Jo and Steve are the perfect couple for providing a challenging and rewarding three days toward fulfilling the requirements for a helmsman certificate, a necessary step toward obtaining the ICC. Steve is a knowledgeable and patient instructor, gently advising students as they test and learn the techniques for guiding a 71 foot barge through narrow bridges, coming alongside quays (docks), and other manoeuvres. Jo is a great host, from initial communications to creating great meals that meet dietary restrictions (be sure to inform her. We ate relaxed lunches and dinners outside on the boat’s deck each day.
Jo and Steve are both very knowledgeable about the barge life and eagerly answer any questions posed in our delightful conversations. They are most gracious with their time, and we learned many things during our stay with them that will help us purchase and pilot our own barge.
My husband and I have chartered canal boats in France on two occasions, and have been dreaming lately of owning a barge boat in France upon retirement. We currently live in Annapolis Maryland (USA) and own a 50′ sailboat, 21 tons. So boating is very familiar to us. When we found Bargecraft boat school online, and reviewed the coursework and credentials, we inquired further to be assured that our goals for education and general knowledge would be fulfilled. We are so pleased that we invested in this 3 day course that provided both of us our RYA inland waterways helmsman’s certificate, including CEVNI testing. Not only did we learn how to make prudent decisions as well as operate a 55 ton, 71′ large boat, through tight bridges and multiple locks, but we also learned docking and launching strategies we can apply at home with our sailboat.
All of the above would have made this a successful course experience. But the icing on the cake is that both Steve and Jo are superb hosts. This has been an amazing “boat and breakfast” experience, plus lunches and dinners! Jo prepared meals according to our dietary restrictions, and thoughtfully reviewed them with us prior to our arrival. Our master stateroom cabin and private bath were spacious and well-appointed. And to dine on the deck – with spectacular views for both lunch and dinner – nothing could be better.
Thank you Steve and Jo for an outstanding educational and hospitable experience on this beautiful canal in France.