Wanderlust Sticky

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Wanderlust achieves light speed.

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

The Canal du Rhône au Rhin: Besançon, the Citadelle

Besançon’s citadel, the Citadelle de Besançon in French, is the commune’s most unmissable attraction. I mean this literally: Unless you enter Besançon in the trunk of a car it’s hard to not see at least some part of the commune’s … Continue reading

The Canal du Rhône au Rhin: Besançon, Horloge Astronomique

Besançon’s astronomical clock

Besançon is considered the watch making capitol of France. This is by intent. The commune’s formal watchmaking role began shortly after the French Revolution. It was then that the French government decided to create a production center to compete with imports from England and Switzerland. The French government chose Besançon to be their horological center in part because of its location is near the competition: 50 miles to the west of Besançon, just across the border in Switzerland’s Canton of Jura, are famous Swiss watch making towns of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle. La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle are still important watch making centers and are home to some of the world’s most famous watch brands including Rolex, Tag Heurer, Patek Philippe, Tissot, and more. Continue reading

The Canal du Rhône au Rhin: Poulet au Vin Jaune et Morilles en Besançon

Poulet au vin jaune et morilles

Food in France is regional. So it was no surprised that when we left Burgundy and entered the Jura region the restaurant menus changed reflecting the specialties of the current region. Burgundy’s big three, the jambon persillé, bœuf bourguignon, and escargot, are less frequently seen in Jura restaurants. Replacing them are dishes built around the specialties of the Jura: The sausage, the ham, the famous cheeses, and the distinctive wines. Continue reading

The Canal du Rhône au Rhin:  Ranchot to Besançon

Just below the commune of Dole the western portion of the Canal du Rhône au Rhin connects to the flowing River Doubs for the first time.  From its intersection with the canal the River Doubs continues down to its confluence … Continue reading

The Canal du Rhône au Rhin: The Porte de Garde near Saint-Vit

This section of the Canal du Rhône au Rhin is separated from the River Doubs by a low wall. Normally the water level on the right is lower.

In 2017 our last attempt to navigate the Canal du Rhône-Rhin ended when we encountered a closed guard gate above the village of Ranchot. At the time, the River Doubs was experiencing higher than normal flow from the recent rains. Though we didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, there were signs we might have issues with high water on the way to Ranchot as Wanderlust passed through flood locks were functioning. Continue reading

The Canal du Rhône au Rhin: Saint Jean de Losne to Dole

Wanderlust pauses for lunch above the lock in Écluse de Saint-Symphorien.

Leaving the port in Saint Jean de Losne we turned Wanderlust upstream on the River Saône. Not far upriver we reached the entrance of the Rhone-Rhine Canal with its distinctive but little used observation platform. We loitered a short time pointing into the river’s stream waiting for the lock’s gates to open. When they gates did swing open, we moved Wanderlust into the lock. Leaving the Saône we were on our way up the Canal du Rhône au Rhin. Continue reading

Canal de Bourgogne: Saint Jean de Losne to Dijon and Back

Wanderlust escapes.

As of the time of this writing it looks like we will lose the 2020 season to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the trouble-plagued 2015, Wanderlust has not had a full season of cruising, having lost much of 2016, 2017, and 2018 to the legal dispute and repairs. In 2019 additional repairs and a water shortage cut short the season. We had grand plans for cruising, and more paintwork for Wanderlust, in 2020. But those seem to be lost for the time being. With luck in 2021 we will finally be able to enjoy our first full cruising season in six years, as we imagined when we laid down the money for Wanderlust in 2013. But for now we’ll just relive our 2019 season…. Continue reading

Bottom Blacking and Dysfunctional Anchors

Wanderlust comes out of the water in Saint Jean de Losne.

Five years after launch, in the summer of 2018, Wanderlust was due to have her bottom blacked. This is a standard maintenance item for most steel inland waterway craft. For Wanderlust, the re-blacking of the hull became more necessary after the paint survey conducted in the summer 2017 showed widespread failure of the underwater coatings. When Wanderlust was out of the water in 2017 swaths of bare steel were visible, particularly in the HAZ or “heat affected zones”, the places where the metal work had removed the shop primer applied during the steel’s manufacture. Continue reading

The Generator and the Power Management System

Wanderlust on the Saône: Pleasant unserviced moorings such as this one are the reason why live-aboard boats have the ability to function off of the grid.

From launch Wanderlust had issues with the integration of her generator’s electrical power output into the boat’s systems. The problem was debilitating enough that it made us reluctant to spend time off shore power, the main reason to have a generator in the first place. It’s these trials and tribulations with the generator that was the first indication that things would not go smoothly with out new barge. Continue reading