New for the Holidays

A model of the ASTER two models in the dimensions 1:72 and 1: 120

€ 10

free shipping for holidays until January 15, 2020 or 06 41 75 25 13

A distinction for ASTER

The boat Aster received the label Patrimonial Interest Boat (BIP) during the commission of approval on October 18, 2018. A great satisfaction for all the volunteers who work Wednesday morning to give a second youth to this boat.

You can find the Aster on the Foundation's website by clicking on the image below



On the Canal du Nivernais in 1988

This one , from the time he had to finish sausage or ham !!

The ASTER plan (2,5 Mo)
Click on the map

This plan was carried out by Gérard PIOCHE


Revue Fluvial - Septembre 2014 (en français)

Texte et photos Philippe MENAGER

Exposition Journées du Patrimoine

Logbook de la Fête de la Batellerie

click on the photos to see slideshow

Aster , the journey back ...

Click to enlarge map

Log Book
Travel preparation
Day 1 and 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Technical problems
The reportage France 3 Bourgogne
Click on the image to download (35 MB )

Aster was visiting Fragnes Thursday, June 5, 2014
Click on the image to view photos of Fragnes (Facebook)

And photos from the trip by clicking HERE

A Little History...

Excerpt from " A channel that was almost a dead end! (Emile GUILLIEN 1999)

It was in 1972 that the Department of Nièvre obtained, from the state, the concession for the Nivernais canal for a duration of 50 years.

The operation and maintenance related to the canal itself and the pounds at Vaux, Baye, Neuf and Gouffier along the canal.

Banks had collapsed, towpaths damaged and many locks and houses were in poor condition.

But the General Council had a bright idea (not necessarily financial!). They bought a wooden barge, and converted it into trip boat.

This is not a burgundy 'flute' as the "stern" is round; it is a "bastard" that can access all the locks (even if it is necessary to fold the rudder) and cruise the Nivernais stretch from Decize to Pousseaux.

Her draft is only 60 centimeters.

At her construction in 1951, she was towed by horses and was subject to two opposing forces:

That the cord which tended to pull the bow towards the bank

The bow rudder, under water, exerted a force in the opposite direction

To steer to the right (starboard), a small relaxation of the tiller sufficed.

(A "berrichon" [a type of craft hailing from the Berry area in central France] required a double rudder .)

Before long her method of propulsion was changed. A 35 Horse-power Baudouin DK 3 engine was installed. It runs at 750 revolutions / minute and uses a strong propeller turning at only 250 rpm. It is ideal for those barges capable of carrying hundreds of tons of cargo at a slow pace.
A high revving 'outboard engine' would soon expire!

Because of Aster's shape it took an innovative approach be able to use a propeller.

On a vessel specially built to be motorized, the stern is tapered like the bow and the propeller is mounted between the stern and the rudder.

Due to the shape of Aster's stern, no water would flow over propellor - as happens with the more conventional hull-shape of a propellor driven boat.

It was proposed that the propeller be installed at the rear of the rudder.

As the propeller protruded beyond the rudder, it was necessary that it be raised when entering locks so a pulley was installed on the Rudder.

Driving becomes quite different. In a straight line, no problem: the boat steers true to course. Because of the unusual configuration and shape of the boat, it is very difficult to control without the addition of a forward rudder.

This is the auxiliary rudder, under the bow (which replaces the historical alternative where crew-members used poles to prevent violent impacts of the hull against banks and lock entrances).



Presentation of the project

Purchase of the barge ASTER by AQUA Association

Letter to the President of the General Council of Nièvre:

1. Outline Intentions and reasons for the project.

2. Presentation of the association.

3. Presentation of other interested partners.

4. Overview of environmental and location considerations and options for taking them into account

5. Finance

Following our meeting on the boat ASTER 05/08/10 with Mr. Jammet Mr. Gaboret Mr. Cretier and three officials of our association (Mr Blanchon, Ms. Moullet and Mr Gerard) we are writing to you with the intention of convince you to sell the boat Aster to our Association.

1. Intentions and reasons for the project.

Our desire is to bring the boat ASTER to Saint-Jean-de-Losne and integrate her into the outdoor exhibition, namely our collection of marine waterways equipment. We have the infrastructure perfectly suited to take care of this exceptional boat - to house it, maintain its state of repair, protect it against degradation and install it on favorable site to display her under the care of our musée de la Batellerie .

2. Presentation of the association

Our Association, AQUA, has been in existence since July 1987 and has always had, more or less, the same people at its head. From the start conservation of river heritage has been our main goal and our activities reflect that.
We have saved and preserved ancient wooden punts, various marine engines 20/30/50 years old, a tugboat (17m) of the Saône dating from 1920, old lock gates, the bow of a 1960's barge, the bow of a 1955 tug, as well as numerous articles relating to river navigation.
All these river heritage objects are displayed in our museum (see photos and articles).
We also participated in the creation of a dictionary of the language of river navigation. Over time, we have gathered extensive documentation on waterways, sailors and navigation equipment. We also have a large collection of books and other documents on our favourite subject.

3. Presentation of other interested partners.

Our local Tourist Office, headed for 30 years by a member of our association (Danielle Moullet, creator of the museum), for many reasons abandoned the museum. It is for this reason that our association has taken over the management of the Musée de la Batellerie of Saint-Jean-de-Losne.

We have good relations with both Maries concerned with the Community of Communes locally, with other associations such as the AMB (Association Mariniers Burgundy) who are very supportive of the ASTER project.

The ANPEI (Boaters Association) is also interested and supportive of this project. In addition, we are used to working with Waterways of France (The VNF), Regional and the Departmental town halls, DDT and AoW.

Concerning regulations, transporting, installation and maintenance of the boat, the ASTER project does not pose insurmountable problems for us.

For the ASTER project, we can count on the support of many organizations and businesses.
Our vice president of the association manages the business H2O (20 jobs, river tourism, boat maintenance). We have the moral and technical support of this active business. We are also supported through the management of boat rental company LE BOAT, by ATELIER RIVER (dry dock and slipway [20 jobs]) as well as Ets Blanquart (ship repair and port Plaisance [15 jobs]).
The leaders of these four companies have a personal, but also a commercial, interest in this project. The arrival of ASTER to Saint-Jean-de-Losne would indeed be a substantial addition to the museum's collection and thus an added attraction for local tourism.

4. Environment overview and location

So far, all the solutions for the future of the ASTER are defined. We have an outdoor exhibition of inland waterway vessels (tug, barge bow, tug bow, motors, etc.). In this location we intend to install ASTER on dry land. But since the boat is wood, we'll put in a pool that will be created to the size of the boat, with 60 cm of water to ensure that the wood does not dry out.
A light but aesthetic roof, resistant to wind, rain and snow, will be built. It will fit perfectly into the landscape ( we are in fact within the perimeter of a classified historical monument ). Secure and regulatory access will be established.

To perform all these developments, many technical and administrative issues arise and need to be considered and resolved. To begin with, we have a secure mooring site 20 meters from direct exposure to the river. The boat will first be presented afloat and later dry. Our intention is to preserve in its original condition in order to provide an opportunity to re-navigate.

5. Finance.

Like most organizations, we do not have much capital. To purchase the ASTER we can only offer the famous "Symbolic Euro", alternatively, we propose that the boat is on loan to our museum and we will take care of her and be a good father to her.

We have asked the Region for a subsidy that would allow us to make you an offer other than the symbolic euro.

For the purpose of this presentation, we believe the costs of transport, insurance, maintenance, as well as the creation of the basin, the protective cover and access, will amount to between 350,000 and 500,000 euros.

We think we can be sponsored by local businesses and we rely on the financial support of operators of hire companies boats and boats hotels. The first contacts with them encourage us in this direction. We also hope to obtain some grants.

Looking forward to your favorable opinion, please accept Mr. President to express our warmest marine greetings.

Le président 
Guy Blanchon



The barge ASTER

Fluvial (Magazine) 2010: Sale of the barge ASTER (last wooden barge in France) by the General Council of Nièvre in the amount of € 100,000


Date of construction: August 1951 - Construction by Chapel Montlinard (18)

Registration certificate NV - 2229 F May 1973

Original classification - passenger vessel for 55 people

Group 2 Freycinet (Mooring less than 2.50 m).

Activity (until 2002)

•  Tourist trip on the Canal du Nivernais between Châtillon en Bazois Port and Chestnut (18 km)

•  Home Port: Châtillon en Bazois

Current situation:

Following work in 1999, the annual license to navigate was issued by the 'Commission de Surveillance des Bateaux à Propulsion Mécanique de Nevers', it was bestowed with the derogations concerning the height of the railing and the lack of watertight collision bulkheads (resulting in a de facto stability study)

From 2002 onwards, the obtaining of the permit to navigate (with passengers) has been dependent on the lifting of these derogations and therefore of the realization of the corresponding work. The work in question has not been carried out by the Department. Since then, the barge has been moored at the port of Saint Léger Des Vignes.

For information: details of work to be done

Creating a front bulkhead and a central partition

Re-introduction of forward bollard, with implementation of electric capstans

Re-caulking of the front axle

Installing guardrails a meter high in passenger areas

Stability tests

Technical Specifications

Wooden Barge with bolted structure


Length Width Depth

30.42 m 5.02 m 2.20 m approximately


In original condition : 1 m

Currently, between 40 to 60 cm, depending on the load

Weight: load displacement of 255 tonnes of origin

Engine: Baudouin 36 hp diesel



Evolution of the ASTER project

Documents in these external links are written in French

2010: ASTER barge is on sale in the magazine Fluvial by the General Council of Nièvre who owns the boat, for an amount of € 100,000

2011: A project is Offered to the town:

2012: The community of commons entrusted a study to the agency Maître du Rêve

2012: Meeting on November 13

2013: development of the study

2014 3rd phase

AQUA association is very interested and the first contacts between the Nièvre and the region are positive, our desire is to bring ASTER to Saint-Jean-de-Losne and integrate her into the external collection of marine hardware of the inland waterways
We are perfectly suited to take care of this exceptional boat structure, carry, keep it in its state of repair, protect against degradation and install it on a favorable site for display within our shipping museum.

The boat should be brought to Saint-Jean-de-Losne by Captain Mr Cretier. Then it will be moored in the Gare d'Eau's outdoor exhibition of the Museum of Batellerie currently featuring barge bows, a tug and engines.

Later Aster will be put into a pool to be created next to the existing exhibits.

The basin will have just the depth of water to allow the boat him to stay in the water so it does not dry out. In a second phase, the exhibition must be covered with a light canopy-style protection to protect the boat. A study about the creation of spatial planning is essential.

Charles GERARD intends to draw a sketch of the boat and offer all parts and interior and exterior for sale so EVERY donor or symbolic owner owns a specific part of the boat.

An idea that still merits further development ....

A folder is in draft to the Heritage Foundation; once registered, the donations will be tax deductible.

You can download the "Specifications for the transfer of ownership of the ASTER Houseboat under a grant in kind"by clicking on the logo (french)



Support the ASTER project

Help our volunteers to restore the site Barge ASTER
in Saint-Jean-de-Losne (Côte d'Or )

To support the project, join the association or make a donation

Membership application by clicking HERE

Why take your membership card?

Joining the museum, is to support the association for the safeguarding of river heritage, to support the identity of the the Losne area, to better understand the past to prepare for the future, to promote its richness to better understand and love the area

The association AQUA offers to its members a permanent pass for guided tours of the musée de la Batellerie, invitations to private viewings of temporary exhibitions and events, as well as a reduction of 5% in the shop and Museum bookstore.



Discover ASTER



ASTER photos
Drydock - May 2014
( click on the photos to see slideshow )
May 12-13 , 2014
May 13, 2014
May 16, 2014
May 17, 2014
May 18, 2014
May 19, 2014
May 29, 2014

May 29, 2014

The departure of Saint -Léger -les- Vignes - May 31, 2014
( click on the photos to see slideshow )
31 mai 2014

May 31, 2014
June 1, 2014
June 1, 2014
June 2, 2014

June 3, 2014

June 3, 2014 after
June 4, 2014

June 5, 2014

June 5, 2014 after

June 5, 2014 Crissey
June 6 on the Saone
June 6 on the Saone

Fête de la Batellerie - 14 & 15 June 2014
( click on the photos to see slideshow )


All rights reserved
AQUA Association

Saint Jean de Losne 2015