30 May 2013

Zonder Zorg is Re-Launched

This morning we received a batch of photos showing the completed paint job. Zonder Zorg has a rather fine complexion for a 105-year-old lady.

Proudly wearing her new colours, she was ready to be rolled-out and prepared for re-launching.

She was picked-up by a low crawler and moved toward the water.

Her new four-bladed screw and freshly refinished rudder look wonderful.

Here we see some detail of the new stern bearing, shaft and propeller, as well as one of the protective anodes.

She was slung and gently lowered into the water...

... and for the first time in over six months, her bottom is wet again.

Before she was out of the slings, work resumed aboard. There are still many details to be attended to to make her liveable before we arrive on Monday, but we are assured that we will be able to move in upon arrival. Even then, we know there will be small things needing completion, tweaking, adjusting and refining. We look forward to moving aboard and making her our home.

28 May 2013

Which Way to Go?

There are over 45,000 kilometres of navigable rivers and canals in Europe. That is more than a circumnavigation's worth of inland waterways to explore. In France alone, there are over 8,000 kilometres. We are faced with many decisions in taking Zonder Zorg southward from Harlingen toward our planned wintering port in Carcassonne on the Canal du Midi.

Our initial intention after we have moved aboard and settled-in, is to spend some time doing a thorough shake-down of Zonder Zorg by wandering around the canals of Friesland. Once we are satisfied that all systems are working properly, we want to take a meandering route through Noord Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Limburg to Maastricht and then head into Walloonia along the Maas.

Our experience, and that of so many before us, tells us to quickly make our way through Belgium. The Maas is the shortest route through and is also reputed to be the most pleasant. Once we enter France at Givet, we will be faced with many choices of routes to take us through northeastern France, but it is a rather safe bet that our first destination will be the Champagne.

Onward from the Champagne, we can opt to continue via Paris, with the decision of whether to go by way of the Marne or the Aisne, Oise and Seine. From the Seine above Paris we can choose to continue on the Loing, Briare, Loire and Centre to the Saône, which entails 554 kilometres and 157 locks; or possibly take the more scenic Yonne, Nivernais, Loire and Centre, which is a bit longer and has a few more locks; or we can take the Yonne and Bourgogne to the Saône, which is shorter at 401 kilometres, but has more work with 214 locks.

Alternatively, if we decide to give Paris a miss on this trip, we can follow the Aisne a la Marne, the Lateral a la Marne and the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne to the Saône, or we can do the Marne a la Rhin and Canal des Vosges to the Saône. An additional eastern alternative is to continue along the Marne a la Rhin into the Alsace, then southward and take the Rhône au Rhin to the Saône. The route we take will depend on many factors: how much time we have, how many locks we feel like doing, what history and culture we want to see, and what we want to eat and drink. Whichever route we take, we have to get to the Saône. Six different routes meet at or near St-Jean-de-Losne on the Saône, and the town is rightly considered the centre of the French waterways system. I had based my previous canal boat there between 2000 and 2006.

Southward from St-Jean-de-Losne, there are no alternatives. We will follow the Saône until it empties into the Rhône at Lyon and then follow the Rhône to just short of the Mediterranean, where we will branch off into the Canal du Rhône a Sète, which will lead us to the Canal du Midi and along it is Carcassonne.

However, first we need to get from Vancouver to Harlingen, and that is less than a week away.

25 May 2013

Planning Ahead

When we were in Southern France in mid-February on our way back to Friesland from Spain, we stopped in Carcassonne and Narbonne to investigate possibilities for winter moorage. To hedge our bets, we applied to both. Now after three months of communicating and negotiation, we are delighted to have secured a place for Zonder Zorg in the Port de Carcassonne.

The Port is located adjacent to the exclamation triangle symbol on this bicycle map. It is at the edge of Ville Basse, which is referred to as the New Town. New because it dates only to 1247, when Louis IX founded it below and across the River Aude from La Cité, the fortified citadel on the hill.

The first settlement in the area dates back about 5500 years, but it wasn't until about 2100 years ago that the Romans fortified the hilltop. In 462 the Romans formally ceded the province of Septimania to the Visigoth King Theodoric II, who had captured Carcassonne in 453. Through the following thousand years and more, Carcassonne was the target of attack by seemingly everyone with any aspiration to power in Western Europe. Among these were the Goths, Franks, Saracens, Burgundians, Moors, Albigensians, and the Cathars.

Carcassonne is home to about 50,000 people. It is about mid-way along the Canal du Midi from the Mediterranean to Toulouse, and is within a few kilometre from being the most southerly part of the French canal system. A major portion of its businesses is tourism, centred around La Cité and the Canal du Midi, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Wine growing is also a major focus here, it being in the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region, with many famous areas, such as Minervois, Corbières and Limoux nearby. We look forward to a pause there.

The Painting Continues

Another batch of photos arrived from Friesland overnight, showing some details of the continuing painting. Here we see the stem looking forward from the front of the foredeck. The insides of the bulwarks are now painted and drying, waiting for the masking for the application of the nonskid coats to the decks.

Turning around and looking aft, we see the tabernacle, spud leg caisson and propane boxes have been painted black to match the gunwale tops.

Aft in the cockpit, there is a nice view down through the after engine room hatch at the generator. Seen around the periphery of the hatch is the rich ivory paint drying and awaiting masking for the nonskid application.

Here is the view forward over the roef. Soon this will become a familiar sight to us as we wend our way slowly southward through the canals of the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

24 May 2013

Painting Progress

While all the technical things were being installed and hooked-up in the engineering spaces, work was progressing on Zonder Zorg's exterior painting. Earlier, the old paint had been removed from the roef and the surfaces were prepared and primed. We had chosen an ivory colour for the roef, for us a more pleasing and slightly warmer colour than the previous white.

The first finish coat was applied a few days ago.

For her hull beneath the rubbing strake, we chose a navy blue, and for the topsides we decided on a rich burgundy. We opted for these darker colours on the hull because the previous white too easily showed rust weepings. We thought that we could find better things to do than frequent cosmetic touch-ups.

The rubbing strake and the gunwale tops are in black. Our thinking here is that with these being the most commonly chipped, chafed and worn areas as the barge is manoeuvred in and out of canal locks, black would be the easiest colour to match and the simplest to apply without looking patchy.

Now that the initial colour coats are on, we are told that Zonder Zorg is being moved today to another shed for the application of the finish coats. We look forward to receiving photos of the finished project. We look even more forward to seeing it in person in ten days.

22 May 2013

Galley Countertops Installed

Some more photos have arrived from Harlingen. These show that the custom-made Marlan® countertop has been installed. Marlan® is a Dutch product that is non-porous, dirt repellent, stain resistant, hygienic and food safe. Unlike the Corian®, which we had in our sailboat, Sequitur, Marlan® is also flame resistant and has a high resistance to scratching.

We had initially wanted granite countertops in Zonder Zorg; however, once Klaas showed us samples and specifications for Marlan®, and explained the seamless fabrication and shaping, the decision to go with Marlan®, even though it is more expensive than granite, was easy. To coordinate with our iroco flooring, mahogany trim and the pale cream cabinetry and bulkheads, we chose the Himalaya Bronze colour.

This photo shows the galley sink nicely tucked beneath the countertop.

The cooktop is ready to nestle into its position above the convection/microwave oven. In his email, Klaas told us that the interior will be completed this week and the iroco flooring will be oiled next week. We are very excited to move aboard.

21 May 2013

We Have Power

With all the equipment that had been installed the past couple of weeks around the periphery of Zonder Zorg's engine room, there remained a large yawning void in the centre. The space was waiting for the engine. We had decided on a Perkins-Sabre M92B.

The M92B is a 4.4 litre, 4 cylinder in-line, vertical 4 stroke water cooled and naturally aspirated diesel engine with a fresh water heat exchanger. Among the things I like about the engine is that its maximum power and torque are developed at low revolutions. The torque curve is rather flat, with its maximum developed at only 1400 rpm, where the fuel consumption is about 4.5 litres per hour. With a properly matched propeller, this will allow us to cruise at the 8kph speed limits of most small canals at around 1200 rpm or so, while burning about three litre per hour.

Last night Klaas sent a couple photos showing the engine being lowered into the space that had been left for it.

It was then fitted onto the mounts that had been prepared for it, and in short order, the raw water cooling, exhaust, fuel and electrical systems were connected. Zonder Zorg again has motive power.

17 May 2013

Six Month Refit Nearing End

In late November Zonder Zorg had been hauled from the water in Harlingen to be completely gutted to little more than bare hull in preparation for a complete refit. It is now approaching six months since she was hauled, and her makeover is nearing completion.

A few more batches of photos have arrived in the ten days since I last posted. These show that work continues with the technical installations.

The installation of Fischer-Panda 6kW DC generator appears now to be complete. It is located at the after end of the engine room, centred above the propeller shaft, and thus will be easily accessible through the aft engine room hatch.

To starboard of the generator we see the main engine exhaust muffler ready for the engine when it is installed.

Just forward of the muffler we see the propeller shaft's stern gland greaser has been installed. Its location appears to make it very convenient to give the crank a half turn after each day's run. From what I can figure, the red plastic caps on the pipe ends are protecting the in and out connections to the generator and main engine waste heat hot water system.

Continuing counterclockwise, forward and along the starboard side of the space we see that the Victron Phoenix inverter/charger that had been fitted earlier in the month has now been replaced by a more substantial Victron MultiPlus 24/5000/120. This 5 kilowatt pure sine wave inverter/charger provides many automatic functions, including up to 120 amps of charging to the 24 volt bank of house batteries, which can be seen connected beneath the unit. To the left of this, mounted on the forward bulkhead of the compartment we see the raw water strainer, which appears to be for the generator.

Toward the port side of the forward bulkhead we see what appears to be the raw water strainer for the main engine. Next to it, and also likely for the main engine, we see that a linked pair of Racor diesel fuel filters has been installed. In the centre of the photo, against the port side of the compartment, we see one of the two interconnected diesel fuel tanks. To monitor the fuel level is a sight tube, and there will also be an electronic fuel gauge fitted.

Completing the circular tour of the engine room, we see the Maritime Booster diesel-fired heating and hot water system. It appears that the only installations left in the engine room are the main engine and its transmission. The technical installations appear to be coming together nicely; we are eager to try-out all the new systems.

07 May 2013

Another Refit Update

Another small batch of photos arrived last evening from Harlingen. These show some of the work done prior to Zonder Zorg heading over to the paint shop. The new generator was lowered into the after end of the engine room.

It was then moved aft and onto the bed that had been prepared for it.

Meanwhile, as work on the engineering continued, up top the roef was masked and primed in advance of the painting appointment.

Here, looking aft over the mast tabernacle, we see the graceful curves of the newly-extended roef.

Here are details at the mast tabernacle. Flanking it are the two new propane tank boxes, and in the middle, the new caisson for the spud leg is nicely and unobtrusively fitted in place. When deployed, the retractible spud leg will extend as much as two metres below below Zonder Zorg's bottom, which is three-quarters of a metre below waterline. This will give a quick and convenient mooring to the canal bottom in up to two-and-a-half metres of water depth. Most small canals are less than two metres in depth, many of them much less. Not only will the leg be useful for remaining in position while waiting for a lock or a bridge, it will also be ideal for securing alongside the usually rough and irregular canal banks that are found in most places except the organised mooring spots. The leg is just over five metres back from the bow, so mooring lines ashore from the bow and stern cleats will have more than ample leverage to hold her aligned to the bank, and our three-metre aluminium gangplank, which attaches to the gunwale, will bridge the gap.

The placement of the spud leg between the pillars of the tabernacle precludes our fitting a mast. While our initial intention had been to re-rig Zonder Zorg for sail, we decided that we were getting to an age where sailing her would be too much of a chore. Additionally, our thinking was that for the few times we would have sailed her, the clutter of folded mast, boom and gaff and all the associated shrouds, stays, sails and other rigging would be in the way on the canals. Our voyage through Patagonia and around Cape Horn had satisfied our thirst for sailing. We decided to forego the mast and go for a more relaxed boating adventure.

03 May 2013

Monitoring the Refit from Afar

It is rather difficult to monitor a boat's refit from 7700 kilometres away. Fortunately, with today's easy communications, we can keep an eye on her in Harlingen while we remain in Vancouver. Here are some recent photos showing the progress of work. We see that the new aft window has been installed and that some of the wiring has been pulled from the engine room to the place where the new monitoring and control panel will be fitted.

From the cockpit, we see the newly built double-glazed window matches the elegant curves of the roef. Its inward opening feature will allow a nice cross breeze with the opening skylight above the galley and the six opening portlights forward.

Another interior shot shows the sliding pocket-door to the heads, as well as the beautifully designed and crafted interior. We are anxious to move aboard.

On the technical end of things, we see that the stern tube has been fitted and is awaiting the propeller shaft, which is awaiting the installation of the new Perkins M92B engine and PRM transmission.

In the engine room we see that the Victron inverter/charger has been fitted in place, but looks to be not yet hooked-up. This will handle the 24 volt house bank of traction gel cell batteries.

All technical and interior work will be paused next week as Zonder Zorg is loaded on a flatbed and transported down the road to the painting contractor's shed to be dressed in her new colours. We eagerly await new photos.