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(and old stuff - outdated)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 • February 2009

February 2009

Important (What I learned this month):
  1. I

1st February 2009: Inspection holes

During the conversion of the Watergeus, the real first conversion I did by myself, I made a few mistakes in the beginning that could become a problem later. I talked to a few people and they showed me where I made the errors. My floor exists of two levels of wood on top of a wooden frame. Between the two layers, there is insulation. When they are welding, there is enough space between the bottom of the ship and the first layer of wood. Even the wooden frame is high enough. When there would be water in the bilges, I could not be able to reach to it. Therefore I will have to make some inspection holes. My intention was to make two of them, but now I've decided to build several ones.

The sides of my interior are around 17cm away from the metal hull. Far enough for in case they need to weld. At the other hand I noticed this week when they were welding some of the insulation started melting a little and smoke appeared. I can look between the hull and the wooden sides, but can't reach it. Therefore I'm now making side inspection hatches as well. I'll hope I will never need them, but I like to have them instead of ripping out my interior if something would happen.

Besides making plans for the above adjustments, I cleaned the engine room.

3th February 2009

The Julie was dry-docked today.

4th February 2009: A wall of the bathroom

I did some small work on the bathroom, finishing one wall and starting another one. It is the last big room that needs insulation and wood panels to be finished. In a few weeks, I'll start on the water circuit and toilet / shower so it needs to be finished.

7th February 2009: Insulation

While in the morning we worked on the bathroom, a friend helped finishing the boxes around the windows. My mother painted the corridor.

Since I learned my lesson last month when all the water pipes were frozen, I do now take some precautions by building two insulated walls and having the pipes in between them. This should prevent them from freezing that quickly. When there will be heating they should remain good.

9th February 2009: Fore peak, cleaning

In the fore peak there will be a small guest room. Now it's a a storage space, or rather a big pile of useful stuff. I started cleaning it out. It took me around three hours before I could move a feet or two.

10th February 2009: Water tank

I continued cleaning out the area, and started removing an old water tank that has been leaking for the last five to ten years... A big hole in the side has been made for smoke and pressure to leave the tank. While bashing on the metal, the pipe that connects the outlet on deck and the tank pushed the outlet op, leaving a hole in the deck. It was really getting time that the tank leaves the ship. I believe to be busy another few evenings before she has gone.

One side opened...

11th February 2009: In the press and on TV

The Government, responsible for our waterways has been working on new mooring rules and paperwork for the last couple of years. There are many good things, things that will become better, but there are as many items listed that will cause a lot of trouble to us. Therefore the television and another journalist came to take an interview aboard my ship. Instead of working, I had to clean the back accommodation and make it a little more presentable...

A few shots from the news flash

A few shots from the news flash

A few shots from the news flash

A few shots from the news flash

14th February 2009: water tank & party

I started having enough of the slow progress on the tank. I cut out a few pieces and used a hammer to bash her out the forepeak. After 4 more hours of work the tank was no more... cut up into several smaller pieces that would fit in a car. I started removing the frames and supports, but had to stop, since a party was starting in Ghent a few hours later.

Half of a tank left, cut up into smaller pieces on land

By the end of the evening, what was left

15th February 2009: Original back accommodation

After the party, I decided to stay with friends. Their barge still has it's original back accommodation, with mirrors, several types of tropical wood, etc... It had been nicely vanished. When staying there, you suddenly were back in the 30's.

16th February 2009: Fore peak

My neighbour wanted the wood from the fore peak for his fire. I believe this was the only (good) solution for the wood. No matter how nice the floor once was, it is rotten and to dangerous to continue to be used. By the end of the evening I had an empty fore peak, ready for conservation and conversion.

A different ship, a different story: Wendy Ann II

    More then three years ago, a young couple bought an old rusty tug, the Wendy Ann II. They nicely restored the ship, repairing the hull, cleaning the ship and building a brand new traditional looking wheelhouse. She was successfully launched today and is floating again!

    I have worked on many projects, but what they have realised in three years is just amazing. My deep respect to Becky and Seb!

21st February 2009: Bathroom and painting

In the morning we went shopping; looking for a pump, toilet, boiler and the pipes. We did several shops and most of them sell the stuff at the same price. I was expecting a bigger difference, but really there wasn't.

The water pipe going from the tanks to the boiler, 32 meters

In the afternoon the corridor was painted the on the front deck a few little holes were welded. While removing a light in the fore peak, I discovered several holes that were closed with some kind of paint. I cleaned it nicely and welded it as it should have been done years ago.

The corridor with a first coat of paint

22nd February 2009: Meeting

We had our official meeting for our houseboat society in Ghent and most people agreed on the fact there is still work to do before we have our new mooring papers.

In the afternoon I walked around in Ghent to admire some of the other houseboats.

23th February 2009: Press part II

Another interview aboard the Watergeus about the new mooring paperwork that is coming closer to us.

25th February 2009: Planning

The last couple of days have been mainly spent on planning the further conversion of my ship. Since several things need to be done and each of them needs the other to be finished, I had to think very carefully. Furthermore, I'm keeping the option open of putting back a bow rudder in the ship.

26th February 2009: Preparing

I prepared all my tools for a big job tomorrow, removing the bow rudder on the Julie. While asking around, many people were positive on putting one back, but only when you use a professional crew. Since I'm never going to sail without a skipper, it might be useful. If not, it's another original piece I'm putting back on my ship.

27th February 2009

In the morning I removed the bow rudder from the Julie. It took some time before I completely understood the system. It was actually not more then just undoing some bolts and using a hammer to remove the rust. The last piece, the rudder itself had to be cut.

Bow rudder disconnected from the steering on deck

Deck steering being removed

Seen from below, rudder has gone and only a hole is remaining

Checking the inside of the box

In the early afternoon the bow rudder was gone, so I had time to remove rust from the side. A very intensive job, but a good one for the ship!

28th February 2009: Finishing jobs

We mainly finished some little jobs, like the side of the entrance, some frames in the windows and a small electricity problem. The corridor received it's final coat of paint and is now ready for decorating.


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