Author: frederic - page 197

Watergeus – Cleaning and drinking

22nd September 2007 – In the morning I hovered out some more water from the bilges. I cleaned the cargo hold, it was getting time. Everywhere were electrodes, broke glass from that window, dust, etc…

In the late afternoon my friends from Sluiskil who built the boat came. We had a small meal and a few drinks on the deck. Probably the best day of the year and the last one. Till 9 o’clock it was good weather, then it became dark. They also helped me mooring the boat better. At the back the ropes were a bit loose and bashing to the accommodation causing damage to the paint. Since I have to much trouble with my hand I decided to let them do it. In no time it was done and the boat was stable again.

Watergeus – Putting back the hatches

21st September 2007 – The whole roof is welded, three times 23 meters, twice at the sides and once in the middle. He welded the last bits today. The next step will be to close the gaps at the front and back.

In the evening we placed the hatches back in the right order. Fortunately they were numbered. We discovered having not enough hatches when arriving at the front of the boat.

I worked it out after working for two hours. Since the hatches used to be placed under tension and the den was not right, the hatches had to be moved and lifted before the bolts fitted. So I had enough hatches. It is hard to explain how I did it, but is even harder to do it again.

Watergeus – Welding

20th September 2007 – He welded further on the sides of the roof. It should now be drier if it rains. Seeing first, then believing.

I’m starting to miss the idea of opening a hatch. I remember in April when I was in Amsterdam, somebody said it is great to have a metal roof, but make sure you can open something. Well she was right. I talked to the man of the yard wether the skylight could be made so something can open.

The design slighty changed and now the whole skylight can open. It will take at least two people to open it, but hey in summertime (if we ever have it again) it is great to have some fresh air inside the boat and living accommodation.

Watergeus – Welding

19th September 2007 – I believe the coming days won’t be much to write about. Welding is a boring job that is taking a lot of time. Depending on what to weld, it takes around two hours for welding 1.5 meters. Often he welds more in that time, but if the gaps are to big he needs to add more metal and weld it twice.

Watergeus – Cleaning the bilges

18th September 2007 – Again heavy raining, the same as yesterday. Difference today was that it was light in the cargo hold. All buckets were running over, bilges filled with water…. Something I didn’t notice yesterday. Only If I would have known then.

I hovered out the bilges and more then 100 buckets were emptied over board. Still I don’t see the difference, a real disaster. If I would have used gyproc plates I could have thrown them all away. Therefore it is important to only use wood that is waterproof or survives for a period in water. Also make your interior ready to be easily removed in case of emergency. I only had to undo a few screws and I could see and touch the bilges.

Working on

17th September 2007 – Raining today and not light rain! Couldn’t work so I wrote a few articles on the history of barges for a Dutch project. Many people often says when a commercial barge ends up in the recreation, it is lost.

Now I believe in many cases the boat is saved. Therefore am I writing about house boats ‘ history for a website called Binnenvaarttaal. The boats I have written are Libra, Watergeus, Cawcher-V and Arma. I tried three times to go outside and start working, but useless, to much rain.


16th September 2007 – Last weekend I really enjoyed the waterways around Furnes that I decided to have a look at Diksmuide. I would love to sail there one day, I don’t know when yet or with what boat. Sadly there were not many house boats around, 1 only and it was an alternative restaurant, so was the boat.

Watergeus – Scrapyard

15th September 2007 – While loading the metal in the car I decided to keep a strip and a hatch, even if it is broken. The hatch is of the same style as the hatches in front of the wheelhouse. I do have a spare hatch and now with this one I can create something in the front in the future.

When the car was on the slipway to check the weight, it was 700kg, so still a nice sum of money to spent to place the portholes in the front. I even have a spanner and pipe for the fuel tank, free! If I would have stayed longer on the scrapyard, I would have bought plenty of stuff. Incredible what people throw away. I would be in shame if I trew this away.

In the afternoon I started breaking out the floor of the front peak. Woodworm had eaten so much I felt through on one location and it would not have taken long before it was on multiple locations. I knew the floor was not good and water was in the bilges, but last year I needed a space to store my stuff so I used it as it was.


Last week I cleaned it out and today I would start with the bilges, what a mess!

Watergeus – Scrap metal

14th September 2007 – While the man was welding the roof, I cleaned the rest of the front space. I called a friend to know if he was interested in a deal with scrap. When he agreed all metal pieces left in the front and back of the boat were put on deck. It is something between 750kg and 1000kg I believe. We’ll bring it away tomorrow.

Watergeus – Attaching the sheets of metal to the ribs

13th September 2007 – The whole day was spent stitching the inside of the hold. All plates were welded to the ribs, welding 5cm, leaving 50cm. A very boring and uncomfortable job, welding above your head.

In the evening I cleaned my old waterpump engine, a Briggs & Stratton from 1952. I would like to put this engine as part of the decoration in the living room. It took me three hours to clean most of it, removing the old oil, fuel, etc… 

I looked on the Internet how I should repaint it. Only I didn’t fond a colour scheme.



Watergeus – Welding on the roof

12th September 2007 – One plate had to be cut, and the other one had to be put in position. It took us all morning to fit in those last two points. Not only goes the boat narrower, it is also the place where the boat makes it curve.

By the early afternoon, he could start stitching the ribs.

Watergeus – No welding but cleaning

11th September 2007 – No welding today. Cleaned out the front space, so it is ready for putting portholes. I discovered a lot of stuff I didn’t know I owned it. Some of it is to heavy for use, but nice as decoration. What I could easily conclude; A small space can contain a lot of stuff!

In the evening I went to the other side taking pictures of the boat, so I could have an idea how she would look like without hatches:

Watergeus – Getting the metal sheets in position

10th September 2007 – I left my bed at 4 o’clock. I started undoing most op the ropes. At 5 my father and me moved the hatches on two piles. At six we started the engine and tried to move the boat the other side of the canal. No problem, it is only 35 meters, but the wind decided to make It different. It took us 25 minutes to more the boat. The first time the boat nearly turned completely, what would not have been possible and cause us to be stuck in the canal (and blocking it). The second attempt took us more time, but in the end we made it.


At seven, the plates were delivered and put into position.

Half an hour later we could move the boat back to its mooring. This took us less then 5 minutes since the wind was blowing us to the place.

The whole day we put the plates in the best position possible and touched them. We had to stop at some moment since it was raining to hard.


In the afternoon, all of the sudden the boat was very deep in the water. I didn’t notice, I only discovered the quay was higher then the boat. The man of the yard laughed and said the boat was sinking. To tired to get the joke I went looking for water in the bilges, but couldn’t find any. When I looked again I found the cause, water was very low, uncommon.

I called the nearest locks and asked if they were ware of the change of water level. Since one lock was broken, they had to lower the river so boats could move. You would expect them to warn you for the ropes, but they didn’t. I checked the mooring to see if the depth was still ok,, since it isn’t deep under the boat.  My boat has a draft of 90cm, while I have 1.50 meters beneath the boat.

I still had to do a few ropes, but will wait till the water level is normal again.

Watergeus – worktable

9th September 2007 – Last year I made the base for a working table in the evening school. Most of the metal pieces are now used around the boat, like the metal supports are at the anchor winch preventing the anchors to fall in the water. Anyway, with the remaining pieces and a bit of wood I finally finished the table. I’m planning on using it next week to clean the storm hatches of my portholes.

Tomorrow is the big day; the plates will be on the roof. So I removed a few ropes, made the electricity cable loose and cleared the gangways so everything should run smoothly. I don’t expect many problems tomorrow if it concerns moving the boat and the rope work.

An ex colleague came with her two children. They asked a lot of questions and the made sense. So I’m considering making a small part of the site with explanations for children. It is already fascinating for me to on a boat, so I can imagine how it must be for the kids!


8th September 2007 – In Furnes there is an old yard, for spits barges. That yard is known by everybody but no longer very active these days. I decided to have a look. I was surprised to find so many barges in Furnes, at least 5 Luxe Motors, two klipperaken and a few spits barges. There was even a Humber keel. I spoke to a few of the owners.

Later we drove to Nieuwpoort, were I found another two Luxe Motors. It was a fascinating afternoon.

One of the people in Furnes is already converting his boat for 24 years. It is a nice and well-maintained boat. He gave me some good advice as well. He had the same problem as me of buying a boat with no den/deck. His boat used to be a crane barge.
There was a spits barge, nearly original, all specific items such as mooring posts, railing, doors, etc painted in colours, making a nice contrast. I know most people wouldn’t like it, but it accented the originality of the barge so much. If I would have to  choose a spits to become a museum, she had everything original looking from the outside! You don’t find that many spits barges looking so original!

In the evening I had a drink with Andy. He will assist me on Monday moving the boat. When we got back it was already dark, the perfect time to test navigation lights.