Living afloat
The story of the Luxe Motor Watergeus, the Groningse snik Hornblower, the klipperaak Aquarel, the lemmeraak 'Op Hoop van Zegen' and how to convert a Dutch barge into a houseboat.
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The Watergeus is my home. It's an old Dutch Luxe Motor, built in 1929. She was about to be scrapped when we bought her...
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The 'Op Hoop van Zegen' is a lemmeraak from 1916. She is being converted into a classic looking yacht.
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HomeConverted barges and their stories • Preparing the Watergeus for her first trip

Preparing the Watergeus for her first trip in five years

Somewhere next week (article written on 14th February 2007), the Watergeus will make her first big trip in five years time. She did sail under own power to the yard, but that was just around the dock.

Engine & fuel

Last month I ordered some diesel for the trip. The system is not optimal, so some diesel ended up in the bilges. One of the tanks or my engine has a small leak. Since it was still a month before sailing, I closed all fuel pipes.

The engine room, freshly painted and cleaned

After the diesel arrived, I decided to turn the engine on and let her run for an hour, going full speed forwards and backwards. I had to stop, since I was pulling the boats next to me to much, their ropes would break!

I didn't notice any problems, so I can assume my engine is running and will hold it for the trip.

The steering worked when going and returning from the yard, so it will still be working.

Navigation equipment

In December, my electrician came to connect the navigation lights. Even if it is only one trip, you never know when it gets dark and we haven't arrived... Last month, I also repaired the front light in the mast. I had to put a wire all along the sides of the cargo hold to the front of the boat, where the mast is standing.

I still have to place my VHF radio, but it is already aboard. These days a radio is necessary. If you have a commercial boat, you need two VHF radios. I have one radio and one listener, so I'm ok with the regulations.

Lights and life rings

I don't have a working horn, but will try to find an old fashioned one, in one which one you need to blow yourself.

Since it is a simple trip, I don't make use of a GPS system. I have one at work that will be in the back accommodation, but won't use it.

Safety & security

Since, We are only sailing with three people, I have enough life jackets aboard. Extra, I have a couple of life rings and some ropes ready to throw if somebody falls overboard.

My generator is running during the whole trip (needs refilling every five hours) and a pump is ready to be connected. I do have a spare pump running on a Lister engine, but I won't have tie to connect it and let it run by next week.

My mobile phone, which uses cards, will be charged with enough money for making some calls.


I still need to find the Belgian flag to put on my boat. It is nice to have a flag of the country. It makes your boat look much better!


When I arrive in Bruges, I will moore the boat properly, so the ropes will be ready at the front, back and mid ship. I didn't needed this in Sluiskil, but in Bruges, I'm moored alone. I prepared some car tiers with ropes for putting between the boat and the quay.

One of the tiers on the side of the boat

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