Moving the Ontario

8th May 2010 – The first day of three intensive weeks: making the Ontario ready for sailing after ten years. We started at 8 and we ended at 9 O’clock in the evening. Continuously working, but the result was good to me. Lest start at the beginning.

Since the engine is not running we moved the ship by hand like in the old days. A small boat with a 4hp outboard tried helping. It wasn’t very easy and I had underestimated the strength you need to pull a ship. Jagen, as it is called in Dutch, was very common in the early days before barges had engines.

Watergeus – Deck and front cabin

7th May 2010 – In the evening I started with wood work in the front accommodation. Since the weather was rather looking good, I continued on the deck till late. The I realized I still had to do some preparations for the job tomorrow.

What can be saved must be saved

4th May 2010 – I have mentioned it before and it was an idea that had been playing in my head for the last couple of months: Saving the Ontario from the scrapyard. The Ontario is a 1924 built spits barge from the famous Belgian yard Jos Boel & Zn in Temse. This marvelous ship with a MAN 3 cylinder slow running engine, had been at the scrapyard before.

This vessel later returned to Bruges and had been vandalized ever since. Besides a fire, she was cut loose on several occasions and even made it into the local newspaper a few times…

The last couple of months, I had been in talk with several people to find out more about the history of the boat, yard visits, etc… Since the project would demand me to much time and I didn’t have any budget, A friend of mine bought the ship.

We will put it along the Watergeus for a short period, before it leaves for the Netherlands. At least, she will be saved from the scrapyard and this had been my intention from day one!

Watergeus – BBQ

1st May 2010 – Today was a nice day, the first BBQ of 2010 aboard the Watergeus. The weather was not exactly good, but it certainly didn’t ruin the event!

In the morning I built the party tent and yes, a cheap thing can do its work! Even much better then my construction.

Watergeus – Hatch cover and stoeltjes

29th April 2010 – The hatch was delivered for the entrance of the storage area. The brackets were welded and the hatch mounted. The supports for the ‘stoeltjes’ for a gangway were bolted on the den. In the evening I painted the hatch and it’s cover.

The chairs were a little to thick for the supports, so I had to narrow them down a bit with a grinder. I have always used glasses to do such a work and so I did this evening. Only a piece of metal got under the glasses in my eyes. I had to stop working, but luckily the metal go out my eye reasonable quickly. I believe this is one of the most scary moments in the last years.

It had been raining and the construction barely held it. I’m looking for another solution.

Watergeus – Covering the deck

28th April 2010 – Nice weather is over, they are talking about bad weather for the coming weekend. So I decided to make a construction over the wheelhouse towards the entrance of the hold. The framework was solid, but that’s it. I used an old sail as cover.

Watergeus – Deck

27th April 2010 – The whole afternoon and evening, I continued cleaning my deck. It now looks good, a whole side has nearly been done. Since I’m having a party on Saturday for friends and girlfriend I want to have a nice looking boat.

Watergeus – Cleaning and chains

24th April 2010 – I started cleaning the storage area where the hatch was built since a lot of dust came down while making the hole for the entrance.

In the afternoon I used my new water pump to clean the whole deck and hatches. It makes a difference with all the dust gone.

In the evening, mounted the chains to the crane on the foredeck. It now really starts to look like in the old days. I still need to paint the crane, but that’s for the future. One thing that I didn’t know: a chain costs a lot of money.

Watergeus – Crane and hatch

20th April 2010 – Today some major jobs have been done. In 2006, one of the recommendations was to close the engine room from the hold. I had built a bulkhead a bit further o extend my engine room, but this has not been approved, so I still need to rebuild the original bulkhead. When I would do that, there is a space that I could no longer enter. Therefore I wanted a hatch on deck to enter this area. Important was the size since my generator will have to enter this room in the future.

Many vessels used to have a davit (crane) on the foredeck to lower and raise the anchors. A while ago I was able to buy such a crane from a neighbour. Since you need at least two people to lift and mount this heavy item, this was the perfect moment. I expected to lift the crane with two, but we had to dissemble it completely. The foot of the crane, not more then one meter high, was so heavy we could barely lift it on the anchor winch. It nearly broke my back, but after it was mounted, I was satisfied with the result.



Watergeus – Deck

19th April 2010 – Some more paint has been removed today. It is now starting to look good. It gives me hope to continue.

I made some preparations for the tomorrow since a hatch has to be built.