Author: frederic - page 93

Cheap boats!

16th January 2012 – There is no such thing as a cheap boat. When you look for a ship you will often believe the price is high. You might even think that when you do the conversion it will be cheaper! I have now worked on boats for 15 years and the only thing I can say: owning a boat is not cheap at all!

All the ships I have bought were ready to be scrapped without any exception! Where they cheap? Some were, some not. When you buy a boat for a good price, don’t expect it to be good. It might have a thin bottom, leaking windows, a worn out engine or other problems you don’t see straight away. By the time you fixed the problem, a lot of money will be gone.

In recent months I have visited around 7 boats, most of them were on the low budget market. None of them were ready for living on, even the advertisement mentioned it differently. There was even one ship I would send to the scrapyard!

Hornblower – Living in the engine room…

15th January 2012 – The main area for this month and probably February is the engine room. The fuel tanks are nearly in position. They are on their own supports, but I might have to move them a few centimeters towards the side. When I built the construction, I had 2cm spare, now I can’t even put a sheet of paper in between the two tanks…

I was able to raise the watertank and to make new supports for it. They are bolted, I will weld the whole construction on a later stage.

I can’t wait to paint the bilges and put the aluminum floor on the ribs. It will certainly look much better then it once was…

Cold weather

15th January 2012 – The first day this winter it had been freezing during night time . It was not that cold, but the sky was clear and the perfect moment for taking some pictures. I broke a toe yesterday, so I didn’t go for a big walk…


Hornblower – Framework and brackets

10th January 2012 – Most of the evening was spent in drilling holes, building a structure for the water tank. I’m nearly out of metal. Everything that has been used were items remaining from the conversion of the Watergeus and the Escapade.

I took some pictures and the engine room starts to look cleaner and more structured as well. I’ve welded supports for light and electricity wires. The bilges look cleaner and most of the rubbish from the engine room is gone.


Hornblower – Fire in the engine room

8th January 2012 – I always believed foam insulation would melt when it gets into contact with high temperature. When welding in the engine room, there was some foam in the bilges. It took fire straight away, also setting fire to a piece of wood and a rag dipped in white spirit. There was an open cup with some white spirit underneath the gearbox. That was also set on fire.

I was able to extinguish the fire quick enough to prevent any damage to the ship. Most plastic pipes and hoses on the engine melted including some small equipment.  Since I had no fire extinguisher in the area, I started poring buckets of water in the engine room and on the engine. This might have been a risk, but if I had to wait for the fire brigade or a neighbour, likely the whole ship would have been on fire.

After I finished all the welding, a big cleanup started. Removing everything from the bilges and cleaning the metal where it had become black of the fire. The fist part of the engine room looks very clean now. Also the supports for the fuel tanks are ready. Tomorrow I’ll put the thanks in their brackets if the paint is dry.

As you can see, an accident can happen very quickly. I had no bucket with water ready, neither a fire extinguisher. The next brackets will be welded somewhere next week. Firstly I will put some safety equipment aboard.

New Year!

1st January 2012 – What brings another year? Nobody knows. I didn’t make any plans for this year, except one: going the yard with the Watergeus for her maintenance. This will be the biggest job! And honestly, I don’t look forward to it. I’ll be happy when it’s over!

Many people asked me what new boats I’m going to buy this year: none! I would like to travel a little more and finish the Hornblower. The first big trip with her is for 2013 and a lot of work needs to be done!

The consequences of starting an Lister engine…

31st December 2011 – I was in Ghent in he morning to visit a friend.  He owns the Ladoga, an old kempenaar of 65 meters. While I were there, he asked me to start his little Lister engine. Something went wrong and while turning, I hit myself badly with the hand crank handle… After the hospital visit, it realized I was very happy. A little fracture in the nose and a swollen face. I still had all my teeth

The evening was much better, celebrating with the neighbours in Bruges. A young couple were passing by and joined us!

Hornblower – Bilges and wires

29th December 2011 – Before I can get to the bilges, I need to remove all the wiring from the ceiling. Most of it has fallen down already. At lunch time, I’ve just finished removing the wires. The bilges are now dry (a little damp at the most). Cleaning will be for another day…

Hornblower – Removing the wheelhouse floor

28th December 2011 – In the morning I removed the floor in the wheelhouse. Together with my neighbour, we put the metal sheets aboard the Hornblower. If I need them, at least, they are inside and easier to get in position. They have a weight of 90kg each and very heavy to handle.

In the afternoon, I started cleaning the bilges. There is so much that needs to be done. Actually, I just don’t know where to start. The tanks need to be mounted to the ceiling, the bilges need a good clean, the engine is dirty, there are hundreds of meters of electricity wires hanging around, there is plenty of wooden floor left in the engine room, etc….