Having a week away in the Loire, we stumbled upon an interesting community project in Chalonnes, the construction of a new Gabarot - a traditional river freight boat of the region.
A temporary building shed had been erected on the town quay, where the boat or rather barge which is a true description, is taking shape.
The history of the Gabarot dates back to around 1850, with examples up to 25 meters (82 feet) in length used for transporting goods along the river.
Construction is of heavy clinker, Douglas Fir planking for the topsides above a flat bottom. The floors, frames and keel are Oak and the inside floorboards Chestnut.
The description shows the new boat to be 59 feet in length with a draft of just under 2 feet. Powered by an inboard diesel, the top speed of 74.5 mph on page 3 of the pdf, might well be a typo.
Being a French boatyard, food and good coffee are as important as woodworking, the stylish cafe was well positioned to catch the spring sunshine.
My French isn't that good but it seemed that the Chalandoux 5eme Vent (5th Wind Boat builders seems to be the most direct translation) were mostly volunteers and a very friendly crew.
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