Ship's log 2016

(the) Past matters....


The Hercules must be drydocked for a few years already, but no time, where are we going, it was not going to happen. One advantage, we were able to save! In preparation of it an insurance representative was invited to discuss the inspections/surveys. Thereafter making a chat at a ship yard about the possibilities. We can be scheduled in May/June but then we are in the middle of the season. After some calculations with our limited dimension we'll fit in the schedule the next week after all and in this way we are underway two days later already. Fortunately we are allowed to use the tugboat "Nelly", owned by engineer Willem and his brother Kees, to tow the Hercules to Dordrecht. We are mooring the boats alongside the drydock and on Monday Kees and Harm are going back to Dordt to drydock the Hercules. The hull survey takes place on Friday after sand blasting and the fire fighting pump's outboard valve grid is drilled open again. On Saturday the decks and complete hull are nicely recoated with epoxy paint/antifouling and we can home bound again. To be honest we are shocked by the dust we are discovering everywhere. It will take a while before all spaces and cabins are completely free of dust again.

In order to quickly post messages and photo's we do also have a Facebook page as from now.


Jobs to be done! Why even start, but don't think about it too much, under the pretext of rinsing and washing. The majority of the loose dirt is vacuum cleaned at first. Lots of washing sessions are followed thereafter. In every tiny corner and spaces sandblast dust is found. We seldom found the boat this dirty and dusty even after bunkering coal.

The funnel mark, what was de-assembled before, is sandpapered and applied with a new layer of primer. A lid of one of the lifesaving storage boxes is brought to the apprentice department of "Stream" steelworks educations for being upgraded. Theo is taking care of the wooden bullwarkladders. Steel ballast blocks are received from the motor tug "Polaris" for use in the "Heibok4".

In between all jobs one is also working at the "Argo". It is high time that this is launched into the water again. Holes are drilled for the coolingwater system and flanges for the coolingwater pipe are made on the lathe machine. A new wearstrip is welded onto the bow and the bottom is applied with a new layer of coating.


The skylight of the crew quarters forward is chipped and sandpapered. Some inserts are welded into the little hatches of it. The complete inventory of the galley is washed up. And therafter the forward and aft crew's quarters are going through various cleaning sessions, just like the engineroom.

The superstructure is chipped and coated with Owatrol. The iner part of the bullwark is applied with undercoat. Too much corrosion is found behind one of the bullwark frames so an insert is required. The riveting skills of the men are practised again.

The main fuses junction box is re-wired by Rik. The steel parts are re-attached to the new mast. The rudder quadrant is renewed completely including its fair leads on deck. For this purpose the fairlead wheels are cut off, the quadrant is burned off by torch and its angle profile cut off by grinder. Its shape is cut out of a new steel plate, whererafter new angle profiles are riveted on it. After this the quadrant is re-riveted to the helm. New steelplates for new steeringchain fairleads are cut in the right size. The new plates for the new fairlead rolls are put in shape at YCW-Beco machine shop. It was all-in all quite a job with lots of volunteers involved and where we are proud off!


Sandpapering, touch up, sandpapering.. Dennis looks like an orange Hulk quite often but, at the end of the month the forward skylight and complete superstructure have been nicely recoated in "Swedish Red".

The time being spend to it has become priceless meanwhile, but finally the new lower mast is hoisted on board after all. An old pole of the pile stand has been transformed to a nice mast by Fred. After all these years the wood appeared not to be seasoned yet unfortunately and the mast was slightly twisted when it was varnished. Bas from the "Restoration Workshop Schiedam" did correct this in a well skilled way. Dennis applied various layers of varnish on it afterwards. A nice piece of work from the gents finally.

After various layers of coating the funnel mark is replaced in the funnel. It appeared to be a heavy and difficult job to hoist the two parts upwards again with insufficient manpower. But if the lion's skin cannot the fox shall and by using blocks we did the job after all.

The steeringchain fairlead rolls are riveted back on deck. A quite unpleasant job fort he one who must lay down in the narrow space of the freshwater tank below holding the counterbar. But also this is successful.

After the lower mast the replacement of the upper mast follows and the boat is getting back her old appearance bit by bit. When we think the worst has been done, Kees decides to cut out another piece behind a bullwark frame for renewal. It's not that it is not necessary but anyway..


This month full sail is employed to get boat and "Heibok4" ready for the first event of this year. We do have a warm welcome for new volunteer Martin. Painting and washing is in full swing. The stock anchors are coated with Owatrol, the sheerstrake rubbing band with lineseed oil. The small hatches of the forward skylight are coated and replaced. The electrical wiring is reinstalled to the mast, as well as lights, antenna's and flaglines. The aftpeak is chipped and applied with a new layer of cement. When this is dry freshwater can be loaded whereto Hadex is added for disinfecting of pipelines and water, the latter with thanks to the Hatenboer company.

A surveyor representing "Expertise Bureau Van Pelt" is visiting for the purpose of the tugboat survey. A whistle frame is welded above the coal box aboard the "Heibok4" and Martin can show his skills in this respect. It requires additional strength in order to be able to carry the weight of the steam whistle from the "King George V". The steering gear is checked and when this is not working smoothly, it appeared that the chain guiding pipes are full with sandblast dust. When there is sufficient steam pressure the safety valves are tested at first. Happy news, René is becoming a father for the second time. Then, we go with the 100 year old "Heibok4" in tow to Dordrecht with the huge fleet parade as highlight on Friday evening. What a spectacular event. And a nice reunion with the crew of the VIC 96 from Chatham. On Saturday and Sunday we are scheduled for the roundtrips in which the racing element may not be missing.


Homebound from Dordrecht the coal bunkers are getting empty and coal must be shoveled forward. During the weeks hereafter the remaining coal is as far as possible shoveled forward and the bulkheads are applied with a layer of grease. A new stock of coal is bunkered with the assistance of tugboat Nelly.

With some interim engineers we are departing to Terneuzen for the Harbour Days. One is predicting not very good weather so we are proceeding via the inland route. At a certain moment Kees noticed the boat trims forward too much. The cause of it is found quite fast, a small hole in the once renewed anchorchain hawse pipe. The fore peak is pumped empty and the hole is temporarily stopped up. Together with the "Furie" and the "Dockyard V" we have been scheduled for roundtrips. It are pleasant days with a nice varied crew, nice guests and visitors. And not to forget the fine cooperation with the men on the pontoon which made everything run smoothly.


Due to tight schedules it did take a while but finally the by Peter van Nes and Denis Lagarde made paintings are offered to sponsor Nolet to show gratitude for 25 years of sponsoring.

The boiler is fired up, the sunshelter is re-assembled again, the hole in the anchorchain hawsepipe is welded. We are departing for Zierikzee for the annual "Hardzeildagen". While leaving the port of Zierikzee, in the fairway the goodiebags are handed over to the participating boats, what is going more smoothly at one than with others. In the evening we are enjoying the barbeque and live music. Homebound to our home port we are taking the "Eric Willem" of the Schiedam Seascouts in tow, which were in Dintelmond encountering engine troubles. We stay the night over together at the outside jetty of the Volkerak locks. Sunday morning early we are departing and deliver them in good shape to grateful family members around noon. When arrived in the Voorhaven fresh provisions is stored and we are loading ropes, car tyre fenders, a small lifeboat and various other requirements because we are going on our way to Harlingen.

Volunteer Dennis did purchase a body of a small steamfreighter and we are going to haul it in style. We are bunkering coal with a shovel in the Amerikahaven in a record time. The small vessel is taken from a small side harbour and with a double complement the voyage is going quite smoothly despite the warm weather. Wednesday late afternoon we are arriving at the Voorhaven where Dennis, who unfortunately was not able to join the whole trip, was waiting with his friends enthousiastic.


Holiday period, it's quiet on board and no voyages have been scheduled. Because of a birthday and the nice weather we even do a barbeque a few times on board of the "Heibok4".

The "Argo" is out of the water way too long and there's opportunity now to dot the i's and cross the t's. The exhaust pipe is installed and welded. The coolingwater pipe is welded and installed at the bottom. The bow is coated with two component paint. An extension is welded to the rudder. Electrical wiring is installed, the cooler disassembled. The boat is shifted to be able to paint another part of the bottom.

On the "Heibok4" the forepeak bulkhead is removed, creating more storage space. The U-frames under the piling engine are removed and replaced by steelplates with angle profiles. The new supports are pre-drilled and the angle profiles are riveted.

The woodworks of the wheelhouse is varnished as well as the entrance of the crew's quarters aft. The upper whistles support is derusted.


After years of absence we are once again being admired in the Leuvehaven during the World Port Days (Wereldhavendagen) in Rotterdam. We get a children choir on board and are enjoying their enthousiasm and singing. On Sunday morning we are leaving port and are picking up a private group of people. Captain Kees is unable to attend during the whole weekend and Captain Hans, who stepped in more often, is replacing him with passion.

With the "Heibok4" we are participating Monuments Day in Schiedam. Vincent Codee is offering to tow the bok inside with his "Polaris". The Harbour Service boat is acting as stern tug. We are mooring at the Appelmarktbrug astern the earlier arrived "Excelsior" and alongside a nice renovated quay. We do welcome quite some visitors and during evening time there's a social gathering in which a fried fish and a drink cannot be lacking.

We are departing for the Furieade one week earlier this year because of the festivities around the 100 year old "Furie". On arrival we are mooring the "Heibok4" alongside the quay astern of the "Furie" and the "Hercules" alongside her sistership, what is resulting in a beautifull picture. For a week various volunteers are commuting to keep an eye on the fleet and the webcam of the "Sleepvaartmuseum" is making overtime. On Friday evening we are leaving port for a few hours in order to follow the "Furie" inbound during the opening parade, accompanied by a brassband on the aft deck.


It was an enjoyable bustle during the Furieade with quite some visitors. During the opening evening we are enjoying the music of Maan from the aft deck. During Saturday there are demonstrations on the "Heibok4" with winches and fire fighting pump. Guided tours are performed by volunteers on board the "Hercules". The Fontijn family, participating with their own build steam boat "Crux", is visiting. After a successful day the evening is unfortunately ending with severe rain showers. It also rains during departure on Sunday morning. The rain fortunately stops during mooring operations in the Voorhaven. We once experienced that different.

For the "Heibok4" the Furieade was the last event of this year. In view of the required boiler survey early next year, a start is made with this by removing the corroded funnel with smoke box. Peep hole covers are removed and silt lids are cleaned.


The lettering on the funnelmark is removed, the funnelmark is washed. Flags and the other nameplates are digged up. It is the start of a "Hercules" incognito. All the stops are pulled out for one of the most beautifull child adventure of the year, the inbound parade of Saint Nicolas and his servants. In the very early morning we are departing the Voorhaven very quietly. One must be careful because it was freezing. Where the heat of the boiler did not radiate through the deck it is quite slippery and the ropes are frozen. We are bound for the children in Vlaardingen at first. We experience an exciting moment when, due to the low tide, the bottom of the "Spanje" is hooking with the doorstep of the lock. Captain Kees is directing everybody to the fore ship and with enthousiastic jumping servants and a wash of a just passing seagoing vessel the entry is fortunately successful after all. With a little higher tide we go outbound one hour later and underway to the inbound parade of Schiedam. After a heartwarming welcome by the "brown" fleet we are disembarking Saint Nicolas at the Port entrance of Schiedam. The "brown" fleet is taking over the continuation of the parade further inbound and we are mooring at our berth commencing de-rigging. During the next days the boiler is drained, the furnaces are cleaned and in view of the scheduled boiler survey the fire grids are removed as well as the fire bricks. All valves and sight glasses are removed from the boiler. The condensor is drained completely. The cascade tank and its overflow is pumped empty. The freshwater tank is emptied and its pipelines are drained.


The "Argo" is applied with another few layers of antifouling and the wind/water line is sharply painted. And then finally two years later it can be launched into the water again with the aid of the "Heibok4".

While the season is over the priority is preserve. Humidity is not steel's best friend and because of that various wires and chains are greased. On the "Heibok4" the hoisting winch's crankshaft main bearing is disassembled. In the paintstore additional shelves and wallsockets are installed.

"With lots of pleasure I am proceeding always along this corner with enthousiastic people who are busy always with something" is a positive reply to a photo on our Facebook page what "covers the cargo". We do have still sufficient projects in the pipeline and the attention must be divided sometimes. But our enthousiasm for our fleet and everything what has to do with steam is existing without prejudice. Continue following us on the website and on Facebook and till next year!