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Nicols customers help design new flagship canal boat

Our Nicols shipyard put out a call to our customers to help them develop a brand new boat and the result is the stylish OCTO Fly C. The new flagship of the Nicols fleet, a four-cabin design, will be first available for boating holidays in the Alsace and on the Canal du Midi in Spring 2018.

The project began with Nicols sending a survey to past customers to find out everything from what they like about current Nicols boats to what they think could be added to make life on the waterways even more enjoyable. We were overwhelmed with the response – almost 800 customers from the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland replied with their feedback.

Nicols flagship octo fly c


The new Octo Fly C canal boat

The survey results highlighted things such as the optimum size of the boat, the ideal cabin and bathroom layout and preferred design of a large rear terrace. A key finding was the need for easy manoeuvrability so, in addition to the inclusion of bow thrusters which are found on other Nicols models, it was suggested why not add stern thrusters too. This development had never previously been considered but was quickly incorporated into the OCTO Fly C’s design by David Hervouët, the Research & Design Manager at Nicols. 

The most notable design feature to come from the customer survey however was the idea of expanding the outdoor living space on board. Although Nicols customers love being in the well-equipped and spacious saloon and cabins many of them thought that the boating holiday experience could be even better if there was greater opportunities to spend more time out in the open.


The end results

The OCTO Fly C has a large new upper deck with a living area with seating and an outdoor kitchen - all under a canopy for shade. Sun worshippers will also be able to relax on a flat roof deck with comfy mattresses. These additions really improve life on the top deck which previously would have only had a second steering position and some seating.

Corinne Dufaud, Marketing Manager for Nicols, said: "This experiment, getting our customers involved in the boat’s design, has been a great success on two counts. Firstly, we were delighted that so many of our customers were happy to provide feedback. More importantly the quality of the ideas we received meant that we could seriously think about how best to incorporate them into our boats.”

Canal du midi boating holidays


A successful project 

First signs are that the OCTO Fly C is going to be a big hit. It’s not even made it to its home for the 2018 boating holiday season yet has already sold 30% of its availability as customers look to secure their preferred dates.

As a result more OCTO Fly C boats are likely to be coming out of the Nicols shipyard in the future further continuing a desire to have the smartest hire fleet on the waterways.


Booking your boating holiday on board the Octo Fly C 

The first of the new OCTO Fly C boats will be available for hire for boating holidays in Spring 2018. They will be operating from the Nicols bases in the Alsace and Canal du Midi.

You can read a full description and see photos and floor plans on our OCTO Fly C page.

For prices and availability simply click on the button below 

Check Availability

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