Month: January 2012

Hornblower – Metal floor

31st January 2012 – The metal floor for the wheelhouse is taking much longer then I expected. I don’t have the right equipment for cutting the sheets to the right size. It took me more then one hour to cut a plate in half with a small grinding disk.

Hornblower – Sheet in position

24th January 2012 – My father came to give me a hand for the metal sheets, each of them around 100kg. One had to move 4cm but I could no longer do it myself, since it started bending and sliding underneath a rib instead of above it. The other sheets had to switch side of the boat.

I cleaned some more of the bilges. I’m starting to doubt whether I’ll make it for a trip in March. There is still so much to do and I don’t have that much time.

Hornblower – Spending € 100 for one box of engine room stuff!

18th January 2012 – One of the first items in the engine room that need to be done is mounting a cable to switch of the engine. Now I need to grab a small piece of metal and lift it. While you lift it, the diesel pump no longer gets any fuel and the engine stops. It works fine, but this little leaver is next to the exhaust. It caused me already a few burning wounds on my arm.

To guide the cable I need some wheels and their supports. I also need a steel cable, preferably rvs. The gearbox need changing oil again, the cables from the starter motor towards the batteries need replacing. The water pipe from the engine to the outside is rotten. All these small things cost me over hundred EURO, without mounting them. So I was right, their is no such thing as a cheap boat (Blog, 16th January 2012).

Before I can mount the wheels, I need to weld some more ribs. I believe when the engine room is finished, she will be one of the most solid boats I’ve ever owned so far!

Hornblower – Bilge cleaning and measuring

17th January 2012 – Making a plan behind a desk is a common mistake. You often have to base yourself on how you think it looks like. With a tape measure in the hand, you are often surprised.

I made a few drawings for the supports of the cooling system. The electricity needs to be redone as well.

The big sheets that cover the engine room are bending a little bit since their are not enough supports to hold them. When the Hornblower was converted for yachting, they bolted a rib every meter, which is not enough. On the side of the sheets, I’m mounting a L-profile to strengthen the plates. It is another job that will take a few evenings.

Last night I made a checklist of 12 items I still need to do before her first trial in the canal. I want to make trip at the beginning of March, probably the 3rd or 10th March. Their is only one condition: everything must work reliable and the weather should be fine!

Cheap boats!

16th January 2012 – There is no such thing as a cheap boat. When you look for a ship you will often believe the price is high. You might even think that when you do the conversion it will be cheaper! I have now worked on boats for 15 years and the only thing I can say: owning a boat is not cheap at all!

All the ships I have bought were ready to be scrapped without any exception! Where they cheap? Some were, some not. When you buy a boat for a good price, don’t expect it to be good. It might have a thin bottom, leaking windows, a worn out engine or other problems you don’t see straight away. By the time you fixed the problem, a lot of money will be gone.

In recent months I have visited around 7 boats, most of them were on the low budget market. None of them were ready for living on, even the advertisement mentioned it differently. There was even one ship I would send to the scrapyard!

Hornblower – Living in the engine room…

15th January 2012 – The main area for this month and probably February is the engine room. The fuel tanks are nearly in position. They are on their own supports, but I might have to move them a few centimeters towards the side. When I built the construction, I had 2cm spare, now I can’t even put a sheet of paper in between the two tanks…

I was able to raise the watertank and to make new supports for it. They are bolted, I will weld the whole construction on a later stage.

I can’t wait to paint the bilges and put the aluminum floor on the ribs. It will certainly look much better then it once was…

Cold weather

15th January 2012 – The first day this winter it had been freezing during night time . It was not that cold, but the sky was clear and the perfect moment for taking some pictures. I broke a toe yesterday, so I didn’t go for a big walk…


Hornblower – Framework and brackets

10th January 2012 – Most of the evening was spent in drilling holes, building a structure for the water tank. I’m nearly out of metal. Everything that has been used were items remaining from the conversion of the Watergeus and the Escapade.

I took some pictures and the engine room starts to look cleaner and more structured as well. I’ve welded supports for light and electricity wires. The bilges look cleaner and most of the rubbish from the engine room is gone.


Hornblower – Fire in the engine room

8th January 2012 – I always believed foam insulation would melt when it gets into contact with high temperature. When welding in the engine room, there was some foam in the bilges. It took fire straight away, also setting fire to a piece of wood and a rag dipped in white spirit. There was an open cup with some white spirit underneath the gearbox. That was also set on fire.

I was able to extinguish the fire quick enough to prevent any damage to the ship. Most plastic pipes and hoses on the engine melted including some small equipment.  Since I had no fire extinguisher in the area, I started poring buckets of water in the engine room and on the engine. This might have been a risk, but if I had to wait for the fire brigade or a neighbour, likely the whole ship would have been on fire.

After I finished all the welding, a big cleanup started. Removing everything from the bilges and cleaning the metal where it had become black of the fire. The fist part of the engine room looks very clean now. Also the supports for the fuel tanks are ready. Tomorrow I’ll put the thanks in their brackets if the paint is dry.

As you can see, an accident can happen very quickly. I had no bucket with water ready, neither a fire extinguisher. The next brackets will be welded somewhere next week. Firstly I will put some safety equipment aboard.