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(and old stuff - outdated)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.
HomeConversion • August 2007

August 2007

4th August 2007

One of the first sunny days with over 30°C. Lovely, to hot for working outside and don't even think on going inside. But why complain? The buckets with water in the cargo hold lowered by at least 6 cm during the day. Why would I need another roof if it stays so hot?

Well, besides sitting outside, I continued cleaning the anchor winch. All bolts are replaced by rust free iron bolts and nuts. No matter how rusty they were, I could undo all of them (except one that I used the grainer for).

The anchor winch, completely without paint

One of the new ropes in the mast got stuck next to the winch in the mast, so I can(t move that rope. Since I decided to hang out all my flags, I had to stand on a stair to get to the rope and hang my flag. Lowering the mast, as you could read in the last post of july, is not an option. So, now I have a Belgian, Dutch, Amsterdam, Bruges, Assurance company and freight company flags hanging on the boat. Flags can make look a boat nice, believe me!

Four flags hanging in the mast

Furthermore I extended my kitchen furniture, so I have some more place to put a coffee machine. I measured more in detail the cargo hold so my drawings fit nicer to reality.

Narrow boat passing by

In the late afternoon, for the first time I know, a narrow boat passed, so small! I had seen a few in London and once one in France, but now, it passed so closely. Nice boats, but to live in it, no way!

Total view of the boat

7th August 2007

10th august 2007

If everything goes as planned, in September, the boat will have a new roof over the cargo hold. For the outside everything stays the same, but it will be dry from the inside, a huge amelioration!

Since the gaps between the hatches and the den had been filled with every possible filling product, this has to go again, sad in one way, but it will become better, so why worry? It was a waste of time and money, and now it will cost me more time undoing what had been done.

So I tried with one hatch and it worked fine removing the stuff. I'll wait till the contract is signed and a date has been planned, before I remove all stuff.

11th august 2007

The big day for the anchor winch, or rather so I planned it. Instead we continued cleaning it till the afternoon. In the afternoon it was painted with primer.

Anchor winch in primer

My uncle came in the morning cutting the grass at the side of the boat, now I can see my hull again. Since I lived their, somewhere in February 2007, I had never seen them cutting the grass from the sides of the canals. It was a perfect space for rats and other unwanted living species.

Grass has been cut on the sides

My grandparents have an old garden with a few greenhouses. They are dating from before the war and are in a very bad condition. One of them had only the supports left and some concrete. Since I need some metal supports for the roof, I decided to take those. Cast iron, simply built with no decorations, but cheap! It took my father and me two hours to remove them, using a grainer and some garden tools. Both our hands are full of scratches! In another greenhouse I discovered some old tools I took with me. The old growing product supply was an galvanized thin. At the bottom there is a tap. So I can use this for separating water and oil from the bilges. The nice lamps need cleaning. Since they are in a bad condition, certainly the wires I'll use them as 24v lights instead of 220v.

12th august 2007

See also: Photos of the freshly painted anchor winch

Yesterday a coat of primer, today it was the moment for the nice paint, red, white and black. It took us all day to paint the anchor winch. Yesterday evening I Looked at various combinations on Internet to have an idea how do let it look the best. I made a simple drawing to remember it while painting.

The anchor winch with the first coat of paint

13th August 2007

In the morning I went visiting a spits barge with a young French couple. They were looking for a spits barge that could be shortened to 30 meters, since the locks in Canal Du Midi are only 30 meters. Spits barge are expensive in France, in The Netherlands they are cheaper. They would make their decision to buy it this evening, depending on what they do, I would join them again tomorrow. For many people in the Netherlands, French is often a barrier for selling a boat.

In the evening, the contract was signed for the roof, finally I'm certain. This was the only thing that kept me from breaking down all the hatches.

14th August 2007

Well since the sale didn't go through in the end, I decided to sleep a bit longer. Was not really enthusiastic to work today, so I went to the front and started cleaning a copper pipe entrance for the water tank. While doing this, I looked at the deck and started cleaning a small corner. By the end of the evening I had cleaned a third of the front cabin. All paint on side is gone, and a piece of the other side.

While removing the paint, I found on the metal plates the name of one the owners:

GH Lever, as can be seen on the history page, was once one of the owners of the boat

It took me a long time to get to clean metal

15th August 2007

Today I cleaned a second side of the cabin and put one side in primer, so it doesn't rust.

Notice the copper pieces cleaned yesterday. I didn't know the potholes were copper till I removed at least 5 different coates of paint

17th August 2007

This evening I removed most of the bolts and nuts from the hatches. Cleared a few of the hatches and removed all the stuff such as filler, PE-insulation, etc. had to stop working because it was getting late, very late! The LED light was guiding me through the hatches, so it was time to sleep. A few hatches were already loose.

As can be seen, a few of the hatches were becoming loose

18th August 2007

All hatches have been removed, cleaned and put back into position. It looks again like the day we arrived, loose hatches with big gaps between them and the den. A sad view, certainly when you know how much time has been spent in putting them nicely and filling holes.

The two first hatches removed for cleaning

After the first hatch was removed, it started raining, it was like a joke, but one not laugh with! Anyway, every hatch was turned around and cleaned. Since I would never re-use filler or insulation sprays on the hatches, I wanted them clean again.

Cleaning the deck after the hatches were removed and cleaned

The anchor winch got its second coat of paint, but in the end the cover didn't fit anymore, so we had to hammer it in place, causing some damage to the paint. I'll repaint the cover somewhere next weekend.

The anchor winch in her final coat of paint

20th August 2007

Just to mention that yesterday and today we had again very heavy periods of rain. Fireman were again delivering sand bags and emptying garages of water...

24th August 2007

Since the boat will be lowered by at least two centimetres, and the bio tar used on the hull is not that good (it is falling off), I decided to paint the current waterline. This one will be below the water once the roof is finished and all metal is aboard! I don't have a dinky so I only did the land side of the boat. I had some paint left and repainted pieces that looked rusty!

The supports of the glass house had been put on my deck, so I laid them inside in the cargo hold, where I might need them, not sure yet!

In the evening I visited a friend who is restoring boats. Most of his time he had been restoring spits-barges, but was now busy cleaning and repairing an sleeptankschip. He was showing me the ribs and the thickness of the plates used for it. He was surprised, I'm not. That's the difference between a Dutch barge and a French or Belgian barge! Dutch barges have always been built with thicker plates.

25th August 2007

In the morning me and my father prepared the hatches for moving. My idea of carrying two or three hatches at once is not exactly possible. I still suffer a lot on my hand, so it is to heavy. We will have to do hatch by hatch. Since I'm already convinced the hatches have to be moved several times, it looked better to number them on both sides and write the matching number on the den.
This reminds me of a friend in Ghent. She has a barge and used to have a nice wooden floor on her deck. She had to repaint the boat, so an old man helped her removing the wood. She asked him to number the planks and pieces so it became possible to put it back. A few weeks later I had to clean the wood and found only a few pieces were numbered. Cause? The man could only count till 10! Well she couldn't laugh and her deck is still not back!

The last picture showing the light coming in through the gaps after they were cleaned

My old gangway is now on land for a friend who's boat is about to be moored in front of me in the next few weeks. So the front cabin is clear again and ready for removing the last bits of paint. This is what we have done in the afternoon, cleaning the paint!

The windows have been covered with hardboard and tape to prevent damage from welding and graining disks. Since they start on Monday, I wanted everything to be prepared. Let just hope it doesn't rain in the next couple of weeks!

26th August 2007

Continued to day covering the windows, placing the fire extinguishers and the power extension cables.

27th August 2007

The big day. At five o'clock in the morning we removed the hatches, so the people of the yard could start working on the boat. The metal sadly arrived after midday. The people of the yard were on time and placed all the metal aboard. Since it was to late, they decided no longer to weld today.

Monday morning, hatches removed, a lot of people tool a look from the land side!

In the early morning I had taken tons of pictures from my boat without hatches, believing it would be the last time to see her like that. So she will look like that tomorrow as well!

The metal pieces for the outside, 6m long and 10cm height

After the hatches and leaving my bed quite early I had a whole day of work in Ostend

In the evening when I was back I talked with a neighbour about the esthetic value of hatches. Many people under estimate the value of hatches on a boat, first of all the look and secondly the storage space and protection. I won't say there aren't any negative elements, but the positive ones are in majority!

28th August 2007

Yesterday I didn't put back the hatches, so today I only had to undo a few knots in the wires around them to prevent them blowing away by the wind. Of course in the morning, it started raining. A short period, but heavy. Fortunately during the day, the sun came out and by the end of the day no more water was in the bilges.

Seen from the inside, all gaps are closed

The metal has been stitched to the side.

The holes on the side were covered with a metal plate of 10cm height. The man tried to put back the curve in the boat and nicely succeeded in this. He plans to weld this plate tomorrow. Since the windows were close, tomorrow we have to remove a few to prevent them from being severely damaged. Aluminium melts quicker then metal.

29th August 2007

The plate of 10cm was welded today, or they started. Every meter they painted, they cleaned it and painted it o protect the weld and the plate. They removed the windows. I was pleased to see how independent he could do the job!

The metal nicely being painted after it was welded

Even around the windows he painted the metal

Since the works don't continue for a certain time (4 days) the hatches were closed again. So everything looks tiyd and nice.

Hatches back on the boat, so it looks nice again

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