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More than ten meters long, three meters at most wide and three tons, La Galerne is nothing like a walnut shell! This little Loire represents a considerable amount of work. But the result is worth it!

A boat, all cabane of the Loire and vogue La Galerne!

Professional level
Cost: according to supply
Time: 1 year

See the plan of this realization (in pdf): Boat of the Loire, toue cabané: the plan

Living a short distance from the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne, Yves Fournier and Alain Helbert have not resisted the temptation to make a veritable tussle of the Loire. And since they are not used to doing things in half, they have practically everything from A to Z, from the purchase of standing trees to the braiding of ropes from hemp twine. the right device. Do not believe them as professional of the thing: in life, the first is a cook, and the second agent EDF!

Vital axis for the trade before the arrival of the railway, the Loire was traversed by many boats. They provided local traffic as well as the connection between the capital and the port of Nantes (via the Briare Canal), an essential function in the era of the infamous triangular trade.

To descend the river, it was enough to follow the current, guiding the boats with the help of big poles, the "chariots" or "neighborhood sticks". Or, for the most sophisticated, using a rudder, the "piautre". If the wind allowed, the ascent was led by sailing, the orientation of the Loire to Orleans to exploit the best winds prevailing.

Beyond Orleans or Briare (commonly until Nevers, less regularly until Roanne) or in the absence of wind, hauling - often by human force - was the only solution. Unless you use a radical alternative: remove the lift. This method was generalized for the summary boats descended from the Monts d'Auvergne by the Allier: these "pines" were purely and simply "torn" on arrival and their wood sold for heating or construction.

In addition to the fir trees, three main types of boats shared the river. The heavy "barges" were real barges, up to 30 m long and 5 m wide. Weighing often more than 20 t, they could carry a load four to five times higher. The smaller "toues" were also used for local traffic and fishing. 10 to 15 m long and 3 m wide, they weighed about 3 t. As for the small "futreaux", they are still widely used by many fishermen.

The structure of the boats

The structure of the boats

The Loire boats have a flat bottom and a shallow draft, which are indispensable for navigating the "sometimes sandy river", wrote Jules Renard. The manufacture was done on a construction site in planks. The planks of the bottom were cut, then assembled to proceed to the "palage", that is to say the sealing. The palet was originally a mixture of natural mosses covered with a wooden lattice. The moss was later replaced by the famous coaltar - the one in which we do not like to be -, a distillation product of coal.

After plastering, wooden ties (or saddles) were placed across the bottom to stiffen it, at intervals of about one meter. The inside of the bottom was then weighted with stones. The ends (or lifted) mounted on jacks, were then heated to gradually form them. The sides (the sides) were then put in place. They were usually flush-mounted, the boards overlapping by about a third. The assembly was pegged. It remained to install the equipment: floor, mast, piautre, possibly cabin, etc.

La Galerne, a mix of old and new

La Galerne, a mix of old and new

The Galerne or "galerne wind" is an ancient name of Noroît wind, northwest west direction, whose strength was exploited to go up the Loire. This name has even become a surname worn by a few people in France. The origin would be the name of the wind in Breton "Gwalarn".

Endangered a few years ago, the traditional Loire boat made its reappearance on the river a few years ago under the impulse of pioneers such as Guy Brémard and his successor Max Panier. Living nearby, Yves Fournier and Alain Helbert were infected with the virus and benefited from their precious help. They opted for the realization of a cabaret, La Galerne, with a very large cabin well suited to recreational sailing.

Engine

Engine

In addition to the size of the cabin, the main concession to modernity is the addition of a motor of thirty-three horses... In the absence of wind, difficult to find nowadays haulers! Disadvantage of the motorization, the draft hardly exceeds 20 to 25 cm down with the current but reaches 70 cm at the return to the engine (against 40 cm in the sail). Unlike the originals, the other La Galerne is articulated to gain a little draft.

Current materials have been used. The most visible is the asphalt shingle cover of the cab and the engine compartment. This solution, which some would consider iconoclastic is however more discreet than sheet metal, and more durable than traditional roofs boards.

Another modern material, that of sealing. Bitumen nowadays replaces the old coaltar. Felt strips are impregnated, glued to the fittings of the shell, and then covered by a seal made of zinc sheet or stainless steel nailed in the wood. To limit the budget, our two friends replaced the felt by strips of plain carpet to stick (without foam backrest) of first price. This solution has given all satisfaction. The strips were cut in a sheet of galvanized sheet of 10 / 10th by a friend boilermaker. The efficiency of this device makes it possible to assemble the sides with flat joints, resulting in less wood consumption and weight than with traditional clapboard mounting. The outside of the boat is also treated with bitumen, directly mixed with carbonil to treat the wood.

A long-term job

Building La Galerne took a year for our two readers, who spent all their weekends and holidays there. Previous step, history to acquire a little experience, they began by making two small futreaux, similar structure. Then we had to choose on foot the maritime pines needed in a nearby forest. And have them felled and cut by a nearby sawmill in the required thicknesses (30 mm for the hull). After six months of drying, the production begins with the installation of the site, a simple stack of pallets and recovery bastaings.

Hull manufacturing

Hull manufacturing

The bottom boards are carefully selected and cut with a jigsaw. They are then returned to impregnate the bitumen / carbonil mixture. After drying, they are repositioned in the right direction, leaving between them a space of about a centimeter, essential to allow the wood to work.

The joints are located on the inside of the hull. The carpet is cut into strips of 5 cm. Each strip is dipped in the bitumen / carbonil mixture and left to drain. When she barely scratches, she is placed on the wood connection and covered with the sheet of metal, also 5 cm wide. Nails (galvanized roofer tips) are planted one every 4 to 5 cm on each side. The saddles (bottom sleepers) in oak are simultaneously put in place. They are tapered from below, and the heads of lag bolts protected by a tiled carpet washer seal.

The bending of the lifts is a long operation. The wood is abundantly watered. Once impregnated, it is raised 2 to 3 cm with a jack and left to rest. The operation is repeated daily until the desired curvature is obtained.

The planks are in turn assembled (two planks each) and grouted. They are then presented on either side of the bottom to reveal the curve of the curvature of the levées. The ends are then cut with a jigsaw according to this curve. The planks are nailed to the edges of the bottom and the joint grouted with a strip of carpet, but without sheet. The ribs of the planks are then connected at the end of the saddles to stiffen the assembly. To complete the hull, still remain to install the high-boards and their ornaments in festoons, and the flat edges.

The equipment

The equipment

If the hull is the bulk of the work, it is far from finished. The realization of the cabin is probably more familiar to our readers than that of the hull. It is a structure in uprights and sleepers covered with clapboard cladding, machined home as it should. The interior of the engine is equipped with panel doors, made by Alain Helbert.

All the accessories used to handle and lock ropes (pulleys, dolls, needles...) are also homemade, and many of them hand-carved by Yves Fournier.

If some modern nylon ropes are visible in the photos, it is only temporary. Yves and Alain had originally braided themselves all their ropes, after having made the necessary craft apparatus. But some, having deteriorated faster than expected, were replaced in a hurry. They will be redone as soon as possible. The square sail is made of linen cloth; there is no question here of procrastinating about the appearance. Its manufacture is an opportunity to put the brides to contribution.

Our two readers would like to thank here the painting workshop of the home of the neighboring village of Vélors, led by François Perrin, for his participation in the decoration.

Choose the wood

Choose the wood

Leading an achievement from A to Z is not for our two readers an empty word: the construction starts with the selection on foot then the felling of the wood (maritime pines), in a nearby forest.

Debit the wood

Debit the wood

The wood is transported to the sawmill to be cut to the desired thickness. If they do not drive the saw bench themselves, Yves and Alain are nonetheless involved in the operation.

Install the site

Install the site

The construction site is simple: a few stacked and leveled pallets serve as support for bastaings and rafters. A structure in scaffolding tubes makes it possible to cover the whole.

Dry the boards

Dry the boards

The planks are carefully stacked in blocks to put them to dry. A chance, the drying time is much less than for carpentry. to build a boat, six months is enough.

Select and adjust the bottom boards

Select and adjust the bottom boards

The bottom boards are selected and arranged on site. Roughly juxtaposed at first, they are then cut with a jigsaw to adjust more precisely.

Sealing and treating the wood

Sealing and treating the wood

The planks are turned upside down to the sky. They are then treated with a mixture of bitumen for waterproofing and carbonil for insecticide treatment
and wood fungicide.

Protect the worksite from the elements

Protect the worksite from the elements

If the weather is doubtful, it is better to stick while drying the mixture. Hence the interest of the tube structure which, completed by the falling of the blanks of the boards, supports the tarpaulins.

Install sleepers

Install sleepers

When the mixture is dry, the boards are put back in place. The sleepers are installed and tugged underneath; this supposes to slip under the building site, an uncomfortable position.

Install joints and sleepers

Install joints and sleepers

The installation of the gaskets and the installation of the sleepers are done simultaneously. Under the bottom, the heads of the lag bolts of the sleepers are concealed by paved washers of carpet.

Cut out the edges

Cut out the edges

The ends of the bottom are curved very gradually by wetting the wood and bending it with a jack. The planks are then presented to postpone the shape of the curve and cut it.

Fix and connect the planks

Fix and connect the planks

The planks are nailed to the bottom songs with galvanized tips. The fitting is sealed by a bitumen carpet strip. Cleats spaced the planks pending the installation of the frames.

Doubler levées and sides

Doubler levées and sides

The upper part of the sides and the ends of the lifts are doubled in thickness by high edges. The set will support the gunwale, a kind of handrail surrounding the entire boat.

Ornate the high edges

Ornate the high edges

The high-boards receive two rows of festoon ornaments. One is positioned below, the other in overthickness. The lifting of the front carries a plaque in the name of the boat, entirely carved by hand.

The cabin offers complete comfort

The cabin offers complete comfort

The frame of the cabin is composed of main amounts connected in pairs by the roof support rails, and secondary amounts under the openings and on both sides of the doors.

Dress the walls of the cabin

Dress the walls of the cabin

The walls of the cabin are dressed with clapboard. The frames, simple, open to flap. The roof edge board incorporates the festoon ornaments of the high-boards, complemented by a carved rosette.

Fit the cabin

Fit the cabin

The cabin is almost landscaped like a small motorhome or a trailer. There is even a water point and a small gas stove... barely fished, the fish are in the pan!

Roof and cockpit of the engine

Roof and cockpit of the engine

The roofs of the cab and engine compartment are covered with asphalt shingles. The linen sail, here rolled under the yard, measures 36 m2. The wives were involved in sewing.

Articulate the mast

Articulate the mast

The mast has a double joint, one at the base, and the other just above the roof level. The second is the most used. In the closed position, it is locked by "clip" pins.

Maintain the mast

Maintain the mast

The mast root is a square tube swinging on its base, bolted to the hull. The hinge is held upright by a stand locked in place by a bent pin.

Holding the shrouds

Holding the shrouds

The ends of some chords retain the shrouds of the sail. They are sculpted in the mass shaped fish, aesthetic shape but also functional to maintain ropes or chains

Check tightness and stability of the boat

Check tightness and stability of the boat

In order to check the tightness and stability, a first launching test is carried out. The Galerne is towed to Vienna by a tractor, with the complicity of a neighboring farmer.

The engine: essential in case of wind failure or current

The engine: essential in case of wind failure or current

The cockpit is installed in the cabin. The navigation is not very fast, it does not pose any visibility problems, even if the bays are far from offering a panoramic view.

Conceal the engine

Conceal the engine

The cockpit of the engine is closed by two panel doors assembled with tenons and mortises. The engine, unattractive on such a boat, is thus concealed; it is also less noisy.

The cockpit

The cockpit

The engine is not driven directly: its controls are returned by cables to the cockpit. When not in use, the unit is tilted forward to reduce draft.

Facilitate lowland maneuvers

Facilitate lowland maneuvers

If the engine is in use, it is the opposite: the other is folded and folded at the back of the Galerne. A folding rudder is nothing traditional, but facilitates maneuvering on the shallows.

Install the windlass

Install the windlass

Installed at the front of the boat, the windlass is a specific winch designed to control the ascent and descent of the mast. The latter is indeed foldable, allowing La Galerne to pass under bridges.

To know more about the Trees

The toue. (Study conducted in 1999-2000 by the students of the "Estuaire" class of the Jean Perrin high school of REZE, SVT site of the Pedagogical Space of the Academy of Nantes)


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