Wanderlust Sticky

Wanderlust under construction at Piper Boats.

Wanderlust under construction at Piper Boats.

This is the story of Wanderlust, a replica Dutch-style barge built by Piper Boats LTD in 2013.   To make navigation of this website easier, the topic categories (click Continue reading) can be used to pull up the relevant posts. There are more categories at the very bottom of each page.

The Build: Posts about the building process and the decisions that were made.  If you are considering having a barge built look here for the upsides and downsides having a barge built by Piper Boats.

The Troubles:  Wanderlust has had more that it’s share of problems.  You can find out more about the issues and what has been done about them in this link.

The Thames: Cruising with Wanderlust on England’s River Thames

The Crossing: Taking Wanderlust across the English Channel

Barge Life: Information about living on a barge

Routes through France:

Calais to Auxerre, our first season in France, including:

 Canal de Calais, Grand Gabarit, Canal de St. Quentin, Canal de l’Oise à l’Aisne, Canal lateral à l’Aisne, Canal de l’Aisne à la Marne, River Marne and the Canal lateral à la Marne, River Seine, River Yonne

The 2015 Season, Auxerre to Strasbourg and back the long-ish way

Canal de Bourgogne: Ravières to Montbard

Wanderlust in a lock on the Canal de Bourgogne

Wanderlust in a lock on the Canal de Bourgogne

In Ravières, on the morning of the 29th of July, I turned the key on Wanderlust’s dash to start the engine. The motor came to life with small belch of smoke. After the troubles in Ancy-le-Franc, it would take some time until starting Wanderlust’s engine again felt routine. But for now, it was good. The new battery was working. There was no indication of any additional problems. Continue reading

Canal de Bourgogne: Ancy-le-Franc to Ravières

Calm waters in Ravières

Calm waters in Ravières

In Ancy-le-Franc, on the morning of the 28th of July, I turned the key on the dash to start Wanderlust’s main engine. The engine came to life with a rumble. After a week of struggles, we could finally continue on our way along the canal. Continue reading

Canal de Bourgogne: Troubles in Ancy-le-Franc

The courtyard of Château d'Ancy-le-Franc

The courtyard of Château d’Ancy-le-Franc

From Tanlay, Ancy-le-Franc, Wanderlust’s next stop, is a day’s cruise. In Ancy we planned to tour the Château d’Ancy-le-Franc. The chateau sits 500 meters of so from the port on the Canal de Bourgogne. Unless the chateau happened to be closed for one of the many French holidays that always seem to catch us by surprise or as a result of a force majeure, we would pay nine Euros each to see the inside. Continue reading

Canal de Bourgogne: Tanlay to Ancy-le-Franc

dsc_0224-edit-editDeparting Tanlay Wanderlust continued up the Canal de Bourgogne. The goal for the day was Ancy-le-Franc. Ancy, like Tanlay, is a commune in the domain of the Dukes of Burgundy anchored by a grand chateau. And just also like Tanlay, a brown tourist sign along the Autoroute du Soleil, the A6, encourages passersby to explore the town’s chateau. Continue reading

Canal de Bourgogne: Tonnerre to Tanlay

Château de Tanlay reflects off of the moat.

Château de Tanlay reflects off of the moat.

Escaping Tonnerre, Wanderlust’s next stop on the Canal de Bourgogne was Tanlay. Though this commune is home to around a thousand residents one residence stands out, the Château de Tanlay. Separated from the rest of the community by a water-filled moat and a ring of gardens, the manor house is the central attraction in the town. Continue reading

Canal de Bourgogne: St. Florentin to Tonnerre

Fosse Dionne

Fosse Dionne

Wanderlust’s next stop along the Canal de Bourgogne was Tonnerre. The French word “tonnerre” translates as “thunder” in English, though rumblings from the sky do not appear to be the inspiration for the commune’s name. In truth the name alone might well have prompted us to visit. We have a low bar for such things. But there is more to recommend Tonnerre than its name. The commune has two star attractions, Fosse Dionne and the Hotel-Dieu de Tonnerre. Curious name or not, it is a worthy stop for those traveling in the area by boat, car, train, or bike. Continue reading

Canal de Bourgogne: Migennes to St. Florentin

Saint-Florentin

Saint-Florentin

When we first imagined cruising the canals of France we figured that we’d cruise Canal de Bourgogne. At the time the Bourgogne was the only canal that we knew much about. We’d never been there but the brochure looked nice. Continue reading

Wanderlust Wanders: Auxerre to Migennes

For Gigi delays mean more shore leave.

For Gigi delays mean more shore leave.

On June 29th 2016, after a series of delays, it was finally time for Wanderlust to leave her winter mooring. In April, two and a half months earlier, Becky, myself, and our dog Gigi returned from California to Auxerre France. Wanderlust spent its second winter in Auxerre’s attractive port de plaisance. Normally we’d return to the barge, spend a week or so getting things set, and then head off onto the inland waterways. But that would not be the case in 2016. Continue reading

Small Leaks, Big Problems

A hotel barge making maneuvers at the start of the season in Auxerre

A hotel barge making maneuvers at the start of the season in Auxerre

When we arrived back in France on April 13th of 2016 it was clear that the builder would not be fixing Wanderlust’s many build related faults anytime soon. Indeed, it seemed they might just try to pay us some small sum of money to go away. It was time for us to find a boatyard to do the repair work. In fact we might have to find a few yards; identifying a single yard with all of the capabilities needed to complete the full scope of the repair work would be a challenge. Continue reading

The Builder: Quality Control and the Build Standards

Wanderlust soon after launch

Wanderlust soon after launch

Building a barge is complicated. With the complexity come the inevitable mistakes and problems. When the bottom of a barge first hits the water neither the customer nor the manufacturer anticipates that every aspect of a new barge will be perfect. Post launch repairs and fixes are simply part of the process. Continue reading