Alain Trouvé, who spent a week holidaying with his family on board a Locaboat boat, talks about how easy it is to handle a canal barge.
I couldn’t believe how easy it was to steer a hired self-drive boat. At first, we all thought it was a bit daunting. But before we set off, a technician explained the basics. We also had the “Captain’s Guide” booklet on board. OK, so it wasn’t exactly a speedboat, but taking the helm of an 11-metre piece of kit is still intimidating! We were all a bit apprehensive, but we soon realised that you can take it slowly, whether driving along or passing through the locks. So there’s no danger and you don’t need to worry as long as you’re always careful. Everything happens at a very gentle, easy pace. The way I see it, you handle this kind of boat the same way you steer your bike. And you don’t need a permit to do that! Everybody joined in: my wife, my daughter and her husband, my son and daughter-in-law; we were all hooked. What made it even better was that we could moor almost anywhere, except near bridges, of course. Locaboat provides a very detailed map of the places where you can tie up for the night, buy supplies, fill up with water, charge the batteries – we only had to do that twice; so we were completely self-sufficient, even though we took several showers a day. Quite often we didn’t spend the night at a designated overnight mooring spot, but just chose somewhere we liked because it was beautiful and peaceful. And that’s exactly the kind of freedom and simplicity we really loved!