Category: MS Frantsis - page 3

Frantsis – Hit the road

7th June 2010 – I was up very early, since the deep loader would be there at 7 o’clock in the morning. This means they would lift the Frantsis up at 6 o’clock. Half an hour later as expected a man came to tell me they lost the key of their crane, which made me even more nervous. I had no experience with heavy lifting and moving a boat by crane. I was totally dependent on these people. They have enough experience, but it was new to me.

It took more then a hour to get the boat on the truck. There were no problems, except one: the barge was to high to fit underneath the bridges on the highway. I had to remove a chimney and the grease pump in the wheelhouse was to high as well. Once these issues were solved, we drove to Terneuzen. A little less then four hours of driving in a very comfortable truck!



At the yard, the crane was ready to lift the boat from the truck and in less then 15 minutes she was mounted on supports. It was nice to know in a week she will be in the water, where she belongs.

I started cleaning the hull, mainly where the welder had to start working. The boat had to covered by sails so no dust could get to the other boats at the yard.

A boat with no wheelhouse is often a sad view. In the afternoon I quickly remounted the wheelhouse. At least she is no longer looking like an empty hull.

In the evening we started welding the hull. Since we want to do it right, we took 6mm plates for the waterline and bottom. With chalk I marked the places that needed repairing or where I believed it was thin. It is easy to mark, but the welding might take some time. I prefer doing it now and to have a good hull to start with.

Frantsis- Zwartsluis – Day 2

6th June 2010 – Still broken from the big job yesterday, there was not much time left for the transport tomorrow. Besides preparing the ship and cleaning the yard, I still wanted tot visit Zwartsluis and the historical ships being restored in the area.

Ready for transport without the wheelhouse and the mast

In the late afternoon I went back to the city centre, had a good meal and a beer.

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. Of course we didn’t want to tell the yard the engine was running, but they were all watching us…

In the office of the yard we agreed what we believed a good price. They were asking 5000 EURO, but we managed to get some money off. We 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!

Welding at the yard was to expensive, they said, but a friend with a transport company could easily and cheaply move the ship to Belgium. This was fine for us!

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…