So we arrived in Holland and spent a week in gorgeous Willemstadt near to Dintelmond where our boat sat on the hard in a shed getting the bottom keel replated. We had planned to spend the week on the boat but what with welding and the fact that it was a big climb up to the deck from the ground we decided to stay in a hotel. We ended up in a little hotel in Willemstadt about 7 km from the boat yard. Not a hardship as at €80 a night for both of us with a huge breakfast thrown in; it was a pretty good deal.Willemstadt harbour
Most of the week was spent buying all the things we needed to kit out the boat including a washing machine from Ikea. We then went over to the UK to visit family and friends for several weeks with our German friends joining us for 4 days charter on the Leeds Liverpool canal which Barbara has written about in a previous blog.
I left you when we were signing the papers to transfer ownership on a Friday. This was duly completed with funds now authorized to flow from the escrow account at EYN to the seller and to the boatyard for the work. It was also necessary to get our insurance in place so I joined the Dutch Barge Association on line after chatting with the membership secretary on her barge on the Thames about whether a Dutch steel cruiser would be looked down upon by all the classic barge owners. She assured me all would be good and so I applied for the insurance with Knox Johnston that they offer. Within an hour they mailed back asking for more info so I sent over the survey report and the insurance was approved. But by this time everyone was going home so I couldn’t pay for the insurance until Monday and they didn’t bind over until the money was paid. You can probably already see where this is heading!
By Monday we started the Leeds Liverpool canal trip with our German friends and I duly paid for the insurance and notified the broker that it was in place so that the previous owner could lapse their insurance. Come Wednesday we sail pass a bit of unlocked wifi and I download some email including one from the broker titled ‘Accident’. I could feel the adrenalin getting ready to kick in much as I used to when I was an architect and emails would arrive from developers announcing that they were about to sue everyone in sight for some reason or other. It turns out that the broker had gone onto the boat on the Saturday to drop off the shore power cable that he had picked up from the seller. The boat was dark as it was in a shed and being Saturday the lights were not on. He had climbed down the companionway and disappeared through a hatch into the engine room breaking a rib in the process. The last line in his email was ‘I hope that you have insurance for this’!
He was mad at me for leaving the hatch open and mad at himself for clambering around a boat under repair without a flashlight in the dark. The hatch was open to vent the welding fumes as it had been when we arrived a week earlier. I sent a report off to Knox Johnston as I thought that if it really got nasty they might have some exposure as the insurance had been approved. I sent an email back to the broker with serious empathy for his pain and the fact that as a self employed person and injury or sickness can be quite devastating. I also said that as far as I knew our insurance kicked in Monday and so if there was a claim it would be on the previous owners insurance, obviously a tricky point as we now owned the boat. The broker had told us that under Dutch law the previous insurance had to stay in place until ours was active. I had however not verified this.
As we were at the time in idyllic cruising mode on the Leeds Liverpool, more concerned about Kerry and the cows so I kept the unfolding drama to myself as there seemed no point in more than one person worrying and it was going to play out in some fashion whatever happened. By the time we arrived back at Barbara’s mum’s place in Cottingham I had received an email from the still in pain but calmed down broker saying that there would be no claim as it was just a silly accident.
Now I am back in Holland spending my second night actually on the boat in the water. I am in the process of having all the LPG (propane) lines replaced and so there is no cooker and I was in a bad way getting up for my first morning with no tea. Barbara is still at her mum’s helping with major renovations there and will be here on the weekend with Kerry. Today I woke up to torrential rain and thunder and lightning and drips from the ceiling which showed up the leaks – all now fixed as they were easily traceable. However no tea and leaks on my first night made me wonder about the path we are on. The boat is still a good choice at the price but it will take a bit of work to bring it to the level at which we are ecstatic to have it as our home for the next year and a bit.
I spent a large part of today sorting out our Internet access for the boat for the next month. Lots of weird on line adventures- you can not top up an account on line without a Dutch address but you can buy a top up code at any store which you enter into your phone or dongle. We are now pretty connected for the next two months –I think! Skype (martin golder) and phone 31684720018.
Back to the boat- I am happy with where the process has brought us. I am in list making mode and at that stage where the lists grow faster than they are done. What needs doing? To be technical: The afore mentioned LPG lines and a gas sniffer are on the way. The washing machine has to be installed. The thruhull for the drain has been put in already but some carpentry will be required. The entry hatch is so bad ergonomically that it will drive us crazy with head and back bashes so it is to be enlarged. Some steel work and a new polycarbonate hatch. I still have to fire up all the various systems and check them out. But the underwater is all done with new plating, paint and cutlass bearing.
Bottom line the boat is floating and we will hoist our flag on July 1st and start moving in some direction still to be determined.