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Dave and Lyn's 19.8m Euroships design barge (Laura-Jo) This web page depicts her construct at Sirius Yachts.
Go to Update 16-Feb-07
Lyn and I have been planning this project for a number of years having been sailors for a fair time (pic -left- of our boat 'Scallywag'). To me there was two key elements to the project which were the right boatbuilder and the right design.
My criteria for choosing a builder were:-
Professional boatbuilders capable of building any boat from plans or in kit form and therefore having the knowledge to advise on the pros/cons of different designs, etc.
A proven track record.
Skills to produce vessels with good lines.
Facility to build indoors (improving quality and reducing build time)
Direct access to widebeam waterways (some builders are miles from a waterway so what happens IF something goes wrong after launching or for future servicing / additions, etc)
< A builder with their own moorings on a widebeam waterway.
As you can imagine it wasnít easy to tick all of these boxes and after visiting many builders I finally contacted a company whose steel sailing boats I'd previously admired for their beautiful lines. The company was Sirius Yachts Ltd, which has river frontage on the Severn and has the added benefit of being only 15 miles from my home. I phoned and enquired and was duly invited to visit Bryan Jones the MD at the works. This is when you realise that fate plays a key part in our lives. I duly visited and entered the factory instantly recognising a familiar face; Iíd known Bryan, the chap I met, for a number of years, as we sit a few seats apart at Worcester Rugby Club, however I didnít know his surname or profession.
So now I had a boat builder but what size, shape, layout, etc, etc. These must be the same agonising questions that everyone goes through and which only research, more research, advice and viewing other barges can resolve. I must say that this website and the DBA membership have been the source of a fantastic amount of good info along the way. Again I identified specific criteria on which I could not compromise the main one being the ability to transit the Kennett & Avon canal. Iíve made my choices which Iím happy to discuss but they are my personal preferences and compromises which may be different for others.
After the DBA seminar in Gorinchem I returned to Holland, this time with Bryan, and we visited Euroships and finally decided on their 20AC kit redesigned to 19.8m x 4m x 2.1m (AD) x 0.9m (same as in pics above). My order was placed and the plasma cut kit of Lloyds Grade ĎAí steel was duly delivered in late November 2006. The following pictures show the progress to date.
The barge build is continuing at a pace now. Brian, Alan, Dave and the team have experienced a few problems with the kit but nothing major or as Kees (Euroships) would say its not "a drama". Its yet another benefit in having experienced, skilled boat builders who can think on their feet and adapt to situations. There's also some interesting West Midlands industrial language at times too!!!!!
She's certainly looking pretty already, if you can say that of a big lump of primed steel. I've asked Brian when he thinks she'll be ready and he smiles, looks at her and changes the subject to rugby
The barge shell is progressing well although there are few changes apparent. This is because of the amount of welding required to complete the shell and partly due to us wanting a slightly more complex design (forward seating, stepped and reinforced roof, lowered rear deck, etc).
Once the welding is completed things will satrt to move along at quite a pace. Already the orders have been placed for the engine, stern gear, forward and stern bowthrusters, Kabola boiler, etc and the electrical loom supplier has been briefed. The next update should see some obvious changes.
At last the shell is complete!!! You'll see from the photo's how much shaping, welding, etc was required for the forward seating and lowered stern deck (sun deck). The quality of the work remains excellent as is demonstrated by the time and effort spent on fitting the escape hatch on the stern deck. Bryan (owner of Sirius) was insistent that it should be flush with the deck to prevent stubbed toes, tripping, etc. This attitude is the norm at Sirius where Dave and the team are quality craftsmen, keen to build something that not just the owner is proud of!!!
You'll also see that her name 'Laura-Jo' has been welded in place. You would never believe how difficult it is to get accurately cut, square lettering to look right on a multi-curved bow. In the end a sign-writer came in and said that certain letters needed trimming so as to look good. He was spot on!! Thank goodness we didn't have more than two daughters!!
The photos also show the stern and bowthruster tubes in place ready for complete fitting and the engine has been in and out several times. Bryan is now ready to start painting and commence the fit out. Windows have been a problem because no UK manufacturer could produce windows with the tight radiuses required by Kees's design. It was either compromise with mitered corners or find an alternative. So off to Amsterdam we went window shopping!! Sounds bad I know but we were shopping for windows!! We visited the manufacturer used by Euroships and it confirmed the 'can do' approach of Dutch suppliers. They just don't say no!
The next post should see significant, visible changes as Laura-Jo takes on her first coats of paint and interior fitments.
It's been 12 months since my last update as it's been difficult to get photo's of anything meaningful as there was so much happening, although to little obvious effect. For the past year the interior and mechanical fit-out have progressed well, but its always felt like a work in progress. As you can see from the pictures, we're now on the home straight and as bits are completed the benefits of the guy's hard work becomes more apparent. I've said all along that I chose Sirius for the quality of their work and as they've progressed the craftsmanship has become even more apparent. Everything on the build from welding through to joinery is second to none and the Sirius team are to be congratulated!!! We're expecting to launch in early October at which time I'll post another update.
I've also included some photo's of a new Tjalk in build at Sirius, which further demonstrates the quality of their work (she's a beauty).
Windows in and some paint on
Walkway looking forward into the Galley andlooking aft showing space for washing machine and tumble dryer
Wheelhouse (double glazed) looking astern and forward
Galley Cupboards (Starboard and Port sides)
Mast which Doubles as a crane.......and plenty of wardrobe space
Quality double glazed Dutch windows.... and look at the quality of the joinery
Raised wheelhouse seating / dinette ... and skylights
Saloon nearing completion and.... stern sundeck
Forward cabin nearing completion (radiator will be covered).... view from the helm
New Tjalk in build at Sirius
Update 11-Nov 2008 - Finally in the Water
Dave holding a mooring line and looking very relieved
A few more of Laura-Jo on our Upton-upon-Severn mooring.
Dave and Lyn 2009
Please note: whilst we have tried to establish facts
wherever possible, any views given are only our opinions.
If you have any questions, you can email Dave by clicking here
Created 17th September 2006 - Last updated 20 December 2009