Author: frederic - page 199

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.

Watergeus – No welding today

7th September 2007 – This morning I went to the glassmaker and ask to replace the broken glass. It is not possible to replace the glass. The can solve it, but it is not original, meaning the glass will no longer be able to open the other piece of the window.

No work was carried out today at the roof. A few friends came and we discussed the plan for Monday. In the afternoon I removed already one rope from the boat. It cost me two hours, since the rope was stuck at a piece of metal on the wooden side support of the quay. Also a few plants had grown on and in the rope. In the end I was happy it was removed. Fortunately I discovered it now, other wise on Monday, it would have been a disaster.

Also today, two boats left their mooring for an event in Beernem. All of us had received an invitation for moving the boat to the yacht harbour in Beernem. Since I’m converting the boat I couldn’t go. But I have some nice pictures of my neighbours sailing to there!


Watergeus – Welding the roof (4)

6th September 2007 – We looked again at the option for how to move the plates of 2m x 6m x 5mm on the boat. With no crane there really is no option in moving those plates. The truck can’t drive next to the boat since his weight would severely damage the bicycle road next to the boat. So we shall move the boat to the other side. Something I like but as much dislike. A lot of work, undoing all my ropes (9 ropes in total), but at the other hand seeing my boat moving isn’t to bad at all neither.

In the meantime all ribs were finally welded today. This was the last step before putting the plates on Monday. He expected to have a day and halve to finish this job, but a day was obviously enough.

I had the pleasant visit of the daughter of the original owner of the boat. She left the boat when she was 15 and wanted to see it back. As far as I understood they last saw the boat in the early 90’s. They were so happy to visit the boat. Besides a lot of new information, I received several photos from the boat and the complete report of what had happened during the War. Whenever I have time, this information will be added to the site.

In the afternoon we had a small accident. One of the six small windows broke. Since it is hardened glass, a little drip from welding is enough to break it. I’ll bring it tomorrow to a glassmaker and see to replace the glass.

Watergeus – Welding the roof (3)

5th September 2007 – All ribs are placed, but if we would not put something between to hold their width between each other, they would start to wave. We will cut metal strips and put them between each rib. The more he puts the better; it is a good start for putting my wood against when doing the interior.

By the end of the afternoon all pieces were welded between the ribs. This made the roof structure very solid. Before you could move the ribs and make them wave; now you couldn’t. The whole structure will be finally welded tomorrow. Then it has all its strength to hold the plates.

Watergeus – Welding the roof (2)

4th September 2007 – We started where we stopped yesterday. As far as we make progress, we notice the den has more distance between the other den we could expect. The first two ribs we placed didn’t fit. We couldn’t pull the den closer so we needed more and stronger equipment. We used a #takel# to get both den’s closer and with success. Because of this issue we lost a bit of time, but once it fitted, all other ribs could be placed quickly.

At the front, the den goes smaller, this because the boat goes smaller as well. So we had to cut a few ribs smaller. By the end of the afternoon all ribs were in position. Oh it felt good to notice such a quick progress, something I’m not used to (a month to clean an anchor winch, six months to build a den…).