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We have a spacious saloon with two 3 seater leather sofas, double glazed windows and opening rooflights, a large bookcase/cupboard, a Norwegian wood burning stove and a corner cupboard unit for the 28" LCD TV, a DVD recorder with 80Gb hard disk and a 60w mini stereo high-fi system. The TV is wirelessly connected to the satellite receiver located in the wheelhouse which can be remotely controlled from both positions. In one corner is a Yamaha DGX-305 portable grand piano which has a keyboard with 76 keys and touch response. It will also reproduce sounds from hundreds of different piano types and instruments, play accompaniments in every style from classics to jazz and can be preprogrammed to display the music notation as you play. The brick wall at one end is composed of real house bricks - you may as well have attractive ballast!
Wheelhouse and Control Panel
This is where we live during the day. It has large double glazed windows port and starboard and can comfortably seat six round the table. We have a HP laptop computer, a separate Winfast TV tuner and an Epson combined scanner/printer/copier. Sitting on the top of the printer is "Rogers folly", a coffee machine which grinds the beans and makes the coffee in seconds. The TV tuner gets its signal from a digital satellite receiver. We use a Vodafone UMTS/EDGE/GPRS datacard for connecting with the internet at huge expense. We have a car type radio/cd player but can also receive UK radio stations by satellite.
The instrumentation is extensive for the main engine, generator engines, all tank levels, rudder indicator, 24v/220v volt meters, 24v amp meters for battery charging, a Seafarer 701 depth sounder and a Furuno GP-30 global positioning system navigator.
The GPS can be connected to the laptop computer which runs a voyage planning program from Holland called Navigo. The program uses the ships dimensions, speed, fuel consumption etc. and calculates a voyage plan when you enter a start point, destination and the amount of time you want to travel each day. It uses various algorithms to calculate the optimal, touristic, fastest or shortest route. When cruising the program displays a graphic map of the waterway which can follow the GPS position just like the GPS navigators you can buy for a car but without the sexy ladies commentary! You then know exactly where you are and can see vital information like the height of the next bridge or the lock keepers telephone number etc.
In August 2012 we installed a class A AIS (Automatic Identification System) transponder and upgraded our computer memory to 4Gb RAM so it can run PC-Navigo 2012 with AIS and ENC (Electronic Navigation Charts) charts. Most commercial vessels are now fitted with this system which greatly reduces the possibility of collision. The AIS transponder transmits your exact position from a GPS signal together with your size, speed, dimensions, if you are blue boarding, etc. and you can see all other ships details in graphical form on the ENC chart on the computer screen up to several kilometres distant. AIS is already a requirement in the ports of Antwerp, Gent and Rotterdam and will eventually become a navigational requirement for all vessels, certainly on the busy commercial canals and rivers.
A Skanti 3000 VHF radio enables communication with other ships, opening bridge and lock keepers when cruising. Additionally there is a Cobra MR HH325 VP EU portable radio, this latter being an ATIS set which is also required for vessels over 20 metres and which must have two radios, one of which must be an ATIS which identifies you to the receiver.
A Vetus single lever cable controls the main propulsion engine and reverse/reduction gearbox. The generator sets are situated in the forepeak and may be started and stopped from the control panel, as can the Hiab deck crane hydraulic pump. A joystick is provided for the transverse thruster control in the bow and a button for the ships air horn. Shipboard communication is provided between the wheelhouse and the foredeck with a hands free PA system so the helmsman can have a two way conversation with whoever is looking after the forward ropes.
Switches are provided for engine room ventilator inlet and exhaust fans, blue board control (used to indicate you are leaving room to starboard instead of port when passing other ships), decklight, searchlight, navigation lights, instrument lights, windscreen wiper, inverter, 24v/220v and generator/shore power change over switches, 24/220v central heating pumps and boiler.
We do not have a bath! It would consume too much water. We have a full size shower cubicle and a ceramic sink unit with drawers and storage cupboards. The Bathroom doubles as a dressing room and laundry with a washing machine, electric drier and a large wardrobe. The toilet is a Rheinstrom WC with an electric macerator pump which you pray will not fail when full of unmentionable deposits! At the moment the sewage goes straight overboard but at some time mainland Europe will catch up with the UK and provide pump-out stations at which time we will have to install holding tanks.
We have two cabins. The guest cabin is located in the stern which is the original cabin when the ship was trading commercially. She was built at Alphen in Holland in 1925 and traded regularly between North and South Holland. She would therefore have had to navigate the Zuider Zee or what is now the Ijselmeer where short steep waves can occur due to the shallow depth and was built with this requirement in mind.
The riveted steel stern cabin and hull are therefore the only original parts of Harmonie II. The rest of the ship was constructed of welded steel around 1992 and the main cabin is situated forward of the saloon.