Thursday, December 26, 2013

Facing out

We've turned Op Hoop van Zegen around today, ready to motor under the bridge tomorrow morning. Though the forecast is for storm and rain it's hard to imagine that now, with the trees reflected in the unruffled water.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New shop layout

With Peter moving out of the shared part of our shop in the new year we've been reorganising things a bit today.
We want to build a heated unit inside the shop but whether we have time to do this before it turns cold depends on the space between jobs.
With a well-filled order book for the first half of 2014 it may well be next winter before we have warm fingers at the workbench.

Gina vaarwel

YouTube Video

The 'Anna 4', the Kuipers&Onrust tug, gently pushes 'Gina' back home to her mooring in the middle of Groningen.
We've got all the big things done that we wanted to do at our wharf. Now she can be hooked back up to the gas, water and electricity, which will make it easier to get the final paintwork finished and the floor in.
At the beginning of 2014 we'll be back aboard to get finish the last things on the list.
It is hard to remember how she looked six months ago, when her new owners brought her to us and started raking things apart.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bathroom boxes

Claudia built three cupboards for the Gina bathroom. Did they fit? Silly question - millimeter perfect.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Behind the wardrobe

Aboard 'Gina' the back of the bedroom cupboard is removable to allow access to the 'engine room'. We hope that the clothes in the cupboard will help to muffle the noise that the central heating boiler and waste pump make.
It's not a bad thing to be able to hear the technical stuff on a boat though; I always wait until I've heard the shower drain pump switch on before putting shampoo in my hair.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Three weeks and counting

With the clock counting down to the day that 'Gina' leaves our wharf and heads back to her berth in the middle of Groningen it is important that we get the things finished that are easier to do here.
Today is glass cloth in the bathroom day. Tomorrow too, probably.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Little boxes

Four little drawers in boxes, all exactly the same, on Claudia's workbench this week.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A window on the world

Another fine day up in the air in Leeuwarden so we reckoned there will be enough time to remove the pipe and valve where the old holding tank used to be pumped over board. This is the last reminder of our first bathroom, this and the twenty rivets we had to weld up where water had leaked out into the bilges over the years.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Your love keeps lifting me

Once again we're up in the air at Welgelegen, Leeuwarden. We've been lucky with the weather so far so today the second coat will go on. This one will be black.
The prop is in Kampen where it is being adjusted to suit the power and torque of our new Deutz. More speed!
Good news too is that the European Certificate for ships over 20 metres is on it's way in provisional form, and that the things we have to do for the definite version are all fairly small and easily done.
Op Hoop van Zegen is nearly ready for the next 100 years.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Running in, please pass

At a sedately, but very quiet, eight kilometres an hour we make our way along the Van Starkenborg kanaal towards Leeuwarden and the Welgelegen wharf.
The white Deutz purrs (in Chinese) in the shiny engine room at 1250 rpm.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

You in your small corner

Our 3000 VA generator now has it's own little home beneath the stern deck.
Once we have made matching pine doors it can spend most of it's life tucked away where nobody can see it.
Thanks to the brains and hands of Erik at EPGtechniek it pulls out on rails for easy servicing.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Trial run

Jeroen steps ashore, confidant that all that he has done in our engine room is doing what it should be doing.
We continue on towards the Reitdiep, looking forward to a well earned quiet night out of town after more than three months hard work.

Friday, October 11, 2013

White Deutz running

Today we finally hooked the last things up to the new Chinese Deutz in our engine room and Claudia pressed the start button.
This was the result.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Proud of what you've done

The roofing guys from Metus really did their best to help us sort out the roof aboard Gina.
It was an unusual job for all of us; we've never encountered a 'real' roof on a barge before, they spend most of their days up a ladder on a roof that doesn't move.
Great to work with people who take pride in what they do.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Constant velocity

To allow the new engine to wobble on it's rubber feet we now have a big constant velocity axle behind the gearbox.
If the gearbox and propellor shaft were to be lined up perfectly this joint would not grease itself and wouldn't last long. The answer is to drop the engine down out of line.
This feels strange, having spent so much time getting things right, but we now have a four degree wiggle in our drive train.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fill 'er up

Finally the first 40 litres of diesel can be poured into the new diesel tanks aboard Op Hoop van Zegen. First we pressure tested for leaks, not wanting to see all that expensive diesel find it's way into the clean bilges.
Later this week we have the Gulf tanker coming with the next 800 litres.
Next job; lining up the drive train.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


While we're busy repairing 'Gina's' roof, our man of steel Jeroen has been making stainless bits and pieces for our cooling system.
It's nice when things happen while you're doing something else.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No more surprises, please. #in

We removed the old window frames and discovered a lot of wet, rotten wood in 'Gina's' roof.
Only one thing to do, get out the saws and cut everything back to solid wood, then start building again.
By yesterday evening we had two of the new windows in, before the end of the day on Thursday we should have it all closed up again; if there are no more surprises.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's now or never

This is first week of autumn but the forecast for the next few days is good so it's out with the old windows on the Gina and in with the new ones.
Hope it all goes as easy as that.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

White MWM/Deutz in our engine room

With an inch to spare we lower the new engine through the skylight into it's new home aboard Op Hoop van Zegen.
Now all we have to do is line it up, attach the reversing gear and shaft, sort the water cooling circuit, exhaust and controls, diesel lines and electrics, ...
A long list but it feels good to have got this far.
Thanks to Willem de Vries for the heavy lifting and Lasserij Groningen for all things steel.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I'm a ned

It took the combined wisdom of the ISAF and the Dutch Yachting Association a while to come to a conclusion but it's now official; though my ISAF code begins with GBR I must sail with NED in my sail.
Thanks to Claudia we now have enough floor space to stick letters on sails at home.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My first flexible engine

Working out how to mount the second alternator and water pump on an engine with flexible mounts is a new problem for me.
Carpenter's solution; make it from wood first!

A small radiator

Back in the rear cabin aboard Steady yesterday with a made to measure box for a tiny convector to keep things warm and dry through the winter. I like the remote thermostat knob; want one of those at home too.
Front panel and piping to follow next week.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Low windage hair

I let Claudia loose with the clippers before joining the best youth Radial sailors this weekend at the United4 series in Workum.
The low windage magic unfortunately worked for one race only. After winning the first race the wind dropped and I couldn't find my rhythm in the lumpy seas.
On Sunday a lack of fitness and a Europe coming backwards over our startline put paid to any chance of holding my eleventh place overnight.
Em had had enough so we retired and got things packed away early. We live to fight another day.
Thanks to United4sailing for letting me join in.

Conclusions; I need more top level starting practise, more hours sailing in waves and more evenings on the hiking bench.

Next stop for TeamKwark; Medemblik for the Open Dutch Championships.

Making metres

With Peter rattling away in what will be the bedroom, getting the lining in on the hull, I'm up a small ladder building what we call 'the engine room' on this houseboat.
By the end of the week the central heating boiler, fuse box and air extractor system will be hanging here and i'll be busy in the bathroom.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Less than 1mm

The existing plate that held our PRM reversing gear onto the old DAF engine wouldn't fit the new Deutz. This was a surprise as the gearbox end of both engines have theoretically the same standard dimensions.
It was our lucky day. Not only did the claw of the lathe just fit inside the opening for the incoming shaft but the large disc just squeezed into the lathe.
As Erik soon discovered the old lip wasn't round, but 3 tenths of a mil. later it was and it now fits perfectly. Next job, engine mounts - we're getting closer.

Bathroom mock up

Aboard 'Gina' we've mocked up the spaces planned for bathroom, toilet and 'engine room' to give the clients an idea of the volume of each of these. Also so that we can check that we have enough space for shower drain, black water pump and central heating unit.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

While back aboard Op Hoop van Zegen ...

A week without our professional welder means things are quieter in the engine room. We've been painting of course but Claudia has been sorting out the old planks from the hold too and filling the gaps in the floor left by bathroom No. 1.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Roof ready

By the end of the day the second side was closed up too. This afternoon the roof felt guys are coming round to measure up and make a date to get the roof waterproof while the spell of good weather holds up.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Meanwhile, back at work ...

With three days of dry weather forecast we set to work to build a roof above what will end up as the master bedroom.
Following tradition we have chosen to go for a central beam and (permanent) 'hatch covers' rather than a steel roof. We're carpenters after all!

Like a glove

After a couple of weeks of measuring, maths, welding and painting we hung the new diesel tanks in the crane and held our breath.
They fitted through the deck opening, swung in under the engine room deck and slid into place on their supports. Within half an hour we were done; the pay-off for good planning.
Not done yet, though. Through deck fittings, venting and other pipework to get in before we can hoist the new Deutz through the same hole.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Red diesel, white diesel

New European laws mean that we are no longer allowed to have red diesel in our tanks.
By a surprisingly good piece of planning we are down to our last 20 litres of red diesel. Our new tanks and the new white Deutz will only ever know the white stuff.
Our first litre of red diesel cost us 33 Guilder cents in 1994, now we pay more than 150 Euro cents; ten times as much, almost twenty years later.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Many tanks

A lot of thought and some remarkable welding bij Jeroen / deLasserij means we have a couple of new diesel tanks to paint and hang up in our engine room.
There goes the weekend.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back to the beginning

Our first days aboard the Gina and it's that old familiar feeling of lining the floor out with battens 'shot' against the hull frames.
It's always a good moment when the first flooring panels go in and we no longer have to step over the frames as if we are counting their number, over and over.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Witte Deutz

Our new white four cylinder Deutz diesel arrived this morning wrapped in shrink wrap plastic. We're too busy finishing things aboard Steady to unwrap it, but it's not easy to leave it alone.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Moving holes

In 1968 the original Kromhout single cylinder engine aboard Op Hoop van Zegen was replaced by a two cylinder Rennes. As it was easier to run this engine from it's starboard side the port engine room hatch and starboard rear cabin hatch were closed up and a new hatch made on the right of the wheelhouse.
as part of our plans to refit the engine room we wanted to re-open the old hatches. Having cut the closing plates away and ground the welds we've removed the 'new' hatch and closed the hole with old steel deck plates with short diamond pattern to match the original deck.

Pin end

Claudia and I lining up 3956 to win the pin at the start of Sunday's race during Schildweek 2013.
We went on to win this race and finished the week fourth, behind the 4336 and 4014.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Empty bed

With the DAF, generator and tanks out of our engine room it's time to clean out the muck and grime that has accumulated over the last 97 years.
When we are done with the angle grinder and all is de-greased we will prime and paint ready for the new Deutz and diesel tanks.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fried eggs in new kitchen

We moved the gas stove round to it's new spot today, after Claudia gave it a much needed clean up.
I still have to re-route the gas piping but for now the old hose is just long enough to reach around the corner.

Kromhout 6TS up and running

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Kromhout means bent wood so it's possibly fitting to be building a wooden engine bed.
Tomorrow Kromhout guru Antoon van der Loos is coming to inspect the patient and help decide whether replacing the DAF with this is a good idea.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New roof for Pandora

Things are coming together on the new roof and windscreen project for Pandora.
Nice to be able to re-use the old fir beams, though they need a bit of tweaking before everything is faired up.

Friday, May 24, 2013

1930's cruiser

Next up a new windscreen and roof job for a 30's steel motor cruiser. We will be using the old parts as patterns and inventing the missing pieces.
We're using Guariuba for this project, a South American hardwood with FSC Certificate, as an alternative for the original mahogany. When sawed and planed Guariuba can be red, orange or yellow but will turn a rich dark brown with exposure to sunlight.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sanding and filling

We made the 'mistake' of offering to do the painting in the rear cabin aboard 'Steady'.
Like all paint jobs it's 90% filling and sanding and filling and sanding... a job I enjoy and Claudia doesn't. She likes painting though.
With teamwork we'll get the job done in time to install the solid oak parts in the first week of July.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

German oak. #in

With the panelling and floors finished aboard Steady, we have started on the best bit. Turning solid German oak into worktops and benches.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

God save the King

Today The Netherlands gets a King. Willem Alexander the First.
15 million Dutch people will sing the national anthem for him, the second line of which goes, " I am from German blood".

To celebrate we thought it fitting to buy a new German van.
Team Kwark is now the proud owner of a 1981 (the year I moved to NL) Mercedes-Benz 407D, low roof model.

Monday, April 29, 2013



The radio cost 60 euros.
The new window will cost 400.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Clinker interior. #in

With the ceiling, bulkhead and most of the hull panels fitted it is at last beginning to look as if a carpenter has been working in the rear cabin aboard 'Steady'.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ho, ho, ho!

It only took an hour for the insulation spray team to turn the rear cabin into Santa's grotto.
It's going to take a couple of days to get to the point where the real carpentry can begin. Miserable days, too, but someone has to do it.