Saturday, September 01, 2012

Handing over

Just a few months over ten years ago, I endured my first insurance inspection as owner of the Vereeniging. It was a traumatic event. The inspector came with his merciless hammer and belted holes the size of pigeon eggs along the length of the hold of my precious barge.

The story of that inspection was documented in my book Watery Ways. It resulted in a week of heroic hard work, help and goodwill that I will never forget (once again - thank you so much especially to Philip, but also to Frits, Joram, Peter and Koos, not to mention all the other wonderful souls who mucked in to help). Five years later, I had another inspection, and barring a few minor patches, nothing of any significance was needed. Between 2002 and now,  I have had the Vereeniging out of the water every two years to clean and re-black the hull, always careful to have anything that looked suspect repaired, so this year, when a further inspection was due, I wasn't too worried. I have looked after my little barge with what amounts to tenderness and a lot of love.

Last Monday, we moved the Vereeniging from our mooring to the 'helling' (the slipway). The inspector came on Tuesday, and after his usual bashing, only two small plates on the 'kimmen' were needed - these being the curved parts along each side of the barge that come between the straight sides and the flat bottom and are particularly vulnerable to 'thinning'. Despite my anxiety over certain other parts of the bottom, the inspector proclaimed that the Vereeniging was extremely fit for her 114 years of age. The rest of the week since then has been the usual exhausting, but satisfying blur of painting as many coats of tar substitute on the bottom as it will take, while working around Daan, our brilliant welding craftsman as he bent and shaped the patches that he then attached with supreme neatness and precision to the hull.

However, this 'helling beurt' marks the fact that other things have changed too. In a sense, the inspection was something of a handing over. I am no longer living on the Vereeniging. My daughter Jodie has moved on board and is set to take it over for the longer term. This 'keuring', as the inspection is called, was also to ensure that everything was in a fit and healthy condition for her to assume responsibility. This is hard for me, as you might imagine, but many things have occurred over the past twelve months that make it the practical and sensible solution for all of us - and Koos and I still have the Henny Ha...(see previous post). The long (or the short) of it is that Jodie has the best part of a year to decide if she really wants to pursue this life, and part of that is winter - a testing time.

I won't dwell on my somewhat mixed feelings at this stage, but will leave you with the photos above of the Vereeniging that I took today. The yellow clad individual under the boat is Jodie using the high pressure hose to clean parts of the bottom that had not yet been treated.

You could call this a sort of baptism for her - just as it was for me ten years ago. I wonder if she will write a book about it too...


  1. A kind of a passing to the next generation. Who knows, maybe it will continue somewhere down the line? But I'm sure there's quite a mix of emotions involved. xx

  2. Maria, one thing is for sure, the Vereeniging stays in the family. My heart and soul has been in this barge, but it's time to let Jodie see if she wants to do it too. I still have the Hennie Ha to take care of, so letting go a bit won't be a bad thing. Thanks for your empathy though, dear. It means a lot! xx

  3. That must have been a difficult passing of the torch, even though it's nice to know Jodie will take excellent care of it and that at least you can still come aboard and visit. Is she keeping it in the Oude Haven?

    I will always feel quite attached to that boat, for reasons that I know are evident to you. I wish her well with her new skipper, and send hugs to the older one. xx

  4. a bit of deja vu? You looking at Jodie, when once that was you?

    I can't believe on an inspection, an inspector put holes in? wow.

    Good and sad feelings I imagine Val. But keeping it in the family is very special. xo

  5. Thank you, Anne Marie, dear. Jodie has had quite a baptism this week. She and I basically did the whole thing together with help now and then from our respective men folk. She now knows how very intensive it can be, but she really enjoyed it, which is great!

    Grace, that first inspection was more than a bit traumatic, but the holes just proved how necessary it was to repair it. Rather reveal the holes when you are out of the water than develop holes while you are in it :) Yes, it's quite a wrench for me, but keeping it in the family is definitely good! Jodie loves the Vereeniging too, I'm glad to say.

  6. I do see that the holes needed to be repaired, but how drastic of the inspector. Oh yes, have done some time on the ocean in boats and yep find the holes on dry land, not out in water. so glad Jodie loves the Vereeniging. How "full circle". xx

  7. Oh darling I thought we'd lost you! Everyone, please take a moment to visit our Rache's blog... xoxo
    will do proper rounds this evening!

  8. Oh Val! I can only imagine your mixed emotions! This is a true passing of the torch... may it burn long and bright. xoxo

  9. I am sure that all the hard work and love that you put into Vereenging (and your daughter) will keep them both safe and happy xxx

  10. I remember reading about the trauma of your first inspection! Almost as if I were there in your shoes - or boots, rather.
    It seems that, with experience, things have a way of settling in, becoming more familiar and, thus, less alarming. I suppose it can also be chalked up to our age - which is, indeed, a culmination of all the above.
    Was it a difficult decision to pass the Vereeniging along to Jodi? I think I would be happy to pass along a bit (more) of myself to Beth some day. Not without a pinch of sadness, but with a certain optimism for the future, as well!
    Is Jodi excited about the challenge? Where will you be living? With Koos on the Luxor? Or on the re-invented and newly-repaired Hennie Ha-Ha?
    Whatever you do and wherever your faring takes you, I wish you fair weather, safe harbour, and happy bottom-wiping!

  11. Hi mum, I've written a sort of partner piece to this here:

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