De 4 Vaargetijden - About carpentry, furnishing and... the baptism of the new De 4 Vaargetijden!
08 May 2020

About carpentry, furnishing and… the baptism of the new De 4 Vaargetijden!

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The cabins are taking shape. The inner walls are coming into place!

kajuit muren
the cabins get walls

When my paws hurt at the end of my previous story, I gave you a riddle. So, did you solve it?

Difficult, huh? Well, how can you make upright walls and hang the doors in a ship? A spirit level or a plumb line won’t get you far. As soon as you bring your weight forward, the ship will lean forward more, and vice versa…

I only see one solution: measuring, measuring and measuring again! With a large hook and lots of fitting, my owners got all the walls perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other. Do you think Boef would have helped a little bit, too? I think so. After every working day he was in any case very tired and dirty!

Boef, 1e scheepshond
Boef, super superintendent…

Working at the wheelhouse

The original wheelhouse was very small. A steering wheel, a card table with the controls of the engine and a seat. That’s how it is on most cargo ships.

But my owners would like to have all their guests in the wheelhouse at the same time. That way they could always watch skipper Maurits manoeuvre the ship in the locks and through the bends of the water. Yes, there are hairpin bends on the water too!

Everywhere around there were windows to see everything. The floor had to be raised a bit. So people could also look outside while seated. Or they could walk outside through that door to sit on the sundeck!

After the floor a real roof will be constructed. It suddenly seems a lot more, doesn’t it?

stuurhuis vloer
Floor and insulation in the wheelhouse
new wheelhouse gets ceiling

New ship’s engine in the engine room

nieuwe scheepsmotor
New DAF engine

The engine is the heart of the ship. As long as it beats right, the ship can cruise.

Wasn’t there an engine in the ship when my owners bought it? There was! Everything was so black in the engine room that they could only see with a flash of light which engine was actually in it: a Glockner Deutz. Are you familiar with that? I honestly don’t know much about it…

So at first sight the engine was well preserved before the old owner stopped the ship. Nevertheless, it had to be checked thoroughly and that all costs money. And would it result in a reliable engine?

My masters opted for security and had a new engine installed: a DAF 615. It turned out to be smaller than the old engine and suddenly there was more space in the engine room!

Every ship has a ship’s bell!

Present: A ship’s bell

In between the works, they suddenly got a present! Befriended skippers thought a ship’s bell was missing. No, that tricolor has now turned into a beautiful bronze. After all, we sail under a Belgian flag, huh! And do you know where it hangs now? Right beside the door, above the chart table. Will you ring it when you come aboard? Be careful, because it’ll cost you a round…

That bell also has a real function, you know. It sometimes sends signals to other ships. That’s still an old tradition, which is hardly used nowadays. I’ll look it up for you, find out exactly why…

It’s June 1999… and the renovations are almost finished!

Schip bijna klaar
Nearly finished…

There seemed to be no end to it. There was always a new job that had to be done…

But look: the end came in sight anyway. The cabins and the furnishing were ready. The engine was connected. Outside you can hardly see the difference with what it’s like now, can you? Dief keeps a close eye on everything. Yeah, he had no trouble getting aboard using that ladder. Clever, huh? But for the guests there had to be a real gangway.

And inside, the furniture could finally come into place. Also their own stuff got a place in the small deckhouse. It was all fitting and measuring. What didn’t fit in was given a different purpose… In the meantime, the rented house became unsociably empty. Maurits already slept on board. Olga & Boef drove up and down and slept in the rented house. The working days became even longer… The end came in sight and the 1st guests had already booked!

And then it’s party time: inauguration and the new name!

gepavoiseerd schip
Flag time: dress the ship!

The ship is finally ready! It had to be celebrated. The new name appeared on the bow. According to tradition, it still had to be inaugurated. And so many people were curious about the result.

After all that hard work, it was time to celebrate… Or rather a big party! A lot of invitations went out and to Olga & Maurits’s surprise just about everybody showed up. It was a happy reunion of friends and family.

Of course, all those people couldn’t party on the ship. Therefore a party tent was provided and toilets and snacks and drinks and flags… so much fun… Boef must have gotten a lot of cuddles!

Weren’t the people allowed on board? Sure they were. They got a tour with a couple at a time. And do you know how curious people can be? I’ll tell you: Olga’s brother had also helped with the last preparations He had red ribbons stretched at the cabin door. People could look in there, but couldn’t touch anything. But there were cabinets in the wheelhouse too, without keys. Olga’s brother had found a solution: he placed a paper in the cupboard with the text “this is really going too far”… A lot of people reported that they thought that text was so funny!

Klaar voor de doop
The bottle… ready for the baptism of De 4 Vaargetijden
Speech bij de doop
The speecher & the bottle-breaker
Belangstelling voor de doop
Plenty of interest…

The weather was nice and there was a party! Until the wee hours there was chatter…

And that’s how the boating vacations started with my houseboat. It’s over 20 years ago and well before my time. Luckily my predecessors, Boef & Dief, told me the stories. They speak of an elephant’s memory, but you shouldn’t underestimate us dogs either!

metamorfose van Thijs naar De 4 Vaargetijden
Baptism party time July 10, 1999

So, now you’ve heard the whole story of the renovation. I’m glad it’s finished anyway… my dog’s paw sometimes got a little cramp from that writing.

What would you like to hear next time? Are you curious about something from my life as a ship’s dog? Just let me know, huh?

Till next time!

Noty's pootje

PS Are you curious about the interior of my house-boat?

You can read that in the first blogs of my paw. You will also meet my predecessor Dief!