Visiting the Bonne Chance in Antwerp

1st August 2010 – Once in a while; people ask me to join them to visit a barge they are interested in. Today I went to Antwerp to visit a spits barge. I was amazed to find such a traditional looking barge with so many original fittings. Whether the sale will go through, I don’t know but at least I had a great day and have seen some nice barges!

Watergeus – Heating

29th July 2010 – I continued removing pipes and heating elements. I disconnected the fuel from the heater and moved it slightly away. That old rusty thing is just to heavy to be moved by one person. Once everything will be gone, the engine room will look much larger. All those pipes made it look like a very complex system. There is now better access to the propeller and the water tanks. I’ll fit the new boiler and pump for the back accommodation where the fire used to be.

Watergeus – Front cabin

25th July 2010 – The front accommodation of the Watergeus exists of three areas, a working space with the water tanks, the front cabin and the fore peak. At the moment we are finishing the front cabin in the same style as the living room. The two other areas are for a later period, probably next year.

Nearly a year ago I bought some light armature for the living room, corridor, sleeping room and entrance. I was still using the old bulbs on a socket with a few wires. I finally changed this. A little job but a big difference!

Watergeus – Back accommodation

24th July 2010 – Since I have some big plans in the near future with the Watergeus, I want the back accommodation to look as good as possible.

The whole weekend I had the help of my parents, so it was a productive period. While my father and I did the front area, my mother cleaned the back. I had been living for nearly four years in the back accommodation. It was surprising to see how much stuff I had collected and stored in that little area during those years…

Frantsis – Drawing plans

17th July 2010 –  The bathroom in the Watergeus was finished last year, but a little step to get into it wasn’t made yet. A small job I did this morning.

The good thing about our project is partly we think before we do! With the Watergeus, I did while I was thinking. The more negative side of this is I made another plan for the conversion.

So at this moment, I would need four little barges like the Frantsis, because every plan we make has some potential. To be continued…

Watergeus – Front deck

15th July 2010 – It was getting time to work on the Watergeus again. A ship needs maintenance and somebody to take care of her. The front deck was cleaned and painted, or at least a part of it. Where rust was coming through on the spots I did earlier this year, I brushed the metal and put a new coat of primer.

Frantsis – Cleaning the hold

6th July 2010 – Just like any other day, cleaning the bilges and the sides of he ship. While doing so, you learn to know your ship like no other. I discovered small supports on the ribs that were riveted. Since the ship had been altered so many times, I only base myself on the riveted parts. Through these supports, a metal bar was running. I asked a friend (Pieter Klein from Binnenvaarttaal) why there were used for. These bars were mounted to hold the cattle. The highest bar for cows, the smaller one for smaller animals such as sheep, ….

The emptier the hold the bigger she is looking. The Frantsis has a real special shape. The widest part is the bulkhead between the front accommodation and the hold. Towards the back (and engine room) she goes smaller again.

Frantsis – Taking out a metal box

5th July 2010 – Yesterday evening, four people helped me getting that big box out of the hold. It was now on deck of the Frantsis, but I wanted it on the foredeck of the Watergeus. On the foredeck is a big anchor chain of 80 meters, a spare one in case something happens with one of mine. It was covered under a sail, but there were a few problems. It wasn’t looking nice, rain could still get to the chain (it was greased) and it blocked the passage through the front deck.

I moved the box along the gangway to the foredeck, it took me an hour. Once in position, the anchor chain was put in the box, the box closed and I had an extra bench to sit. The rest of the deck was clean. I still need to paint the box, but my body asked me to stop working.

Frantsis – A perfect deck

4th July 2010 – A few neighbours came over for a drink. Since the deck of the Frantsis is always clear, I don’t like to have a messy boat next to me after the Ontario has left, there is enough space for people to sit comfortable on the water. I’m now pretty much convinced when converting a boat to make sure there is enough space to sit outside!

Frantsis – Cleaning bilges

2nd July 2010 – I continued cleaning the bilges, the fore peak is now cleaned. Some concrete was removed as well. There are three big items left in the hold that are impossible to be moved by one person. One of them is an empty box, used as a storage unit. It is a 6mm thick box I want to reuse on the Watergeus. I tried lifting it out, used a few ropes and a winch but still unsuccessful. In the end I gave up and continued doing what I’m good at: removing rust!

Frantsis – BBQ

30th June 2010 – Working day after day on a barge is long gone for me. I have done it to many times. You need to take at least one evening of during the week where you don’t work on your ship! We had a little BBQ aboard the Frantsis.