In hindsight we should have started blogging about this over two years ago when we made the decision to make the transition from sail to voyaging under power as we have so much to catch up on now. Some would call this “going over to the dark side” though we have never thought of it that way, and to make matters worse/better soon thereafter we decided to design and build a new boat. This would likely result in a consensus amongst most family and friends that we have truly lost our minds this time, but that’s also not the way we see it nor is it anything new for them or us.
I often call our project to design and built the Goldilocks, just right just for us boat as being “a collaborative work of art and engineering” and so perhaps it is fitting this blog will reflect that as we share our grand adventure with all of you. Be warned therefore, that if you chose to follow along with us, and we very much hope you do, you will likely feel like you are watching a collaborative work of art & engineering coming together in front of you in real time because:
· some posts will be written by Christine and some by myself to provide our different perspectives and experiences
· some postings will go back in time to chronicle the design process that began aboard our previous home, a 52-foot steel sailboat s/v Learnativity, on our three-week passage from Majuro in the Marshall Islands down to Fiji at the end of April 2015.
· other postings will be closer to real time as they cover what is happening with the build process
· yet other postings will look ahead as we work through decisions needed for next stages of the build.
· and some postings won’t be time oriented at all as we outline and discuss our thinking on how best to do things or explain the why’s of what we are doing.
Most importantly though we would like to have YOU to join us as fellow collaborators on Project Goldilocks aka MV Möbius with your comments, suggestions and questions all along the way.
This posting is intended to provide you with the big picture overview of Project Goldilocks or PGL by outlining the high-level requirements we developed to guide us through the design phase of the project and now through the build process. These will progress from the very top level “mission statement” down through successive expanding layers providing more context of our use case and then the key attributes we want to have in our new boat.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
All of this comes as a reflection and culmination of our collective experiences on other boats we’ve sailed and lived aboard during our many passages and adventures throughout the world. Christine has been boating most of her life and as she recently commented to me “dangerously approaching 50 years of sailing now”. I on the other hand didn’t start sailing and messing with boats till I was in my 50’s and I’m still not sure to this day just what prompted this as I had no previous marine orientation to my life nor any in my family. However, curiosity and learning have most often been the drivers in my life so once I became curious I jumped in with both feet and have now been sailing full time for the past 11 years. Christine has done everything from building two 54’ sailboats with her first husband Jim and subsequently sailing and chartering one of these for almost 15years including raising their son onboard for most of these. My experiences have mostly been single handed sailing my 52’ steel cutter from Victoria BC down the west coasts of North, Central and South America and then meandering west for many years through the Pacific. So, we have ended up with about the same number of nautical smiles under our respective “bottoms” and just over 100 thousand nm in total. Our prior experiences have almost all been under sail and so part of what is calling our name to try voyaging under power was that it would provide us with a whole set of new challenges and adventures and adventures are what we live for.
Our intent when we started this process over three years ago was and is still, to distill our collective experiences and preferences into a set of clearly stated high level goals and objectives to guide us throughout the whole design and build process such that at any time we could stand back from the process and use these overarching statements to check that we were keeping our priorities straight and still on target. It has served us very well throughout the design phase and will do even more as we now go through the build phase of executing all these design decisions.
We spent countless hours over those many first months and now years, thinking this through individually and discussing our goals between ourselves as well as other sailing friends. We kept working at synthesizing and articulating what we wanted to achieve with the new boat, what our top-level priorities were and the key attributes and characteristics this boat would need to have to be just the right, just for us Goldilocks boat.
It should be noted that we are NOT striving for perfection when we talk about getting this boat “just right”. Rather it is about finding the just right fit for us. A boat that we love a bit more every time we swim up to her in an anchorage. A boat we have unconditional confidence in when at sea and the poop hits the fan at O Dark Thirty as it so often does. A boat that inspires and invites us to go when someplace new is calling our name and yet is so comfy at anchor we never want to leave. You get the idea. We are setting out to design and build the just right, just for us boat.
These design goals are shaped like a pyramid with the singular mission up at the top and then expanding out with the more detailed levels below. At the very top we worked to articulate what might be called our “mission statement” though that sounds much too formal to us, which was our way of boiling everything down to the very essence of what we were setting out to achieve. Then cascading from this, the more detailed and itemized essential characteristics and requirements we were setting for ourselves and for those we would be enlisting their skills and expertise to collaborate with us on the design and building of Möbius. If you’ve ever tried to create such all-encompassing “mission statements” you know how difficult they are to do well as you try to condense it all down into as few as words as possible.
STARTING at the TOP:
Perhaps it is best to start with a similar summative statement which captures the Why we live the adventurous life we do before we get to the What we are setting out to achieve. The Why is even more difficult than the What to summarize but that which drives and unites us both is the pursuit of constant daily adventures strung together into the necklace of a lifetime spent living, learning and loving as we explore this awemazing world of ours together. We do our best to live up to this every day whether we are traveling by land, sea or air and in ways both large and small every day. In my previous blog when I was out single handing my first and only boat up to now s/v Learnativity, I came up with the byline of
“Wandering, Wondering and Pondering the world one nautical smile at a time”
and this still seems to sum it up well.
With that and distilling a mission statement for Project Goldilocks, we wanted to similarly summarize what we are setting out to accomplish and ended up with this:
To design and build an exceptional long range Passagemaker that is strong, safe, fast, fun and efficient, serving as our full time home along with the infrequent guests who join us on expeditions exploring the most remote locations of the world in exceptional safety and comfort.
As anyone who knows me will tell you I am “brevity challenged” to a severe degree but if I were to boil it all down even further we are setting out to design and build
“The just right boat for exploring extreme locations with equally extreme safety and comfort.”
OUR USE CASE CONTEXT:
Setting out to design and build our Goldilocks just right boat isn’t about seeking perfection, it is about seeking the best FIT for us and so for the next level down in this pyramid it was important for us to articulate how the boat needs to “fit” our lives and selves. Not unlike designing a piece of clothing, a sweater let’s say, that you are going just love to wear because it is so comfy and makes you feel so good that you want to wear it all the time. We want a boat that fits us similarly well and as such we need to know not only the specific physical measurements but also how, when, where this sweater will be worn, under what conditions and who is the person that will be wearing it? In the case of our boat this is about describing our Use Case scenario that summarizes ourselves and how we will live in and use this boat. In no particular order our life consists of doing the following:
LIVE to the POWER of 2:
It is just the two of us 99% of the time and we are not “camping”, this is our full time home. Our floating home will be optimized to be a “couple’s boat”, primarily for just the two of us and then very inviting and comfy to grandkids, friends’ family to come join us occasionally as well as having another couple or two we meet along the way over for a meal and sundowners.
CREATE: Christine’s Work Space
Christine revels in being a best-selling author with no interest in retiring and needs the just right space for writing her future thrillers and running her book business. We will design her onboard office in such a way that it converts into a very comfy Guest Cabin and will have its own shower and head, but priority is to be that Goldilocks work environment that inspires and motivates her. Minimizing distractions is a key factor here so keeping it extremely quiet and absent of any interruptions or distractions of views out picture windows, or dirty Mr. FixIt moving about, will be the priority. Whenever she wants there are plenty of spaces up above for views, breezes and company.
CREATE: Wayne’s Make/Fix Space
Wayne’s work/play is more to do with making and fixing things. This requires a well-equipped workshop with the tools and equipment enabling him to work with his hands making and fixing things. Thus, Wayne’s Workshop will be required to accommodate the many tools, workbenches, equipment and machines for working in wood, metal and mechanics such as lathe, milling machine, welders CNC router, 3D printer, etc.
We love being at sea and answering the call of long distant destinations so long passages are the norm for us. Creating a boat that inspires confidence to GO anytime whenever the sea or other locations call and to be snug and safe on long passages getting there is a primary requirement. We were both single handed sailors for many years and have come to appreciate the high value of having a boat that can be single handed safely in all conditions if the need should arise.
We have had the most previous experience in tropical settings and love this climate. We often talk about our “20/20 Rule” of staying within 20 degrees of the equator. We like heat and we can tolerate humidity up to a relatively high point and intend to explore explore new tropical areas as well as going back to some many that we have enjoyed previously. However high latitude areas have been calling our name more and more, areas that are predominantly cold and would involve motoring through high winds, rough seas, freezing temperatures and ice invested waters. We are equally drawn to slightly less extreme locations a bit closer to the equator but still cold to us such as going up the inside passage of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii islands in my native British Columbia, and Greenland, Iceland and Norway. We want the new boat, and us, to thrive in all the above locations, climates and conditions.
Anytime we are not on a passage we are on anchor and often for extended times of weeks or months with no desire to be in marinas. We put extremely high value on our privacy in this context and like to either be “the only boat in the bay” or otherwise off by ourselves. This necessitates super comfy living spaces, independent self-sufficiency and SWAN ground tackle enabling us to anchor out in deeper waters and Sleep Well At Night.
Given our remote, deep and isolated anchorages and our love of exploring ashore we will need a tender that enables us to think nothing of heading to long distant shores without a worry for weather changes to get back, adventuring out for even overnight trips on the tender up rivers and inlets in to suit, and staying safe and dry throughout.
Our passion for remote locations puts a premium on being extremely self-sufficient and self-reliant. We prefer small or no populations ashore, so we set our shore side expectations and dependencies as close to zero as possible. We assume zero availability to shore transportation, shipping, shopping or services. This prioritizes great food preservation, water and electrical independence, plentiful spare parts, ultra-reliable systems, lots of storage, repair capabilities and communications.
No uninvited guests! Our remoteness, both at anchor and underway sometimes puts us near potential danger from others who would like to “board and borrow” anything from items on the boat to the whole boat and ourselves. We therefore like to have deterrents built into the boat’s design such that we do not look like an inviting nor easy target for those who might be sizing us up.
LOCK n LEAVE:
There will be times when we want to leave the boat unattended for anything from extended multi day trips on the Tender to month or more trips back to see grandchildren and family when they can’t come to us. So, we need a boat which we can easily and quickly (several hours) lock up and safely leave knowing she will be fine and require no assistance. This includes leaving the boat at anchor as well as leaving her ashore on the hard or in the water. A lean/mean military “don’t mess with me” look will help with this.
Moving down to the next broader level in this pyramid, we had some very specific attributes we knew we wanted the new boat to have. These are all gleaned from our lessons learned from our extensive number of experiences and years living and sailing. Retaining the theme of a “collaborative work of art and engineering” we think of these attributes like an artist’s set of colours or an engineer’s tools in that they are not the painting or design itself but rather what will be used to create the end result.
With all the nautical miles under our bottoms and nights at anchor around the world, we had a good sense of what we wanted, some very general and broad, others quite specific. However, we also wanted to start with a blank canvas and create a boat that was not defined by past notions and traditions, ours or others, but rather shaped by these key attributes.
It is challenging to come up with the best words and concepts to group or categorize things under and we no doubt stretch the traditional definitions of many of these here. There is also some overlap between several groups, but the following list is what we came up with in the end and still use today.
· Length; maximum LWL for hull efficiency & speed
· Days, high mileage per 24hr day, averaging 240-260 nm days in typical passage conditions
· Range, minimum 6000nm @ 10kts range in typical open ocean conditions
· Anchorage times, measured in weeks and months not days.
· Forepeak for storage only
· Engine room with workshop, all aft
· Beam with wave piercing style bow for maximum “silent and slippery” wave piercing and minimal wave/wake making.
· Green energy wise in all regards, propulsion, electrical, maintenance
· Remember the 99% Rule: Designed for just the 2 of us 99% of the time
· Physical appearance being long and low in the water with low house and superstructure above decks.
· Air draft for as many options of canals, locks, lower bridges
· D/L ratio, low displacement to find the “Goldilocks” just right balance of having enough displacement for maximum sea kindliness and yet minimum mass to drive through the water
· Height, no double stacked living spaces
· Shoal draft less than 1.5m (5 feet) for exploring the shallows
· Fly bridge “lite” on roof of cabin with full upper helm station
LIGHT & LITE:
· Visual appearance on the water, long, low, lean and mean.
· Displacement by saving weight where possible and spending where wise.
· Bright everywhere inside, 360-degree light & views in SuperSalon
· Open plan galley & salon
· Service intervals
· Equipment, engine, propulsion, systems
· Max fuel capacity for longest range and time between fills
· Matching her/our purpose and mission.
· The UN Yacht: unpainted aluminium, no stainless, no wood, no extras.
· Blend in at a local working port or commercial fishing harbor and not fit so well in marinas
· Strong Industrial/commercial quasi-military “vibe” partly by a design that is long, low, lean and mean” and partly through the use of very high functionality very low maintenance exterior items such as all unpainted aluminum hull and superstructure, beefy aluminum rub rails and booms and other functional “all business” meant to be used features reminiscent of modern pilot boats, tug boats and commercial fish boats than a “yacht”.
· Starkly contrasting the “lean & mean” exterior, the interior will have an extremely high craftsman level fit and finish of all cabinetry and interior surfaces
· Economic to build: Maximized use of 3D CAD modeling, CAM and CNC for all construction, exterior and interior materials (aluminum, wood, fabrics, etc.
· Economic to maintain; Careful selection of materials, equipment and installation to minimize maintenance and failures.
· Economic to operate: Maximum efficiency throughout.
· Minimize size of interior with maximum comfort for 2/4/6/8; Live 2, sleep 4, eat six, entertain 8
· 2 cabins, 2 heads
· Down Up Down design; Raised center house with 360 degrees of glass and cabins down below deck level on each end
· Maximum solar output
· in all regards; hull, engine, propulsion, electrical as well efficiency in use.
· Maximum solar panel re‐charge ability, sufficient to eliminate need for genset
· Low rpm ultra-efficient and robust diesel main engine,
· No generator
· Battery based boat, maximum size 24v house bank, all loads 240v AC off battery/inverters
· On passage first and anchor second.
· Integral tanks below WL for maximum fuel and counterbalancing water.
· Self-righting; Maximum positive stability to “survive and thrive” a capsize. All our past boats were sailboats which are inherently self-righting, and we were not willing to give this up with this transition to voyaging under power.
· Unappealing and menacing to others on the outside
· Inviting and alluring on the inside
· Like the Timex watch commercial “take a licking and keep on ticking” self-righting and able to have an inevitable grounding and keep going, no haul out required
· Strategically “over built and over engineered” in the just right places with high redundancy of all critical systems
· Thrive not just survive
· Watertight “crash” bow compartment at front of forepeak
· At sea first and foremost, in all weather conditions. Passive stabilization with active designed into hull but not installed at launch.
· At anchor, great ventilation in all conditions, flopper stoppers, great seating, lots of light, spacious outdoor areas
· “Thermos” hull; Cool in hot climates, warm in cold climates.
It has already been almost a 3-year process for just the design phase, but we could not be happier with the end result which is a result of finding a great designer, thank you Dennis and then disciplining ourselves to follow the guiding principles and attributes you’ve just read through above. Ultimately our process evolved the design that is now the finalized model of Möbius with the following set of statistics.
•DISPLACEMENT w/ half tanks 41,000 kg / 90,000 lbs
•CRUISING SPEED 10.5 kts
•MAX. SPEED 12 kts
•RANGE @10kts 7000+ nm
•FUEL CAPACITY 14,400 L / 3800 USG
•WATER CAPACITY 5300 L / 1400 USG
Some of these numbers are of course theoretical estimates at this time such as cruising speed, range, etc. and we won’t know the real numbers until we launch and have real data from initial sea trials and then ongoing use of the boat, but with the amount of detail we have in the 3D models and the amazing power of the algorithms that can be run on this model, these numbers should be quite close.
It is Christine’s Birthday today, Happy Birthday my Beautiful Young Bride! So I snuck away early Friday afternoon and we drove East from Antalya along the coat to the beautiful old town of Alanya and have a fabulous room up at the top of a hill in an old castle with a view out over the original Red Tower and the inner harbour. Here is a quick panorama shot to give you and idea of this fabulous old city or Alanya.
But not to worry, I’ll do my best to make sure this week’s Möbius progress update posting WILL happen before the weekend is out and right now there is a HUGE downpour that has already dropped more than 80mm/3” of rain in less than 2 hours so we are enjoying the view from our room across the the harbour to the mountains on the far side. Christine is busy working on her daily Turkish lesson so she doesn’t loose the “streak” she is on with them and I’m taking advantage of the time to get this blog post started. As you might have already noticed, this will be a much longer post than usual as there is much to explain and show you so settle into a comfy chair with a good beverage and let’s get started.
This week was particularly exciting as work started on building the new hatches for Möbius which we have been designing and deliberating on for many months. Having Xtremely great hatches is super important to us because they bring in most of the fresh air and all the natural light into both our Master Cabin and the aft Guest Cabin. We have lived aboard boats with hatches for decades but never with ones we would rate as great. Sometimes they are just not well sized, sometimes they open the wrong way for the breezes, or they let any nearby raindrop in. Worst of all though is that pretty much all of them start to leak at some point, especially ones up on the foredeck when on passages in big waves that often bring volumes of sea water crashing onto the decks and penetrating even otherwise good seals no matter how well you try to “dog” them down tight. So we were determined that we would find a way to have truly GREAT hatches on Möbius. Hatches that are Goldilocks by being just the right size in just the right place and oriented just right to catch the least bit of fresh breezes coming over the bow when we are anchored. And MOST importantly of all, hatches that would NEVER leak under any conditions.
Then I added in two more and perhaps two of the most challenging must have characteristics; one, the hatch frames had to be raw aluminium that was shaped and thick enough to be welded directly into the decks and underlying framework, and second the hatches had to be significantly above the requirements for them to be certified for a full self righting situation.
This is a tall order and set us out on a very long and winding search for many years now dating back to well before we decided to move over from sail to power and to design and build our own boat as we had already been on the hunt for new hatches for our last sailboat Learnativity for a long time. We’ve been to most of the big boat shows on several continents to talk with the various hatch vendors. We’ve tapped into all the online forums, magazines and trade journals we could find. We’ve talked to MANY fellow liveaboard cruisers, most of whom share our pain and spent time exploring every detail of their hatches. All of which helped us figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to hatches so we had a very clear sense of the key traits of a great hatch and we know what we were looking for.
It may sound like an episode from Mission Impossible or an obsession to some of you but I believe it is possible to design and build a boat that stays dry inside in ALL conditions and does not EVER leak. One key to this is that one of my primary rules is that there will be NO penetrations of the deck or hull which could ever leak. None, zero, nada. No bolts, screws or rivets which penetrate the hull. No parts mounted through holes cut in the deck and then sealed with caulking or the like. One of the places where even good hatches often end up leaking is through their mounting of the frame to the deck where water finds its way, often under very severe pressure from so called Green Water in high seas, through fasteners or through seals and sealants that fail over time. Hence my hatches had to be welded into the hull and leave a single challenge to being leak free; the gasket that seals between the hinged lid and the outer frame. Even this is a challenge, but a solvable one which lets me put all my focus on making these lid seals as leak proof as possible.
I’m sure many of you are shaking your heads at this point with a wry smile on your lips and a wish for good luck but we are accustomed to being on the hunt for parts and equipment for Möbius with equally as daunting lists of Must Haves and other requirements and eventually we were able to find a few companies who make truly great hatches. But, and you knew that was coming didn’t you, none of these companies carried their great hatches in our sizes or at all and so they would need to be custom built and this was going to take both too much time and cost too much so the choice was simple and a bit like Möbius herself, we would need to design and build our own.
This is not as difficult as it sounds as it is more a case of assembling all the various features which are on our Must Have list and putting them together into a single design of a hatch. None of these features are new in and of themselves so we are not so much designing a new hatch as we are creating our own combination of features and ideas from many different sources. This holds true for the design of the whole boat IMHO as there are very very few features truly new and never seen before features in any boat. What sets any given boat apart from others is the combination of features they select to use and how they put them all together.
I find Autodesk’s Fusion 360 to be a fantastic tool for doing this kind of evolutionary design work and I used it to try out my initial ideas for the Goldilocks just right hatch I’ve outlined above and ended up with the design you’ll see below. I have not had time to create any proper renderings of these so I will just grab some screen captures from within Fusion 360. I have coloured the two basic aluminium parts for clarity with the outer Frame in RED and the inner Lid in BLUE. I’ve made the 15mm/5/8” thick glass that is glued to the Lid and the partial deck surface around the outside of each hatch to be transparent so it is a bit easier to see what’s inside and added a bit of wood appearance to the inner wood liner which is all that will be seen from the inside of the boat.
Basic components you see here are:
* Red Outer Frame made from 3 pieces of 8mm/ 5/16” thick AL plate
* Blue Lid made from a 8mm thick outer flat bar frame welded to a top which is CNC cut as a single piece from 10mm/ 716” aluminium plate which then has a 15mm/5/8” thick clear tempered glass plate which sits flush with the other edges of the Lid frame and the top Deck surface.
* 20mm/ 3/4” thick wood inner liner which extends through the interior upholstered head liners.
I have omitted the handles and latch details for clarity but you can see where they attach to the two round bosses on the underside of the blue Lid.
Two SS gas compression lift cylinders are also not shown and will mount to the aft corner of the Gutter inside the red Frame and the side of the blue Lid to assist with opening when the latch handles are turned. In the interest of time and what will likely already be a long post, the basic key design requirements I ended up with include the following:
KISS (Keep It Simple & Safe) the design for both functional use as well as the fabrication of these hatches by using the least number of individual parts and keeping each one as simple as possible using stock aluminium.
KISS the fabrication process as straightforward as possible requiring as few special tools, jigs and machines as possible so that it can all be done in house with our current capabilities.
Design the hatches so as to eliminate any high pressure sea water forces from bearing directly on the seals so that readily available good quality seals will be able to easily keep all water out for many years of daily use and then be easily replaceable when they do eventually wear out.
Ensure that the entire hatch is well above and beyond engineering and certification standards to stay intact and fully sealed in the case of a full roll over or self righting recovery.
KISS the latching or locking mechanisms by having no external access for opening, all latches operate from inside only.
KISS the latching system and have an ability for a varying degree of locking or “dogging” down the hatches over time as the seals may take some set.
Present the least possible interference and disruption of the clean deck surfaces for both equipment and humans. eg. no toe stubbers or line catchers
Maintain the lowest possible maintenance factor as with all other aspects of the design of these XPS boats.
Along the way to the final design I ended up designing these hatches to be completely flush with the deck surfaces they are welded into. I wrestled with this decision of flush versus having the hatch frame extend up above the deck surface by 50-100mm/2-4” or so which is typical of most hatches and which was how I had initially thought they would sit. I came up with several such above deck designs which would have worked very well but in the end flush mounted hatches won out through my version of “the process of elimination”. What is the most sure fire way to deal with those high pressure sea water forces being able to reach the seals? Eliminate them. What is the best way to keep the deck surfaces free and clear? Eliminate any part of the hatches being above or below the deck surface. By making the top glass surface flush with the deck any big seas that end up on deck will simply pass right over these hatches and leave the seals to just deal with any standing water that collects in the Gutter area you will see below that runs like a moat around the outside perimeter of the Red Frame inner and outer frames before it drains out the two holes in the bottom of the Gutter.
It is a bit difficult to show but here is a quick render of how the top glass surface of the hatches sits completely flush with the deck surface.
Notice anything missing in the rendering above? Where are the hinges??One of the trickier parts of creating a fully flush hatch is how to keep the hinges below the deck and this is what I came up with for our “hidden” hinges.
For clarity I have turned off the deck plate that sits flush with the red tops of the outer frames and made the Hinge Boxes that are welded to the red outer Frame to appear transparent so you can see the blue hinge arms inside. The 8mm Hinge Pins are in white.
I’ve turned the Deck plate on for this render and moved around to show the inside rear hinge area from the inside with the hatches fully open.
The Blue Hinge Arms will initially be milled out of a single meter long piece of square aluminium stock to form the profile for the Hinge Arms you can make out in this and the rendering below and then cut and machined to 50mm/2” long lengths for each Hinge Arm which is TIG welded to the outer frame of the Lid. For those interested in more details this section side view might help to see how the Deck (orange), Outer Frame (light blue) and Lid (yellow) all work together. I’ve turned off the seals that fill the gap on the top of the inner most vertical light blue Frame and the inside surface of the Lid.
The gap between the outer edges of the yellow Lid and the light blue Frame is about 5mm and there will be two 20mm diameter drain pipes for the water to quickly flow out through the bottom of the light blue horizontal Gutter frame where the Lid sits. The Latches and Handles are omitted here for clarity and will attach to the round yellow boss seen on the right side here. There are ten hatches in total, all of them square, six large ones 700mm/28” square, one 600mm/24” and three 450mm/18”.
Whew! Hope that long explanation and renders help give you a good sense of what these hatches will look like and how they work, now let’s get back to reality and see how this design is being transformed into real aluminium.
It all starts with two full sheets of 8mm aluminium plate which the CNC plasma quickly cuts into the individual pieces for the ten hatches. CNC cutting is a very precise method which creates this very small amount of scrap. One of the many great things about building with aluminium over other materials such as fiberglass, carbon, etc. is that every bit of scrap is equally efficiently recycled so all this goes into the recycle pile in the yard and is sent off to be melted down into new sheets.
As you can see here and noticed in the renderings above most of the parts of this hatch design are made from single lengths of 8mm plate, basically simple flat bars. Only the Gutter bottom of the 3 part Frame which you see here, and the 10mm top plate of the Lid are cut out as fully formed parts.
The 10mm top plate parts are out being cut by a waterjet CNC machine as we want to have a fully finished edge out of the CNC machine to be flush with the edges of the 15mm glass plate. As you have read in the intro, I really pushed hard on KISSing this hatch design to end up with the least number of pieces in the overall design with the least specialised tooling or jigs required.
I also spent a lot of time working out how these parts would be formed, assembled and welded to keep the build time and costs as low as possible.
The majority of the work to shape the parts was done with four equal large radius bends for the corners of the outer and inner Frames and the outer edge of the Lid frame. To do this, Uğur and Nihat quickly made up this jig for the big hydraulic press and did a couple of test bends to dial in the process. We decided to build one full Frame first to make sure our methodology and tooling was optimal and this is the first bend of that first hatch Frame. I designed the Gutter bottom to be a single piece so that we could take advantage of the accuracy of the CNC cutting to ensure that the outer and inner frames had to be the exact right size, all edges parallel and perfectly square.
Here is that first Frame with all four corners of the inner frame bent and being checked for fit. Using large clamps, the inner frame is then pulled tight against the inside of the Gutter bottom and then the overlapping ends you see up at the top of the photo are cut to the exact length and the inner frame is tacked together. With the inner frame tacked together in precisely the right size Uğur welded both sides of the butt joint to turn the inner frame into a single continuous inner frame. The same process is repeated to bend the four corners of the outer frames. Then the outer frames are clamped tight to the Gutter bottom, tacked in position and the butt joint welded up. The inner frame is reinserted into the Gutter bottom, clamped up very tight all around and tacked in final position.
The fully assembled and tacked Frame is then cleaned up and ready for final welding.
The upside down Frame in the back is one of the 450mm / 18” hatches and the one in the foreground is the 600mm / 24” hatch Frame. Here is a close up shot of the Gutter I’ve been referring to which is where any water that runs down through the 5mm gap between the outside edge of the Lid and the inside edge of the outer Frame you see on the far right. This Gutter is 45mm / 1 3/4” wide and about 75mm / 3” deep and there will be two 20mm / 3/4” ID drain pipes welded into the bottom of this Gutter to quickly drain all the water down and back into the sea. Sezgin arrives with his TIG welder and gets busy welding up the outside corners to turn the 3 pieces of the Frame into a single part which is then ready to be fitted and welded flush into the deck plates. Outer frame fully welded to the Gutter bottom…. …… followed by the inner frame being fully welded and this Frame is ready for final machining and then fitting into its location on the deck.
I don’t think you need to know much about welding to agree that this is not only strong but beautiful work and it is a shame that it will never be seen once these are welded into the Deck, but we will all know its there and helps account for the huge grins we will all have on our faces when we launch. I realise that these hatches are Xtremely Xtreme, over the top some will surely say. But will NEVER leak, and as the guy who has to live with these, sleep under them, maintain them and fix anything that goes wrong, I think they are well worth the extra effort and I could not be happier with the way these have turned out and look forward to showing you the next phase of building the lids and then fitting and installing the finished hatches into the boat.
The other bit of excitement this week was the Mr. G., our Gardner 6LXB main engine was lifted up one floor and moved into his new home and my new workshop for restoring him to better than new condition.
That is him hanging from the end of the extending boom of one of the many “Preying Mantis” cranes in the yard while Mother Möbius looks on over on the far right making sure her energy source is being treated well. Now safely resting on the door into his new home on the first floor. Ready to be rolled over to his place in this voluminous new workshop area where he will be lovingly restored and then taken back down and mounted inside Möbius in a few months. It is now Sunday night and we are back from our FABULOUS weekend in the town of Alanya, about a 2 hour drive east from our home in Antalya. We walked our little hoofies off probably logging 20km over the two days and most of that as you can see was either straight up or straight down!
It was just as spectacular from our room at night. The pano shot above is looking the opposite way from the previous one above, this one looking West along the coast towards our place in Antalya. Worth clicking on these shots to see some of the details of the castle and fortified walls of this town that dates back to the 12th century.
Before you go, while it is very short here is a time lapse video of some of the work this week and I hope you’ll enjoy seeing a hatch built in about 30 seconds!
Lest you think that hatches are all that has been hatching here is the latest progress photograph of the Dinc twins, Yiğit and Mert who as you can see are also making GREAT progress and growing up fast already.
Thanks for joining us and please do add your comments, questions and suggestions in the Join the Discussion box below.
Last month I put up a post “Newest Member of this Family of Passage Makers” about the newest members of Dennis’ Artnautica LRC58 line of boats, the LRC58-3 “Britt” and LRC58-4 “Raw” which have both been launched and are now at sea as will be joined by LRC58-5 being built in the Netherlands. My larger comment and purpose for that post, and for this one, is to highlight the rapid growth of a whole new style and type of long, skinny ocean crossing passage makers which are most often designed to be owned and operated by a couple with no crew.
An overall name for this new family of passage makers has not emerged as of yet and they aren’t trawlers, they aren’t pilot boats, they aren’t military boats though they have characteristics from all of these types and many others.
I will write a future post that will go into more details of this new style of ocean crossing beauties but wanted to introduce you to the newest family member which my crack researcher Christine uncovered yesterday in this recent article Simon Murray wrote for Power and Motoryacht magazine entitled “Meet the Special Forces-Inspired Tactical 77”.
The “Tactical 77” as it is being called is a recent design from Bill Prince of Bill Prince Yacht Designs of a 24 meter all aluminium ocean crossing passage maker for an ex Special Forces gentleman to take his family out cruising the world.
She will be built by the Canadian builder Tactical Custom Boats located near Vancouver British Columbia and near where I lived while going to the British Columbia Institute of Technology BCIT and University of British Columbia back in the early 70’s and then taught High School for many years in nearby Ladner.
Located in Richmond B.C., Tactical’ s web site says they build;
High performance aluminum boats designed for speed, comfort, and safety in all operating conditions – without compromising dependability, luxury or design.
Sound familiar? As you can see from these pictures, location is not the only thing we have in common. The similarities to our upcoming addition to this new family named Möbius which we are referring to as eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker or XPM are striking. It is no coincidence that the looks of these boats are so similar because the owner’s requirements and the design goals and use cases overlap extensively. To quote this P&M article;
“Prince was tasked with designing a cohesion of extremes. The client wanted a high-performance vessel with pseudo-military exterior styling and interiors that emphasized luxurious, superyacht-like accommodations.”
It will if you’ve read over my earlier post “Project Goldilocks: Mission Impossible” where I outlined the overall mission and all the key characteristics Christine and I have for designing and building Möbius.
Prince went on to say about the client;
“He wants a really comfortable yacht that will scare the Coast Guard from a quarter mile away.”
Christine and I are not interested in scaring our friends in the world’s Cost Guards but are very keen on similarly deterring any “bad guys” with mal intent towards us.
“We have designed go-anywhere capability and luxurious accommodations inside aggressive, pseudo-military exterior styling,” says Prince.
There are a few differences mind you when it comes to weight, costs and power. For example “the boat will be propelled by twin MAN 1,900hp inboard diesels giving the Tactical 77 combined 3,800HP and top speeds over 35 knots.” Yikes! Mobius for comparison will have about 150HP and a top speed of 11-12 knots. But I’ll be much happier paying our construction costs and our fuel bills!
However at their core all these new kinds of boats share very similar purposes and owners and I was most intrigued by a story the designer Bill Prince shared when interviewed for this article:
With the owner’s highly specialized background, you would think clients like him are exceedingly rare. Yet Prince had three people come to him separately a few years ago, asking for essentially the same thing:
a low-maintenance, go-anywhere-in-any-kind-of-weather, aluminum cruising boat that doesn’t require a full-time crew.
“In the space of six to eight weeks I listened to three gentlemen who were all experienced yachtsmen describe almost the same spec,” said Prince. “So, I’ve seen this coming for a couple of years.”
Almost like reading my own writing!
In the Mission Impossible posting I shared that the mission statement Christine and I brought to Dennis, Dincer and Baris is:
“The just right boat for exploring extreme locations in equally extreme safety and comfort.”
and some of our key characteristics for Möbius included:
all aluminium, no paint, no stainless
Go far, Go everywhere, Go nowhere (@ anchor), Go alone
Interior with extremely high craftsman level fit and finish
You get the idea.
On the one hand the owners of these new style of boats have their own unique use cases and criteria, so each of their boats will be similarly unique. However when viewed by others they will tend to look similar because at their core these boats are designed and built for those who share a passion for long, low, lean & mean low maintenance boats which inspire them to cross oceans in eXtreme safety, comfort and style. We can’t wait to add Möbius to this growing family of ocean crossing passage makers and more so to join them out exploring this awemazing watery world of ours.
This is an advanced notice that I a going to start posting some new type of articles here on our Möbius.World blog which will be different from and in addition to the typical Weekly Update posts I do to cover the incredible work that Team Möbius does each week. I have previously posted some more technical articles like this about things like the overview of the the design and use case for our new boat and the one on Mr. Gee our Gardner 6LXB main engine and a few other such topics since we started this blog almost two years ago and with growing requests for these detailed technical explanatory type articles I will be doing my best to increase the frequency of these kinds of posts now..
These new articles will be different in that they will be “Tech Talks” where I can go into more detail on all the various systems on the XPM boats and explain my logic such as it is for the design of these systems, reasons for choosing the equipment we have and how these systems will be installed and maintained. I will do my best to make these “as Show & Tell” as possible with illustrations and diagrams, and possibly some video versions, but by their nature these will be more text based explanations compared to the more visual orientation of the Weekly Progress Updates. Hopefully it will be a good contrast and combination for you and if not I’m counting on you to let me know!
It is also my hope that by separating these more explanatory and detailed technical discussions from the more visual Show & Tell type of Weekly Progress Updates, you will be able to more easily chose what suites you best. And I hope those of you who are interested in these deep dives into the technical aspects of the XPM boats will chime in with your comments and questions to help me cover the topics you are most interested in and provide the Goldilocks not too much, not too little type of content that you would value and which will provoke more discussion for all of us.
Before I go any further and as I will likely repeat several times in the articles to follow, let me be very clear about the context and conditions of these articles:
These are NOT recommendations on what YOU or any other boat owners should do or equipment you should buy.
I am NOT suggesting that our choices are “the best” I merely hope to explain OUR (Christine and my) logic and why we believe that these are the Goldilocks “just right, just for us” choices in the design, installation and equipment aboard XPM78-01 Möbius.
These articles are intended to generate lots of questions, suggestions, and ideas. Indeed this is the primary purpose and value of these articles, so don’t be shy! I only ask that you keep the above two notes in mind and of course keep the discussion respectful, polite and on topic.
Please keep in mind that the overriding context for ALL these articles, choices and equipment selection is for an XPM style of boat and use case which is an eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker for a crew of two, typically a couple who want to be able to go to remote locations on all latitudes from polar to equatorial with equally eXtreme degrees of Safety, Comfort, Efficiency and low maintenance and where the boat will be their full time or primary home.
I hope to learn as much as you do by writing these Tech Talks and more so by responding to your comments and provoking more good discussions. In doing so we can all contribute to the wealth of information and knowledge already out there for all of us to access and learn from.
Unlike the Weekly Progress Update articles I will edit these Tech Talk posts over time as decisions or equipment changes and as I get more information along the way. For these posts there will be two dates for each one, the date it was first published and the date it was last updated/edited.
I will create some new tags for these different type of postings to make your future searches more productive and right now my intent is to write articles on most of the following primary systems and topics:
Screens, Monitors, Displays
DEPTH & SONAR
Portable Helm Station
Boat Data Logging
WiFi & CELLULAR
Gardner main engine
Nogva CPP servo gearbox
Nogva CPP propeller
Hydraulic steering components
Steering Back ups
Engine Room venting
Tanks, Filling & Venting
Centrifuge Polishing (Alfa Laval)
Hoses & Fittings
FIRE & SAFETY
Fire extinguishing systems
All electric cooking
Storage drawers & Garages
Outside Galley & BBQ
ANCHORING & GROUND TACKLE
Main anchor & Windlass
Stern & Kedging anchor
BOAT DESIGN & PERFORMANCE
Whew! Already a long list but if there are other large topics or systems you would like to have covered, please send me what you think I’ve missed in the “Join the Discussion” box below and I’ll do my best to add these to the list and cover as time permits.
And please note that this is NOT a promise that I will be able to write about all of the above or at least to do so fully but it is my intent to cover as many of these topics as fully as I can in all my “spare time” during the building of mv Möbius.
And NO I am NOT interested in or trying to write a book! We already have an author onboard who writes best selling books, also known by her nom de plume Christine Kling and aka Captain Christine and my Beautiful Bride so we’ve got the book writing aspect covered eXtremely well already thanks.
Looking forward to writing these Tech Talk articles and getting your suggestions and ideas as these new discussions begin.