Our boat on the Nivernais – 40 hp

And the other dilemma that follows, is how much power do you need?
Again, this depends on where you want to go and what you want to do.

If you are going to stick to the relatively slow flowing waters of the canals in the UK and France, you can get away comfortably with under 50 hp.
The boat we had in France on the Nivernaise Canal had a 40 hp engine, (first pic) while the
one on the Du Midi in the South of France (second pic) was only 37 hp.

Our boat on the Du Midi – 37 hp

The speed limit on the canals generally is 8 km/hr (approx 4 knots or approx 5 mph).

These craft probably had a maximum speed of 6 to 7 knots.
If you plan on cruising a few rivers, you will definitely need a bit more ‘oomph’.

Map of french Waterwways

Picture 3 shows a map of the French Waterways. We plan on spending a fair amount of time in France so we will definitely end up on a couple of rivers – the Seine, the Saone and the Rhone.
The Rhone is fed by the Swiss Alps and after the winter snows melt, it can flow at up to maybe 8 to 10 knots.
One must plan the journey from the Du Midi up North along the Rhone with care.
The best time to make this voyage will be mid to late summer when the river flow is at its weakest – maybe about 2 to 3 knots.

So you want your boat to have a top cruising speed of at least 7 to 8 knots, with a maximum speed of 9 to 10 knots.
For the sort of boat we will probably buy – a Dutch steel design – I wouldnt like to have anything less than 100 hp.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This