Living afloat
The story of the Luxe Motor Watergeus, the Groningse snik Hornblower, the Historische klipperaak Aquarel, the lemmeraak 'Op Hoop van Zegen', the Friese maatkast Tordino and how to convert a Dutch barge into a houseboat.
MS Watergeus
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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Living Afloat
(and old stuff - outdated)
Living Afloat
Living Afloat gives you free ideas on what you need to know about barges, how to buy them, how to convert them, etc..
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MS Tordino
The Tordino is a Friese Maatkast built in 1922. She is being converted into a floating museum.
MS Aquarel
The Aquarel is an authentic klipperaak from 1916 converted for exhibitions and with a permanent small museum of maritime artifacts. She was sold in 2016 and is now a houseboat in Zaandam.
MY Op Hoop van Zegen
Op Hoop van Zegen
The 'Op Hoop van Zegen' is a lemmeraak from 1916. She was converted into a classic looking yacht.
I spent most of my time in or around boats. Read what I'm doing!
MS Hornblower
The Hornblower was a project of converting a snik into a yacht. I sold her in 2014 to start another project.
HomeHornblowerConversion • January 2012

January 2012

2nd January 2012: bilge cleaning

I continued cleaning the bilges. Underneath the grease, I found old tar on some plates. I removed as much as possible before giving it a coat of white paint. nevertheless it still became a little yellow....

7th January 2012: One sheet of floor in position

With most of the wood gone, it was becoming dangerous walking in the wheelhouse. My father came over to help me putting one sheet in position on the ribs of the wheelhouse.

The first sheet of metal in position

8th January 2012: a little fire

I always believed foam insulation would melt when it gets into contact with high temperature. When welding in the engine room, there was some foam in the bilges. It took fire straight away, also setting fire to a piece of wood and a rag dipped in white spirit. I was able to extinguish the fire quick enough to prevent any damage to the ship.

After I finished all the welding, a big cleanup started. Removing everything from the bilges and cleaning the metal where it had become black of the fire. The fist part of the engine room looks very clean now. Also the supports for the fuel tanks are ready. Tomorrow I'll put the thanks in their brackets if the paint is dry.

As you can see, an accident can happen very quickly. I had no bucket with water ready, neither a fire extinguisher. The next brackets will be welded somewhere next week. Firstly I will put some safety equipment aboard.

10th January 2012: Framework

Most of the evening was spent in drilling holes, building a structure for the water tank. I'm nearly out of metal. Everything that has been used were items remaining from the conversion of the Watergeus and the Escapade.

I took some pictures and the engine room starts to look cleaner and more structured as well. I've welded supports for light and electricity wires. The bilges look cleaner and most of the rubbish from the engine room is gone.

Starboard side still needs to be cleaned

The supports for the fuel tanks of the heater. Notice the metal sheet above, the first one for the wheelhouse. Three more will follow.

15th January 2012: Engine room

The main area for this month and probably February is the engine room. The fuel tanks are nearly in position. They are on their own supports, but I might have to move them a few centimetres towards the side. When I built the construction, I had 2cm spare, now I can't even put a sheet of paper in between the two tanks...

I was able to raise the watertank and to make new supports for it. They are bolted, I will weld the whole construction on a later stage.

Watertank lifted from the ground! All the wood underneath is finally gone and the bilges are clear for cleaning!

I can't wait to paint the bilges and put the aluminium floor on the ribs. It will certainly look much better then it once was...

The framework for the tanks. It is getting there

16th January 2012: Planning

Making drawings, sitting still and thinking. A lot time goes into planning!

17th January 2012: Bilge cleaning and measuring

Making a plan behind a desk is a common mistake. You often have to base yourself on how you think it looks like. With a tape measure in the hand, you are often surprised.

I made a few drawings for the supports of the cooling system. The electricity needs to be redone as well.

The wiring needs redoing as well

The big sheets that cover the engine room are bending a little bit since their are not enough supports to hold them. When the Hornblower was converted for yachting, they bolted a rib every meter, which is not enough. On the side of the sheets, I'm mounting a L-profile to strengthen the plates. It is another job that will take a few evenings.

Last night I made a checklist of 12 items I still need to do before her first trial in the canal. I want to make trip at the beginning of March, probably the 3rd or 10th March. Their is only one condition: everything must work reliable and the weather should be fine!

18th January 2012: Spending € 100 for one box of engine room stuff!

One of the first items in the engine room that need to be done is mounting a cable to switch of the engine. Now I need to grab a small piece of metal and lift it. While you lift it, the diesel pump no longer gets any fuel and the engine stops. It works fine, but this little leaver is next to the exhaust. It caused me already a few burning wounds on my arm.

To guide the cable I need some wheels and their supports. I also need a steel cable, preferably rvs. The gearbox need changing oil again, the cables from the starter motor towards the batteries need replacing. The water pipe from the engine to the outside is rotten. All these small things cost me over hundred EURO, without mounting them. So I was right, their is no such thing as a cheap boat (Blog, 16th January 2012).

Before I can mount the wheels, I need to weld some more ribs. I believe when the engine room is finished, she will be one of the most solid boats I've ever owned so far!

23rd January 2012: Making a sheet of metal fit

The first sheet of metal in the wheelhouse was an easy one. The next one is already more difficult. I need to cut out a few spots where cables and the foot of the steering column is coming.

24th January 2012: Sheet in position

My father came to give me a hand for the metal sheets, each of them around 100kg. One had to move 4cm but I could no longer do it myself, since it started bending and sliding underneath a rib instead of above it. The other sheets had to switch side of the boat.

I cleaned some more of the bilges. I'm starting to doubt wheter I'll make it for a trip in March. There is still so much to do and I don't have that much time.


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