We ultimately decided on the Canal du Midi because the weather was likely to be better in the south of the country at this time of year & the route we ultimately chose from Argens to Lattes has fewer locks – only 19 in total. We will travel approximately 175 km over the next 7 days
Locaboat has many different sizes & configurations to choose from. Our little boat has a unique design because it has no dedicated bedrooms but it offers a lot of living space. The photos & graphics below (copied from Locaboat’s website) show the boat & its interior.
This model of boat is the “Evolution”. The name is well chosen because the interior space is all on one level. The forward living space has an inside helm and the seating area also converts into a double bed. The aft living space is where the galley and dining area is and at night it converts into another double bed sleeping area. In the middle of the boat there is a toilet on the port side a shower and sink on the starboard side. In the evening the two sections of the boat can be closed off with sliding doors and the bathroom area essentially becomes a Jack and Jill for passengers in the front and passengers in the back. One could say that this is a transformer boat that kids would get a kick out of seeing the rooms change from one function to another.
Above – Day use mode
Below – Sleeping mode
There is also lots of room at the front of the boat for outside seating and similar exterior space in the stern area. Also, the boat has a fly bridge with the outside steering and control station.
I was also very interested to learn that the boat is constructed out of steel & that it has a diesel-electric propulsion system. The boat is equipped with a diesel generator that provides electricity to an electric motor that drives the propeller & thrusters. The generator also provides 220 volt power to the boat’s appliances – electric oven/microwave combo and two element induction electric stove top.
The boat is equipped with an electric bow thruster, a stern thruster and a combination joystick thruster control system that allows you to easily dock the boat. You can use it to go forwards, backwards, sideways or even spin in a circle! To me, this is the future of boating & if I was to ever own a boat again this would be the propulsion system setup that I would want.
The Locaboat staff gave us a good tutorial & “driving” lesson & then we were off on our own. We headed for the first lock which was only about a kilometer away and it would be the only lock we would encounter for the next 57 km. It was late in the afternoon by the time we left the Locaboat Marina so we just traveled through the first lock to a small village and tied up along the canal for the evening. We only went about 8 kilometers on our first day but it was exciting & very satisfying.
Bruce & Cath handling forward lines in the lock
Barb has got the stern lines under control.
I was happy at the helm & our long-awaited adventure is finally underway!