The community of the boatmen of the Vienne was created in 1996.
In 1998, they began the construction of a 18th century “gabarre”(sailing barge), 14,50m long and 2,50 m wide, a cabin on the backside, a “guinda” ( big winch made of wood), a mast of 9m, 40 square metres sail.
It was called “Catherine Caillé”.
A “futreau” (smaller boat), of accompaniment was built at the same time.
May the 12th 2005, a fire destroyed the “gabarre”.
In March 2006, the boatmen started the construction of a “toue”(flat-bottomed boat), 12m long and 3,50m wide; it represents 1500 hours of work done by volunteers and only one carpenter.
They used local maritime pine and oak.
The Vigeane was launched in Châtellerault in may 2007.
The « gabarres » loaded heavy and cumbersome hardware while “toues” carried precious goods and passengers.