New Build and Restored Dutch Barges



Tony Charman - Managing Director Bowcrest Marine Ltd.

Pieter de Jong - Managing Director De Elburger Scheepsbemiddeling b.v.

Tony Charman & Pieter de Jong have worked together in the world of Dutch barges for over 10 years and during that time we have sold many Dutch barges to clients from all over the world. Over time we both came to realise that many clients wanted layouts and standards that were generally not available in the second hand market. Indeed it would be fair to say that in terms of layout many new build barges also did not fulfil the expectations of many purchasers. Because of this we decided to see if there was a way of providing quality barges with the layout that many people wanted, with new installations and an internal fit-out which catered for clients who intended to live-aboard and cruise for extended periods of time. With this in mind, in February 2006 we found a beautiful classic Tjalk hull lying in a field and in desperate need of restoration. She was an exceptionally rare model and we just could not allow her to be go the way so many other derelict barges had done before her. She was purchased on the spot and arrangements made to have her welded back together again so that she could be lifted from the field that had been her home for more than 40 years. Eventually when everything was ready she was transported to one of the top traditional barge yards in Holland so that work could begin in giving her a new life. At this point it’s fair to say that both Pieter and my partner Deborah and I took leave of our senses and literally took a step into the unknown. What you will see in the following pages is only part of the story
Samenwerking as she was found in February 2006. The port side had already been cut away and had to be welded back into place before she could be moved.

Imagination and a sense of humour are essential ingredients when undertaking a project of this type. The planning and logistics are taken care of by Bowcrest Marine & De Elburger Scheepsbemiddeling and with De Boldert & Jella Talsma doing the hull restoration and technical installations it leaves you free to plan what you want for the interior of your new barge.

We named this project barge “Samenwerking” which means “co-operation” in Dutch. Over the next few months this beautiful vessel underwent what can only be described as a total transformation from an old sad hull to a beautifully re-built and refurbished Tjalk. The story of her transformation is shown in the pages that follow. Throughout the months that Samenwerking underwent her “steel surgery” we had many moments of wondering “what have we done”? The gaol of creating a barge which offered as many of the features that we knew clients wanted was never far from our mind and slowly the project started to take shape. With her new bottom, decks and superstructure she finally did start to look like a barge again. Great care was taken in the planning of the rebuild to ensure that maximum use was made of the available space. This was achieved by being able to position the watertight bulkheads where we wanted them rather than where they would have originally been. The exterior & interior design concept was put together by Tony Charman / Bowcrest Marine based on our years of experience in owning, living aboard and selling Dutch Barges.

“Samenwerking” arrives at the shipyard of De Boldert - “Jella Talsma” in Freisland

The Project management was undertaken by Pieter de Jong of De Elburg Scheepsbemiddeling based on his many years experience working with & developing/building small commercial vessels & selling Fishing Vessels and Dutch Barges. It is his knowledge and contacts that enabled the whole project to come to fruition.

Both our New Build Barges and our restoration Barges are built at Scheepswerf Talsma by Jelle Talsma who has an enviable reputation as one of the most accomplished ship builders in Holland. Here ships are built in the old way by true craftsmen. The technical Installations are by De Boldert—Jaap de Boer

Wide decks were fitted for safety which make walking along her side decks a pleasure rather than a nightmare and allows plenty of room to work. We also wanted particularly to ensure that a flat aft deck was fitted to the ship for entertaining and outside living. As much time when living aboard is spent outdoors this is a really important and often overlooked aspect of barging. A good size wheelhouse was incorporated into the design concept to allow several people to sit in comfort in the wheelhouse whilst the vessel is under way. Part of the brief given to the yard was to ensure that the new superstructure followed the beautiful lines of the hull to ensure harmony of form and retain her sweeping lines. Getting this right is no easy task and requires traditional barge craftsmen who have the “eye” to create just the perfect proportions to make her look “right”. As can be seen from the photographs they have done a stunning job!

Old bottom out and New bottom in. The construction of the barge is true to the original pattern and is the same as that used for a New Build.

By building in new bulkheads fore and aft where we need them we can maximise the internal space rather than be restricted by the confines of the original hull. This creates massive space in a 20m barge.

Vessel is prepared for her 2 pack epoxy paint

Samenwerking on her hand-over

John Deere fitSamenwerking

The Engine Room is complete with Main Engine, Silent pack generator, tanks, diesel central heating boiler, and is fully insulated to reduce noise pollution. Both New Build Barges & Restoration Barges will be fitted with Deutz Full Marine Specification Diesel engines to comply with current emission controls.

The interior of the ship is fully insulated with Thinsulate 3M, under-panelling is fitted and eventually the top facing is applied. The Portholes are finished as shown in the photograph to the left.

An alternative to a restored barge is a completely New Build. Our barges are all built to reflect the traditional aesthetic beauty of the “Grand Originals” and as such we feel that they should be “right in every particular”. To this end the designer and builder take great care to ensure that even the smallest detail is thought about, right down to the correct profiles, cambers, sheers and detailing. All this goes to create a vessel that is virtually impossible to tell from the original ships. Of course the big advantage in modern day construction is that the vessel is purpose designed and built to be used as a recreational vessel and so optimises internal space. Before making a decision on the type of vessel you want take the opportunity to discuss your requirements with us. Our experience and knowledge of the fascinating world of barging can help prospective owners, particularly those new to cruising, purchase the perfect vessel for their needs. Choosing whether you want an aft cabin (traditional on a Luxemotor) or a large flat aft deck for entertaining are important decisions. Folding hardwood wheelhouse top or non folding steel is again something to consider depending on where the vessel will be used. The 20m Luxemotor is probably our most popular design. It is the perfect size for cruising and provides just the right balance of space and ease of use. She is very easy to handle and many owners feel very comfortable with this size of vessel. With a beam of 4.95m she really does offer super internal space which would normally be configured with two very spacious en-suite cabins. It is amazing just how much space is available in these vessels allowing you live aboard with the room and comfort you would expect from your normal home. There is plenty of space on board for all the luxuries such as dish washer, full size domestic fridge freezer even your own comfortable sofa & chairs. Unlike the more conventional recreational vessels, ships are a “home from home” and many owners live aboard permanently.

“Samenwerking” which is a Zeetjalk on her fit-out berth. This beautiful barge can be recreated as a new barge - see the drawings

Whether you choose a New Build or a Restoration Barge the build quality and attention to detail are the same. Indeed with restorations often there is only the middle of the original hull that survives as both the bottom and the superstructure are new. The early stages of the build are always the most difficult as for many it is hard to imagine that the bare steel hull will ever be your new home. Normally it will take about 10/12 weeks for the yard to build the hull and install all the main technical installations. The vessel then goes to a specialist paint shop where she will be fully prepared and painted with a two pack epoxy paint treatment. The next and perhaps the most rewarding stage is when she is moved to her fit-out berth and the exciting part of the whole project gets underway. Within only a few weeks purchasers can start to see what their new home will really look like and are able to get a feel for the “space”. There are many permutations of interior layout possible within a given length and breadth of a ship but in reality it is always best to take advise from the professionals as to the best and most user friendly layout choice. At some point in the future you may wish to sell your barge and at that time a really good interior layout comes into it’s own. Many owners in the past have gone ”their own way” on this subject only to find that when the time comes to sell, considerable value has been lost due to poor choice of layout. The key here is to discuss fully with us what your requirements are and let us help you realise your dreams at the same time ensuring that you will have a valuable and desirable asset in the future. We deliberately keep our vessels simple as far as the basic specification is concerned. The more you have on a barge the more that can go wrong. So good quality installations are essential whilst at the same time maintaining the concept that simple is good, complicated can be a problem. Naturally, should purchasers require additional “electronic wizardry” this can be fitted to order. Many owners find that once they are “Living the Dream” life can become very relaxed and slow paced, and they are surprised by just how much fun can be had by “keeping it simple”. In the summer months owners live much of the time outside so a good flat and easily accessible area to sit is essential. Bar-B-Q’s are the order of the day or maybe simple cooking out on deck. We aim to provide purchasers with a barge that has everything you will need to live comfortably onboard and be able to navigate her safely throughout the Waterways of Europe..
The infamous Capestang Bridge on the Canal du Midi. We build our barges so that they will be able to navigate this bridge by lowering the wheelhouse. During the summer months many barges run with their wheelhouse down as a matter of course due to the high temperatures. Winter on the Canal du Midi— warmer than the UK!


Interior Layout shown is for illustration only.

New Build 20m Motortjalk “Jeltje” being built in the yard Spring 2007. Note the beautiful original shape of this superb ship.

Scheepswerf Talsma

“Jeltje” - hull build now complete and ready for fit-out. Engine installed and able to move under her own power.

The following photographs show the interior of Samenwerking on completion.

“Samenwerking” handed over to her proud new owners July 2007. and re-named “Daryl’s Inheritance”

Profile plans for “Jeltje”


Website :

Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 2392 550263 Mob: +44 (0)7711 006766

20 Ross House 60 Marine Parade West, Lee-on-Solent Hampshire PO13 9YP, England

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