Frantsis – Driving to Zwartsluis again….

29th May 2010 – Buying a boat is just the beginning. Planning and negotiating is much more work. We visited the yard in Terneuzen today, it is just opposite the old mooring of the Watergeus when she was a water supply ship.

In the morning we made an inventory of the steel I had aboard. The conclusion was simple: all metal is too heavy to use. I have plates of 6mm and strips of 8mm, nothing thinner. Since we are welding it ourselves, and curving or shaping the plates are happening by hand, this metal is to thick.

Frantsis – Making a decision

25th May 2010 – Today we went back to Zwartsluis to have a second and final look at the Frantsis. Based on what we could conclude today we would or would not buy the boat.

A friend of Valerie joined us to have a look at the engine and the hull. We had a look at the engine, made it run and had a close view on the hull. In the afternoon the decision was made: we would buy her.

In the office of the yard we agreed the price, signed a paper and the boat was ours. It was a good feeling, but now it was serious business, a hard period with a lot of work would follow and since the boat had to leave the yard within a month, there is no time to waste!

Watergeus – Forepeak

16th May 2010 – I continued working in the forepeak, making a wooden frame and drilling holes in the ribs. After many attempts to make something in this area, I believe I’ll finish it this time. At least four times, I tried working in this area. After a few days I start doing something else and I reuse this area for storage. Now, I finally want to make a nice living area for visitors.

Watergeus – Back accommodation

15th May 2010 – I removed all the paint from one side of the back accommodation. That’s the side where the wind is blowing the most and the condition of the ship is the worst…

In t he afternoon, I painted the new woodwork in the entrance and living room.

Watergeus – Living Room

13th May 2010 – There are always small jobs that needs doing. The hold was finished, but a few little details needed doing. One of them was finishing the wood work in the skylight. Well, I’ve just done it.

Frantsis – A first visit

12th May 2010 – A few weeks ago, a friend, one of my neighbours, came to talk about buying a boat together. We talked for hours, had a beer and then all went home. A few days later we started mailing boats we found on the Internet.

Today we went to have a look at a barge, a small Beurtschip. The same shape of hull as the Watergeus but with a small wheelhouse, no accommodation and most likely, she was used as a tanker.

The ship was on land at a yard in Zwartsluis. Zwartsluis has many yards, on one of them the Watergeus was lengthened in 1962. After driving for over 4 hours, we arrived. At first sight, she was looking good. There was not much known on the barge. The engine was there, but condition unknown. The hold was filled with a lot of stuff and there were as a lot of work on the hull. At the other side, the size was good and the bottom of the ship as well. She had been doubled.

Since we were now having a lot of questions, we made no decision, and returned to Bruges. We shall see the next coming days what the future brings…

Another ship, part II

12th May 2010 – A few weeks ago, a friend, one of my neighbours, came to talk about buying a boat together. We talked for hours, had a beer and then all went home. A few days later we started mailing boats we found on the Internet.

Today we went to have a look at a barge, a small Beurtschip. The same shape of hull as the Watergeus but with a small wheelhouse, no accommodation and most likely, she was used as a tanker.

The ship was on land at a yard in Zwartsluis. Zwartsluis has many yards, on one of them the Watergeus was lengthened in 1962. After driving for over 4 hours, we arrived. At first sight, she was looking good. There was not much known on the barge. The engine was there, but condition unknown. The hold was filled with a lot of stuff and there were as a lot of work on the hull. At the other side, the size was good and the bottom of the ship as well. She had been doubled.

Since we were now having a lot of questions, we made no decisions  and returned to Bruges. We shall see the next coming days what the future brings…

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.

A second boat?

7th April 2010 – I visited another barge with some potential for the future. It is more of wreck then a barge. At the other hand it is a historical vessel and certainly not in a better condition then the Watergeus once was.

At this moment there are a lot of barges for sale in Belgium. There are a few reasons why:

  • Regulations have changed and are changing constantly
  • Every ship needs to have a hull survey (every five year)
  • Most ships for sale are expensive to buy and no bank will lent you the money
  • There are not many free moorings available at this time.

Therefore I’m still doubting whether I will take such a project or not. Buying the barge may be cheap, converting it will cost me a fortune.