3rd August 2010 – We went back to Antwerp to visit the spits barge a second time and to finish the deal. A new barge will find it’s way to become a houseboat in Bruges.
2nd August 2010 – The front cabin is nearly ready, once side needs to be finished. Once the wood work is done, I’ll do the fittings for a sink and washing machine. Then the whole room needs painting. I’m still looking for a floor.
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!
27th March 2006 – Only one day after the add was placed, I called Andy and told him I was buying the ship. I would meet him on Friday and make the deal. Why? I had the chance of buying a spits for 5000 euros more then a real Luxe Motor who’s condition I knew by now and I helped a friend. These two reasons were enough for me to make this important decision.
26th March 2006 – Since, we didn’t have a picture of the bow yet, I asked Andy to paint the bow, which he did.
That evening, at my place we created the advert. It took us three hours to choose the right pictures and put it on several websites. While making the add, I started liking what I saw…
25th March 2006 – In the morning we cleaned the accommodation and I took about a hundred pictures. We would make a selection later at my place.
18th March 2006 – After a long holiday in Senegal, I came back to work again on the Watergeus. The wooden roof was finished, but roofing felt needed to be added to protect it. Since the weather was good, it was a perfect day for adding it.
We worked continuously to add the roofing felt. We took two short breaks and till the evening, only two more roles had to be added. we decided to continue. After a hard day of work, we were invited by the neighbours at the street side. They live in a typical small dutch house.
Andy told me he planned to sell the boat and asked if I would be able to create an add next weekend. We would clean the boat and take some pictures for the Internet. At that time, I was looking to buy the spits Cawcher-V, an old vegetable oil tanker.
3th – 4th February 2006 – The first thing you do when buying an abandoned bad looking vessel is showing the environment new people have arrived. Andy decided to paint the ship, so I helped him. We had in mind using the colors of a nice Luxe Motor moored in London. Dark colors to look her smaller.
The boat had been well maintained over her 75 years of commercial life span. There wasn’t much rust. Where the old paint was still good, we sanded it and started painting over it. Where there was rust, we removed it and first put some anti-rust on it. The final coat would finish the patched look.
In less then a week, the wheelhouse, after-cabin, deck and front cabin were painted.
30th January 2006 – Back in Ostend, I sent an e-mail to the shipyard in Terneuzen about shortening the boat and arranging a meeting to talk in detail about this project. One of the annoying things in Sluiskil is no Internet. These days you really need Internet to make things happening!
28th & 29th January 2006 – In the last week, Andy had cleaned the engine room and repaired the central heating; an essential part for the next couple of months!
Some paintwork was done to protect the weakest places on the back cabin. The engine was started for the first time and ran for nearly one hour, propeller turning. No smoke came out of the funnel, a good sign or a job well done!
We also discussed the option of shortening the boat. It is not an idea, I would like to support, but this ship has a better value in Great Britain, when she’s shorter.
We took a look at the dry-dock facility in Terneuzen and talked with the man of the yard.He didn’t look very positive.
14th & 15th January 2006 – We placed a generator aboard for making power so we could use the tools needed for cleaning. We also got a gas bottle for the heating.
We decided to start cleaning the cargo hold. Removing leaves, water and rubbish from the bilges. In one day time, most of it was cleaned and with the wooden planks left in the hold, a floor was created. We hadn’t enough for creating the whole floor. A few were missing, but the result looked satisfying.
The next day, the wooden floor was cleaned with a high pressure machine.
7th January 2006 – Andy made his payment to the yard, so officially the boat became his today. It was a cold day, where I also nearly slipped in the water because of the frozen smog on deck. The first thing he did was hanging the British flag and getting something to eat. With no furniture, we sat on the ground in the back accommodation.
I started reading the documents that were left around, such as the River Rhine Certificate, Oil delivery books, some logs, etc… I promised him to do an effort in tracking the history of the ship.
The pictures here show in what state the vessel was. She had no roof over her cargo hold. The engine room had flooded and the water was starting to fill the cargo hold as well.
27th December 2005 – Andy, a friend of mine, was looking to buy a new boat for conversion into a house boat. Since, I knew the area and spoke the language, I looked for several places, most of them were scrapyards. A few exceptions were places were a lot of boats were being converted privately.
We first stopped in Ghent at the scrapyard. They only had one barge, the Avrachain. It was already completely stripped and used as a fuel barge. Disappointed, we drove to Sluiskil. There was a small fishing boat, the Z. 501 Tac Horne. People told me it was the property of the yard, so I went to the yard and asked if we could visit the boat. The told us that they also owned an old Luxe Motor at the other side of the dock, the Watergeus.
We had a look at both ships. The Luxe motor looked nice, so we went back and offered them a price. They wanted more, so we asked their price and agreed straight away. We made up the paperwork, which took us three hours.
After the paperwork, we got the keys for a first visit of the inside. Here are some pictures taken on 27th December 2005:
Or view the full set of pictures: