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(and old stuff - outdated)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..
Recognize a barge
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 • June 2008

June 2008

Important (What I learned this month):
  1. You'll find many excuses not to do a job you don't like...

1st June 2008

Since there was a meeting in the evening, I went all day to Ghent to see some friends and how they are making progress in converting their barge.

A nice kempenaar in he Muidedok in Ghent

Several barges in the Muidedok in Ghent

7th June 2008

Last week I didn't work at all on my ship, so in the morning I cleaned the hold. In the afternoon I started working at the roof. It needs insulation and a framework to be built. I was disappointed that by the end of the evening, only 1.5m had been done, 3 ribs only...

8th June 2008

Today we mainly worked on insulating the roof, around 92m2 needs to be done. It didn't work out it's a hard job taking a lot of time and not much difference can be seen. As far as I know it is, together with cleaning the bilges, one of the hardest jobs ever done on a ship.

The future office space starting to look like a real room

9th June 2008

I wanted to cut a second hole in my dirty water tank, so I could easily inspect it if there was a problem. After graining for 10 minutes the machine was so hot, I had to give it a rest. It never started again... This was the end for today's work. I could not weld since I had to cut some metal, I could not build the water tank inspection hatch, etc...

14th June 2008

At 8 O'clock I sailed aboard the Nomade from her mooring to the nearest lock.

The spits Nomade passing the first bridge

The Watergeus seen from the Nomade

In the morning I put in some more insulation in the roof. In the afternoon we cut out the holes for the air vent system of the ship. These holes will be used for air ventilation between the metal and the insulation and for the air in every room.

My mother painted the wheelhouse in yellow, like the traditional Dutch barges did.

Wheelhouse received the traditional yellow colour

Wheelhouse received the traditional yellow colour

15th June 2008

Since I have to sail tomorrow from Sluiskil to Bruges in the very early morning, I decided to stay the night in Sluiskil. I made the time to visit my friends and to see a spits barge at they yard. It was a spits barge I had worked on a few years ago.

16th June 2008

Today we sailed the Arma, a Friese Maatkast from Sluiskil to Bruges where it will be converted into an office space and youth centre. It was a lovely journey that started at 5:30 in the morning in Sluiskil. At noon we had arrived in Bruges, where it took again a long time to pass through all bridges and locks.

She is a fully equipped ship, making use of a pilot instead of a traditional steering wheel. This is far more practical, but for my harder to handle since you don't have that much feeling as with a steering wheel.

The early morning in Sluiskil

Me sailing the Arma

The Arma in the lock of Evergem

The Arma passing Moerbrugge, dark clouds were waiting for us

The last lock, for going to Zeebruges

18th June 2008

I was briefly in Ghent in the evening. I did notice many people start having a Kempenaar as house boat.

21st June 2008

Today we worked on insulating the sleeping room, corridor and some part of the living room.

22nd June 2008

Today I visited two second hand markets (called rommelmarkt in Dutch). I found a few pieces for the interior. Not exactly something I will need in the first couple of months, still the price was right.

In the afternoon I taped all the little holes in the anti-damp foil.

23th June 2008

In February 2007 I filled my dirty water tank with canal water, so I could use it as a ballast tank. Since I have intentions to redo the waterline, I emptied the tank last month. Only some water remained in and my ship listed slightly to port side. I created a second hole in the tank and bought a hatch to fit in. So I could also pump out the remaining water. The dank is now nearly dry. The ship raised a few centimetres.

27th June 2008

In the late evening I visited two houseboats in Ghent, a converted tjalk and a spits barge under conversion.

The tjalk was rebuilt from the deck up and looked in some ways more like a yacht then a tjalk. Even so, I really liked the size and the style it was converted. It looked modern on the inside and with the few to some newer office buildings outside, it was the right ship for the right mooring. I have seen some nice ideas I'm certainly will try to implement in my own ship. So once again, I believe in the idea of learning how to convert a ship by looking at them!

The spits barge had to be converted. An IBA was placed on the barge. It was a massive installation standing in the hold, even looking bigger because of the height of the hold. It was a nice ship with a lovely old back accommodation, suitable to live on during and even after the conversion of the hold.

28th June 2008

This evening, a neighbour gave a big party for his wife's birthday and the fact they moved to a smaller ship. We had a great time, I met many new people, some with a background of house boats, some not...

29th June 2008

Having a short night, and a little headache, I started working at 9 o'clocK. Besides ding some more insulation (halve of the hold is done now), I made a floor for the corridor and the entrance. I used the remaining azobe wood. What was still left and seemed useless, I gave away a few ships further. A heavy job, but by the end of the evening, the hold looked pretty clean and it was more easy to get an idea of the size of the rooms.

After building the floor in the office space last time, I had some azobe wooden planks left, not much but enough for the corridor and the entrance. Only I had several different sizes of them. By the time I moved all of them several times, I found enough for the corridor. The entrance was built with what was left.

Since I didn't like throwing away all the wood, I decided to keep some for making stairs, etc...

The remaining pieces of wood ready to leave the ship forever

Again some less weight in the ship, raising once more

The hold looking cleaner

The hold looking cleaner

30th June 2008

In the evening, my neighbour mentioned my gangway was moving all the time. I went to have a look and mounted a few bolts into the gangway preventing it from collapsing.

We then tried to start her engine but it seemed all batteries were dead, exactly the same problem as on my ship. She has an old loader who continuously loads the batteries They dry out and are slowly dying. Sadly enough, we could not start the engine.

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