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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HomeConverted barges and their stories • Watergeus sailing to Bruges

Watergeus sailing to Bruges on 27th February 2005

As discussed two days ago, we would leave for Bruges on 06:00 in the morning. I had set my alarm at 05:45. Wile putting on my trousers, Rinus was walking on deck. I quickly started the engine. The contact key needs a special way of turning, only I know. Since I didn't want the starter motor to be damaged, I turned the key myself.

My parents arrived with the food and Andy started loosening the ropes. Rinus took the wheel, switched the navigation lights on and off we went!

The ships propeller is 15cm above the water, making it nearly impossible to sail backwards. Trying to turn and facing the bow to Terneuzen seemed quiet hard, drifting backwards out of the dock seemed the only option. A few hundred meters further, we were able to turn the boat. At the pontoon we stopped and unloaded the white plastic tank. Since I didn't need any more weight, we left it in Sluiskil.

Turning out of the dock at the shipyard we started the trip to Bruges, sailing full speed at 16km/hour. Fifteen minutes before arrival at the bridge of Zelzate we started lowering the mast. With a hammer it came down.

Just before the turning to Evergem

The mast stayed lowered till on the mooring in Bruges

In Ghent we turned right to the lock of Evergem. Calling on the radio, we were lucky and could go with the first shift. Otherwise you need to wait and every shift is an hour. In the locks my ship seemed unidentified, so I had to go with paperwork and passport. Everything was correct. I had to pay for passing the lock, costing me 1,21 euros, 1 euro for the costs and 21 cents VAT...

The Watergeus in the lock of Evergem

The Watergeus in the lock of Evergem

After the lock we sailed to Bruges, passing one bridge where we had to wait a few minutes. It was now also time to eat something and drink some coffee.

Sailing along the Belgian waterways

Crossing another boat  

Sailing along the Belgian waterways

According to the skipper we now had spent the biggest amount of fuel. He wanted me to check and it seemed we had used less then a 100 liters!

Sailing though the bridge of Steenbrugge

Sailing in Bruges

Sailing in Bruges

After 5 hours sailing we arrived from Sluiskil in Bruges. From the first bridge, the Katelijnebrug till my mooring at the Kolenkaai it took us another two hours!

Watergeus in the lock in Bruges

On the mooring in Bruges

Bruges has several bridges and one lock. All are opened automatically, still it takes them a long time. While waiting in bruges, we started the generator and drunk a nice cup of coffee.

When we arrived their were no mooring facilities, so we connected the ship to the wooden supports of the quay.

It was a nice journey, maybe a bit short, but it definitely showed the qualities of the engine, boat and crew!

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