TAXing Möbius Update Jan 1-15, 2023

Sorry for the delay in posting this update of our Atlantic crossing but …………………….. we made it!!! and that is TAXing as in Trans Atlantic Crossing which was definitely NOT “taxing” as in difficult.


Gran Canaria to St. Anne Martinique route mapThis is a quick and dirty sat view of our crossing. 

I’ll provide more details below, but short summary is 2718 Nautical Miles/5033km/3127 miles in 13 days 23 hours.
TXing Globe Shot sat viewZooming all the way out, here is a truly global view of our passage. 

That’s a LOT of blue water!
TXing PW routeThis is our GPS track since leaving Turkey/Greece back on Oct. 31st with 5766 NM/10,678 km/6635 miles


Caribbean_general_mapZooming back in to provide some context of the Caribbean Islands that we will be in for the next few months.
OK, now that you have all that for context, I’ll do my best to provide a summary of the passage and some of the more detail stats that many of you have been waiting for.

IMG_2263When we left off in the last update back on New Year’s eve, we were tied up in the Las Palmas marina on Gran Canarias Island all ready to head out New Year’s Day for our Trans Atlantic crossing.
PXL_20230101_110632406After going through the check out process New Year’s Day, we headed we cast off the dock lines at 11am and motored out of the well protected bay on the NE corner of Gran Canarias Island and put Las Palmas in what little wake we produce.
PXL_20230101_181414928Timing worked out great as you can see from the SkyBridge helm station as we we sailed into setting sun and more flat seas.

Passage and Paravanes Overview


PXL_20230108_184302563As the nautical miles and days ticked by, we got into the typical and predicted Tradewinds that would help propel us across the Atlantic.  Wind speeds averaged a bit more than 20 knots and swell averaged a bit more than 3 meters.  All downwind sailing with both wind and swell coming from behind us and we had blue skies for almost the entire passage.  Following seas are great because we get to surf down them as the pass under the hull and adds a bit to our overall speed. 
However, following seas also produce some side to side yawing and rolling that creates what Christine refers to as “corkscrew” type motion as the boat crests the top of the swell and can turn to one side as it surfs down the wave.
It is really difficult to capture this in photos and video that conveys what it is like in person but here is a short video looking back from the Aft Deck to help show a bit better.  For reference the top of the AL entry into the Workshop where the White LED light is mounted, is about 3m above the waterline.

PXL_20230108_180725921This is pretty much the same physics in following seas for any monohull so nothing new to us just not the most comfortable and so we deployed the paravanes in these conditions, learned a lot and developed techniques and rigging to improve their performance and ease of launching, retrieving and clearing.
PXL_20221231_153019620When not in use, we stow the paravanes upright and tied to the aluminium gate stanchions which worked well.  Deploying them is a simple matter of slowing the boat down to under 4kts and then I lower them over the side and into the water.
PXL_20221231_152938309I use the White nylon retrieval line you can see here connected to aft end of the AL fin.  This suspends the Paravane in a vertical position and makes it very easy to raise and lower.
PXL_20230108_180750681.MPAs soon as they are in the water and trailing aft, I can just let go of the retrieval line and the Paravane immediately dives down in an arc the radius of the fixed length Orange/Black Dyneema lines that each Paravane is suspended from the outer end of the A-Frame boom.  You can see the White triangle of the Paravane flying through the water about 6m/18ft below the surface.
I shot this short video to try to do a better job of showing how our Paravane rigging works and how they fly along through the water.

PXL_20221231_153001674I came up with this method of running the White retrieval line through an AL low friction ring embedded into the Orange/Black Paravane lines.  These White retrieval lines run slack and if you look at the photos above you can see how they trail out behind the Paravanes so as not to have any effect on the position of the Paravanes until I want to retrieve them.
IMG_2336Christine grabbed this shot from up at the bow looking aft which makes it easy to see how the Paravane lines run off the A-Frame booms on either side.
We have not ever had a boat with active stabilisers so we don’t have any experience to compare the performance to.  However I know enough from reading and talking with those who do have active fin stabilisers that they tend to reduce the rolling by about 80-85%.  Based on our limited experience with Paravanes so far and in talking with others who have them, the estimate for more like 60-65% reduction.  Plus of course each hull and boat is very different in its ride characteristics taking into account hull shape, boat speed, displacement, length, beam and a long list of other factors that determine how any given boat reacts to various sea conditions.  Whatever the numbers there is no question in my mind that active stabilisers would reduce the roll more than passive Paravanes and I think we would all take less rolling and motion underway than more.  So it becomes a matter of setting expectations and so far for me I have been very pleased with the degree our Paravanes improve the ride.  Overall I would say the most accurate description is that they dampen the roll by making it much slower and less number of degrees and we have been very glad to have them as an option to deploy whenever we wish.  On this downwind Atlantic crossing I would estimate that we had the paravanes in the water about 60% of the time.  By having them in and out multiple times we were also able to get a much better sense of the speed reduction from the drag they produce and this ranged from .5 to 1 knot of overall boat speed. 


Atlantic Ocean should be called Sargasso Sea!

PXL_20230114_172047171A new challenge we literally ran into on this crossing was an enormous “bloom” of Sargasso seaweed that began part way through the first week of the crossing and continued all the way over to the Caribbean.  Everywhere you looked all you could see were these yellow/green masses of Sargasso weed and all their “grapes”.  Some of these were the size of small lakes and there was no avoiding them, you just held course and went through them.  No harm to the boat but over time we started to slow down as these masses of seaweed started to wrap themselves around the Paravane lines.
PXL_20230114_171601847We evolved a technique for clearing these lines that worked very well.  Christine would slow the boat down to about 3-4 knots and I would then hand pull the White retrieval lines through the hand winches on either side.  The retrieval line would pull the Paravane into a tail up vertical position and as I kept pulling in a bit more line the Paravane would “pop” up out of the water like you see here. 
This would whip the two lines attached to each Paravane as it surfaced and jumped up out of the water and shake off most of the Sargasso.  If there was some still remaining, I could quickly repeat the process by letting the retrieval line out until the Paravane dove down in its arc and shed a bit more Sargasso and then pull the line back in until the Paravane popped out of the water again and shook of the remaining Sargasso.  Worked very well and the whole process of clearing both sides would take less than five minutes and the Captain would bring us back up to our regular SoG (Speed over Ground) of about 8-9 knots.

There were a few times when we noticed that we did not return to full speed after clearing the lines so we knew that we must have also fouled either the hub of the prop or more likely the top front edge of the rudder where it is close to the hull.  When this happened we would stop the boat completely and run in reverse for about 30 seconds and also disengage the clutch so that the CPP prop would come to a full stop and then take the boat back up to speed and continue.  First time this happened I dove down off the aft end of the boat by the Swim Ladder with my mask on to confirm that the rudder and prop were clean and clear, which they were, and so we brought the boat back up to speed and continued.  This added procedure to clear the prop/rudder was only needed about 3-4 times in the two week passage and the rest of the time we only needed to clear the Paravane lines.

PXL_20230113_102722769About the only breakage we had on this crossing was a SS shackle that attached the Paravane fixed length line to the outer end of the Starboard/Right boom which meant that we were down to just the one Paravane on the Port side. 
PXL_20230113_102645306In these sea conditions it would have been a bit risky to bring the A-Frame into its vertical stowed position and climb all the way up to replace the shackle with a new one so instead I simply tied a bowline loop into the end of the Dyneema line and was able to climb up on the Arch and loop it over the end of the boom with our long boat hook.
These Dyneema lines I had purchased were made to go on electric winches on the front of off road vehicles and if you look closely (click to enlarge any photo) you will see that they had some very tough reinforced anti chafe tubes wrapped around each which worked out just perfect for my use and no visible chafe by the end of the passage.

IMG_2299That was about the extent of the “excitement” on this passage so I am very happy to not have much else to report.  All four of us quickly settled into our rhythm and the 14 days slowly ticked by until we arrived off the SE corner of the French island of Martinique where we anchored off of the small village of St. Anne. 
When we left the Canary Islands we thought we were going to head for Grenada but a good friend and long time sailing collegue from Switzerland, Philip, had flown into Martinique for a few weeks of kite foiling and we had not seen him for several years so we changed course to land here in Martinique.  I’ll provide more details and photos of this lovely spot in the next update and now go back to providing more details on the passage that many of you have been asking for.

Passage by the Numbers:

Along with many of you, we have been looking forward to compiling some of the real world data of the boat’s performance as we put more and more nautical miles under the keel and more hours on the engine and all the systems.  Easy to skip over for those not interested, but below is my summary of the overall performance of Möbius so far.  I’ll try to keep it simple and just list all the measurements that I think will provide the best overview.  We do everything in metric units but I’ll provide some conversions for US and British as well.

  • Total Passage Distance, Las Palmas Gran Canarias to St. Anne Martinique:   2718 nm / 3128 miles / 5034 km
  • Total Elapsed Crossing Time:   13 days 23 hours
  • Average wind speed & direction:   19kts @ 160 degrees to boat (almost behind)
  • Average seas:  0.8M surface waves + 3M Swell @ 165 degrees to boat 
  • Overall Average boat SoG Speed over Ground:   8.1 kts/hr / 9.3 MPH / 15 Km/Hr
  • Average NM per 24 hour day:   195 nm
  • Total Diesel Fuel consumed:   5072 L / 1340 USG / 1116 Imp. Gals
  • Fuel Consumption @ 8.1 kts:   1.87 L/NM   0.49 USG/NM  2.03 NM/USG
  • Gardner engine average RPM on passage:  1448 RPM
  • Average Exhaust Gas Temperature EGT:   335 C / 635 F

It is worth noting that all these numbers are actual directly measured units, not estimates or calculations.  Fuel totals for example are the sum of every refill of our Day Tank as measured using a sight glass tube.  Distances are as measured by our GPS.  Elapsed times are from the time we left the dock in Gran Canarias until we arrived at the anchorage in St. Anne Martinique. 

To my way of thinking, using such direct measurements throughout the passage and totaled at the end of the total passage time frame and distance provides the most accurate and realistic numbers possible. 

Our design goals for Möbius included being able to average 8-9 knots SoG enabling us to cover 200 NM per 24 hour day while burning less than 2 Litres per NM and so we are very happy with these real world numbers.  Our sincere appreciation to our brilliant designer and NA, Dennis Harjamaa at Artnautica Yacht Design in Auckland, NZ for designing our hull and boat that met and exceeded all our design goals so well.  Thanks Dennis!

I will continue to keep logging all the extensive amounts of measurements for every nautical mile we cover and will update these as the months, years and nautical smiles go by.

Mr. Gee v2 Performance

PXL_20220708_121229660I’m also delighted to report that Mr. Gee v2 performed flawlessly.  We’ve never had a power boat before and so having an engine running 24/7 for two weeks was also a new experience.  In total Mr. Gee’s hour meters recorded 337.3 hours and he purred away every one of those hours without a problem.  Needless to say we are particularly delighted about that performance figure!


Möbius' Goldilocks CPP Propeller XPM78-01 Möbius Update 13-18 Sept, 2021 |  Möbius WorldSimilarly, our Nogva CPP or Controllable Pitch Propeller and Gearbox also exceeded expectations and performed flawlessly so our overall propulsion choices continue to be one of our best decisions in designing this boat.  This propulsion duo has given us a “set it and forget it” kind of combination where we pretty much just set Mr. Gee’s RPM at 1450 and let his governor keep it there, adjusted the Pitch until the EGT was at about 340 degrees C and didn’t need to change it until we put the anchor down in St. Anne two weeks later.

Answering more Questions:

To answer a related question I’ve received a few times about drive line noises and vibrations we might have given that the Gardner engine is directly bolted to the Nogva Gearbox and then a direct connection between the output shaft of the Nogva CPP gearbox and its propeller shaft. 


CV drivelineThis is in contrast to many boats which have a constant velocity universal joint or CV arrangement in their driveline but this is not possible with a CPP as the pitch adjustment rod needs to travel all the way from inside the gearbox through the center of the prop shaft and back to the hub of the CPP prop.


CENTAMAX-S Instead, the Nogva gearbox input connects to the Gardner crankshaft via a large flexible rubber CentaMax coupling like this.


The loudest engine related noise we have is actually that of the extraction fan which runs at all times and is part of our fire suppression system and this is something I am looking into replacing with a quieter fan.  The Gardner itself cannot really be heard at any speed from either helm station.  There is no audible sound from any driveline vibrations but if you really focus on it you can feel a slight vibration when we are underway.  It is very steady and smooth so not something either Christine or I have noted. 

Difficult to know how to measure and better answer this question and I don’t have a similar hull with a fixed prop and CV setup for comparison but I can say that one of the features we have been most impressed with and appreciative is just how quiet Möbius is both underway and at anchor.  Indeed one of the most common unsolicited comments we get from our guests and others who come aboard is the almost complete lack of any noises on the boat and just how quiet is is while on board.

However, I too was curious about noise overall and so during the passage I used a sound meter app on my phone to take some readings at various places on Möbius and found the following averages all taken while cruising at 9 knots in 22 knots of following wind and about 3 meter seas:

  • Inside Engine Room  80db
  • Workshop  73db   with ER door open
  • Guest Cabin  57db  (which shares a bulkhead with the ER)
  • Main Salon  55db
  • Master Cabin  50db
  • Skybridge 58db
  • Aft deck  64db


noiselevelchartThis chart will help make some sense of these db decibel numbers.
As another frame of reference, right now, sitting in the Salon typing this message with the door open while at anchor with about 21 kts of wind outside my sound meter is showing 21.5db

You can draw your own conclusions from these numbers but one of our better decisions was to put in so much EPDM and acoustic panel insulation in Möbius and we appreciate this literally every day we are aboard.

Observations from this Atlantic Crossing

Many people ask about a day in the life when we are on these passages and about our watch schedules.  During the daylight hours we are quite informal about our watch schedules and just take turns being on watch and at the helm until we feel like a change and a break.  In these mild weather conditions we spend most of our time up in the SkyBridge as it has such great views with its height above the water and 360 degree views all around.  We have super comfy helm chairs from Llebroc at both helms which are fully adjustable to recline, change lumbar support and have a good foot rest so spending hours in these is a joy.  We are both voracious readers and so we probably spend the most hours reading our wildly diverse range of book genres from romance and murder mysteries to quantum physics. 

We find 6 hour night watches work best for us so we tend to have dinner around 6pm and then I start my watch at 19:00 and Christine comes on at about 1am through 07:00 when I get up and take over again.  Christine will often go down for a few hours in the morning and then we settle into our relaxing day mostly lounging about and reading.

For me the biggest surprise of the passage was how much I missed the challenges that come from sailing.  It is just little things like the satisfaction of adjusting your sail trim and getting a bit better boat speed.  The drill you have to go through to adjust or douse sails when you see a squall up ahead and then put them back up after it passes.  Or that calm that comes over you when you turn off the key after having to motor for some time and the sounds of just the water on the hull takes over your whole audio spectrum.   I just felt a degree less personal satisfaction at the end of the passage having not faced those sailing types of challenges I had for so many years.  However this is also the very first passage under power I’ve ever experienced so time will tell how this evolves and what new challenges lay ahead as our world voyage continues.

One thing that did not change was one of the things I have always marveled at and enjoyed about ocean crossings; being alone in the world’s vast ocean expanses for days or weeks on end.  Where every one of the horizon’s 360 degrees is nothing but water meeting sky.  We saw less than five other boats the entire crossing so we had these vistas all to ourselves and you truly felt blissfully alone.  I am so grateful for these experiences where I feel like I am the most insignificant teeny little speck of dust on the planet and yet simultaneously also the most significant bit as I am all the only speck there is.  I had that profound joy for almost all of this passage.

At night, the complete lack of any other light sources meant that I once again had night after night of stary stary skies that not even Van Gough could have captured.  One interesting difference this time though was that I did become much more aware of the increased number of satellites taking over the night sky so I was glad to have this chance to take in all those stars against such a black background the likes of which I may only see in reduced degrees in the future.

IMG_2305Our timing worked out such that we had a lot of moonshine the whole passage so that was an extra bonus we both enjoyed on our night watches.

As well as our first crossing under power, this was also a first crossing of the Atlantic for both of us and so that felt great to add these experiences to our lists.  I think the only other major ocean passage neither of us have done is now the Indonesia and the Indian ocean so we still have those adventures ahead. 

Not sure how well I have been able to  capture and convey our latest experience but I hope you found parts of it interesting and worth reading.  If you have other questions or topics you would like me to cover in future posts please just put those in your comments below and I’ll do my best to cover these in future posts and comments.

IMG_2344We have now been at anchor here in St. Anne for almost two weeks and so stay tuned for an update on that in the next post.  Until then, thank you VERY much for your patience with me in providing you this overview of our Atlantic crossing and I look forward to your comments and questions below.

Wayne

New Year’s Crossing to Start our 2023 Möbius Update Dec. 31, 2022

Mobius Atlantic crossing to GrenadaAs I am writing this on New Year’s eve 2022, I’ll start with a spoiler alert that it seemed only fitting for us to celebrate New Year’s eve in our last port on this side of the Atlantic and get 2023 off to a great start by leaving in the morning on New Year’s Day for our Trans Atlantic crossing over to the Caribbean. 

Tangier to Lanzarote route mapOK, now that you know where we are headed, let’s rewind back to where we left off in the last Mobius.World update “On the Run” when we were still in Tangier Morocco patiently waiting for a good weather window to head down south along the West coast of Morocco to the Canary Islands.  It all worked out as I had written in that update and we checked out of Morocco and left Tanja Marina Bay on Wednesday morning the 21st December. 
There was a bit more wind and wave on the nose than the forecast had predicted but it continued to settle down that evening as we made our way West and then turned South for the Canary Islands. 

The conditions that first day gave us the opportunity to become more familiar with our Paravane stabilisation system to see how well it worked to reduce the rolling from the beam (on the side) waves and swell.  This was the first chance I got to test out the latest rigging setup so I was keen to see how it would worked and very happy with the results in the end.

Paravane-working-flow-illustrationAs you may recall from previous posts, Paravanes or “fish” as they are sometimes called are commonly seen on commercial fishing boats as well as a few recreational trawlers and provide a way to reduce the roll of a boat as it follows swell and waves coming at angles of about 45 to 125 degrees of the hull, which means on the beam or sides. 
Canadian plywood   lead paravane WoodFish from Balder VIII on Trawler ForumI used this design from some Canadian fish boats as they were very well suited to a DIY project and would let me experiment with various sizes and setups to find the Goldilocks just right setup and then perhaps make a pair out of all aluminium. 
PXL_20221231_152938309Here is what my finished version 1.o of these paravanes look like when they are all ready to go to work.
A-FrameEach paravane is suspended by fixed length lines of Dyneema from the end of the A-frame booms that we set out at about 45 degrees. 
These fixed length lines going down to the paravanes allow them to run about 6 meters/18 ft under the surface of the water.  As the boat tries to roll to one side that paravane “dives” down and then as the boat tries to roll over to the opposite side the paravane resists being pulled up and thus reduces the amount and speed of the roll.  Super simple all mechanical system.
PXL_20221222_115842543.MPDeployment is very quick and easy, just let the A-frames out by easing off the lines going from the tip of each A-frame over to the top corner of the Arch and then lower the paravanes into the water with the boat stopped or moving slowly. 
PXL_20221221_133016759The design of the paravanes is such that they automatically align themselves and dive down till the fixed length line stops their descent and they start “flying” through the water about 6 meters below the surface.
PXL_20221231_152938309My previous rigging was to have a retrieval line, the white line in the photo above, attached to the top rear corner of the aluminium “fin” and just let this trail through the water out behind the paravanes.  It worked fine but the retrieval was purely manual by hauling in that retrieval line by hand and in anything other than very calm conditions was quite slow and laborious and potentially dangerous so I came up with a different design.
PXL_20221231_153001674Staying with the KISS approach, Keep is Simple & Safe, I simply used these aluminium low friction doughnut shaped rings that we use with our Dyneema lines in many other places on the boat.  Easy to insert them into the orange Dyneema line going down to the paravanes such that this ring would be about a meter above the water and then run the White retrieval line through the ring.
PXL_20221221_133313996.MPIf you look carefully or click to enlarge the photo, you will see that I added a block to the middle of the A-frame and ran the retrieval line through this block and over to the Arch.
PXL_20221231_152916197.MPEasier to see the whole thing when the A-frame is in its vertical stowed position here.  You can see how that White retrieval line goes through the low friction ring, up to the turning block on the A-frame then over to the second turning block attached to the Arch and down to the horizontally mounted winch at the base of the Arch.
PXL_20221221_145032563.MPHere is the best shot I could get of what the whole setup looks line when it is fully deployed and working.  The White retrieval line is kept slack and allowed to trail out behind the paravane so it flies freely.
PXL_20221221_153006964Retrieval now became as simple and as safe as deploying by simply using the winch to pull in the white retrieval line which starts to pick up the tail of the paravane and put it in this neutral vertical position with very low resistance to bring to the surface.
PXL_20221221_153009444I just keep cranking the winch to bring the paravane above the water and up to about level with the deck of the boat where I can use a boat hook to grab the line and pull the suspended paravane onboard.
PXL_20221222_115851399The whole process was very controlled and safe and this setup allows me to retrieve the paravanes without having to fully stop the boat so the whole process takes less than a few minutes and then Christine can take us back up to speed and we continue on our way or head into our anchorage or port.
So how well did these paravanes help stabilize the boat and reduce the roll you ask? 
PXL_20221221_145403785I thought the best way to show this was with this screen of a Roll graph I created on our Maretron N2K View system you see here.  This is a shot of the previous 4 hours and you can see the point a bit right of center where the paravanes went into the water and started working.  Previously on the Left you can see that the roll on the vertical axis was much larger reaching up over 15 degrees side to side and then dropped off noticeably to about 5 degrees or less.  At the time of this photo you can see that the roll was -1.3 degrees, negative being roll to Port, positive to Starboard.
The best way I can describe the effect is that these paravanes don’t eliminate the roll, they dampen it considerably both in degrees of roll and in speed of roll.  There is still some roll but it is now much slower and less “deep” which makes for a MUCH more comfortable motion that makes it easy to move around the boat safely.  I want to be clear that were we to have active stabilizer fins or Magnus effect cylinders, the reduction in roll would be much greater, however that comes with a significant cost in both complexity, price and maintenance.  For now we are very happy with these early trials of our Paravane system and we will continue to learn and test it in different conditions as we travel the world.  If they continue to work as well as these early trials indicate then we’ll just keep on using them.  If not, the hull has been fully framed for active stabilizers if we decide we want to install them at a later date.  I will continue to report the real world data on how well the paravanes work as we venture forward.

PXL_20221231_153019620I will come up with a more permanent storage setup for the Paravanes when they are not in use but for now it is working well to stow them safely out of the way on their sides like this, lashed to the very sturdy AL stanchions with their own lines.

PXL_20221223_150832001As it turned out we didn’t get a chance to use the Paravanes after that first day of our 3 1/2 day passage down to the Canaries as the seas flattened out and no stabilization was needed at all.  Weather WonderWoman Christine had found us yet another great weather window and the rest of this passage was smooth and comfy as could be.  These were our typical sea conditions.  Hard to ask for much better and we even had a bit of a following sea to help us along.
PXL_20221223_114019070As these two crew members can attest.
For those interested in overall passage performance this trip, the total distance was 678.4 NM in 78.2 hours.  Average SoG, Speed over Ground was 8.7 knots and average fuel consumption was 1.76 L/NM.  All numbers which we are eXtremely happy with and will continue to try out different combinations of engine RPM, load and prop pitch to see how these numbers change as we log more and more nautical smiles.

PXL_20221223_113139036.MPOther highlights of this passage include numerous schools of different types of dolphins who joined us for various amounts of time to the squealing delight of the Captain from her perch on the Bow.
IMG_2234We also picked up a few hitchhikers like this rather large squid but they didn’t travel too far with us before heading back to sea.
detailed-map-of-canary-islandsWe had originally intended to head for the northernmost Canary Island of Lanzarote but we were not able to find a berth at the Port of Entry there so we headed over to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria instead.
A bit disponing for us because we had hoped to meet up with David, who we had met years ago on our previous boat Learnativity when we were in Vuda Point marina in Fiji.  David has been following us for a long time now on the bloat and he very kindly reached out to us when he saw that we were heading to the Canaries where he was now working on Lanzarote.  Sorry to miss you this time David but stay tuned for the next opportunity.
IMG_2249And so it was that we pulled into the very large Las Palmas Marina, which is where the ARC rally starts from each year in November.  Even with those 200+ boats now long gone, the marina still only had a few spots but managed to fit us in on the end of the fuel dock you see here.
PXL_20221227_112850606The night after we arrived another low front passed through with some sustained winds over 40 knots which caused a bit of problems for some of the boats inside and outside the marina so we had several of them come in during the middle of the night and this is what the scene looked like in front of us the next morning.  Several more came in after this and we had one tie up alongside us to add one more spot for a few days refuge.  All has been cleared up now but repairs are still underway for damage in the marina and on several of the boats.
IMG_2263Seems like the Canary Island people like to get an early start on celebrating the pending arrival of the New Year and Christine was able to get this shot of the fireworks going off over in the city the other side of the marina last night.  I’m guessing this was just a warm up for the big show tonight so should be quite the celebration for all of us this New Year’s Eve.
Caribbean_general_mapWeather may change our routing but we are currently heading to the south end of the Caribbean islands to St. George’s on the West side of Grenada.
ATLANTIC_CIRCUIT_SAMThis zoomed out view will help provide a better overall picture of the typical routing many boats take for crossing the Atlantic both directions.  Who knows, maybe we’ll just keep going and do the whole loop and end up back over in Europe in a year or two?
Atlantic crossing mapOur intended route from here in Las Palmas over to Grenada will likely be about 2800 NM and should take us somewhere between 13-14 days but of course weather conditions can change that both directions so we’ll just leave it up to Mother Nature to decide.


For now, we eagerly look forward to eXploring the many many islands and experiences awaiting us in the Caribbean which will also be a bit of “back home” for Christine from her many years sailing there since the 90’s. Fist though, we need to send 2022 into the history books and get 2023 started with our first Atlantic crossing in Möbius.

IMG_2266 We have SO much to be grateful for from our experiences in 2022 so we look forward to tonight’s celebration.  We’ll try not to stay up too late, which is pretty easy for us to do, as we intend to throw off the dock lines tomorrow morning and start making our way across the Atlantic.  We want to sincerely thank each of you for all the time you take to join us throughout all our adventures with designing, building and now cruising on Möbius.  It means a lot to both of us to know that so many people are ridging along with us and we hope we can continue to post updates that will want you to keep coming back for more.
We will be off line throughout the crossing so the next update here will be from wherever we land in the Caribbean and I can provide you more details on the passage mid January or so.  Wherever and how ever you celebrate the end of 2022 we wish that 2023 will turn out to be the best year yet for all of us.

Happy New Year to all of you from all of us!

-Wayne, Christine, Barney & Ruby.


On the Run Möbius Update 19 Dec. 2022

Not much change since my last sitrep on our stay here in Tanja Marina Bay in Tangier as we continue waiting for a break in the weather to start our passage South to the Canary Islands. 

However in her most recent Sailingwriter newsletter, Christine has put together a great summary of our travels all the way across the Mediterranean from Kalymnos Island in Greece to here in Tangier so I will let her do a much better job than I ever can of taking you through all the spots we visited along the way with her photos and prose. 


Screenshot Sailingwriter On the RunChristine has really been enjoying publishing her “Sailingwriter” newsletter on Substack so just click on THIS link to read her most recent newsletter “On the Run”. 

* If you would like to automatically receive updates each time Christine publishes a new newsletter on Substack, just click the “Subscribe” button in the top right of the Sailingwriter page.
Tangier to Lanzarote route mapIf the current weather forecast holds we hope to leave Tanja Marina Bay on Wednesday morning the 21st December, to make our way south to the Canary Islands.  This passage will be about 600 nautical smiles (1100km/690 miles) which will likely take us about 3 full days and have us arriving on Christmas eve. 
Depending on weather and timing, we will likely make the most northerly island of Lanzarote our first stop to officially check into this Spanish group of islands. 
Christmas in the Canary Islands has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

detailed-map-of-canary-islandsThere are seven main islands in the Canary archipelago and we hope to visit as many of them as we can while we move West through the Canaries and keep a keen eye on the weather forecasts for the best departure date to begin our two week crossing over to the Caribbean.  We will update you all here when we are in the Canaries before we start our Atlantic crossing so stay tuned for that.

From all of the crew of the Good Ship Möbius our sincere and heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for joining us throughout this past year.  Knowing that you are there and all your comments and questions are a big part of what makes this whole experience so special and rewarding for us and we are truly grateful. 

Wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate the upcoming holidays, we wish you great joy and happiness as 2022 ends and we all set our sights on making 2023 the best year yet.

Wayne, Christine, Barney & Ruby

Timing in Tangier Möbius Update Nov 28-Dec 11, 2022

Not too much to report from my side of the past two weeks as we continue to wait for a weather window to open up and let us make the passage south along the West cost of Morocco to one of the Canary Islands from where we will start to cross the Atlantic.  Lots of daily boat projects configuring some of our Maretron monitoring system, dialing in Furuno Radar, adding insulation to fridge/freezers, etc. but nothing too photogenic to show.

However, Captain Christine has been using our extended time in this fascinating city of Tangier to get out and explore so I will mostly share some of her great photos.

PXL_20221127_115032836Picking up where I left off in the last Mobius Update we were exploring “The Rock” aka Gibraltar as the great sunny weather we’ve been having for months for both shoreside explorations and passages continued. 
PXL_20221128_101041284.MPTaking advantage of the good weather, we waved goodbye to Gibraltar as we put it in our wake on Monday the 28th and made our way back across the Straits of Gibraltar heading SW over to Africa and officially out of the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic.
Strait_of_Gibraltar_from_Sentinel-3A_pillarsAs this satellite shot from space shows the Strait is VERY narrow and the only place where all the water of the Mediterranean flows in.
Strait of Gibraltar bathymetricNot surprisingly then this tremendous volume of water flowing for so many years has also made this Strait VERY deep, which makes for some pretty significant and wild currents.
PXL_20221125_043212737Oh, and of course this narrow passage is also the only passage for all ships going In/Out of the western end of the Med so it its a bit busy as well. Each blue triangle on our chart screen is a commercial ship.
PXL_20221128_120314906It was another sunny day with winds below 20 knots most of the passage and you can see the seas starting to churn a bit as we headed West to get over to good spot to turn South and get across the shipping lanes as quickly as possible.
Gibraltar to Tangier crossing mapYou can see this pretty clearly in this screen shot of our actual track coming out of Gibraltar and heading over to Tangier.  With such varied currents and sea conditions our speeds ranged from as slow as 4kts up to 13 and Möbius handled it all eXtremely well and we made the 37nm passage in 5 hours for an average speed of 7.4kts.
Tangier Marina Bay marinaWe entered this lovely Tanja Marina Bay in Tangier where we went through a very smooth checking in procedure before moving over to our spot on N dock which is in the top right end of the photo here.  The marina can hold up to 1400 boats and is relatively new having opened in 2018.
IMG_2119We had heard from other cruisers that the marina was very full due to the poor weather off the coast preventing all the boats trying to get down to the Canary Islands but we were treated to this excellent spot with an empty slot on the Starboard/Right side and nothing on the other.  A good spot for a few days, or so we thought at the time.
weather map Dec 11Mother Nature apparently had different plans in mind for us and our weather maps since just after we arrived have looked like this one, which is from today, Dec. 11th.  We’re looking for Blues 0-10 kts and Greens 10-20 kts but as you can see it is mostly all Yellows and Reds which are winds up to 50+ kts.  These are being caused by a series of Low pressure spots that keep marching East across the Atlantic one after another for the past few weeks with no end in sight yet.
wind color scale from WindyThis legend will give you the details of wind speeds and colours if you’re interested.
Fortunately we live on The No Plan Plan and so the only date we have for making the Trans Atlantic crossing over to the Caribbean is whenever Mother Nature gifts us with a nice Blue slot across.  And so we wait until we see something more like …..
Blue Slot crossing

…. this!  I’ve marked up this forecast weather map for next Saturday 17th December (click to enlarge) to help visualize the difference and what we’re waiting for.  The challenge is that the passage down to the Canary Islands will take about 3 days and then the crossing to the Caribbean will take about 12-16 days so we are waiting until the forecast calls for the typical “Blue slot” or Green with winds behind us, across the Atlantic like the one you can see here, and one that will hold for 2-3 weeks. 
Atlantic sailing routes mapHistorically those are the conditions here from about the end of November through February and hence the time when sailors come to the Canary Islands to cross the Atlantic.  But as we are all experiencing no matter where we are, weather patterns are changing and often not following patterns from previous years and so this year we are getting this parade of Lows coming across and so the marina here in Tangier is chock full of boats all waiting like us for the weather window to open up to let us get down to the Canaries or Cape Verde to the south, and then make the Atlantic crossing with good winds and seas. 
Being a power boat we have the significant advantage of being able to go in anything from Blue to Green whereas sailboats want Green winds of up to 20 knots from the side to behind so we will likely be able to leave before many of the other boats here.  But not for at least another week or two by the looks of the current forecasts.
IMG_2161On the flip side, the local weather here in Tangier all last week was beautiful and this is an eXtremely fascinating city with a very long and diverse history so a pretty good spot to be for a few weeks or however long it takes. 
Tangier-circa-1670-1920x1080Being such a strategic location Tangier has been very highly fortified since about the tenth century BC, and all the ensuing occupations since by Romans, Berbers, Greece, England, France, Spain, Portugal, and more. 
IMG_2144Today fortifications like the one in the photo above have been restored and updated such as we saw here.
IMG_2163We spent an hour or so wandering through this sprawling fort with views like this which make it easy to see just how advantageous this location was for defending the Straits.
IMG_2167As we moved further in the historic preservation areas soon transformed into scenes like this with shops of every description on street level and apartments above.
29CEB5AA-A2F5-4B04-BB23-DC4A19B27E2EDiverse does not begin to capture the tremendous variety of everything from architecture and colours to …..
IMG_2172….  butchers ….
IMG_2141…. fish …
1101BB8A-5EE9-4FEA-B951-03672ADFA333… spices ….
IMG_2182… pastries …
4D98BFC1-637D-4186-B5B7-6A43E65FD98E…. and dress. 

I enjoy just taking it all in and observing details of the buildings, the people and the businesses.
IMG_2187Christine is the researcher and she found out that this was where many scenes in the Jason Bourne Ultimatum movie were shot including the Gran Café de Paris scene.
IMG_2189Where she walked there last week for her afternoon coffee.
IMG_2183and to this patisserie with her “Freedom machine” parked out front.
Meanwhile, back at Tanga Marina Bay ……..
IMG_2169We aren’t the only eXpedition type of boat here when this little fellow showed up about a week ago.  Christine met up with the crew on one of her walks and they were very familiar with our boat and some of the similar ones built in by Circa Marine in New Zealand.  I think their “tender” on the back is bigger than Möbius!
Morocco's players pose for a group picture ahead of the second leg of the 2022 Qatar World Cup African Qualifiers football match between Morocco and DR Congo at the Mohamed V Stadium in the city of Casablanca on March 29, 2022. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)The weather may have turned cold and wet this past week but what was really hot was all the celebrations of the Moroccan national football team competing in the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar.  We are docked beside a long row of cafés and restaurants and the Moroccan fans have been bringing down the house every night their team plays.
Morocco FIFA 2022 team chargeThis is closer to what it looks like inside these spots.  We aren’t much into sports but the story of the Moroccan team is quite incredible being the first team ever from Africa to compete in the World Cup and as of last night’s win over Portugal, who were favored to win the whole tournament apparently, the Moroccan fans have been partying hard and loud ever since.  An amazing story and they play top rated France next so I’m sure that the feverish support will reach all new highs on Wednesday. 
Great timing for us to be in this mix and Go Morocco GO!


So there’s your update from the Good Ship Möbius and I will update again once the weather window arrives and you can join us in the trip South to the Canary Islands.  Till then, thanks for all your comments and questions, please keep them coming and we’ll do our best to keep you entertained and informed.

-Wayne

Between The Rock and the Atlantic Möbius Update 27, Nov. 2022

Here is the latest SitRep aka Situation Report for the Good Ship Mobius as of 27 November, 2022.  Last SitRep took you up to Nov. 16th when we were in the little Spanish enclave of Melilla on the Moroccan coast waiting for a good weather window to make the next jump Westward and across the Strait to Gibraltar. 

Where are we and how did we get here?

Mobius track in Predict Wind sat view up to GibraltarZooming waaaaay out here is a screenshot of the satellite version from our PredictWind app which is what Weather Wonder Woman Christine uses most to do all our weather routing, that shows our travels since we left Kalymnos Greece on Oct. 30th, to where we are now at the base of the Rock of Gibraltar.  Total route distance from Kalymnos to Gibraltar is 1653 nm.
Mobius track in Predict Wind up to GibraltarFor those interested, here is the “weather version of this same map from PredictWind showing the various wind speeds and directions as of this afternoon, Sunday Nov. 27th.  These weather maps are a bit difficult to read at first so you will likely want to click to enlarge this in order to see the thing white line that is our actual GPS track. 
My cartography skills are sadly lacking but I’ve done my best to add some text to help you read this somewhat busy weather map. 

wind color scale from WindyTo help you read these weather maps, here is the color code for the different wind speeds in kts or Knots with dark Blue being zero wind, Greens being in the 20 knot range, Orange/Reds in the 30’s etc. 
In our case we like having a bad case of the Blues!
Melilla to Gibraltor map routeThe shortest version of this latest Sit Rep for those who just want the facts is that we stayed in Melilla for 9 days and then made the overnight passage to Gibraltar over what was American Thanksgiving on the 24/25th.  That passage was 144 nautical smiles which we did in 18 hours 5 minutes so our average SoG (Speed over Ground) was 8.0 knots. 
8 knots has been our overall average speed on the entire trip so far and now that we have Mr. Gee v2 pretty well broken in and have gained a better understanding of how the boat handles in different conditions and weights, we will start to play more with different combinations of engine RPM, prop Pitch and record the resultant boat speed and fuel burn rates as we seek out the Goldilocks combination for us and Möbius.  Our average fuel burn rate at 8 knots is averaging out to be about 1.8 L/nm which we are quite pleased with and we will just see how this varies at different speeds, RPM and pitch.  Stay tuned for more updates on these statistics in the coming weeks and months a we gather more of this real world data as we travel.

Crossing from Morocco to Gibraltar

Gibraltar   Suez only way into MedI don’t think I had fully appreciated the fact that the ONLY way into the Med is through the Straits of Gibraltar which is only 13 kilometers (8.1 miles; 7.0 nautical miles) at the Strait’s narrowest point!  So there is a LOT of water that needs to flow in and out of that very narrow Strait every day.
Strait_of_GibraltarThis satellite photo from space helps you appreciate just how narrow it is with the Gibraltar down in the bottom left looking across the entire Mediterranean sea.  In addition to all the water that, there is also a LOT of boats that also have to go through on their way in or out of the Med.

PXL_20221125_043212737Here is a shot of our chart as we were crossing the Straits just at sunrise on the 25th.  Each of those blue triangles is a commercial ship on our AIS Automatic Information System overlayed onto our chart.  Möbius is the little Red ship icon down on the bottom right of this shot.  It actually worked out quite well and we only needed to slow down briefly for one ship near the beginning of the crossing to allow him to cross in front of us and the rest all worked out to be far enough away as our wakes crossed.


The Rock isn’t a Hard Place at all!

Gibraltar_map-en-edit2.svgThe past few days we’ve been busy exploring the famous Rock of Gibraltar and all this area has to offer.  Gibraltar has been a “British Overseas Territory” since 1713 and is only 6.7 km2 (2.6 sq mi) and completely bordered by Spain on the North, but being at the literal gateway to the Mediterranean it is hugely strategic.  Being such a small area means that pretty much everything is within walking distance so we’ve been doing lots and the weather has been grand.
morrisons-supermarket-sign-in-whitefield-bury-RGWG15Christine also put her eBike to good use to ride over to the “grocery store to die for” as she described her time in the Morrisons Grocery store that is only a few blocks away from where we are docked in QueensWay Quay and transport about 25 kilos of goodies she found there back to Möbius.
PXL_20221127_113553166Gibraltar may be small but based on the number of condominiums and new construction we’ve seen this is obviously a very popular spot for people seeking to find warmer climates than most other spots in Europe.  Due to Brexit and the Schengen restrictions elsewhere in the EU, Gibraltar is particularly popular with the Brits it seems.  The benefit for us is that in the midst of one of these newer developments is QueensWay Quay Marina which is where we tied up early Friday morning to use as our home base to explore the infamous Rock of Gibraltar and wait for the next weather window to cross back over to Morocco and around the corner to Tangier.

PXL_20221127_113527762Today we took the aerial tram up the almost vertical face to the “Top of the Rock” and had a marvelous time exploring this awemazing vantage point.  If you look really, really, really closely can you find Möbius docked in the Queensway Quay marina in the center of this photo?
PXL_20221127_115032836The Rock itself did not disappoint, either as we sailed by it coming in or up close and personal as we walked around it today.
PXL_20221127_124503951Pardon the glare through the window but couldn’t resist including this shot that Christine’s quick fingers managed to grab out the window where we were enjoying a bit of lunch.  Christine also spent a few hours exploring some of the caves and tunnels on The Rock and we thoroughly enjoyed our time up on The Rock today.

Where to Next?

Atlantic sailing routes mapAs you may recall from seeing this chart in previous posts, our intent is to leave the Med and sail across the Atlantic which we are now about to do.  Ever dependent upon weather, we are watching what is known as the Azores High which spins up winds in a clockwise direction so we will be looking for low to no wind areas down on the bottom South end of this High such that they will be behind us and helping us along.  Marked as “Return of Rally Route” on this chart.  Best time for this Westward crossing has just started so our timing is very good to be here now. 
ARC rally 2022This is also the time when the large Atlantic Rally Crossing or ARC begins and as per this real time position update, about 200 boats left the Canary Islands on the 20th and are in the positions you see in THIS real time position map courtesy of the ARC web site.  And you thought the Straits of Gibraltar were busy!  The ARC and other rallies are more and more popular for their safety in numbers and ease of crossing advantages as well as the high social factor but not our cup of tea so we are purposely trailing well behind them and more likely that we’ll leave the Canary Islands in about two weeks from now, mid December.


Gibraltar to Tangier   Canary Islands route 2As of tonight, Sunday Nov. 27th, weather is looking good for us to cross back over the Straits starting tomorrow and the next few days.  We will most likely stop next in Tangier for a brief tour of that interesting city before we continue south hopping along the coast of Morocco and over to the Canary Islands.  We will again let weather and whim dictate how many hops and stops we make along the way and will update you in the next SitReps here as to how that all goes.
So that brings you all up to date on the latest from the Good Ship Möbius and our thanks to all of you for joining us on this latest adventure of the Nauti Nomadic Grandparents.  We’ll be back in a week or two with then next SitRep so please stay tuned for more to follow as we continue our journey West and across the Atlantic.

-Wayne