Built in Holland in 1927, Ventana is a steel flat bottomed luxe-motor barge, formally known as Vertrouwen (Faith in English), which would have carried freight on inland and coastal waters. Her sharp bow, an upswept stern and a gently arcing sheer line are all the marks of this type of boat, which first appeared early last century with the introduction of the diesel engine and which became a popular cargo carrying boat, particularly in Belgium and the Netherlands. The boat pictured here is a larger version, but shows the original position of the wheelhouse and hold.
The engines of the early luxe-motors were not powerful, hence the need for pointed bows to cut through the water and deliver water to the propeller. The accomodation behind the wheelhouse was very luxurious and had a proper kitchen and a toilet. At this time most houses did not have running water nor indoor toilets, so this type of vessel became immediately very popular, particularly in Belgium and the Netherlands, where families tended to live aboad.
These boats make hardly any stern wave and a 25 metre barge will usually do its cruising speed of 7 knots with very little power. Ventana was first converted to residential use in 1977 in Holland, and then underwent a major refit in 2004 that included changes to the superstructure. Later that year, she was brought from Holland to Chiswick Pier, where the interior refit was completed. She is still a fully functional craft with a working engine: a Volvo Penta water cooled 6 cylinder diesel. It has an electronic engine management system and hydraulic steering. You just turn the key, start her up and drive away!