Saturday, 3 July 2010

Advice Wanted

Okay,  this is a question for all my new friends who are bargees and boaties.  During your time doing up your boats (no matter how far along the line you are), please can you advise:

1)  The thing that you most regretted doing (or not doing)

2)  And the thing that you are most pleased with.

3)  Any other words of wisdom!

These can be major works or just little things that make life easier and can even be more than one or two snippets of advice.  As we are still at the beginning of fitting out and planning Bonnie, any advice would be most welcome.  I am sure that there are other people out there who would also welcome the advice, I know for certain that Janys at Slow Venice will :)


  1. Fran, the thing I have most regretted doing is buying a boat with no gunwales and no wheelhouse. That aside, I love the Vereeniging with a real passion, but do find the lack of gunwales in particular a constant annoyance.

    Inside, I regret not having a water tank made to measure - something I should have done at the outset, but would have had to cut open the deck to do it (not a major issue, but very disruptive) and take off my riveted mast foot (a major issue, which I really wouldn't want to do now).

    The thing I am most proud of is my bathroom, which is tiny but manages to have a sit bath a basin and a normal flushing loo in it. The only snag is that it is made to fit me (I am not very big) so it's always a worry when bigger people come to stay. I would probably make it bigger if I were to do it again, but then that would cost me a lot of space.

    I am also really pleased with the small doorway I have had cut through the engine room into to my little back cabin. This has extended my useful living space no end.

    I am always restricted by the historic requirements of our harbour, so there are things I would love to do but may not. These include extending the hold another two metres towards the bows to give more standing height, making a small superstructure over my vooronder (can't remember the English word, but it's the area below the foredeck) and building a small teak wheelhouse. All of these are dreams which will have to remain just that!

    What I would love some advice on myself is how to insulate a small engine room without losing too much of the already restricted space. Any advice would be very gratefully received!

  2. Now I can't give advice, but I must say that the wheelhouse is something that is pretty high up on our wish list. I assume that it would be an area where there is a lot of natural daylight... and hopefully even big enough to use as a sort of second lounge or dining area for small numbers of people.

    I also quite like the idea of a couple of bathrooms and am willing to forego the tub in favour of showers if it means I can get my daughter a small bathroom of her own!

    I have seen boats (in pictures!!) with a corridor which passes from fore to aft past the engine room. Don't know how the purists feel about that - not being able to seal off the areas? The corridor I see as being the perfect place to put washing machine and recyling bins and laundry baskets under the gunwhales.. and access to the engine room of course. Still needs a hole to remove engines from above, but general inspection and maintenance I guess the side door is ok?

    Then something I loved - seen on US houseboats... a wardrobe thingy built in under the bed! Go down a couple of steps to hanging and shelf space under a slightly raised bed. Very neat.

    And as I mentioned somewhere else... to get over the condensation problem in my wardrobes and cupboards... little open carved hearts to let the air circulate...

    But now my imagination is running riot... forgive me!!!

  3. Ohhhhh... I almost forgot... some outdoor space to sit and sip my hot cocoa or prosecco... according to the season of course. Preferably with a bit of optional shade...
    (or even to hang out a bit of washing if needs be...)

  4. There are some good ideas here, all duly noted!!! Janys, I too am looking at a fairly large wheelhouse that could be used for entertaining, also one that opens out onto the aft deck which will be nicely decked as more living area. Val, Pete said what about thermal insulation foil, there are various thicknesses etc but he said that some are better than Rockwool but take up very little space. Here is a link to show you what he means

  5. Brilliant, Fran, that's just the sort of thing I was looking for. Thanks to you and Pete! I like the idea of this because in an engine room it needs to be oil resistant and fire retarding as well as space saving. I simply don't have the room for rockwool. Many many thanks!

  6. PS i Like your new header photo. Lovely!

  7. Hi Val, glad to be of help. Thanks for the comment about the new header. That was our first sighting of Bonnie on Gareloch Head, one fine June evening last year. She did a full 360 degree turn for us (the tide turned really) and we fell in love!

  8. Access to the bilges: During the conversion of the Watergeus, one of the mistkakes I made is the floor. I made it solid, but there is not enough access to the bilges. I have seen barges where the floor can be taken away room by room to have a full access to the bottom.

    Heat and cold: More insulation. I have 10cm of insulation, but I would take more now.

    Structural: I built a roof on the hold from the den to the den. The ribs are 8cm high and 10mm thick. I should have welded some knees from the ribs to the den.

    Positive: Skylights give you the most light in a room. Central heating is recommended in a barge. It was just that little more expensive then a big heater, but it has much more comfort as well!

    Any advice? Take your time to do it right!

    Kind regards
    MS Watergeus

  9. Hi Frederic, thanks for the tips, much appreciated. Also thanks for the link on your website. We have been following your site and have already learnt a lot from you. Keep up the good work on behalf of all us newbies to barging!

  10. Sorry to be picky here but the tide must have been a bit iffy that day if Bonnie did a 360 twirl for you. Unless, that is, you were so besotted with her that time just slipped away:)

    Oops, tiptoes away quietly.

  11. Okay Billy, an ordinary barge may only have turned 180 degrees, but this is Bonnie we are talking about and she is magical. Just look out your window and you will see that she has moved round the corner all by herself over the weekend!!!!!

  12. Thanks for the visit again. I bet your barge gets included in some great publications when it's done. - Margy

  13. Hi Fran, just to let you know I've popped some pics of the dogs on my blog. My current profile pic is my Sindy not long after I first got her. She'd been badly abused and starved and was terribly thin, but I still think she looks sweet in this pic.