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Ypie - Jeremy & Maureen's 15m Barge
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Ypie - 15m barge Jeremy&Maureens dream
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Visitors since June 2004
Jeremy and Maureen purchased their 15m Euroships Replica Dutch Barge shell, and had it fitted out by Ken Haines, at Normanton Grantham. Their story of buying, fitting out, launch and live aboard life is depicted here.
Sadly the barge is now for sale, click here for details.
These are some notes on the purchase and
fitting out of a 15m min Dutch Luxmotor shell.
A Euroships 15m Barge
My name is Jeremy Woodcock, 64 years. I am a Chartered Surveyor and I have spent most of my working life running my own firm in
Scarboroughon the . Yorkshire Coast
My main sporting interest has been sailing and over the years I have sailed and raced a Merlin Rocket, Osprey, Int. Dragon, Squib, Sonata, Contessa 26, Hustler 30 and latterly an Ian Pocock designed Starlight 30 ‘Trystar’. I have sailed many miles with Trystar, at least 10 times to
and the Ijesslemere, The south Coast when we competed in the Triangle race, a two handed race from Torquay to Crosshaven Cork the back South round the Scillies to Treguier. Holland N Brittanyand finally back to Torquay. Since then we have cruised from a base on the Tamar and another year from Kip Marina before returning to Scarboroughvia the Caledonian Canaland the North Sea South from Inverness.
Some 12 years ago I joined with my partner Maureen and she started taking an interest in Sailing which culminated in our taking Trystar to
and back as a duo. However it was obvious that she enjoyed it most on the canals in Holland and, to be honest, I reached the stage where I did as well. Holland
So the next year, for my birthday present, Maureen chartered a narrowboat on the
for a long weekend. Although March and the time being not long enough for us to get as far as the aqueducts we enjoyed the trip and the laid back atmosphere. This was followed by a week on the Longollen Canal Staffordshire and canal. It rained every day, our two dogs were soaked and in the end the gearbox seized so that our hire company had to send out a tug to drag us back to base. It must have been fun as we decided to sell ‘Trystar’ to a mate and to buy a narrowboat. Worcester
The search for a boat was frustrating. Long journeys and disappointment when the boat in reality did not match the description. We found a good site was Harrell’s in Forthwith. But by the time we had got there the good 2nd hand buys had been sold. Then by chance we called at Blue Water, Thorne where they were just offloading a new
Liverpool38 that they ere about to sell on spec. We had seen these at Harrell’s and to avoid further frustration told them to put a ‘sold’ notice on the boat before they put it in the water. “Little Mo’ as we called her did us well for 18 months. We cruised up the Aire and Calder, then the Calder and Hebble to where we fell in love with the hills and in Shire Cruisers and Nigel Stevens, found a friendly boatyard to look after our needs. Sowerby Bridge
However a 38ft narrowboat, even though Nigel Stevens referred to her as a ‘Tardis’, is small and we were starting to use her three days a week all year round. To avoid the earlier frustration we looked at building New. First Heron
Boats at Mirfield and later Liverpoolboats because of the latter’s apparent value for money and the willingness of the joiners to adopt individual ideas internally (That was before Liverpoolunderwent their recent expansion). However one day, when we were making our way towards the we stopped again at Blue Water. Kevin showed us picture of a 55ft Cruiser by Pindar that he had just taken on that day. These so appealed to Maureen that we got in Kevin’s car to go back to Trent ferry to view. The result was a deal whereby Blue Water took in ‘Little Mo’, made me a cash advance which together with a cheque on a new personal loan enabled us to buy ‘Rosedale Lady’. Stanley
She is a lovely boat but we soon found that although the Central Heating worked when the vendor turned it on, it soon developed air locks and, worse still, overheated when the engine was run. So we went back to
where Nigel took one look and said that of course it wouldn’t work. So Shire Cruisers were commissioned to re plumb the central heating and to correct some errors with the electrical wiring. We also got them to fit a 1500w ‘pro sine’ inverter. Sowerby Bridge
The result was a fine narrowboat and our plan was that we would continue to retirement and then spend 9 moths each year cruising the English Canals. (I should say that when I met Maureen I owned a flat in
. But we soon rejected the idea of retirement there. It would just get too boring and one would soon get fed up with the intense sun.) Spain
We moved back to Blue Water to be within easy reach of
Scarboroughand continued to use the boat as much as we could. However during the winter of 2003/4 Maureen was becoming increasing disgruntled over the dogs, we now have three, bringing water on board each time it rained. ‘Rosedale Lady’ had the normal narrowboat layout in that the entry was via the bedroom. We also realised that with the bedroom in the stern not only did everyone walk pat in their wet clothes but it was not too easy to take oneself off for a kip without being disturbed.
Then one day a Dutch Style narrowboat came into the marina. Hey! A wheelhouse and a forward bedroom ! The answer to our problem. The magazines were searched and eventually we found a David Tomas designed boat for sale. She was not cheap but looked nice. However I found that damp had been getting in for several years rotting some woodwork. I worried about unseen damage so we went no further.
Now we looked around for someone to build us a new narrow Dutch barge. Many said they would but I always worried that they would not get the hull to look right. In most cases the cabin was too boxy. No one seemed to be able to get the sheer right. Not to be straight but also not to be like a Banana. We narrowed our search to Eastwoods at Misterton Notts and Ricochet
Boats at Shadwell Marina also in Nottinghamshire but further up the . We also put ‘Rosedale Lady’ up for sale and she sold to the first couple that looked. We got all our money back but did we ask enough! Now we were committed. The first time Id been boatless for 57 years! Trent
We now had to concentrate our thoughts on the new build and our requirements in view of our retirement plans. It soon became obvious to us that if we were to spend nine months a year narrow boating, our flat in Scarborough would be standing empty but still with costs such as Maintenance, Council tax and Insurance. So, should we sell and live aboard 12 months a year.? We have a number of friends who do. More deliberation. We came to the conclusion that 9 months on a narrowboat was ok if we had another home. But if we did not have another home it was too small.
This would have been how we should have left it. But several years ago we had looked closely at Sagar’s minilux Barges being built at Brighouse. Internally they were beautiful. Maureen was convinced that she could live full time on a Sagar (Even the Queen has been on Sagar’s own boat “Anna’). But a phone call established that the price had risen considerably and the waiting list was into 2006 !
Once again we were talking to the boat builders and once again we found that most of the British new builds were rather box like. We considered buying an older Dutch Hull but discounted these on size as well as cost. Also I thought that we would spend a fortune traveling round
Europelooking at different barges. We saw a nice hull at New Holland Marine but the interior was well advanced and not to our liking. A large saloon at the expense of a cross double bed against the forward bulkhead.
One day after seeing the Euroship advert we were talking to Terry Hibbard of
Haworth, Doncaster, who imports Euroship kits from . During the discussion he said that he had a completed 15 luxmotor hull and that it was at R & D Fabrications New Ollerton. So into the car and there it was (photo right). To my yachtie eyes the hull lines were great. It was a little short in length but otherwise it has the sheer, bow and stern of the barges that we had seen so many of in Holland . It also suffers from a draft of 1m but that will add to stability in estuary cruising. Her shapely lines, and the very substantial internal ribs also reduce the accommodation space and will increase fit out costs. We met Brian of R & D, he was keen to fit the boat out and we toured his works looking at a lot of his work in progress. Back to Terry Hibbard and to an agreement on a price. He also sent me very detailed plans and photographs of completed boats in Holland . (2nd pic) Holland
We now came to our first pitfall. When the invoice arrived we found that Terry Hibbard had added VAT. No it’s not a qualifying ship. A quick consultation with Adrian Stott, the legal eagle of the DBA produced a wealth of information and the advice that we could not deal with the purchase and fit out of the hull as separate items. We must only make one purchase of a completed boat and that boat must be for residential use, not for any pleasure or recreational use. Whilst this was going on Brian of R & D had introduced me to Ken Haines who runs a company ‘Little Brown Mouse’ from various locations near Grantham. His main business is the restoring of antiques but had recently started making loose furniture for narrowboat and other items such as turned wood porthole liners. (Did you see his stand at the Crick Motor Show) He used to own his own narrow boat and has recently fitted out several for R & D. he agreed to fit out or barge, now called ‘Ypie’. We drew up a spec and a BMF contract. He confirmed with his local VAT office that he could supply me the finished barge at zero rate VAT. I then funded him to purchase the hull from Terry Hibbard.
That has now been done and the hull is in Ken Haines Yard at Normanton near Grantham. Normanton is a small agricultural village on the
Grantham Lincoln Road. I wonder how many car drivers will make a double take when they drive by, far from the sea or any river ‘Is that a boat?’
Our accommodation plan is straightforward. Our requirement was for two 2-berth cabins each with a shower and toilet, a cosy saloon and a well-equipped Galley. The wheelhouse, which is to be fold down is to double as a Conservatory with space for summer Dining. Ken has now not only prepared detailed accommodation plans showing how these requirements can be fitted into a 15 metre hull but also a 1/6th scale model. Just like a Dolls House for Maureen. This gives a 3D view of the accommodation as opposed to a flat paper plan. Ken also says that building the model has also helped him plan his work within the curvature of the hull
So the project is under way. With Ian’s help, over the next weeks I intend to add further reports about our progress, the problems we encounter and the steps taken to solve them.
We have a suggest completion date of end of August but i doubt it. But I would hope for year end. Then we hope that the guy at Blue Water Thorne will keep his word and find as a bank side mooring.
We intend to cruise the north, the Thames, I have a daughter in London and then Holland France etc
The barge is now chocked up outside Ken Haines works at Normanton. Maureen and I were down last Friday and agreed just what welding and cutting was needed to the hull. For instance there are no scuppers and the bulwarks are some 8in high. The drainage is by way of two bath sized drains ok for rain but not capable of coping with any seawater that we might take on board in adverse conditions. We could soon be carrying an extra three tons! We also need lacing eyes for bow and stern fenders and Maureen wants a socket for a Rotary drier. The stern rails do not go forward past the wheelhouse and I am concerned over exiting the Wheelhouse when Ypie is rolling in a seaway. So we are going to drill the bulwarks either side of the wheelhouse and fit sockets below so that removable stanchions and life lines can be fitted when we are making estuary or cross channel trips.
Ken is calculating the ballast requirements together with the probable weights of water storage, fresh, grey and foul, and fuel storage. Two fuel tanks are already built in but I want a third to supply the diesel CH boiler.
We have also agreed that the Insulation is to be Thinsulate Acoustic Insulation. This is a fabric developed for space craft and now widely used in out door clothing and particularly diving suits. It is also used for sports car soft tops. There is a lot of information on its application to marine insulation on the 3M web site. Look for Marine product solutions. The site also lists the two
suppliers. The Thinsulate is applied to the hull sides and a second layer is applied to the back of the plywood panels that will line the hull. (Thinsulate is a 3M reg name). We will also be using Thinsulate Acoustic Insulation in the engine room and possible as a soft top for the wheelhouse. UK
Another interesting point with regard to our hull lining is that the plywood panels will be fitted in such a ways as they will ‘float’ to allow for the difference in the expansion of the steel hull to the timber lining. For further info on this exciting concept you should contact Ken Haines at Little Brown Mouse 01400 251 144.
The hull is still one vast empty space and that is taxing Maureen’s patience. It seems ages since we agreed to purchase. However I can see that things are coming together and there should be some changes by the time of our next visit
We went down to Normanton to view progress and to meet two friends from the past, Anne and Johnathan Barker. Unknown to us they had been planning to buy or build a Dutch barge and had seen this progress story on Ian’s web site and recognized from the background history that it was Maureen and I.
Ken Haines has now virtually completed the detailed joinery plans. He has built access to Ypie, it looks like a gallows for awkward clients. Internally timber lathes are being bolted to the frames and the first machine has appeared. Progress. The pig iron ballast and the Thinsulate insulation should be in by next weekend. Then the floor and lining.
The engine room is huge and present plans are for all the tankage to go there.
We have also had detailed discussions over the electrical requirements both for leisure and barge operation as this needs to be agreed now so that wiring layout can be finalised. We are planning on as much 240 volt equipment as possible.
Ken is discussing ventilation with his BSS inspector. We would like a ducted air system so that we can fit air conditioning if we want at a later stage.
4 weeks on since our last report. Work is progressing but, as we expected, slowly and with completion now likely to be November !
Most of the Thinsulate lining is in (see photo right), well up to gunwale height plus the ceilings. Most of the electrical wiring is in as its first stage plumbing.
The joiners are busy on the forward cabin, the main bedroom. We have decided that we can have a 5ft bed and still leave room although the floor by the side of the bed will slope because of the external lines of the hull. The amount of cupboard space that has been planned is extensive. There will be a separate shower, drying room and a wc with washbasin both accessible from Main cabin or Fore cabin.
After some difference of opinion, happily friendly, Maureen and Ken have agreed the layout for the galley area. Ken had to be convinced that we wanted worktop space either side of the hob. Maureen had to be convinced that the place for the washing machine is the engine room. (After all it is not as if she will wash everyday. Prob weekly at first).
The galley is to be built in Cherry. The main cabin will be marine plywood painted ivory with cherry frames.
There will be a mixture of fitted and loose seating and Tracey Abbot, the upholsterer,(Again very rural. His workshop is a farmyard south of Grantham). was visiting to suggest fabrics and colours. One topic of discussion is whether the outside colour scheme should be reflected in the internal colours
Now plans are being drawn for the layout of the main cross bulkhead which will face visitors as they come down the companion way from the wheelhouse. So it is a very important feature. It has to incorporate a fireplace for a multifuel stove as well as storage for booze, glasses, TV, DVD and books.
The price of pig iron has soared so the ballast is now to be 2nd hand railway lines. That should be in place this week.
There has been lost of head scratching over engines. Most of Ypie’s life will be on canals. But there will be a requirement to navigate the Trent, Humber and other rivers and to cross the Southern North Sea. So was it to be 75 or 90 hp or more. The ships designers recommend 110 hp. In the end we decided that although we would not often want the extra power we should be able to have it when wanted. We also thought that the re sale value would be reduced if a smaller engine was fitted. So we have ended up ordering a Perkins Sabre 130hp. It is a naturally aspirated engine with a good reputation for reliability and with spares readily available . It comes fitted with a trolling valve for canal work with safety gear to prevent one accidentally knocking off the trolling valve and damaging the clutch. It also came with a good financial package but the downside of a long delivery. (My advice to others is to do your engine research early although we came up with two manufacturers who were about to bring out new models. There were also two with stands at the Crick show who said they would come up with packages and who have not yet made contact!)
The next matter to take our attention is the design of the wheelhouse. It will be fold down and fitted with a Thinsulate roof. That can easily be rolled back or forwards to expose the forward or rear areas of the wheel house or removed completely. The forward and aft windscreens will fold down. The side windows will be removable even with the roof in place for ultra hot weather. One question not resolved is whether the forward windscreen should be vertical as Euroships design or be raked forward. More modern and better in rain but are we building a replica. The jury is still out.
We have made two visits to the barge recently but each time I forgot to take my camera.
The ballast has now been installed. In the end ken used 2nd hand ‘A’ plates from the railways. These are the plates that go between the running rail and the sleeper. Two plats just fitted neatly between each frame reducing the need for woodwork to hold the ballast in place.
We are very pleased with the Thinsulate and decided to added it to the underside of the marine ply flooring to give extra insulation. (Neither of our narrowboats had sub floor insulation and we noticed this getting out of bed with bare feet in winter)
The joiners are building the bed in the forecabin. It is 5ft wide and leaves little space between it and the cupboards lining the sides. However after discussion we decided that we would rather have a 5ft bed than increase the floor between the bed and cupboards by 3ins.
The bulkheads for the shower room and the wc, either side of the passage to the forecabin, are complete. We have decided that both will have bonded ‘wet floors’ Now we are looking at laminates to line the walls. I would prefer tiles but have been convinced that laminates are more durable and lessen the risk of water penetration to the sub floor.
In the main cabin the framework for the kitchen units and the fitted sofa have been made. The latter is three sides of an octagon. This should make it more sociable than an ‘L’shaped settee. However it leaves us with an awkward triangular shape behind. What shall we do with it. Booze cabinet.
We have purchased a Morse ‘O’ range 4kw multifuel stove. The smallest we could find with a nice style. We can now plan the main bulkhead which will include the stove.
Work is starting next week on the wheelhouse. This, in my view is one of the most important areas as it will be used most. We are having an upright windscreen as in our view this is more trad than a forward rake. The dashboard will be set at an angle again because of looks. The equipment will be minimal. Danforth Compass, Garmin 128 GPS. Radio with dsc and a depth meter. Demisting will come fom the engine manifold. The wheel, plain Vetus maghogany, will be mounted centrally and there will be a small area for charts on the port side.
Originally we were planning on an Iroko, poor mans teak, wheelhouse. We have been told that working on Iroko is now a cancer risk. We cannot afford teak so have reverted to Mahogany.
Last week Kenny Haines went over to
to see Cornelius. Amongst other matters he discussed the paintwork. He was told that the primer was a bog standard industrial primer. Great. We can now paint with industrial paints rather than expensive two pot finishes. This makes it much easier to touch up after minor contact damage. However the hull has been primed and standing outside for some 8 months and quite a lot of shot blasting will be required. Rotterdam
Maureen has just to decide on colour.
blue and cream is fav at present. Oxford
It has been sometime since I have written an update even though we have been making weekly visits to Little Brown Mouse at Normanton, Grantham. This is because, on the surface, progress appears to be desperately slow. Really it is not as all the Cherry wood furniture has been made and is in the finishing shop for oiling and waxing.
Internally the fore cabin has been painted out.
Externally the big step forward has been the construction of the collapsible wheelhouse. This is in mahogany and the joiners have added plenty of detail. All that remains to be done is the fabrication and fitting of the soft-top roof. We have the prices for a breathable canvas top but are still considering making an insulated roof using Thinsulate. Evidently 3M supply a suitable material to BMW for their soft-top cars.
The depression over the slow movement has not been helped by several problems that have arisen due to lack of homework or research before we purchased the hull.
When we looked at the hull it was obvious that the tube for a bow thrusters had been fitted. ‘That’s good as it would be difficult to retro fit’ Now we find that when Vetus advise on the HP of the thrusters needed for a boat of this size the propeller is small compared to the diameter of the tube. This will result in excessive cavitation and loss of power. It is not possible to fit a larger prop. It would seem that Cornelius is of the opinion that a much more powerful bow thrusters is needed. This not only increases the cost but also greatly increases the current demand. We would have to have a four-110amphbattery bank in the bow locker to provide power for two minutes use. So R & D are now looking at ways of cutting out the existing tube and re fitting a smaller diameter tube to suit the thrusters that Vetus recommend as the cost, we hope, will be less than the cost of the over large thrusters.
Similarly the cabin windows. Yes they were cut to an attractive Dutch Style. However when it came to sourcing frames from the UK manufacturers it was found that they were not a stock size.. So we have had to have moulds made to cast the frames for the pretty stern cabin windows whilst the main cabin windows have been made up from sheet brass. Possibly a blessing in disguise as otherwise we would have been fitting anodised alloy frames. The port holes were ok as we cut those ourselves to suit R & D stock cast brass frames
Also the skylights. Ken was making nice cherry wood liners until it was realised that they had the secondary function of acting as emergency escapes and I would never get my beer gut through.
There are many other examples of where the hull has been built to the design that pleases the eye rather than with a view to economic completion. So far we have found only one straight line, the top edge of the forward wheelhouse bulkhead. The top of the after bulkhead is ever so slightly concave !
I am a retired Chartered Surveyor and have been quite amazed at the fees that Marine Surveyors require for making the calculations needed to enable the builder to certify that the boat is being built to RCD category C. I was in the wrong job. I cannot see that the potential liability working on a boat is greater than my liability, and the continuing liability of my colleagues, in carrying out detailed surveys of residential properties.
Its no consolation to Maureen and I, still in a Caravan, that these problems will not arise on the later Euroship hulls.
The good news is that all the cabin brass wear has been delivered as has the toilet wear and pipe work from Lee Sanitation and the oil fired central heating boiler from Terry Hibbard at Harworth Heating. A lot of gear has been purchased from Vetus besides the bow thruster, including the hydraulic steering, stern gear, pumps, fans, instrumentation and the anchor winch. They have sent a dispatch note. Perkins have also told Kenny that the engine has been running on the test bed and has been passed. Incidentally we have decided against a variable pitch propeller.
Well work is still progressing albeit slowly
We will be spending Christmas in a Caravan. Something we had never thought about. When we get a frosty morning the frost on the roof of the awning melts from the inside producing a gentle rain.
In an earlier report I mentioned how Cornelius in producing the kits had designed the kit for the 23m lux motor and to produce the smaller versions had merely omitted the mid sections using similar bow and sterns.
I am attaching two photos showing how we have had to sleave the bow thrusters and stern tubes.
Internally all is progressing and last time Maureen and I were down it was difficult to take photos because of bodies.
The hardwood floor to the saloon is being laid this week and the seating frame can be re set ready for the upholster after Christmas.
The engine has been craned in and the engineers are connecting up. However what was a roomy engine room is now full of tankage, calorifier, oil c.h. boiler and a solid looking very Germanic engine.
We are going down again tomorrow to agree the wheelhouse dashboard layout.
16th March 2005 I have not posted any comment recently mainly because progress has still been slowish and we have had major trauma over the VAT.
My enquiries made before we started indicated that as long as we purchase a complete barge from one supplier, that Maureen and I were going to liveaboard full time and had sold our bricks and mortar home and that the size was such that the barge met the 15 ton criteria we could ask the boat fitter to supply at zero rate.
Kenny Haines also made enquiries from his VAT office and was given similar advice with a suggestion that to protect himself he should ask Maureen and I to give him an affidavit to say that we were using the boat residentially.
When articles started appearing on the net and in the press he continued to talk to his vat office and received advice that my barge, where I was a liveaboard could be zero but the second, for Johnny Barker which was not a livaboard could not. Then they said he should write to Southend to ask the question. He got a reply with the business note dated 31st December 2004 which specifically says that replica D B’s must be rated at 17.5%.
Fortunately we can find the money to go on but it has to come from Savings that were invested to boost our state pension. The reduced income will make life hard.
Adrian Stott of the DBA is of the opinion that HMCE have got it wrong and the argument is ongoing. He is gathering evidence to put up a case. However it looks as if, in the meantime, we will have to pay up and then appeal.
One result of the VAT is that we got so depressed after reading their letter to Kenny Haines that when we got back to Scarborough we took a furnished flat and moved out that night from the caravan we have been living in since May 2004.
As far as Ypie goes there has now been a lot of progress. The accommodation is now virtually complete save for snagging. Last Friday John was building the wheelhouse seats and three accommodation cabins are complete but for the polishing of the woodwork.
Externally the only piece of equipment that has been fitted is the anchor winch. The mast has been erected but will need to be replaced. It was made by a sub contractor who turned it out of a lamination of 22 pieces of ash. However either he has not allowed for the weather or used the wrong glues but the laminations are coming apart. It had looked beautiful in the workshop but I had thought it an extravagance as it had cost over £1,000.00 !
Work has also started on painting the hull. Just a coat on the lower half has really enhanced the appearance and puts great emphasis on the fine lines.
So, hopefully six more weeks will see us on the Trent.
Incidentally I have heard that Kees Cornelissen has taken exception to my comments over the sizes of the cabin windows, the bow thrust tube, tabernacle etc. Im glad to know that he reads these commentsand I cannot go back on them. The problems with these matters has caused extra work and cost. However I am still delighted with the overall design of the hull. Its lines appeal to my yachtie background and, although very obviously a replica, it has so many of the characteristics of the luxmotor design. The counter might be a huge waste of space but I would have it no other way. I still recommend anyone considering a new build, VAT not withstanding, to visit the euroships web site.
15th December 2006.... Some photos.....
Please excuse the bad English. Please also note that any views expressed are my own. Please do not rely on any statements that appear to be statements of fact. Please check for your self.
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Created 20th June 2004 - Last updated 20 December 2011