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(and old stuff - outdated)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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Photo Gallery
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 • July 2007

July 2007

6th July 2007

My first day of a week aboard the Watergeus. I loaded a old computer and a few hardware components on board, such as a writer, printer, etc... Since these components take less space, the back accommodation looks bigger again.

In the late afternoon, the yard came again for making the final price on the roof. I still hadn't made up my mind whether to put the hatches back or to create big platform.

Underneath the hatches, a metal roof will be built

7th July 2007

Bruges is well known for its concerts and festivals….

8th July 2007

Since I'm considering putting back the hatches, I'm trying to find out a solution. With only one spare hatch and a strip of metal I started simulating my future roof. I took around 30 pictures and am now trying to figure out how it would be best. I believe some people must have thought I'm crazy taking pictures of a single hatch.

See also: Putting a metal roof

Rinus came in the afternoon to have a drink. He gave me some tips on how to ameliorate my boat. It is nice to have ideas and suggestions from experienced people. I don't know many people like him having the knowledge and sharing it for free!

9th July 2007

It hadn't been that long since I went to Sluiskil, but long enough to go back again! This small place can't let me go. I discovered the small fishing vessel (Z.501 Tac Horne) had been scrapped in Ghent. Furthermore another spits is at the yard for it's five years dry-dock and survey experience, as I call it these days.

10th July 2007

Yesterday I bought four air vents for engine rooms. Two of them are my engine room, the two other ones for the new kitchen in the cargo hold. One of them was already cleaned and could be placed straight away on the engine room pipe, wasn't it from the fact the tube was 0.5cm to wide. Looked easy to solve, but with bashing on the pipe It didn't go as fluently as I thought. In the end the pipe became smaller and the air vent fitted nicely on it. The whole neighbourhood was awake!

The copper air vet has been placed on land side

I moved my front anchor and welded it to the side of the boat. It takes less space, looks nicer and now it can be used as a decoration piece.

The anchor is place, welded for safety

I placed an extra life ring, more colour on the boat and extra safety for visitors

11th July 2007

A very rainy day, I cleaned a bit of the anchor winch and treated some rust with diesel on the deck

12th July 2007

It started as a sunny day, so I decided to threat the whole deck with oil to protect it from rust and to make loose the rust there is. By the noon clouds were coming, so I quit. Furthermore, most of the anchor winch is cleaned. Some pieces already move again!

13th July 2007

The boat from two moorings further then mine came back from their five yearly dry-dock and repair session. Like very boat, they also need to have a new hull survey every five years. I drank a glass of wine and we talked. It feels so good to see an old spits barge still sailing, and what is most important, the boat still looks original, but is a very nice house boat.

The Nomade has returned home

14h July 2007

Decided to do some new ideas for the boat. I visited Antwerp. I was very disappointed in finding boats. So little boats were left there. Two years ago, there were plenty of boats, now I could easily count them on one hand.

When returning home, I stopped at the scrap yard in Ghent. There is, what used to be a nice, spits barge. It was moored in Bruges before. I don't believe there will be any hope left in saving the boat.

Any future left for this boat?

20th July 2007

I spent some time today in further designing my roof and measuring. I have changed some more details, so I can keep all the hatches and still have a skylight!

The hatches seen from the front to the back

21st July 2007

Sluiskil, a small village, I just can't leave it. Went to say hello to everybody. A friend of mine has bought the spits barge from the other side of the dock. Used to be a total wreck, but he is going to make it into something nice. His spits barge was built in 1912 as a towing spits, motorized after the war. She is still so original from the outside with her low den and original back-accommodation. No more engine, but he will place one in the boat! Another boat has been saved and I wish him all the luck he needs!

The spits he bought is starting to look nice

22nd July 2007

Already since I had the boat, I wanted to have a small table in the wheelhouse. In the meantime I had all the stuff, some wood from a scrapped barge, a table from an old trawler and wood from the cargo hold. Today I finally decided to make it all look right. While looking for some more wood, I found enough pieces to make a nice %plint% around the wheelhouse. So everything starts to look good, without costing me any money!

The new table in the wheelhouse, still need finishing (vanish and paint)

Nearly every boat has a small mast on the bow, mine hasn't and never had one. Yesterday in Sluiskil, I got some rvs steel pipes. Since I could not drill in it, I burned a hole with the drilling machine. Yes this is possible but it costs you at least two metal drills. They just melt and create a hole through their heat. It is not the right way, but the bolts now nicely fit in it! So my boat has a mast as well now!

The first part of the mast. The mast itself slides over this tube

The new boat owner of two boats further came by. I believe we might have a small community of boat owners in the end! That would be great!!!

27th July 2007

Was in Amsterdam today. I love this place! There is a small store in a boat selling all kind of windows and old boat equipment. I bought four windows from a bridge of a containership. They will be used in the skylight of the living room.

A retro make of a picture I took from the store. It is located in a Belgian built Spits barge

29th July 2007

Replaced the ropes in the mast. While lowering the mast, I decided to put a new coat on paint on it. The flag of Amsterdam is hanging in the small mast on the bow of the ship. Further, I worked a bit more on the anchor winch.

The mast is in not such a good condition as I thought it was. besides the hole in the side, the top was very rusty. I'll put another mast in mt list of equipment to buy in th next couple of years.

Mast lowered and freshly painted

Mast back up again

Meanwhile my mother painted the two tables in the wheelhouse. It is starting to look much better now. I can't wait to see my roof over the cargo hold.

Table in wheelhouse painted red

30th July 2007

Since I need to know every pipe and exhaust that comes out of the roof before the works start, I'm designing the final stage of the cargo hold. I had finished putting the rooms and dimensions in september 2006. I ameliorated it for the windows in January 2007 and am finishing it now for the roof.

In the meantime, I continue to look at several barges for sale to have a look at what interior I like and what I don't like.

How my boat should look like, drawing of the cargo hold

I decided to keep the bathroom and kitchen next to each other, so all water is at one place. This makes it easier in building and maintaining the water system. It is also cheaper, water needs to run less far and in case of a leak, you don't need to break open the whole boat to find the problem.

The red dots on the last drawing are air vents, one for the kitchen, one for the heating and one for general air vent. The gray colour indicates where the metal roof will come and will be recovered by hatches. The black pieces are the two cabins.

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