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The aim of this website is to provide an insight into the length, breadth and depth of the project to procure a new build dutch barge.  It is a complex task and certainly on a par with attempting to build a house - in fact arguably a more complicated task as a ship has more systems.  One should not under estimate the effect of length, or rather more accurately volume.  A dutch barge may be the same length as a narrow boat at 60 - 70ft, but is likley to be twice the width and have more depth.  The volume is probably 5 times that of a narrowboat.  Costs mirror the increase in volume rather than length, with the requirement for bigger hull scantlings and more complex systems.  Time is also an important consideration of time and often, however well intentioned, frequently a days work does not achieve much.

KEI is a 22m luxemotor barge designed and built for residential use and will be used as a permanent home. The size and style are, we feel, a good compromise of all the features that we thought a Dutch barge should include. Top of our priority list was the requirement that if one is going to have a "Dutch barge", then it should look like one and have the recognisable features and details of a traditional 1920's barge - even if this results in perhaps accommodation compromises. This requirement included such features as the proportion of hull to superstructure length, flowing lines, sheer in both the hull and superstructure, high quality steel work with lots of rounded corners and a good strong rubbing band and strake or "berghout" - after all operating on inland waterways is a contact sport and the opposition is mostly concrete. The berghout on KEI is a 60 x 30mm solid half round on a 15mm plate, so should be strong enough.  We decided early on that it was absolutely essential to get the basic steel hull shape right - it is relatively easy to alter windows and interior lining etc etc details at a later date.   The design and build has clearly worked as most people on seeing KEI assume that it is an old 1920's barge converted - until they get close and realise that the hull does not yet show 80 odd years of history - despite our efforts so far!!

Why new?? Again see Ian Petchey's website for more on that particular argument and debate. But basically, we reckoned that if we were doing this for just 2 years or so, then we would get a secondhand barge and just accept the layout.  Going for 5 - 10 years, we reckoned that a new build option began to make serious sense. We could also not find a really pretty old vessel - several had lovely hulls but were spoilt by flat and square superstructures with no sheer during the conversion process and often had far too many windows in what would be a saloon area.  We decided to minmize saloon windows so that we would not be the people in the goldfish bowl.  Having lived in Europe, we were well aware of the fascinating continental hobby of window gazing into other people's living rooms - and resolved not to offer the same opportunity.  We also reasoned that if we wanted to look out, then we would use the wheelhouse.  Another consideration was having seen renovation work being done on a few barges, it is quite a task (love, labour and money) just to remove the old stuff and then make good any horrors found underneath.  It is really pleasant to be working on and in a clean hull - and for example being able to lie and work in clean, painted and dry bilges.  Finally, I certainly relished the challenge and with a nautical background which included the refitting and construction of somewhat larger ships, I felt reasonably confident with most of the issues.

There is no doubt endless debate on builders and Ian Petchey's site comments on the major UK players, but we decided to go Dutch and have the vessel built in the Netherlands and is therefore a true dutch barge. In our view the quality of the steel work and the attention to steel detail is unsurpassed. For example, the Dutch simply will not allow a square corner when a rounded one can be used - apart from a few such as the wheelhouse "opbouw" corners.  This is a bit more labour but the end result is gorgeous - and I think you will find it difficult to disagree once you have viewed the pics in the Steel Construction photo gallery. And of course, they have more than a few years experience of building these vessels. We recall a comment in David Evershed's "The Dutch Motor Barge Book" that, in the 1920s, English yards made barges for working in Europe.  He indicates the Dutch called them "Engel see bakken" - English sea buckets - "reflecting the basic, functional build, devoid of flair or good looks".   I feel that there may be a translation issue here as "bakken" is the dutch verb to bake, and a bucket in dutch is "emmer".  Perhaps it was slang or just very colloquial!.  Regrettably, and some no doubt may disagree, we feel the situation remains today and many UK designs are just scaled up narrow boats and I am not convinced that some vessels' scantlings are adequate for the task - I would not like to have a hard bump in some hulls that are around.  Once one is getting up and over 20m plus length with a considerable beam, and navigating on the larger and rougher European canals and rivers, a barge is a small ship and needs to have been constructed as one and have strong scantlings throughout the hull.  Our operating area will include all European inland waterways, the Baltic, Norwegian inner leads, Mediterranean, Scottish Isles and Ireland.  UK designed vessels are getting better and some have quite pleasing and attractive hulls, but still spoiled by superstructures which lack sheer - might as well have a caravan on the hull.

When it came to designers, the decision to use a Dutch designer was almost a no-brainer. Kees Cornelissen's stock designs are an adaption of the traditional dutch hull shape and construction, and should be instantly recognisable as such, and virtually incorporated all the features and style that we were after.  His luxemotors are designed with strong scantlings.  The hull construction is strong enough if one wished to operate as a cargo vessel in the traditional manner.  In fact, to operate as a cargo vessel the scantlings are way oversized - cargo vessels aim to have the smallest and thinnest scantlings commensurate with the safety required for the water the craft is designed to operate on.  This is to maxmise cargo capacity.  A barge built soley for the calm, sheltered waters of an inland canal will have slim scantlings and thin plating, whereas one built to cross even the Ijsselmeer will have larger section framing and skin.  The forward hull bottom frame webs are 300mm deep!!  KEI is a 22m AK (aft cabin) derived from his 19mAK luxemotor design with a wooden wheelhouse, as seen on his website www.euroshipservices.nl  We stretched the design to 22m and made a number of amendements to his 19m design with all the dimensions that we wanted, as shown below.  The external principle dimensions are shown below, but the internal layout is the ESS standard 19m interior and has not been changed - our internal design is here.  The main change to the interior layout was to completely re-design the vessel for residential use.  Principally, this meant fewer cabins, which reduced the number of bunks from 8 in the 19m AK luxemotor layout below to 5 in the 22m KEI, a larger area for the galley to mirror a house and a bathroom with a full sized bath.

Diagram of KEI

Specific design input from us included the frame locations of main internal bulkheads, sizes and locations of integral fuel and water tanks, deck and superstructure breaks plus other items of detail such as the engine room port waist access hatch, small lockers in front of the wheelhouse and inset rear cabin roof - which will provide a sitting out space or car parking for a Microcar.  We had to ensure that the designed steelwork would support permanent residential use and small but significant items were included such as sockets for a rotary clothes dryer.

Once the design was finalised in a CAD programme, Kees then "cut" a kit of parts on an enormous flat bed plasma cutter.  The 19m kit price only increased slightly to reflect the additional steel used in a 22m hull and included all our detail changes - so excellent value we think, epecially when some UK quotes for just designing a steel hull were 4 - 5 figure sums.   One or 2 design fees were based on a percentage of the sale price, typically 10% of a projected boatyard sale price of 400-500,000 - so quite alot!!  The other significant realisation was "why reinvent the wheel" - Kees' barges have been built many times in Europe by several builders and just his luxemotor deliveries are rapidly approaching 100 to customers all over Europe.   His pedigree is also pretty good - take a look at the 42m cutters for both HM Revenue and Customs and Dutch Customs built by Damen, NL for an example.

The EuroshipServices hull is multi hard chine and although constructed from flat plate steel with mostly developed curves, but there are some areas with compound curvature, it is hydrodynamically very efficient. The hull drag characteristics are almost the same as an original 1920s luxemotor of similar dimensions, and considerably better than contemporary UK hull forms. Almost as soon as our kit had been cut, another almost identical kit was cut except that it is a metre longer. This kit is being built in Bristol by Andy Thomason.

After discussions and visits in Aug and Sep 03, we agreed a detailed specification, both for what steel would be delivered and for how it would be put together, the all important price and signed the contract with Triton Jachten 30 Oct 03.  After finalising steel details and dimensions, the kit was cut just before Christmas and delivered in early Jan 04 - pretty good when there are long waiting lists in UK.  We were very lucky as very early in 2004 steel prices increased considerably.  Welding commenced mid Jan and the hull and all steelwork was complete by late May.  Our aim to get it back to UK in late 2004 was not achievable - painting was a very, very slow job, so we contracted Triton to do some additional work - spray foaming, laying internal decks, fit out the rear cabin and make the wheelhouse console and seating bench. Work then trickled along over winter 04/05 for a departure in summer 2005.  As it turned out, both the yard and we finished our respective work to achieve the launch and delivery voyage almost together; had the yard raced on we would have had less control and been left with lots to do without the superb workshop facilities available.  The final bill did not change from the contract, apart from the additional work requested.  We project managed throughout and I had to make sure that the yard always had the design info required ahead of time, so that there could not be any claim that we had held them up.

As the build progressed, we realised that a couple of items could have been done better, for example the trunk to the forepeak locker could have been made taller with a hatch and doors as shown on this luxemotor barge.  

We were however lucky enough to be able to spend a significant amount of time in Triton's yachtwerf, not only to advise and answer their detail queries, but also with our overalls on getting stuck in to the whole process - steel fabrication, welding and blacksmithing, painting, and woodwork and the inevitable cleaning out when over there to try and maintain a "clean up ship after work" routine.

We found some excellent and good value accommodation for our monthly visits, which were either for one or mostly two weeks, and relied heavily on Speedferries.

As of May 08, the plan is get to the Aug 08 DBA BH Rally in London.  There remains a little more carpentry to do in the saloon area, some internal decoration, soft furnishings and a couple of mechanical tasks.  There is light at the end of the tunnel - but it maybe an oncoming train!

Mid June 08 saw the completion of all woodwork, save 3 pieces of trim in the wheelhouse.  The trimmer has measured up for the wheelhouse seating cushions - Admiralty Blue leather.  The remaining decorating of saloon and galley areas has started in earnest with 5 coats of varnish on the pine flooring.  Deckhead and bulkhead painting to follow.  On the mechanical and electrical side there remain a few items for the BSS and tidying up and connecting of wiring.

July and early Aug saw the completion of varnishing and painting and final woodwork bits and delivery of wheelhouse seating cushions.  Plus the move onboard of furniture and domestic machinery.  All to achive a departure from Oxford Cruisers on 13 Aug.  As with all new ships there appears to be a never ending list of jobs to do and not enough people to do it.

As a very rough calculation, whilst standing in the shower, we have spent around 5500 hours working on the fit out.  At a possibly typical? boatyard hourly rate of 35, this is a labour bill of 192,500!!  Using my rule of thumb that the total cost of fitting something is 4 - 5 times its purchase price, this implies that parts and equipment bought for the fit out has been around 40,000 - which I think is what I estimated, but once I get to count up all the receipts, I'll be able to confirm.

KEI "personals":

Callsign:  MJNT2                    MMSI:  235028309          ATIS:  9235028309              ENI:   02326525        
Part III Registration:  SSR 116350

LOA: 22.0m.  LWL:  19.75m.  Speed:  10 -11 kts.

BOA: 4.85m.

Draft: 1.1m at prop.  Air Draft: Wheel house up 3.4m.    Wheelhouse down 2.3m.

Gross Tonnage:  29.      Displacement: 65 tonnes with tanks half full.

Hull:  Lloyd's Grade A ship building steel to BS43A.  Stainless steel 316 and 304.

Wheelhouse: 4m long x 3m wide teak folding wheelhouse. Toughened double glazing with clear front and rear windows and tinted side windows. 3 section lightweight roof made from foam core panels with GRP skins. Top hinged front windows, side hinged rear windows and stable doors.  Front windows are vertical and to remove reflections Schott "Amiran" anti-reflective toughened glass in double glazing units.  As this is coated glass, there is a possibility that the windscreen wiper will degrade the coating over time, so it will be removed, apart from inspections requiring it, and RainX used.

Mast and Boom: Collars Douglas Fir 6m mast, 150mm diameter and 4m boom, 100mm diameter. Rigging: 10mm Marlow pre-stretched 3 strand polyester . Teak blocks.

Fuel: Red Diesel 2500 litres White diesel 2500 litres in 3 engine room tanks.

Fresh water: 5800 litres in 4 flexible rubber bag tanks under galley and saloon floor.  Pressurised water system with 24v DC water pump and accumulator tank.  Water filtration system being investigated.  This will fiilter water from the river or canal using 2 systems.  An initial sand and dirt filter with a carbon filter when filling the tank.  Tank water is chlorinated and supplied direct to bathrooms and cabins.  For drinking water a filter is fitted at the galley sink with a drinking tap.

Hot water:  Twin coil 46ltr calorifier in engine room with 1kW immersion heater for aft cabin and galley.  Heated by generator or central heating system.  2nd 146 ltr single coil calorifier with 3 kW immersion heater for fwd cabins and bathroom and also heated by CH system.

Foul water: Grey and Black water tanks 2800 litres each in integral steel tanks under galley and saloon floor.  HGM1 ST 240v AC trash pump for emptying Grey and Black water tanks.  General purpose 240v AC pump for filling, rinsing and UD washdown.

Gas:  Up to 3 x 13kg cylinders in locker port side engine room above fuel tank.  Alde bubble tester.  12v gas valve operated from galley.  Gas pipe sleeved in clear PVC tubing.  Gas alarms.

Engine/Transmission: Daewoo L136 8 litre 6 cylinder 160 Hp at 2200 rpm continous rating. Keel cooled and heat exchanger to heat central heating system.  Reduction 2.5:1. Centaflex AGM 2.4m propellor shaft.  Deep Dea Seal and cutlass bearing.  2 inch shaft with 30 x 20 inch 4 blade propeller from FAL Propellors .  Dry exhaust with Cowl and Megaflow silencers.

Steering:  Wills Ridley Triton 50 hydraulic steering pump with 95cm wheel.  Wills Ridley KS325-70 hydraulic ram giving 70-0-70 arc, 16 turns of the wheel across range.  Manual emergency tiller.  NACA profile rudder.  

Electrical: Fischer Panda 12 kw 240v single phase and 400v 3 phase.  Keel cooled and dry exhaust with Cowl silencer.  Sterling 3.5kW 240 AC alternator.  Leece Neville 24v 110A and Leece Neville 24v 95A alternators.  2 x 24/70/3000 Victron Multiplus inverter/chargers and Heart Interface Combi inverter but mod sinewave.  Victron BMV 602 and Smartgauge/Smartbank battery monitoring system.  2 x 600w QSW inverters.  Jemelec 3.6kVA isolation transformer.  X-Alt 50A halogen lighting transformer.  24V 920A lead acid battery.  6 Unisolar PVL-68 solar panels and Morningstar controller.  Custom designed and made AC and DC power boards and distribution panels.

Bowthruster: Silette Sonic sail drive leg, 12 inch kaplan prop.  Powered by WEG high efficiency 5.5kW 400v 4 pole motor.  Fenner HTD belt drive.

Navigation: Furuno 1623 radar, Garmin 128 GPS, Raymarine ST40 log and echo sounder, KVH Azimuth 1000 flux gate compass with remote sensor.  2 x Navman 7100 VHF with DSC or ATIS, Cobra Marine hand held VHF.  L3 Communications Class A AIS Transceiver.   NASA Clipper NAVTEX receiver.  PA system with automatic siren and 2 way loudspeaker.  Kahlenberg S2 140dB air horn and back up Fiamm air horn.  Brass bell.

Heating: Oil fired central heating - Kabola B17 pressure jet boiler.   Pressurised system.  Charnwood Cove 1 multifuel stove in saloon.

Anchor winches: Fore and aft Strikwerda anchor winches, 1x 180kg klip bow anchor with 100m 13mm chain and 1 x 85kg klip stern anchor with 70m 10mm chain.  35kg kedge anchor.  Focsle winch powered by Danfoss Bauer 1.5kW 400v 4 pole 56 rpm gear motor via duplex chain drive.

Car: Micro Car MC1/2 with 4 seats. Small crane or low profile scissors lift and ramps. (TBC)

Dinghy: Tohatsu PTA 96 inflatable and 5 Hp outboard.  Inflatable is RCD category C, and is suitable for use as a liferaft if remaining within 20nm of a safe haven (MCA Area Category 3).

Domestic:  90l deep freeze custom designed/built installed under galley floor.  Keel cooled Frigomatic cooling unit.  Gas hob, electric oven. Bathroom with full size bath forward and Exalto electric macerator head and shower room aft with fail safe mechanical Lavac Zenith head.

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