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.

Watergeus – Primer on the anchor winch

11th august 2007 – The big day for the anchor winch, or rather so I planned it. Instead we continued cleaning it till the afternoon. In the afternoon it was painted with primer.

My uncle came in the morning cutting the grass at the side of the boat, now I can see my hull again. Since I lived their, somewhere in February 2007, I had never seen them cutting the grass from the sides of the canals. It was a perfect space for rats and other unwanted living species.

My grandparents have an old garden with a few greenhouses. They are dating from before the war and are in a very bad condition. One of them had only the supports left and some concrete. Since I need some metal supports for the roof, I decided to take those. Cast iron, simply built with no decorations, but cheap! It took my father and me two hours to remove them, using a grainer and some garden tools. Both our hands are full of scratches! In another greenhouse I discovered some old tools I took with me. The old growing product supply was an galvanized thin. At the bottom there is a tap. So I can use this for separating water and oil from the bilges. The nice lamps need cleaning. Since they are in a bad condition, certainly the wires I’ll use them as 24v lights instead of 220v.

Watergeus – Talking about another roof

10th august 2007 – If everything goes as planned, in September, the boat will have a new roof over the cargo hold. For the outside everything stays the same, but it will be dry from the inside, a huge amelioration!

Since the gaps between the hatches and the den had been filled with every possible filling product, this has to go again, sad in one way, but it will become better, so why worry? It was a waste of time and money, and now it will cost me more time undoing what had been done.

So I tried with one hatch and it worked fine removing the stuff. I’ll wait till the contract is signed and a date has been planned, before I remove all stuff.

Watergeus – Cleaning the anchor winch

4th August 2007 – One of the first sunny days with over 30°C. Lovely, to hot for working outside and don’t even think on going inside. But why complain? The buckets with water in the cargo hold lowered by at least 6 cm during the day. Why would I need another roof if it stays so hot?

Well, besides sitting outside, I continued cleaning the anchor winch. All bolts are replaced by rust free iron bolts and nuts. No matter how rusty they were, I could undo all of them (except one that I used the grainer for).

One of the new ropes in the mast got stuck next to the winch in the mast, so I can(t move that rope. Since I decided to hang out all my flags, I had to stand on a stair to get to the rope and hang my flag. Lowering the mast, as you could read in the last post of july, is not an option. So, now I have a Belgian, Dutch, Amsterdam, Bruges, Assurance company and freight company flags hanging on the boat. Flags can make look a boat nice, believe me!

Furthermore I extended my kitchen furniture, so I have some more place to put a coffee machine. I measured more in detail the cargo hold so my drawings fit nicer to reality.

In the late afternoon, for the first time I know, a narrow boat passed, so small! I had seen a few in London and once one in France, but now, it passed so closely. Nice boats, but to live in it, no way!

Watergeus – Planning

30th July 2007 – Since I need to know every pipe and exhaust that comes out of the roof before the works start, I’m designing the final stage of the cargo hold. I had finished putting the rooms and dimensions in September 2006. I ameliorated it for the windows in January 2007 and am finishing it now for the roof.

In the meantime, I continue to look at several barges for sale to have a look at what interior I like and what I don’t like.

I decided to keep the bathroom and kitchen next to each other, so all water is at one place. This makes it easier in building and maintaining the water system. It is also cheaper, water needs to run less far and in case of a leak, you don’t need to break open the whole boat to find the problem.

The red dots on the last drawing are air vents, one for the kitchen, one for the heating and one for general air vent. The gray colour indicates where the metal roof will come and will be recovered by hatches. The black pieces are the two cabins.

Watergeus – Painting the mast

29th July 2007 – Replaced the ropes in the mast. While lowering the mast, I decided to put a new coat on paint on it. The flag of Amsterdam is hanging in the small mast on the bow of the ship. Further, I worked a bit more on the anchor winch.

The mast is in not such a good condition as I thought it was. besides the hole in the side, the top was very rusty. I’ll put another mast in mt list of equipment to buy in the next couple of years.

Meanwhile my mother painted the two tables in the wheelhouse. It is starting to look much better now. I can’t wait to see my roof over the cargo hold.