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(and old stuff - outdated)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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Buying a barge
Converting a barge
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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.
HomeConversion • May 2007

May 2007

1st May 2007

Finally, the electricity has been finished, taking up some more hours then expected. A small light in the kitchen and two more sockets were placed today.

In the afternoon, we finished closing the holes between the hatches and the den. After Pe and polyester, we closed the remaining gaps with some kind of filler.

4th May 2007

In the late evening the floor of the back accommodation was cleaned with a special wood product, so it shines again nicely.

The floor shining again nicely

5th May 2007

Last week I contacted several wood stores to check their prices for the wood needed for the floor. Today I visited the two cheapest ones. Since the first one changed his prices from the one discussed over the phone and because they have always been so friendly I went to the other shop and ordered the wood straight away. It will most likely be delivered on Friday.

I estimated, and so I planned the budget, that the floor would cost me around 3000 euros. At this moment, is nearer the 4000 and I still haven't everything...

Again several boats have passed since I was aboard. I'm thinking of creating a section on this website called 'boats spotted along my barge...'. I'm not sure yet.

In the afternoon I cleaned the cargo hold and made some free space for the 75 wooden studs that will be delivered. In the meantime my parents painted the inside tube of the big portholes. We took white as colour so the light can easily shine through and give more light. They also finished the holes between the deck and hatches. The whole process of closing this holes will be written in a separate article in the near future.

6Th May 2007

Mainly enjoyed the last day of nice weather. April was dry, so were the first days of May. No rain at all!!! But tomorrow it will change, they say. I found this a good reason for relaxing outside...

Since I was feeling guilty I continued in the bilges and removing some more of the original floor. The whole kitchen living room and corridor are clear and cleaned.

When I start my generator, normally I can't, I need to give myself completely and after a few times trying she starts. This time, I turned the handle once and she started. I nearly hadn't enough time to remove the handle. I think the air filter is the problem. This time I sprayed the start pilot straight in the middle and not through the air filter. I let her ran for an hour. Why? Since those fishermen at the other side don't give me any privacy.

Video of the generator running aboard the Watergeus

7Th May 2007

A big storm is coming up an when i got back from work I noticed it. I certainly moved backward a 40cm. If the weather continues like that I might even start changing the ropes.

I also checked the cargo hold for possible rain but only two places were leaking, porthole that wasn't closed to well and a window or a small leak in the filler. Not sure yet. At the other hand, it really didn't rain that much.

8Th May 2007

The storm went down in the morning but was in the evening again as worse as yesterday. It might not have been necessary for me to put an extra rope at 2 o'clock in the morning.

After getting back from work I made a temporary floor for the people coming on Friday to help carrying in the wood. It took me a small hour to shift some plates and lay them down, stable enough to walk on.

A view of the temporary floor in multiplex

9Th May 2007

Last night was great, till the burglar alarm of the Aldi shop at the other side of the dock went off, at 2 O'clock. It continued working for over an hour, never I noticed police. Yesterday a disturbed night, today again, I'm starting to feel it, but hey I have chosen to live on a boat in Bruges.

When I got back from work, I noticed that two boats behind me, the spits had returned from a holiday, as I taught. I went talking to him and discovered he went to the shipyard for his 5 years periodic dry-dock and cleaning. The price was so high, he decided to go to another shipyard in a few weeks time. In the mean time he returned back to his mooring. I found it really sad for him. So far, I'm one of the only people that didn't have any major problems with a shipyard.

He also told me shipyard Caron in Zelzate, well known for his repairs on house boats and commercial vessels as well, doesn't take boats that are to heavy ballasted. I had heard that before and therefore find it interesting mentioning on this website. See also my article on dry-docking the Watergeus in May 2006.

In my cargo hold, I discovered four leaks, three of them relative big. Water came in quickly. The porthole didn't leak anymore.

While writing this section, I heard a boat in the background. Again it was a replica, but the owner seemed to have known the boat while she was commercially. Sadly they opened the bridge, or I would have gotten more time to talk with him. Vaguely, I think to know that man, but I'm not sure...

10th May 2007

I helped making up a contract for a friend. I'm always used in making contracts for selling a boat, it was a bit harder to make one for buying a boat that will become available in the next few months. An article on how to make contracts will follow in the next couple of weeks on Living Afloat.

11th May 2007

At four o'clock they brought the first load of wood, for the supports of the floor. Two of my colleagues were kind enough for helping me. We slide the wood true a porthole in the cargo hold. It didn't look much wood for the price I paid. We will start next weekend creating the floor.

The wood is being discharged from the lorry

The wood is being driven to the boat

The wood in the boat

12th May 2007

Besides the wood we also need screws and metal plates for holding the structure. We went looking for them in the afternoon.

In the morning I was in Merelbeke for taking pictures of spits barges and others a the locks. We also started thinking on skylights in the hatches. A few months ago I have written an article on this subject, but I haven't done it myself, so I'm afraid of the expenses that will follow.

13th May 2007

Went visiting a spits barge for sale of a friend of mine. She had seen the boat before and planned to buy it. She made a temporary contract, both parties signed. She made a nice deal. I'm hoping her barge will be moored in front of me. It is a nicely maintained Plaquets spits from 1944.

19th May 2007

A nice day, a lot of work has been done and I've never seen so many 'plastic' yachts seen passing by!

Yachts passing by...

We started building the floor for the badroom, kitchen and living room. The work made a bigger progress then expected.

Wooden supports for the floor being put in position

By the end of the day most wooden supports were in place.

20th May 2007

We continued working on the floor till the afternoon.

Continue to work on the floor

During the morning the sky became more cloudy and a few minutes later I didn't have enough buckets for the cargo hold. On nearly all the gaps between the hatches and the den water was leaking. I finished some part of the floor and went home. Depressed, disappointed and sad. It felt strange. I made up my mind to build a metal roof.

21st May 2007

I calculated myself what a metal roof would cost. It means, waiting two years before continuing converting the cargo hold. I'm writing to every shipyard in Belgium and asking for a price. By the end of the evening, I went back to the roots, looking for new hatches. I called Blommaert and they will send me a few solutions for hatches. At least it will be cheaper, I think.

26th May 2007

Great day of work. Continued on the floor till the drilling machine went down, smoking getting out.

The wooden frame that needs to carry the rest of the interior and accommodation

27th May 2007

I don't know, but I can't see any vice anymore... I turned over 1000 vices and really, I have enough of it. I'm not even half way. Every time going to the shop, starting with 50 metal corners, next tim 100 and now 200. Still I'm not having enough. Sometimes, I just don't know where they go to. One thing is sure, the floor is very solid!

The wooden frame that needs to carry the rest of the interior and accommodation

28th May 2007

In the morning we continued working on the floor till the last screw driver bit for the drilling machine broke. I learned my lessen, never buy cheap ones again!

In the right corner, some multiplex plates have already been placed. The floor is getting it's shape.

A reasonable big tanker (83 meters) moored next to me. They plan to leave tomorrow. While they were mooring, I had to undo a piece of my gangway and put on some more ropes. Last Monday, a friend of mine had put some spare ropes on my deck, good idea since I needed them straight away.

After they were moored, we had a nice conversation. I visited their ship and stood up their roof of the wheelhouse that could go up a few meters. Time to take some nice pictures form the Watergeus and the vessels around!

The Watergeus seen from the roof of the wheelhouse of Goya

29th May 2007


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