New "Super" House Batteries  Möbius Update 9 Sept. 2023

New "Super" House Batteries Möbius Update 9 Sept. 2023

The newest update to Möbius is that our all new House Bank batteries are now fully installed and up and running!

As you may recall from THIS post almost a year ago, our original FireFly Carbon Foam batteries had sadly lost most o f their “fire” aka capacity and repeated efforts using the FireFly prescribed “Restoration Charge” was not able to bring the capacity back.  Fortunately the combination of having a total capacity of 1800Ah @ 24V and our large solar capacity from 14 320W solar panels allowed us to go for almost a year of full time live aboard cruising running all systems other than extended AC use, without needing to ever plug into Shore Power.  So we did pretty well I think!?  But about a month ago while docked here in Norfolk, one of the four FF banks started to overheat and so their time was up.

PXL_20230809_174026276With our new situation (details if interested here) I had hoped that the FF batteries would last until we find the new owners and they take over so they could chose the new replacement batteries that were just right for them  But the “fire” had sadly gone out on the FireFly batteries and so I needed to make that call and have all new House batteries installed. 

For those interested, this post will give you an overview of how that progressed.


The quick summary of my requirements and priorities to determine the just right Goldilocks batteries for Möbius’ and our use case is as follows: (in no particular order)

  • WEIGHT:  Somewhat unique to us perhaps, weight is not a factor for choosing the batteries.  In fact we actually want/need as much weight as possible as we had designed the boat around the batteries to some extent and treated the 1022Kg/2250 lbs of FF batteries as part of the lead ballast of the boat.   
  • SIZE:  Battery size is also not a factor as we had to some extent designed the hull around the battery compartments which ended up being three large watertight and positively vented compartments which spanned and were centered on the 1″ thick x 18″ keel bar that runs from the transom all the way up to the top of the bow.  See the GA drawing below to see this layout.
  • WIDE TEMPERATURE RANGE:  Working well and safely within in as wide a range of operating temperatures as as possible.  Our intended use case for Möbius was to go everywhere from the Arctic/Antarctic and high latitude cccccccold climates to scorching hot locations. (which seems to be more and more locations in our world these days!)
  • FAULT TOLERANT:  In addition to temperature it was also important that the new House batteries were as robust as possible in that they would be able to deal with the typical “accidents” that happen over the years with the battery systems on boats.  Things like full discharges when the boat has been left for long periods of time and the charging system fails for some reason.
  • SAFETY:  Always a top priority of course but in the end I had no concerns with safety of either Lithium or AGM as I’m of the opinion that battery safety is all a matter of good design and installation of the electrical system and battery management, as well as sticking to top quality manufacturers.  So I did not consider any of the “off brand” batteries and companies.
  • VALUE:  Cost is an ever present factor for most of us but I think in terms of overall value rather than price alone.  I will gladly pay for quality and other features listed above to get the best match of batteries and our use case criteria.  I think this is well evidenced by all the equipment we have installed on Möbius.  So I did not consider any batteries or companies that were not IMO offering high quality batteries. 
  • EXTENDED 100% SOC + FLOAT TIMES:  This is a relatively new factor I have come to appreciate and which I believe may have contributed to the early demise of the Carbon Foam FF batteries.  Most of us have experienced how leaving things like laptops and phones plugged into their chargers and kept at 100% fully charged for most of the time leads to them loosing more and more of their capacity and shortening their lifespan.  I don’t have the expertise to prove this but my first hand experience over the years and my research into that of others has led me to suspect that there is a similar situation with LiFePO4 and Carbon Foam batteries. 

Due to our large almost 5KW solar power the batteries on Möbius sit at 100% fully charged state almost all the time.  With the large overall available capacity we typically only take the House batteries down to about 85% SoC or less between the end and start of each solar day and most days the solar charging brings them back to 100% fully charged by 10 to noon depending on solar conditions, time of year, geo location, etc.  You would think that this would be ideal for battery health.  However, I am finding increased evidence and examples that not only do LiiFePO4 and Carbon Foam type batteries deal very well with being in PSoC or Partial State of Charge for extended periods of time, they actually PREFER to be in a PSoC condition the majority of time.  Being kept in Float mode at 100% SoC can lesson their capacity over time.  It is possible to deal with this by carefully customizing the charging profiles of all the charging sources on the boat and our WS500 regulators for the alternators, MPPT controllers for the solar panels, and MultiPlus chargers all have this ability.  However based on my experience to date I think that AGM type batteries actually prefer to be kept at 100% fully charged SoC which is the situation as I’ve outlined above on Möbius.  I’m sure this factored to some degree in my final decision.

I should add that the rest of the equipment that forms the overall House Battery system would work well with any of the LiFePO4 or AGM batteries I considered.  Things such as the twin 250A 24V Electrodyne alternators with external rectifiers, WakeSpeed 500 Smart Regulators and Victron BMV712 battery monitors, would all work for any of the batteries I was looking at be they Lithium or AGM so this was a non factor in my decision making.  Lithium batteries would of course require equally high quality BMS either internal or external so I only considered LiFePO4 batteries with dedicated BMS from their manufacturer.

11 GA Battery CompartmentsClick to enlarge and see the location of the three battery compartments on Möbius


I’ve written about this topic of batteries for Mobius multiple postings here on the blog and I spent a LOT of hours discussing this with experts and other boat owners and researching the latest offerings of high quality batteries.  This lead me to narrow it down to a choice between Lithium (LiFePO4) and AGM batteries from the likes of Victron, Battleborn/DragonFly, Lithionics, etc. all of whom had some very high quality options.
Dragonfly Battery Images (Transparent Background)For example, this new form factor of “12V 270Ah GameChanger 3.0” LiFePO4 batteries from DragonFly had some very attractive features.

Victron OPzV battery photoI also went back to the original batteries that I had considered for Möbius during the initial design phase which were these type of OPZv Gel type “traction batteries” and they were in the running again in this most recent search.
I paid close attention to how “bullet proof” the batteries were in terms of being able to deal with such factors as the likelihood of a few times in their long lifespan where they would end up being completely discharged for some reason or another.  Never planned of course but always possible and when we start talking about lifespans of 10+ years the probability of such “accidents” becomes quite high.

Lithionics batteryThese intriguing 24V 275Ah LiFePO4 “modules” with external BMS from Lithionics ticked off a lot of boxes were also recommended by OPE though came with a deservedly high price as well.
There were several other batteries and companies which I researched and made it onto my short list but the ones above cover the top contenders. 

and the WINNER IS …………..

I’m well aware that many of you would make a different choice for YOUR boat, but I do my best with all equipment decisions to find the “Goldilocks” just right choice that best matches with Möbius’ use case. 

In the end, this is what I chose; (drum roll please …………………….)

Victron SC AGM battery shot………….. After a LOT of deliberation I decided to go with Victron and chose their “Super Cycle” AGM batteries
PXL_20230426_213319964We chose Victron equipment for the entire electrical system on Möbius including their Isolation Transformer, MultiPlus Inverter/Chargers, MPPT controllers, Octo and Cerbo GX monitoring, etc. so they are a company that we have come to know well and not doubt have a bias for and I’m sure this did influence my final choice and Victron offered multiple batteries in both LiFePO4 and AGM to chose from.
These Victron SC AGM battery model are 12V @ 230Ah C20 and one of their more interesting qualities that caught my attention was their stated ability to withstand 300 complete 100% discharges without any damage to them although it certainly would shorten their lifespan if you were to do that.  Having gone with Victron for almost all of the equipment that makes up the overall electrical system on Möbius, I have come to trust and respect them as a company but I still wanted to verify these claims and was fortunate to find that Bruce Schwab at Ocean Planet Energy OPE, was able to personally verify Victron’s claims of these Super Cycle batteries based on OPE’s direct testing and he wrote:

Being a Victron distributor, we have tested the Victron Super Cycle AGM 125Ah (G31 size) in our PSOC regime. Nearly all Pb batteries suffer permanent capacity loss when run through this 30-cycle PSOC test.  We’re happy to say that the Super Cycle AGM passed with flying colors, with no discernable loss of capacity.

bruce-schwab-energy-systems-logo-SHORTI was therefore delighted to be able to work directly with Bruce and his tech Kevin at Ocean Planet Energy and can not recommend them more highly.  Bruce was incredibly responsive throughout the whole process, answering all my barrage of questions leading up to the choice of these Victron batteries and then getting the new batteries along with some additional Victron equipment ordered and delivered to the marina here in Norfolk VA. 

Bruce and Kevin worked with me very closely during the entire installation and configuration of the whole new electrical system to get it dialed in “just right”.  It is all too rare in my experience that you find such high degree of expertise along with truly exemplary service and so my hat off to Bruce and Kevin, can’t thank you both enough.  If any of you have any electrical needs for your boat I’m sure you will thank me later for contacting Bruce and his staff at OPE and similarly benefiting from their expertise and incredible customer service.

* NOTE:  Just to be clear and transparent, I am not sponsored by OPE or Victron or any other manufacturer, just a very satisfied customer wanting to share my first hand experiences with these high quality companies and people.


XPM 6S4P House BatteryHere is the schematic showing how the original House Bank of 24 FireFly L15+ Carbon Foam batteries was setup.

     (click to enlarge this or any other photo)

PXL_20230727_154145252This is one of the three sealed battery compartments that are built into the hull with the batteries stradling the 1″ thick center keel bar so that all their weight acts as nicely centered “lead ballast”.  As per the schematic above, each of the four banks of FireFly batteries were wired directly to the positive and negative main bus bars inside the Grey DC Distribution box you see here.  All cables are of equal gauge and length, hence the looped Red & Black cables,   Positive cables from each bank have their own Off/On Battery Switch (Grey switches top left corner) and the negative cables each connect to the Neg bus bar through their own shunt for the Victron BMV712 battery monitors.  Fortunately I was able to reuse all these cables and battery monitors for the new batteries.
PXL_20230727_154208403This is the forwardmost battery compartment with the lid removed to start disconnecting all the batteries.
PXL_20230727_162322153With all the interconnecting battery cables and copper bars removed these 8 batteries are ready to leave the building.
IMG_3076Each FireFly battery weighs 43Kg/94lbs but fortunately they had very good handles on both sides so lifting them up and out went well.  This is the first eight of 24 batteries out on the dock beside the boat.

OUT OUT OUT with the OLD!

PXL_20230821_150439744A bit of a sad end to what should have been a much happier relationship with these FireFly batteries, but it is what it is.
PXL_20230821_145518401Enlisting the generously offered assistance of the marina staff and their golf cart to make the looooooooong trek along the maze of docks to get from the boat to the shore, we were able to transfer the batteries from boat to shore to pickup truck to take them to the battery salvage yard.

A forklift sure makes life easier once I got the batteries to the salvage yard!
PXL_20230821_150422017At least I was able to offset the cost of the new batteries with the money for the 2317 lbs of lead contained within the 24 FF batteries. (less weight of case, gel, etc.)

Bye bye FireFly; Hello Victron!

IN with the NEW

PXL_20230809_174034822The new batteries were delivered a few days later and with some help from the marina staff and their golf cart, we were able to bring the new batteries out to the dock beside Möbius.
IMG_3077.With the old FF batteries removed I could take out the fiberglass pans and modify them to fit the new batteries.  Not actually required by ABYC for these sealed batteries but a smart “belt & suspender” safety feature I think. 
PXL_20230802_200212279Each of the three pans needed to be extended in length so I just cut them in half with my circular saw ……….
PXL_20230807_154258855and then glassed in the space between with new cloth and resin.

Just visible on the far left end of this pan you can see the new SS tie down D rings I installed for the ratchet webbing used to secure the batteries in place.

Now all that was needed was to lift each of the 125lb new batteries from the dock down into the Basement and then lower them into their new home inside each battery compartment.


New Victron House Bank schematicThis schematic illustration will show you how the new House Bank is wired up.  Over the many years of boat ownership I have come to appreciate how important it is to keep ALL batteries very well balanced as they are being charged and discharged. 

NOTE: this is a schematic diagram only, cable sizes and lengths not shown to scale

This boils down to ensuring that each battery has the exact same resistance as their electrons flow in and out which is mostly determined by having the exact same size and length of cable connecting them to each other in the parallel and series arrangement required for such a multi battery bank setup.  It is similarly important that each individual battery bank also has the exact same cable gauge and length for their connections to the main positive and negative bus bars.

Also worth noting that all battery cables are oversized to 120mm2 (two sizes larger than AWG 4/0) to have less than 1% voltage drop.

Nigel Calder Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manaul coverI have also come to appreciate how much it helps to go the “extra mile” with the interconnecting cables to make all the series and parallel connections between each of the four batteries that make up each bank.  I first learned this method many years ago from Nigel Calder’s invaluable “Boatowners Mechanical & Electrical Manual” which you can see in Fig 1.21 page 22 if interested.

This is the wiring I used for each of the four batteries in each battery bank.

PXL_20230817_165919952You can see this in the schematic above and here in the actual cables installed on the new Victron SC AGM batteries. 

Small gauge wires you see here are for the various temperature and voltage sensors for monitoring these batteries with both Victron and Maretron.
PXL_20230815_140431433Christine’s son Tim flew up for a visit during all of this and being a very good certified electrician he generously worked with me for the whole installation process.  Here seen crimping the lugs onto the new interconnecting cables that needed to be made up.
PXL_20230817_165943879Tim does very high quality work which I certainly value highly and is also great to see in this new generation of electricians and workforce.  Good example here of affixing the SS ratchets and straps to this battery bank.
PXL_20230816_220800754Tim also took on the finicky mounting and then wiring of the three Victron Battery Balancers that we added to the installation. 

Thanks Tim, couldn’t have done it without you!!
Victron Battery Balancer connection diagramFor those interested, these battery balancers work as follows:

The Battery Balancer equalizes the state of charge of two series connected 12V batteries, or of several parallel strings of series connected batteries. When the charge voltage of a 24V battery system increases to more than 27V, the Battery Balancer will turn on and compare the voltage over the two series connected batteries. The Battery Balancer will draw a current of up to 1A from the battery (or parallel connected batteries) with the highest voltage. The resulting charge current differential will ensure that all batteries will converge to the same state of charge.

With the kind of $$ we boat owners invest in our battery banks, every bit that we can extend their lifespan helps and is well worth doing in my experience.
PXL_20230815_140513199Not quite finished, still need to tidy up the cables and small wire sensor cables with zip ties but here is what House Bank #1 looks like.
PXL_20230816_190334080And this is the aft most Bank #3 just about ready to have the lid bolted on to finish this installation.

It took a few days working with Bruce and Kevin at OPE to get all the settings setup just right in the MPPT controllers, WakeSpeed regulators, MultiPlus chargers and BMV sensors and they went the extra mile and then some to help configure and finish up the installation.  We have been running the new Victron House Battery setup for about three weeks now and it is performing flawlessly.   I’ve tested it both with and without shore power and the each battery and each battery bank has stayed perfectly balanced and performing just as hoped. 

A very good feeling after nursing the original House Battery along for the past year but we now have a great setup that should continue to meet all the significant electrical demands aboard Möbius.  This is very much a “battery based” boat with all DC and AC power coming from these batteries so this really adds to the SWAN or Sleep Well At Night factor on our beloved Möbius.

Congratulations if you’ve made it this far in this all too typical “brevity challenged” update.  With any luck there won’t be any more big jobs like this to report on but I will post updates from time to time as things evolve aboard and soon hopefully off of the Good Ship Möbius.


As Wayne’s World Spins; Möbius’ World Turns Upside Down

As Wayne’s World Spins; Möbius’ World Turns Upside Down

Christine and I are still working our way through our recent “difficult but clear” decision to send our beloved dog Ruby off on her final passage which you may have read about in my last update I posted here. We both want to say thanks to all of you who sent such kind thoughts in your comments, text messages, Emails and calls. All much appreciated and we are most grateful for bringing us even more memories of all our adventures and travels with Ruby the Wonderdog.

As the randomness of life would have it, it turns out this was just the warmup for us as we now find ourselves confronted with an even more “difficult but clear” decision to make which I will explain as best I can below.

Mobius World PNG Logo WITH Words Under FINALI won’t bore you with too many of the details, but I have recently received confirmation that I have a rare condition called Ménière’s Disease that affects my inner ear and balance. In my case, the primary symptoms are sudden onset Vertigo which makes me dizzy and disoriented without any warning when I am moving around and increased tinnitus that has been ringing in my ears for many years. Currently, there is no cure or treatment for Ménière’s disease, and the symptoms are predicted to increase in frequency and severity over the coming years. We will just have to wait and see.

Right now, these random bouts of vertigo are not too frequent and only occur when I am moving around. The bigger problem is when I am unable to grab onto something, and I lose my balance and fall. In several instances over the past months while we have been underway on Möbius, I’ve hit my head badly and worse, I’ve aggravated the four cracked disks in my back from a serious motorcycle accident I survived many years ago. This has triggered severely painful spasms that incapacitate me for several days.  I’m no stranger to pain and can deal with that, but as you might imagine, with this all happening on a moving boat while underway, it has been very stressful for poor Christine. She has often reminded me that her worst fear is waking up for her night watch and finding herself alone on the boat. With this news, and her first-hand observation of a fall or two, she tells me her anxiety level has skyrocketed.

After much discussion of our options and processing through stages of denial, anger and frustration we have both come to accept the painful but clear conclusion that it is no longer safe or sensible for us to continue our nomadic adventures exploring the world by sea aboard the good ship Möbius. After investing and immersing ourselves so completely for the past five years to bring our Goldilocks “just right, just for us” dreams to the reality that is Möbius, ending our voyages just as we were getting started is sad and disappointing to say the least.  Yet for us, this does not diminish in the least the incredible experiences we’ve had joining forces with SO many eXtremely talented people to collaboratively design and build this boat of our dreams. We remain eternally grateful to each one of you. In the short time since setting off to eXplore the world on her, we have already had so many truly awemazing adventures together visiting places we had never seen before and making the transition from sail to power. Mirroring our recent experience with losing Ruby, it will be painful to let Möbius go, but it is equally clear to us that this is the smart and right thing to do. She is an amazing boat, and we adore her, but she deserves and needs owners who can take her on the ocean-crossing voyages she has proven to be so capable of and is currently tugging at her dock lines to continue.

I’m not sure that it has fully sunk in for either of us yet, but we are going to be “swallowing the anchor” as the saying goes. However, we have accepted the eXciting new challenge of dreaming up a whole new home for us and new way of equally eXtreme eXploration of the world by land. At this point in time, we have no idea just what that will look like, but we’ll figure that out over the next few months and are anxious to get started on this as soon as possible. We love these kinds of challenges, and we think we have been quite successful so far. Why would we change now?! Heck, we made the transition from voyaging by sail to power and transformed our aquatic Goldilocks dreams into reality by designing and building Möbius, and we have just covered over 8200 nautical smiles since leaving Turkey at the end of October. How hard can the next transition from sea to land be? Maybe we’ll end up following that natural progression with age I’ve heard some mention: Sailboat –> Powerboat –> RV –> Hearse. hehehe

So, what’s next for us? Our immediate plans are to stay living aboard Möbius safely docked here at Tidewater Marina in Norfolk VA where we recently enjoyed having our son Skyler here for a week long visit and our two Granddaughters and their parents aboard for the July 4th week.  Now that we have been able to spend time with our thee children and grandchildren and discuss our big decision with them, our top priorities are to get our personal gear down to the bare minimum on Möbius and get her spick and span and shipshape as we seek out her new owners. As most of you know, Möbius is our full-time home and everything we own is onboard so it will take a good bit of time and work to transfer all our personal gear from the boat to shore.

Trust me when I say that I know this is a LOT to take in and process! We are feeling more than a bit overwhelmed by this sudden and complete change in plans, but we both wanted to deliver this news to you as directly and transparently as possible as we work our way through it all. It won’t be fast or easy to find the new owners for Möbius, but now that we have made the decision we are highly motivated to find them so she will be the deal of a lifetime for someone out there such that we and they can both begin our new adventures right away.

And of course, if YOU have been dreaming about exploring the world by sea sooner than later on a boat that has proven herself an eXtremely capable exploration passagemaker, here is your chance to fulfill those dreams NOWl!  So, if this boat is calling your name or you know anyone else who might like to become the new owner of Möbius, please email us at  It will take us a few weeks at least to get Möbius decluttered and ready to put on the market and we will create a “Möbius for Sale” blog post with videos, photos and details of all her equipment and systems and publish that as soon as we can.

I realize that this is likely as unexpected and surprising to you as it has been to us, and I apologize for veering off onto this personal tangent on the Mobius.World blog. Having each of you choose to join us on this grand “Project Goldilocks” adventure has been a huge part of what has made the journey so far so special and meaningful for both me and Christine, and we are grateful for your encouragement and companionship throughout. Therefore, it seemed only appropriate to share this unexpected new development with you directly today.

That’s more than enough from me for now. Please don’t fret or worry, as this is NOT a life-threatening condition, just a lifestyle-threatening one. I’m still very appreciative and grateful for everything I am so fortunate to have in life. At 70 years young, I still lead a very charmed, adventurous and eXciting life. Despite this new wrinkle, I’m otherwise very fit, healthy, and energetic. I have the best partner in life and love, my Captain Christine at my side. And I have more love and care from more family and friends like you than I deserve. So, could I be any more fortunate? Methinks not!

I appreciate that you may be feeling the urge to respond to this update, and I thank you for that, but no response is needed nor expected. For us it is onward and upward, as we close out one set of adventures and begin the next.

So don’t worry, we’re not done yet! We’ll keep you posted here on our next steps as we continue our newest round of awemazing adventures in life.


Way to Go Christine!

Way to Go Christine!

A very quick but important update for those who might not otherwise be aware.

An article entitled “Project Goldilocks” that Christine wrote several months ago has just gone live and been published on the web site of PassageMaker magazine. 

As per their byline PassageMaker is “The World’s Cruising authority” so this is a premiere magazine for the community surrounding those out cruising the world, mostly in power boats. 

As such, many of you may not subscribe but I am delighted to pass on that the article is now available to the public via the Passagemaker web site which you can access HERE. 

Screenshot Christine Passagemaker article on Project Goldilocks

Part of the interesting back story for you is that Christine began her professional writing career back when she was in her twenties and wrote an article about her experience of riding her bicycle solo down the entirety of then just completed Baja Highway on the West coast of the Mexican peninsula.  This article was published in “Bicycling!” a major bicycling enthusiasts magazine at the time. 

Christine has written quite a few magazine articles for a wide range of magazines in the years since and back at the beginning of this year the editors of Passagemaker magazine contacted her asking if she would be willing to write an article about her experiences with Möbius for an upcoming edition of Passagemaker magazine.  The magazine publishing business still works quite slowly and the article has only just now appeared online and will be featured in the July/August 2023 print magazine.

For those with sharp eyes who might be confused to see that this article says it was written by “Christine Kling”.  No, this is not a typos as this is Christine’s Nom de plume or pen name under which she writes all her best selling mystery novels.

I am SO proud of my awemazing and talented partner and Captain in life for this most recent opportunity to share her writings with the world and hope you will enjoy reading this great summary of the experiences of transforming the dreams of Project Goldilocks into the reality that Möbius now is.



Ruby the Wonderdog Weighs her last Anchor; 13 Oct 2007-15 June 2023

Ruby the Wonderdog Weighs her last Anchor; 13 Oct 2007-15 June 2023

Baby Ruby 1st picI don’t recall just when or how she acquired the moniker of Ruby the Wonderdog, but it was very early on as a pup and my First Mate aboard the Good Ship Learnativity as we sailed out of San Francisco back in 2007 and set out to explore the world together.  This is my very first photo of her the day I picked her up on the 12th of October, 2007 when she was about six weeks old.

Today, almost 16 years later, Ruby weighed her last anchor and headed off on her final passage.
baby Ruby floppy earsAs you might imagine, Christine and I are riding life’s rollercoaster of emotions today which includes a lot of sadness but if you chose to continue reading, I hope you will indulge me this personal detour. I’d like to remind myself just how much Ruby was THE Wonderdog as we celebrate and appreciate the profound joy she brought into our lives and that of countless others she met along the way.
Ruby Gramma Grace Like most of the awemazing events in my life, Ruby came into my life when the forces of serendipity and synchronicity combined to have us meet and be bonded forever after. 

As I was preparing to head off sailing around the world singlehanded, I had thought I might get a cat at some point but my dear friend Grace happened to mention that her two dogs had just had a litter and she was looking for a good home for the last one.  It was the classic love at first sight ,and we’ve been together ever since.
Ruby PigletRuby was a “Spoodle”, cross between Poodle and Cocker Spaniel and both her parents, Grace’s dogs, were Spoodles.  And when I say she was small I’m not exaggerating as you can see here in this picture with my daughter Lia’s little Papillion “Piglet”.
Ruby PFDAnd Oh, the places we did go!  We started by sailing down the West coast of North, Central and South America to Rapa Nue aka Easter Island where we turned right and headed West to Pitcairn, Gambier and on through most of the Polynesian islands.
Sky's pics 3-3-08 079Westward to more islands such as American Samoa, Niue, Tonga, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Vanuatu with multiple passages between all of these for about the next five years. 
P1040038_1024Aboard Möbius this past year, the Wonderdog sailed with Christine, myself and her buddy Barney, along the coasts of Turkey, Greece and Sicily then across the Med and North Africa, across the Atlantic to Martinique in the Caribbean and up through the Bahamas to Florida and now her final port here in Portsmouth Virginia. 
Ruby me equator XingBeing all Black other than a small White blaze on her chest, Ruby was typically difficult to see in photos but if you look closely or click to enlarge, you’ll see her on the other side of me as we crossed the equator in 2009.  This would be our first of seven times we crossed the equator together.
80444437In 2013 when serendipity and synchronicity again combined to have the awemazing Christine and I meet for the first time in Fiji, Ruby was there too as seen in this first photo ever taken of us a few hours after we met. 
Ruby Coleen Ian SSThat first photo above was taken on our dear friends Ian & Coleen’s boat Summer Spirit in Vuda Point Marina.  Ruby fell in love with both of them, and vice versa, probably spending more time aboard Summer Spirit than Learnativity in all the years we were back and forth to Fiji and Vuda Point.
P1030199Ruby loved running up and down beaches and this one in Majuro in the Marshall Islands was one of her favorites.  In multiple passages up to Majuro from Fiji, we probably spent over a year’s time there, the last two with Christine aboard as well.
Ruby dinghy Captain The Wonderdog was always a marvel of balance that would make any gymnast or circus act envious and perched herself at the bow every dinghy ride no matter the conditions and never fell off once. 
Ruby the WonderdogThough she jumped off as soon as we got near the beach as she just couldn’t wait to swim ashore and hit the beach running. 
IMGP0161_1024Another of her many skills, she became and expert and sniffing out and then digging out crabs no matter how deep down under the sand they went, and then eat with great gusto and lips carefully bared so as not to get bit by their claws.  On rare occasion she would take a back seat to her best buddy Barney as long as it meant another trip to the beach.
dogbeachWe soon became a family of four when Christine’s dog at the time Barney joined us, and he and Ruby became best buddies immediately almost more than did Christine and I. 
IMG_20140620_094343_1024However it quickly became apparent that Barney was “my” dog and Ruby was velcro’d to Christine from the very first day they met.  In any case, we were now a family of four.
IMG_1720Both Ruby and Barney were great snuggle buddies,
F69E957E-06A8-4612-B31A-943353E049C4sometimes along side us
IMG_2712sometimes alongside each other.
IMG_1471Always at the ready for the next adventure, or the next meal.
84518368Can’t say that it was her favorite thing to do but Ruby was no stranger to dressing up for special occasions such as being Bridesmaid along with Barney as Groom at our wedding in 2015.
3DB96471-68BA-4EC6-AEB5-EB0AC9F59E4EAnd celebrating each Christmas with us as Santa’s little helpers.
LiaRubyPiglet LTYAlong for the ride with all our family and friends such as one of Lia and Brian’s many times aboard starting with this first one in Puntarenas Costa Rico along with their little dog Piglet.
IMG_20140615_145722_1024Son Skyler on one of our many visits to Vancouver BC.  And my apologies to SO many other friends and family I’m leaving out here.

IMG_2870 If you believe in dog years, Ruby would be about 110 years old now and Christine and I have known for the past few months that age was beginning to catch up with her.  She had lost most of her hearing the past year and was developing cataracts in both eyes, but she was still as frisky as a pup at times racing up and down the side decks, eating, drinking, pooping and sleeping well and seemed to continue to enjoy life together with us.  So we’ve been keeping a close eye on her, and this past week she started to go downhill down rapidly.
PXL_20230611_234328741.MPBarney noticed the change as well this past week and in an apparent common scenario, for the first time he began to give her some very serious grooming sessions licking her head to toe for half an hour or more multiple times a day.  Ruby seemed to signal us as well as her appetite diminished as did her weight this past week, and she ate and drank very little the last 24 hours. 

The decision was not easy but it was clear to all four of us that this fateful time had arrived.  So a few hours ago, we snuggled together with our dearest friend and crewmember for one last time, shed more than a few tears and kissed Ruby the Wonderdog Bon Voyage for her final passage in this life, with us by her side. 

Ruby _ Wayne_1024Over our years together the boats Ruby and I have lived and sailed upon have changed, but I’d like to think that we have both stayed largely the same and as bonded together as ever. 

This was us in Fiji in 2009 and …..
Wayne & Ruby last photo crop…… this is us this morning in Portsmouth Virginia, fourteen years later.

FYI, totally unintended coincidence but yes of course I’m still wearing the same shirt!

IMG_0272We have seen a lot of the world together and watched a lot of sunsets over the years, my dearest Ruby.  My rough guesstimates are that together we’ve checked into more than 33 countries, flown almost one hundred thousand air miles, tens of thousand road miles in cars, trucks, RV’s and motorcycles, countless more miles on trains, taxis and busses and sailed over 60 thousand nautical miles.

Ruby, words can not possibly articulate how rich and charmed my life has been since you first entered it.  I will never be able to thank you enough for all the many gifts and profound joy you have given me during our almost sixteen years together.  I think I may be ready for a world without The Wonderdog in it, but I’m not at all sure if I will ever be ready for a world without my partner Ruby. 

Lucky for me, there really is no such world as I will always have and cherish the treasure trove of memories from all our shared experiences in life together.

Thank you my friend, my partner, my beloved Ruby.  Fair winds and following seas as you weigh anchor and set out upon your latest voyage with me at your side as always!

Part II: Our Most & Least Favorite Features after One Year and 8200NM Aboard Möbius 11 June, 2023

Part II: Our Most & Least Favorite Features after One Year and 8200NM Aboard Möbius 11 June, 2023

At the end of April I published “One Year & 7300nm later; Most & Least Favorite Möbius Features April 17-30 2023” which was Part I of the first year review reporting on what has now been well proven to work the best for us and were our favorite features.  Since that post we have put another thousand nautical smiles under our keel as we meandered our way up to our final destination for a bit at Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth VA just across the river from Norfolk Virginia.  That passage totaled just over 8200 nautical smiles and we are going to push the Pause button and stay here for the next few months.  If you missed it, I provided a more detailed update on this last leg of our latest journey in the previous post you can read HERE.

This will be Part II with our review of those things which have not worked out as well as hoped, our least favorite features and things to add/change to make Möbius even better than she already is.  I’m delighted to report that our least favorite list is much shorter than our most favorites so this Part II will be much shorter than Part I.

As with Part I there is no implied ranking in the order of these items and I’ll group them as Design based or Equipment based.


I’ll start with Design based changes and note that given the enormity of this project and that we pretty much started from scratch, we have been pleasantly surprised at how few design decisions we and our brilliant Naval Architect Dennis Harjamaa made that we would have done differently.  Even these are all best categorized as things that would be improvements to the current design and build.  We have also passed on all these observations and recommendations to the new owners of the two XPM’s that are currently under construction in Antalya right now and to the builder for future new builds.

Extended SuperSalon/Pilot House

Depending on weather, this space is where we spend a majority of our time at anchor, especially for meals and evenings and it continues to be a joy to live in.  However, we have come to realize is that it would have been very easy to extend the length of this superstructure by one frame which would have made this room about one meter or three feet longer.

011 SuperSalon LayoutIf you click to enlarge the plan view from our design files and the rendering below, you can see the layout of the SuperSalon as it was deigned and built. 

MOBIUS_SALOON_RENDER (4)As you can see, we had intended for two lounge chairs to go in the space to the side of the dinette table.
Fridge - Freezers dry fitted to cabinetryHowever, along the way we ended up deciding to install the two drawer style fridge/freezers inside the cabinetry on the Port side which is at the bottom behind the backs of the chairs in this rendering above.
Eames Chair metric dimensionsWhen we moved aboard, we put two admittedly large comfy lounge chairs in as per the layout you see here, but after using for a month or so we found that this proved to be impractical needing to access the Fridge/Freezer drawers and so we have removed one lounge chair.
This is has been our setup ever since and works out fine but means that when we are having our nightly “dinner and a movie” time watching the large 50″ TV in the forward Port corner, one of us needs to be seated in either the Helm chair or on the settee with the table put down into “coffee table” height. Having that extra meter of length would have allowed each of us to have our own lounge chair which would make our evening entertainment time even more enjoyable and comfortable. I know, I know, poor pitiful us right?!

On the plus side we discussed this with Naval Yachts and with Chris and Sebrina when they were designing the layout for their XPM78-02 Vanguard and decided to add that extra meter and it has made their SuperSalon even better than ours.


We made natural or passive ventilation, especially when at anchor, a high priority as we were designing Möbius and most of the time it has worked well but when the weather is warmer but not quite hot enough to justify running Air Conditioning and when the winds are low ventilation in the primary living spaces, the SuperSalon and the SkyBrdge, are places where the ventilation can be improved the most. 

Ventilation: SuperSalon

MOBIUS_SALOON_RENDER (1)One of the many great things about being at anchor is that you know that all the wind is going to be coming over the bow and flowing aft so we took advantage of this to bring those breezes into the boat. There are three ways we bring natural ventilation into the SuperSalon area, two which bring the breezes into diffusers in the ceiling and a third with the air that flows through the large hatches in the Master Cabin and up into the SuperSalon.  Ventilation via the Master Cabin flow through works well but the two independent ventilation systems for the ceiling diffusers do not provide as much ventilation as we had hoped. 
Underside PH Vent under overhangOne of the ways the air enters the boat is through a series of slots cut into the roof overhang in front of the negatively raked front window which is highlighted in Red in this rendering.  This location creates a slight high pressure zone that we wanted to take advantage of to help bring some fresh air inside.
PXL_20230611_163839514This is what the real thing looks like.  The space behind this grille connects through pipes into a large plenum or box in the ceiling overtop of the Main Helm Station.
PXL_20230611_170000087In the ceiling overtop of the Helm station these five Black diffusers connect into that plenum and are adjustable to change the volume of air and the direction of the air flowing in.  All good but there was supposed to be ducting used to bring the air from the grill box through to each diffuser and because this was not done all the air fills up the plenum and loses all its pressure and so there is not good flow of the air into the boat.
PXL_20230611_163800540The second fresh air intake is located up here but is hidden from view when these three solar panels are in the closed or down position for when we are at sea.
PXL_20230611_164123055Those three panels are mounted on a single frame that is hinged on its back side such that it can be lifted up and held in place horizontally like this.  Very simple and quick operation to remove two locking pins on the front and lift the panel up and lock the support braces in place.  Having the solar panels horizontal can also help increase the power when the sun is overhead.
PXL_20230611_164145235This position creates this massive wedge shaped wind tunnel which directs air coming over the boat to flow through the “mist eliminator” grill my finger is pointing to which removes most of the humidity and airborne salt as the air flows through.
PXL_20230611_170036378Similar to the forward Black ceiling vents this air flows through into a large plenum above these White diffusers you see here which directs the air down into the Salon.

Unfortunately, this system was built the same with with no ducting and so the flow rate is similarly compromised and produces much less air flow than expected.
PXL_20230611_191502273Our interim solution for now has been to use this vertical rotating fan which works surprisingly well and is very quiet but longer term we will retrofit some ducting to the ceiling diffusers which should be much more efficient at bringing the breezes into the SuperSalon.

Ventilation; SkyBridge

IMG_1577Up in the SkyBridge there is excellent air flow available because each of the acrylic window panels are easily removable.

PXL_20230605_232209013To provide great ventilation up in the SkyBridge we came up with a very simple and easy way to remove/replace each of the 8 side and 2 rear acrylic sheet windows so that we can open up or close in the SkyBridge as the weather changes and this has proven to work really well.  To remove any of these windows you simply lift it up the bottom of each panel and as you can see here the bottom edge now just clears the cut down inner sidewall section of aluminium U channel that holds each panel in place.

PXL_20230605_232141278The top edge of the panel slides up into the extra space at the top of these upper U channels so as you pull the bottom of the panel inside and down so it slides out of the upper frame channel you see here.

A good example of the KISS Keep It Simple & Safe approach we used throughout the boat and takes mere seconds to remove or replace a window panel.
PXL_20230605_231943739Even though it is June 11th as I write this, the weather here in Portsmouth has been surprisingly cold, dropping down to 14C/57F last night for example.  Brrrrrrrrrr!!  So right now we have just removed one acrylic panel from each side and this allows us to slide the other three panels back and forth to block any wind or rain.  In this photo I’m pointing at the edge of the acrylic panel that is behind my hand to the rear and the area to the front on the Right is wide open.
PXL_20230605_232001715This different angle might show this opening a bit better with my finger again pointing at the edge of the acrylic panel with the open space forward.  If we removed all 13 acrylic panels all four upper sides of the SkyBridge are open and air flows through. 
IMG_3122Very often too much breeze coming through especially through these three front facing windows so we tend to keep these in place all the time. 

So once again, what’s the problem Wayne??!!  Best description is the lack of the “Goldilocks” just right amount of ventilation up in the SkyBridge when we are at anchor.  Too much if we remove these front three windows and not enough if they are left in place.
IMG_1573The problem is that with the wind coming over the bow, if these front windows are in place they deflect almost all the air down the sides of the SuperSalon and even if these side window panels are removed the airflow is such that it all flows straight back along the sides and too little air flows into the interior of the SkyBridge especially up at the front in the lounge area.

PXL_20230611_163749715Fortunately I think that the solution is relatively easy to create.  The idea would be to convert these glass panels from being permanently fixed in place to panels mounted into hinged frames so each glass panel can be open and closed.  Perhaps this would only need to be done to the three front facing panels and leave the side glass panels fixed as well as being able to remove the upper side acrylic windows making it an even easier modification.

SkyBridge Windows View Obstruction

IMG_1572The SkyBridge on Möbius has proven to be our most favorite area for both helming the boat underway as well as lounging up there when at anchor so this is where we spend most of our time unless the weather turns cold and wet, which in the past two years has not happened much at all.  The 360 degree views from up here are difficult to capture in photos but you’ll get some idea here with this view forward from the Lounge area.
IMG_1577and this view from the Upper Helm chair.  So what’s not to like Wayne??
IMG_1569It may seem very minor to most, but when you are sitting down in the Lounge settee your eye level is the same height as the horizontal aluminium break between the lower glass windows and the upper acrylic sliding windows.  So when I’m looking out that seemingly thin bit of aluminium gets in the way of your view and has become a pet peeve for me.  You can sit lower or higher to see over/under this but the views would be so much better if your sight line was about 30cm/12″ higher such that you were looking through just the acrylic windows.
IMG_1570The best solution I think would be to build a raised platform about 30cm high for the lounge settee and table to sit on.  This could be a welded AL platform but what I think I will do when I have the time is build a wood frame for the platform and cover with marine plywood as a first prototype and see how it works. 
The floor of this raised platform could be covered with the left over vinyl flooring that has worked out so well in the other living spaces  and there would be the bonus of having a very large storage space under the platform floor for larger and bulkier items such as deck/beach chairs and such.

That covers all the most significant design based changes of we have recommended for the next XPM78 boats which are built.  Other minor ones are things such as decreasing the height of the stair risers, basically adding one additional stair step to each to make it easier to go up and down these stairs.  The current ones are a bit too much of a step up and down for most people and not quite that Goldilocks just right height.  Easily fixed during the build process but not something we will change on Möbius and instead see this as a feature rather than a bug by keeping us in good physical shape each time we use the stairs.


The other area where improvements and changes would be recommended is with some of the equipment that is used in some of the systems onboard.

FireFly House Batteries

IMG_20190920_122217The most disappointing equipment issue has been my decision to go with FireFly Carbon Foam batteries for the large 1800Ah @ 24V house battery bank.  If you’re interested in the fully detailed description of the situation you can go back and read the post I wrote back in August “No Fire at FireFly Batteries?”   It really is a very sad and disappointing situation as these Carbon Foam type batteries are a fabulous solution for many boats and owners and I’m hopeful that another company will pick up the patents and start manufacturing more soon.  The problem was not with the chemistry but with the lack of quality control at the factory which resulted in far too many of these batteries losing their capacity very early in their life. 

IMG_20200706_125429In our case, the capacity loss began after about six months of use and has continued to slowly decline more and more ever since.  On the good news front, we have been able to continue to use the boat full time every day with almost no problems using the existing capacity these batteries do have so it has not been disruptive to our day to day living and cruising.  In fact we have only been plugged into shore power twice in the past year on some brief stays in marinas.  This is all thanks to having so much capacity to begin with in the 24 individual 4V @ 450Ah batteries that make up our House Bank, as well as having so much solar from our 14 320Watt solar panels that brings the house bank up to 100% SoC each day.  Plus anytime we are underway we have the two Electrodyne alternators able to crank out up to 9kW of power to charge the batteries if we need to go days without much sun.
This is another reason that we will be staying put here in Portsmouth so I can decide what to chose for the new battery replacements.  Right now this is most likely to be some good quality AGM batteries or perhaps Gel based “traction batteries” but I’m still researching what the Goldilocks replacement choice will be.  Lithium is what most people would think of but in our case they don’t make as much sense as we actually value the weight of our House Batteries providing part of our overall ballast and we have plenty or room as you can see above.  There also appears to be growing evidence that one of the odd characteristics of both Carbon Foam and Lithium is that they prefer to NOT be kept fully charged to 100% all the time and I believe that this was part of what caused our batteries to fail prematurely.  More research to follow and I’ll provide updates here whenever I make the decision on the new House Batteries.

Reducing Engine Room Extraction Fan Noise

Vent Box ductingOne of the other equipment based changes we would make is to find ways to reduce the noise from the extraction fans which ventilate the Engine Room.  These run whenever Mr. Gee is running to keep him supplied with fresh air and to exchange the air in the Engine Room frequently to help extract the heat and keep ER temperatures as low as possible.  Not able to photograph the whole setup as it is welded into the hull and ER but you can see how the Red boxes are welded to the Aft Deck plate and then the Purple aluminium ducting runs in/out of the ER below.

Aft Deck Vent Boxes The existing fans do the job very well and as extraction fans go they are not too loud.  However, because the entry and exit grilles are located in these two vent boxes on the Aft Deck the noise they do make travels up into the SkyBridge and can be a bit distracting.  One of those things you don’t notice so much until you do.  I’m not sure how much this can be reduced but I will be researching fans that have been specifically designed to be quieter and look into whether moving the fans from inside the Vent Boxes to down inside the ER itself might reduce the decibels a bit.

Circuit Breakers as On/Off Switches

PXL_20230611_211123293There are two circuit breaker panels on Möbius, this one on the Starboard/Right side of the Main Helm for all the 24 Volt circuits that are best accessed from there such as deck lights, navigation equipment, etc.  These are all double throw circuit breakers so they control both the positive and negative sides of each circuit and this has al.l worked out very well. 
PXL_20230611_211221017Then there is this larger panel with all the circuit breakers for the remaining equipment in all four voltages; 120V + 240V AC and 12V + 24V DC. 

The issue is a minor one of convenience.  Because there is a circuit breaker for each individual piece of equipment, no On/Off switches were installed where the equipment is installed.  In most cases this is just fine but for things like pumps for transferring fuel and water, desk wash pumps and things like that, it would be handy to have an On/Off switch right there when you want to turn on a Deck Wash pump for example.  This would simply save me a trip up to the circuit breaker panel so this is just a matter of convenience
Easy enough to solve the problem and I have purchased some nice On/Off switches to mount nearby these types of devices and just need to find the time to install them all.

Bosch washing machine

PXL_20230611_213126010I’m not sure if this is a common problem with this model perhaps but our Bosch washing machine has failed three times since it was installed and has been very annoying to have to remove and repair.  The first two times it was under warrantee but it failed again while we were making our way through the Bahamas and so is on my list of repairs while here in Norfolk. 

What makes this particularly annoying is that none of the Bosch service technicians seems to be able to identify just what is causing the problem and they simply replace every circuit board inside and reinstall. 
PXL_20230611_213134139Even worse, once the washing machine does quit it shows an error code on the LCD screen but as soon as you shut it off, it will not turn on again, not even the screen, until after the problem has been fixed.  So unless you take a picture of the screen when it happens there is no way to turn the machine back on and figure out the problem!  Fortunately I take photos of these error codes but even with that none of the service techs or my searches online can tell me what the problem is so I’m at a loss to know what to fix. 
Will just need to break down and have them come out to the boat to replace the circuit boards for a third time but sure is annoying!

I should add that all our other appliances on the boat such as induction cooktop, oven, etc. are all Bosch and are working extremely well so no knocks to the company, just the lemon of a washing machine we seem to have lucked out with!


And that’s about it for the list of things which we’d recommend change on next builds and things we will be doing to improve what has already been a fantastic boat.  Surprisingly few breakages in the time we’ve been underway and living onboard which says a lot for any boat and makes us VERY happy.  About the best testament that can be given I think to ALL involved with converting our dreams into the reality that Möbius now is and we are eXtremely grateful to each of you and our special thanks to Dennis Harjamaa for his brilliant design work and everyone at Naval Yachts for their work building Möbius.


Hope this review of both what has worked the best and the least well will be of value to other boat owners out there or future ones.  I know that I value first hand experience over just about all else and so glad to pass on what I’ve learned in our experience with Möbius so far.  Please do let me know if there are other specific questions you have related to all this or of any kind and I’ll do my best to respond as quickly as possible.