Author: frederic - page 200

Street sales

2nd September 2007 – A day of no work seemed a good idea, so I visited two second hand street sales. On the first one I bought a nice kitchen cupboard from the 50’s. I didn’t argue the price since I needed them to bring it to the boat. It was way to big for our car. While these sales used to be cheap in the old days, you find rarely cheap items these days. It has become a business like any other ordinary commerce.
On the second sale I found a few portholes but didn’t buy them, they were so expensive, 250 euros for one window.

In the afternoon I walked to the old harbour of Bruges, which is still being used by many inland vessels. I hadn’t been there in four years. Besides a few container lighters, I found three French ‘Strasbourg’ spits barges.

Watergeus – Cleaning front cabin

1st September 2007 – Today I continued cleaning the front cabin and the front cabin door. It is harder then I thought, but I still believe not having learned my lesson after the anchor winch.

In the evening I went for a small walk and discovered a motorized sleepschip was moored in the big dock behind me. The owner wasn’t aboard, so I was only able to take pictures from the outside. She pretty much looked original, only the den was raised and the front cabin modernized. Only Dutch barges last so long in commercial trade, believe me!

Watergeus – Welding the metal strip

29th August 2007 – The plate of 10cm was welded today, or they started. Every meter they painted, they cleaned it and painted it o protect the weld and the plate. They removed the windows. I was pleased to see how independent he could do the job!

Since the works don’t continue for a certain time (4 days) the hatches were closed again. So everything looks tidy and nice.

Watergeus – Rain and welding

28th August 2007 – Yesterday I didn’t put back the hatches, so today I only had to undo a few knots in the wires around them to prevent them blowing away by the wind. Of course in the morning, it started raining. A short period, but heavy. Fortunately during the day, the sun came out and by the end of the day no more water was in the bilges.

The holes on the side were covered with a metal plate of 10cm height. The man tried to put back the curve in the boat and nicely succeeded in this. He plans to weld this plate tomorrow. Since the windows were close, tomorrow we have to remove a few to prevent them from being severely damaged. Aluminum melts quicker then metal.

Watergeus – Loading the metal aboard

27th August 2007 – The big day. At five o’clock in the morning we removed the hatches, so the people of the yard could start working on the boat. The metal sadly arrived after midday. The people of the yard were on time and placed all the metal aboard. Since it was to late, they decided no longer to weld today.

In the early morning I had taken tons of pictures from my boat without hatches, believing it would be the last time to see her like that. So she will look like that tomorrow as well!

After the hatches and leaving my bed quite early I had a whole day of work in Ostend

In the evening when I was back I talked with a neighbour about the esthetic value of hatches. Many people under estimate the value of hatches on a boat, first of all the look and secondly the storage space and protection. I won’t say there aren’t any negative elements, but the positive ones are in majority!

Watergeus – Removing the hatches

25th August 2007 – In the morning me and my father prepared the hatches for moving. My idea of carrying two or three hatches at once is not exactly possible. I still suffer a lot on my hand, so it is to heavy. We will have to do hatch by hatch. Since I’m already convinced the hatches have to be moved several times, it looked better to number them on both sides and write the matching number on the den.

This reminds me of a friend in Ghent. She has a barge and used to have a nice wooden floor on her deck. She had to repaint the boat, so an old man helped her removing the wood. She asked him to number the planks and pieces so it became possible to put it back. A few weeks later I had to clean the wood and found only a few pieces were numbered. Cause? The man could only count till 10! Well she couldn’t laugh and her deck is still not back!

My old gangway is now on land for a friend who’s boat is about to be moored in front of me in the next few weeks. So the front cabin is clear again and ready for removing the last bits of paint. This is what we have done in the afternoon, cleaning the paint!

The windows have been covered with hardboard and tape to prevent damage from welding and graining disks. Since they start on Monday, I wanted everything to be prepared. Let just hope it doesn’t rain in the next couple of weeks!

Watergeus – Painting the waterline

24th August 2007 +- Since the boat will be lowered by at least two centimeters, and the bio tar used on the hull is not that good (it is falling off), I decided to paint the current waterline. This one will be below the water once the roof is finished and all metal is aboard! I don’t have a dinky so I only did the land side of the boat. I had some paint left and repainted pieces that looked rusty!

The supports of the glass house had been put on my deck, so I laid them inside in the cargo hold, where I might need them, not sure yet!

In the evening I visited a friend who is restoring boats. Most of his time he had been restoring spits-barges, but was now busy cleaning and repairing an sleeptankschip. He was showing me the ribs and the thickness of the plates used for it. He was surprised, I’m not. That’s the difference between a Dutch barge and a French or Belgian barge! Dutch barges have always been built with thicker plates.

Watergeus – Working hard

18th August 2007 – All hatches have been removed, cleaned and put back into position. It looks again like the day we arrived, loose hatches with big gaps between them and the den. A sad view, certainly when you know how much time has been spent in putting them nicely and filling holes.

After the first hatch was removed, it started raining, it was like a joke, but one not laugh with! Anyway, every hatch was turned around and cleaned. Since I would never re-use filler or insulation sprays on the hatches, I wanted them clean again.

The anchor winch got its second coat of paint, but in the end the cover didn’t fit anymore, so we had to hammer it in place, causing some damage to the paint. I’ll repaint the cover somewhere next weekend. 

Watergeus – Loose hatches

17th August 2007 – This evening I removed most of the bolts and nuts from the hatches. Cleared a few of the hatches and removed all the stuff such as filler, PE-insulation, etc. had to stop working because it was getting late, very late! The LED light was guiding me through the hatches, so it was time to sleep. A few hatches were already loose.

Watergeus – Removing paint from the front cabin

14th August 2007 – Well since the sale didn’t go through in the end, I decided to sleep a bit longer. Was not really enthusiastic to work today, so I went to the front and started cleaning a copper pipe entrance for the water tank. While doing this, I looked at the deck and started cleaning a small corner. By the end of the evening I had cleaned a third of the front cabin. All paint on side is gone, and a piece of the other side.

While removing the paint, I found on the metal plates the name of one the owners:

Visiting the Selma

13th August 2007 – In the morning I went visiting a spits barge with a young French couple. They were looking for a spits barge that could be shortened to 30 meters, since the locks in Canal Du Midi are only 30 meters. Spits barge are expensive in France, in The Netherlands they are cheaper. They would make their decision to buy it this evening, depending on what they do, I would join them again tomorrow. For many people in the Netherlands, French is often a barrier for selling a boat.

In the evening, the contract was signed for the roof, finally I’m certain. This was the only thing that kept me from breaking down all the hatches.

Watergeus – Painting the anchor winch

12th august 2007 – Yesterday a coat of primer, today it was the moment for the nice paint, red, white and black. It took us all day to paint the anchor winch. Yesterday evening I Looked at various combinations on Internet to have an idea how do let it look the best. I made a simple drawing to remember it while painting.