Table des matières
This is based on my personal experience and observations thus it may not apply to areas I have not been.
1.1 Marc Pilon
I owned sailboats since 1992, until last year. Out of these 20 years I spent half of it on the water, living and sailing full time. I sailed solo 95% of the time. I perceive I owned nice sailboats: Tayana 37, Cabo Rico 38, Nor’sea 27, Bristol Channel Cutter BCC 28 and some other…
1.1.2 Nordic Tug
In 2012 I bought my first power boat, Vlimeux, a nice Nordic Tug 37 2007. He (not she… as I think a Tug is more masculine) was in England.
1.2.1 What I like
Size is perfect, I could not be happier. Vlimeux cleared many bridges by only one or 2 inches / could not be bigger. Waves on the Med are shorts and often confused. The wind called Mistral affect « le Golfe de Lyon » and generate a pattern different from adjacent areas in the Med. Theses melt together and create what could be called uncomfortable seas… but not for Vlimeux nor his captain. A Nordic Tug on the smaller size would be less comfortable. Quality of all and every systems, details, finish, electronics, electrical, woodwork, access, ruggedness is outstanding!
1.2.2 What I do not like
I lived the equivalent of one year full time on Vlimeux. One failure so far… a lightbulb in a closet! LOL
The other thing I do not like is…. humm…. let me think…. Well I do not know of another !
1.2.3 What European think about Nordic Tug
Wow, this is a joke, literally. Frenchmen walk on marina… stop beside my boat…. look at it until I notice them… I open the door and say bonjour… Short story, one sees Vlimeux and come back with others! He shows Vlimeux to his wife, to his marina’s neighbor. They all do that! They see and show what they consider the best conceived AND crafted power boat the saw!
I hear things like : « Jean should see this…. He is so proud of his high end boat… but this is so much better!… »
Even yards owners came and acknowledged how outstanding this Nordic Tug was!
Twice I ended in the engine room, sharing wine !!!! Crazy.
Do not forget, French people are sea people. In Canada we play hockey, in USA it is baseball / football , in France they sail and travel the seas.
CEVNI stands for Certificat Européen pour les Voies Navigables Intérieures. You need to be CEVNI certified to travel the canals, unless you rent a péniche. This CEVNI has been agreed by all Europe and is mandatory for all canals. I got certified in England: Internet exam + one day on the water aboard Vlimeux with an examiner.
2.1.2 RYA certification
I have been told that some foreign certification are not recognized by some countries. I already had the Canadian certification of competence. While I was in England I pass the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) exam and certification to avoid any potential problem.
2.1.3 radio operation
You need your American or Canadian or foreign call signs and radio certificate up to date in Europe.
2.2 VAT taxe
Taxes are due after 18 months on boats entering Europe. It is about 20%. After 18 month you do have to get out of Europe for 6 month to avoid paying this tax. The VAT have been paid on Vlimeux and I am happy because 18 month is short to cruise all Europe (for me I mean). Getting out of Europe after a while can be quite complicated and demanding in real life! Some of the countries that are not part of Europe experience problems…. and are far.
2.3 CE certification
CE certification is a European quality and compliance certification. This could be between 3000 and 9000 euros to get a boat certified CE compliant. This is due after 18 month upon importation….This is another reason to get out of Europe after 18 month. Vlimeux is CE certified as he was the Nordic Tug of the 2007 England’s boat show.
A boat must be insured for European waters. Proof of insurance is asked in most Mediterranean Marinas. My Canadian registered boat is insured by Allianz. You must keep your boat in good condition as this is a requirement. This company will not pay if it sinks because you neglect to maintain it. Prices are much lower than in USA / Canada. I pay about $1000 per year.
3 cruising grounds
3.1 English channel
Wait for a good weather and it is easy.
Loved the canals so much that I think sometimes to just turn around and go back the canals, castles, wineries, villages, food from terroir… just loved every bit of it. In most villages there is a « Halte Nautique » – many of them with electricity and water – and 75% of them it is free! Some do charge… 7 euros… 5 euros… Big Cities are more expensive: In Paris I paid 280 Euros of 8 days, place de l’Arsenal, Place de la Bastille, downtown center !!!! In Lyon, remember the nice picture…. 14 Euros per day. On the canals you can stop when you want except under a bridge and in curves. You need steel pegs and a small sledgehammer. Life is like this : « wow, look at this… soooo nice !!! » stop engine, go on the side of canal, put pegs, HAPPY HOUR! Then, if more convenient, you stay for the night… then bicycle the next day… and again…. until you undo the pegs and go again!
VNF stands for « Voies Navigables de France ». They rule, maintain and operate de canals and their locks. It cost Vlimeux 400 euros per year. This is of good value: you can use all the canals and locks at will.
They offer an excellent service. I waited more than 20 minutes only twice – this means more than 200 locks without waiting! In the smaller canals they wait for you, transit you through, help you with lines, chat, and they drive to the next lock to do that again !
3.2.3 water intake
In july, in some canals, your water filter needs to be cleaned twice per day because of algae. On a Nordic Tug this is a joke (very easy!)
VNF has a web site. You enter height above water and draft and length and were you are and
were you go. The site will choose the canals itinerary that fits. To cross France from north to
south you need 3 meter 45 cm (or 3.45 meters), no more. On my Nordic Tug 37 the chimney is
cut flush with the roof and I take the whole mast / radar assembly out and lay it on the sun deck.
During spring 2013 there were floods. The Rhone stopped most boats because of current… but
not a Nordic Tug. In Europe very few boats have a motorization as powerful (for the size) as
Nordic Tug. It can be useful some time.
Marinas can be expensive. Off season is much cheaper. In St-Tropez bay (Cavalaire) I pay 14 euros per day…. ok with me. In Port-Cros the removed the moorings so now they allows cruisers to dock for free. This is special, remember… off season. One night in Porquerolles I paid 40 euros….
3.5 Black Sea
I am heading there and thinking going up (north) the Danube toward Germany and Scandinavians Countries. Nordic Tug’s Cummins allows this.
4.1 220 volts
4.1.1 electrical plugs inside
I bough a Nordic Tug with 220 and 12 volts. A boat is sort of a closed system. It works on 12v. On 220 I have a toaster, boiler (to boil water… 😉 , and 2 electric heaters for when I am plugged in marinas. I bought them here in France. My generator is 220v as well. The problem will be if I go back to America. I will need a transformer to adapt voltage from 220 to 120. This should do it. Vlimeux will see the 220 from one side of the transformer and the USA marina will supply 120v to the other side of the transformer. If my toaster breaks… then I am in trouble…. I will need to order a new toaster on 220v – this is my worst case scenario…. 😉
4.1.2 existing electronics
All my electronics from Canada / USA works without modifications / adaptation. I had to buy a couple of plastic adaptor to fit my 120v US type plugs into the Europe 220v type socket. I paid 3 for 10$ in Quebec and this covers all my electronics needs.
My Apple MacBook Pro Retina from Canada (same as USA) is working already on 120v. and 220v.
My Samsung Android Tablet is working on 120v. and 220v.
My Cellular phone, a Samsung Galaxy 3, is working worldwide, on 120v. and 220v.
The chimney is flush with the roof. It does not extend over it as we see often on Nordic Tugs. I believe this is a modification required for the canals
4.2.2 radar tower
To pass under most bridges in center of France the tower assembly must lay on the sundeck. Lowering it with the hinge is not enough.
There is a place to fit a flag on the bow of my Nordic Tug. I installed a old fishing pole there. I cut the length the same as the total height of Vlimeux. As I go under bridges I check if the fishing rod touch the bridge… this gives me peace of mind… The rod never touched even if many times I thought it would.
Buy, find, install all fenders you can! I had 12 (6 per side). You go so often in locks that at one point it becomes an habit. You then makes errors…. Some other boat can be in the lock at the same time than you…. or worst, a « rent a boat » guy! You need fenders. I never had a problem but I do admit it did happen that the extra fenders were useful.
Some locks have floating bollards but not all of them. Some rise or lower just a meter or less but not all of them. You need minimum 2 very long lines to cope with few locks.
I experiences usage of heater very often. I rarely missed air conditioned.
I try not to use them. I think it is good practice and « chic ». But my docking is not always elegant…. then I save it with the thrusters!
4.4.1 bow truster
mandatory – 200 plus locks.