A bargain at half the price

Hello and welcome to the latest blog on August 13th 2021.

I thought I would begin this blog by talking briefly about money and to give you an idea of what it costs to cruise the French waterways.

We have been cruising for 42 days, or six weeks, a nice round number to analyse. There are only two elements in this cost analysis, the costs of mooring and the cost of fuel. I’m not including the cost of food, for we all pay that whatever we are doing with our lives, or the cost of regular maintenance or emergency repairs, neither do I include the cost of our winter moorings. This is purely about the day-to-day costs of being on the water.

We’ll begin with mooring costs. For 31 days out of the total we have moored up for free, sometimes with electricity and water available at no extra charge. Where we have paid for moorings we have stayed at small ports or marinas, often no different to look at than our free stops, just space for a few boats alongside in small villages or towns. The cheapest was 5€ for a night, then 9€, 10€, 13€, 15€ and 18€. The total cost of our moorings for six weeks comes in at €126.50 When you compare this to the often exorbitant cost of mooring on the coast of both England and France you can see why inland cruising in France is so popular. When you compare it to the cost of a campsite in the UK it is also an interesting figure.

Most places charge on the basis of the length of your boat and Olivia Rose, at 13 metres long, is a mid-size boat in the cruiser category so this is a reasonable indication of an average price.

We have good size water tanks and solar panels so we have no need of electricity or water on a regular basis. The only thing we need shore electricity for is the oven.

With regard to fuel for the boat this year it has cost us the princely sum of 63€. However this figure is actually misleading as we started the year with nearly full tanks and we are aiming to finish the year with empty tanks so we can clean them out when she comes out of the water for a mega-maintenance session over the winter. It would cost us approx €750 to fill our two tanks from empty, each of them holding 250 litres of fuel.

Whereas you measure a car’s fuel consumption by the number of kilometres or miles it will do to a litre or gallon, you measure a boat engine consumption in litres per hour. There are so many more variables to take into account: the weight and shape of the boat, the size and efficiency of the engine and propellor, the weather conditions, the current and the fact that when cruising on a narrow canal you are in fact pushing a big lump of water in front of you. We estimate Olivia Rose uses approx three litres per hour in normal conditions.

So there you are. The mooring costs are the good news, the cost of fuel not so good. But you have to bear in mind that she weighs thirteen tonnes whereas most cars weigh around a tonne – we are not comparing like with like. Next year, when we finally, finally make it up into the Netherlands (fingers crossed and third time lucky surely), we think the moorings will cost us rather more, but we shall see.

And now I will let the pictures do the talking for a while. After one of the wettest weeks we have ever had on the water summer has finally, and suddenly, arrived this week and we seem to have shifted from unseasonable autumnal weather to a heatwave overnight. We are up to the low thirties in terms of temperature, which means thunderstorms on a regular basis and as I write this blog thunder is booming so loudly that I can feel it through the boat. Back to sunshine tomorrow though.

The last of the stormy skies
Waiting outside of the first lock on to the Canal du Centre, at 10 metres deep a big one for the canals. The water came out so quickly and with such force that we were rocked about even though we were tied on to the waiting pontoon.
The view from inside
But we had company! Much to our surprise this swan family followed us in, quite unperturbed about the rising water inside. The lock keeper was as fascinated as we were. She said it was the first time she had seen them do it.
A sunken boat, always a sorry sight.
You might think I took this for the view but actually it was to show you my white geraniums. We’ve had so much rain that all the flowers had rotted. This is the second flush – gorgeous.
But the French are quite good at flowers as well…

And that is where I shall leave you for this week. Hope all is well with you.


8 thoughts on “A bargain at half the price

  1. I think being at the bottom of a 30′ lock would freak me out just a wee bit, rather grave-like!
    Pretty flowers (a must no matter where one lives) and I love those clever swans. 🙂


  2. Very interesting figures about running costs, something I had no idea about. I love the flotilla of swans that followed you into the lock! 35 C here this afternoon, but I’m not complaining after the rotten weather previously. Cooler next week.


  3. Very glad to see you wearing life jackets in the locks, that one looks alarmingly deep but didn’t put off the swan family!


  4. We know exactly where you are coming from with prices, especially as compared to the UK. Whether it be boating or camping. We though we would go back to Lyme Regis with our motorhome for a few days, and to catch back up again with some friends. We actually stayed on a beautiful camp site there back in June at £32 per night!!! Expensive to say the least for a pitch. But, worse was to come – the price they quoted for three nights – First night £120, second night £92 and the third £72, then on top of that they wanted £2 per night for the awning on top and another £3 per day for electricity!!! Outrageous.. definitely a no-go!!! Just for a pitch!!!! You could stay in a quality hotel for that….. Well, your photos, as always, are lovely, especially those beautiful flowers. We remember that lock on the Canal du Centre very well. Enjoy your sunshine and heat. The UK is awful at present. Grey, wet and sometimes chilly….. ah well. Take care both.


    1. Hi Ann. I am astonished at your camping tale. How awful for a site to be so greedy, and hard to believe that anyone would pay that amount. No wonder you gave it a miss. Hope you get some sunshine soon!


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