Watergeus – Planning portholes and rooms

3th December 2006 – Last week, at home, I started cleaning some of the 11 big portholes. Today we did the rest aboard the vessel. We will place them probably next week if the welder has some time left.

I drew the rooms and windows position on the metal, to get an impression of the size of the rooms. After drawing my first plan, it needed some adjustments. For example: a room of 4m by 3m is quiet big for a sleeping room. My living room, which intentionally would have been 7m by 5m looked rather small…

Drawing a boat on paper / computer is easy, but often far from reality. The rooms are now drawn and looking much more acceptable and realistic.

Because of the bad weather, there is still over 10cm of water in the bilges. One of these days, I’ll pump it out, so I can start working on the floor.

Watergeus – Ribs in position and door mounted

2nd December 2006 – Since all metal work was finished and the last ribs were welded, it was time to cover it with a fresh coat of primer. The only primer I had was gray, so it looks a bit like a Navy vessel, but at least, it can’t rust anymore.

Painting two sides took us some time. It looks so much better then the wooden construction.

In the afternoon, my door was placed, a heavy job. The door has a weight of over 150kgs. She was carried by four men aboard my ship. The four of us had to walk over the two other ships first. Since it are all different ships moored next to each other, we had to be carefully of the difference in height of each of them. We had to strengthen the construction, so it could hold this door.

During the welding works on my door and it’s frame, my parents and I cleaned the cargo hold, sorting out the wood and removing the rubbish left from the construction works.

 

Varta – Going to the yard

13th October 2006 – Together with my neighbour we would bring the ship to the yard. Several things went wrong. My neighbour had to unload a cement ship, so we lost some time. During the journey with the Varta, the engine wasn’t functioning as it should. We missed the opening hours of the bridge and had to wait. We were still in time to be dry-docked and had a good party in the evening with all the neighbours.

Watergeus – Anchor chain

27th August 2006 – I didn’t feel much better, but decided to do a hard job, one I’ll never do again. In my front storage space, there was a spare anchor chain. Since I want to move my anchor from the back to the front, I needed the chain to be placed on my winch. The spare chain was all rusty and rather looking like a spaghetti.

It took me three hours of continuous work to put the chain in place. My deck is now a big mess, full of scratches and rust. Whenever I have the time I will pour some oil on the chain.

Watergeus – Getting a Lister engine aboard

26th August 2006 – Today was a hard day in many ways. I was ill, the weather unstable and I had a Lister 2 cylinder to move from my home place in Ostend onto my boat.

We needed the crane boat of Rinus to get the Lister on the front deck. On that same moment, we also placed two water tanks aboard. They will be used as dirty water tanks. They were free, so I took them. I’m not sure where I’ll put them in the end, but they are useful anyway. In the worst case, I just use them as ballast tanks.

Andy bought a new boat. It is a spits barge from 1924 with GM engine. A typical barge. The accommodation was in front of the wheelhouse, and was in line with the den of the hold. Some more accommodation was added. Some part of the hold was converted, but most of it had to be redone. A nice ship in some ways. The bottom was replaced in 1992 with a 8mm plate.

On his deck he had a small garden. I took some of it and placed it on my deck. At least some green. A Dutch barge can always be recognized by flowers and a bike somebody once told me.

Watergeus – Painting engine room

12-13-14th August 2006 – I painted the engine room today. This was the last part, besides the cargo hold, that needed to be repainted. Next week, we’ll start rebuilding the roof and den, now in metal.

The new construction will be a flat deck at the wheelhouse, an entrance at about 1,45m and then the original sides for the hatches. These works will take around 2 months. During this period the boat will rather look sad, rain coming in and no roof, just like I found her in December 2005.

Watergeus – Floating again

2nd August 2006 – The Watergeus is finally floating again. Fully repaired, she was launched from De Schroef at 10:00am. I visited her a couple of hours later and she looked very good. I believe today is a very important day in the history of the Watergeus, or at least to me.

It is not buying the boat that is important, but the maintenance and the yard visits that make her special (and valuable)!

Watergeus – Cleanup weekend

17th-18th June 2006 – A ‘clean-up’ weekend, in which I got rid of most of the oil in my engine room. After cleaning most of it, I could again see the rivets on the bottom of the vessel. More then 600 liters of old fuel and contaminated water were hovered out and put into oil tins. A job that took most of the time during that weekend. A total of over 1200 liters were removed and I’m pretty sure, there is still some left!

Furthermore, the front cabin was painted. I chose a light color to make it look bigger. Because of the temperature, the paint dried very quickly. At the end of the evening, I was already able to put all my stuff and ropes back.

Watergeus – A lovely weekend

9-10-11 June 2006 – A lovely weekend, very hot. Outside 29° C and inside… 48°C. It was just that bit too hot to work inside. Anyway, I removed the old electricity of the cargo hold and the front cabin. These wires were working, but no good for the future. They took a lot of space and became a problem for painting. The tube was welded to the side, so I would loose a lot of space, when finishing the sides with wood on a later stage.

The front cabin was painted on the outside in the cargo hold and the floor of the front cabin.

It was also the first time I saw the vessel painted. She looked great. She definitively needs another coat, but the first layer was good! I wish they would have repaired her before putting the boat back in the water. At the other hand, now I will be able to see her dry-docking twice.

Watergeus – Cleaning the engine room

21th May 2006 – I started cleaning the engine room. In December, when I first started working on the boat, for the previous owner, all the water, contaminated with oil, was pumped into the engine room. Now I stated putting everything in empty cans. At the end of the day, I ran out of cans, already filled all of them for nearly 300 liters. At least another 600 liters are in the bilges…

Watergeus – Next day on the yard: the survey

16th May 2006 – The yard has so many lights, the barge in front of me has a very nice search light in his mast, so does the one next to me. This made it impossible for me to sleep. Another hard day for me, so seemed later.

Early in the morning, I made a walk around my boat. The skipper from the Remi showed some weak places on the hull. It worried me a bit. At 9 o’clock, I started cleaning the anchor winch.

 

At 11 O’clock the man who had to measure the hull thickness (and give me a certificate) arrived. He needed nearly six hours to measure the whole boat. After only half an hour, he discovered the first bad area, a couple more would follow…

At the end of the day, two plates at the bottom and four on the sides needed to be replaced. Looks like a small job, but expensive enough.

Watergeus – Going to the yard

15th May 2006 – A major step in her preservation and conversion to a houseboat is her dry-docking in Sluiskil. During the night of 14th-15th May, I had to stay up all night to refill the generator every three hours. The batteries were so flat, the main engine couldn’t start anymore…

The quality of the picture is not good, due to the smoke of the broken exhaust of the generator in the cargo hold.

At 8 o’clock in the morning, we started the engine without trouble, something that didn’t work the day before. The ship had to turn in the Canal before she could set sail to the yard. Since she has no cargo, her propeller was halve above the water. This made it very hard to navigate her.

We arrived half an hour later at the yard. When contacting the yard to know if we could go to the slip, they told us to wait, there were problems with the slipway, a rail and a cable were broken. We moored next to the 1957 built Remi, another inland barge. The delay was 4 hours. In the meantime, to save fuel we turned off the engine, a decision we regretted later…

When the previous ship was launched and some of the slipway repaired, our ship was allowed to go to the slip. While trying to start the main engine we discovered the batteries were flat again. So we drove to a ship, asking for their power charger. In no time the engine started and the Watergeus went on the slip. 15 minutes later, the boat was dry-docked.

The ship was cleaned in the afternoon and I returned to the boat in the late evening to take some pictures of her hull.