Come and help us with finishing our boat in Bruinisse, Netherlands



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 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description



    We bought a boat. We bought a really big boat. Measuring 30m x 4.65m she's a bit of a palace on the water. She's a 104 year old dutch barge that's gone through many guises in her lifetime, starting her life with sails, being fitted with an engine in the 1940's and then being extended my 5 metres in the middle in the 1950's, and later converted to a houseboat in the 1980's.

    She's a steel, flat bottomed boat designed for the inland waterways and larger canals of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. Looking at the ships logs it spent much of it's working life going backwards and forwards between the Netherlands and Germany.

    We are Pearl and Adam, and Pandi the Dog. We are an English couple that have found ourselves living in the Netherlands when we realised our original plan of taking her back to the west of England to renovate was a much bigger undertaking than we first thought, particularly when there was some work to do on the engine and a deadline to get the european waterways certificate.

    Adam and I met at a tiny festival in Northern Spain a couple of years ago and clicked on all sorts of things including our love of folk music, well-made old things and a desire to make a life for ourselves that focussed on making and building and growing the things that we need... and then we bought the boat.

    We've both owned big, old hulks of metal before, Adam has converted and lived in several large vehicles including a bus, a horse box and a horse lorry. All beautifully and skillfully converted, and I had a 1950's Showman's Wagon from Belgium which I used as a dressmaking studio in London.

    Since spring 2018 we have put all our energy into restoring and renovating the barge and now know every inch of it inside out and back to front. We are just about to move out of construction mode and into the more exciting part of decorating and finishings.

    Once the boat is liveable we will be heading to France in search of adventure and to continue to make improvements to the outside areas, building planters for growing veg, and a shady veranda for the back deck. ( You're also welcome to join us for this leg of the journey, we'll update the listing when we know our movements).

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help with Eco project

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We would really love your help in finishing our boat, in exchange we can offer you skills in decorating, carpentry, metal work, how to rig up a solar panel system, some basic mechanics etc. Adam is far more skilled than I am in these but I have learned a lot in the past 18 months and am happy to either to work alongside skilled workers or show keen learners how to take a plunge into becoming more practical.

    We'll be working long hours to push through and get the boat done in time to set off to France in the Autumn but also try to make some time for ourselves to play music and sing, make food with friends, and have a goal to learn to Rock and Roll dance, so if you're keen to do that too that could be a fun thing to do together. I have quite a lot of dance experience and would be willing to learn and teach at the same time.

    We are both English and could help you with learning the language, plus I'm actively trying to improve my french at the moment in preparation for a Winter in France, so if you are also trying to learn we could learn together.

    Oh, and we love going swimming in the inland sea most days after a day's work.

  • Help


    Currently left on our list of jobs for this summer is:

    Making and installing our beautiful stained glass and brass skylight, laying floors, painting, making trims and beading, some electrics, installing the plumbing and bathroom systems including building a compost toilet.

    We are trying to make the boat as self sufficient as possible and have a huge bank of 10 solar panels to install and a solar collector for hot water. We're considering a whole range of other systems we can use to be least impactful but haven't quite settled on which yet.

    We're planning to take the boat out of the water again to fit a bow thruster at some point in the Autumn and will take the opportunity to have a renaming ceremony to appease the Gods of the deep and rename the boat back to her original name of Vertrouwen, which means Trust.

    ️️*We are away from the 6th October for a week or so as we will be taking part in the Extinction Rebellion protests in London.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English- Native, French - Basic/intermediate

  • Accommodation


    We're really excited to be sleeping on the boat again after a year in our van. We have two bedrooms besides ours. A good sized double cabin and a tiny double cabin so can host 2 people at a time if you are travelling alone, or 4 people at a time if we have couples or friends who like to share a room. We will never make it so it's uncomfortably full for those staying, but it could also be really fun to have a few folk around to work and socialise with.

    We have a makeshift kitchen in the boat which works pretty well for the time being.

    On nice days we will eat meals on the deck of the boat and on rainy days we will have a choice of eating inside the boat or in the canteen of the shipyard if we are doing something that requires the space inside the boat.

    We use the shower in the shipyard at the moment.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The town we are living in is a small fishing town, which is also a bit of a holiday destination for people into sailing as there is a large yacht harbour in the village. We're close to the beautiful town of Zeirikzee which is a short bus ride away or an hours cycle. We have some bikes which are great for exploring the area. There is also a bus to Rotterdam which takes 40 minutes.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (4.3)

Communication: (4.8)

Host ref number: 897363212427