We’re back! Transition to Möbius v2.0 begins

We’re back! Transition to Möbius v2.0 begins

Hope you’ve enjoyed the long break from your brevity challenged reporter here but your time is up and I’m back! 

 

Hard for me to get my head around but it was almost exactly one year ago today, July 11, 2023 to be precise, I posted THIS and thought it would be the last article here on the Möbius World blog.  However, as is often the case with me, I was wrong.  Turns out that it was just a case of one door closing while another one opens.  My sincere thanks to all of you who sent all the supportive messages and emails, including the more troubled of you asking when I was going to get back to blogging because you were missing these regular updates.  I’ll leave the need for you getting help with that problem to professionals but I’m glad to be back at the keyboard here and will be doing my best to provide weekly updates again in the all new version 2.0 of Wayne’s World and the joint adventures of Christine and I as we make the transition into this newest version of Möbius World V2.0.

   
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To say that the past year has been a bit of a whirlwind might well qualify for one of the greatest understatements of all time and fortunately for you I am not going to resist the temptation to summarize it all as it would be excessively long even by my verbose standards. 

 

Instead I happen to know someone who is a “proper” writer as my British friends might say and unlike me, she knows how to write clearly, concisely and can synthesize large topics into succinct text and photos.  So for those of you interested enough in the back story of the wild roller coaster ride that has been our life for the past year, I’m going to let my Beautiful Bride Christine provide you with the updates for you to read at your leisure.  You can do that by simply clicking on the links below that will take you to several of the posts Christine has put up on her Sailing Writer substack newsletter

Here are the relevant links that will provide those interested with a relatively quick summary to fill in the gap between my post last July and this new one today.

FYI:  if you like what you see and read you can subscribe to Sailing Writer to get automatic updates whenever Christine posts a new article which is typically every month or so.

For my part my goal with this first new posting is to bring you to date and closer to real time with Möbius version 2.0.  Buckle in and here we go ………………

 

From Möbius to MöbiLance

No surprise to most of you I’m sure, while it came as quite a shock for us to have to “swallow the anchor” after decades living at sea and move on to life ashore, it did NOT diminish our adventuresome spirit and passion for exploring this awemazing world of ours.  Indeed if anything it has reminded us both of how much we love living an exploratory and adventuresome lifestyle.  We very much remain the “Nomadic Grandparents” you’ve come to know and have simply pivoted to adjust to our new situations and are now in the process of creating what Christine so aptly calls “Möbius on Wheels” or Möbius V2.0 as per the title of this post. 

Come on now, you didn’t really think that we’d just settle into a retirement community in Florida now did you???!!!

Lance picking up Front view doors openSeveral months of introspection, reflection, research and intense discussions between us rekindled the spirit that drove us to create eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker or XPM Version 1.0 aka XPM 78-01 Möbius.  We hit upon the idea of converting a medium duty ambulance into an eXtreme eXploration Vehicle which I will now refer to as either the portmanteau of MöbiLance ( Möbius Ambulance) or just “Lance” as we have come to call him. 

For those wondering, there is no particularly good reason though it seemed in keeping with the severity of the transition for us, to also switch genders from all our boats being female to our new big boy Lance being male.  He’s a beauty but he’s a brute! 

Lance and his Pewaukee buddies 1Serendipity and synchronicity continue to be my guides in life and so in December I stumbled over an online post that mentioned a 2016 Kenworth medium duty ambulance being retired from its first life and looking for a new home.  I tracked it down and reached out to what turned out to be the original coach builder that created this ambulance and they had just taken this vehicle back from the fire department after delivering an all new one to them. They were anxious to get this vehicle off their books by the end of the year and short on time but willing to be flexible with the price. 

Lance hood   side doors openThat triggered a flurry of emails and phone calls to answer my endless questions but Shawn at Foster Coach had been the one who created the original specifications for both the Kenworth chassis and the Horton ambulance module so he knew every detail and was able to expertly answer my every question.  Shawn could not have been more helpful and generous with his time.  He also worked with the fire department and their service center and was able to send me every invoice with detailed descriptions for every bit of work ever done over the almost eight years it had been in service.  The more we learned the more this seemed to be the Goldilocks, just right, just for us base upon which to create our Möbius on wheels.

         And yes I am going to continue to use and overuse and abuse this metaphor.  Shocking I know!  



Lance picking up FL corner view doors openPerhaps it was the Christmas spirit that was in the air at the time (third week of December) but I submitted what I thought was a rather low all cash offer to buy this beauty without ever seeing it in person and to my delight and surprise when I woke up the next morning, there was an Email from Shawn saying “offer accepted, when would you like to pick it up?”  I turned to Christine and said Holy flaming fire trucks Batwoman, I think we just bought ourselves an ambulance!!!!

IMG_3764It was now the week between Xmas and New Years and we had just moved into our little sanctuary on Saturna Island in the Gulf Islands of BC Canada (see Christine’s post above for those details and photos) so it took several weeks to make all the arrangements for a trip out to Illinois where Lance was waiting for us at Foster Coach as we not only had book flights and hotels, we also needed to make all the arrangements for transferring title, plates, insurance, renting a truck to pick up all our belongings we had left in Portsmouth Virginia after selling Möbius. 
But we are well seasoned travelers and we soon had flights booked for mid January to Jacksonville Florida as we needed to be at the DMV in person to do the out of state transfer and have Lance registered as an RV.  That was a whole adventure in itself but I’ll leave that for another time.  With papers and plates in hand we then flew up to Norfolk the next day to pick up the rental truck and move all our belongings we had moved off of Möbius in October that were in a storage locker in Portsmouth and start our cross country drive.

Lance in snow outside Foster CoachWe made the drive from Portsmouth to about 100 miles West of Chicago just as what turned out to be one of the coldest winter storms in history was building but we soon had our hearts warmed by meeting Shawn and finding Lance sparkling inside the warehouse at Foster Coach as you can see in the photos above. 

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We spent a few hours with Shawn going over just a few of the unique features of this very unique vehicle, transferred all our belongings (and Barney) from the rental truck and we were off on our first adventure in Lance.
 
IMG_3843It was bitter cold but we managed to find mostly all clear dry roads all the way across the US and up and up to Vancouver where Lance took his first ferry rides to get him over to his new part time home on Saturna Island.

Total miles for drive from Illinois to Saturna was 2469 and we were pleasantly surprised to have averaged 11MPG for the trip. 

Meet Lance:

IMG_3787I will write a separate blog post to go over the details of why we chose a medium duty ambulance as the base for building “Möbius on Wheels” and try provide answers to the many questions some of you may have but for those curious, here are the quick details of our new rig:

  • Make & Model:  2016 Kenworth T270 with a Horton Emergency Vehicles ambulance module
  • Engine:  Paccar PX-7  (modified Cummins engine) inline 6 cylinder 6.7 litre 300HP @ 2600 RPM  723 Lb-Ft Torque
  • Transmission:  Allison 5 speed w/ PTO
  • Air brakes and rear suspension
  • GARW:  11,713kg / 25,822 lbs
  • Odometer:  121,619 miles (195,726 km)
  • Engine Hours:  8569
  • Wheelbase:  4.37m / 172 inches
  • Bumper to Bumper Length:  7.6m / 24.8ft
  • Overall Vehicle Height/Clearance:  2.87m / 9’ 5”
  • Interior dimensions of bare ambo box:  4.3m / 14’ 2” Long x 2.4m / 7’ 10” Wide x 1.91m / 6’ 3” High

Let the Demo(lition) Phase Begin!

That brings you up to date to the end of January 2024 with Lance safely parked in his wooded home on Saturna and I spent the next few months doing a combination of building a full 3D model in Fusion 360 of the existing structure of the “Happitat” which is our name for the ambo box on Lance which is technically called either the ambo module or the habitat and then starting the major job of carefully removing all the cupboards, seats and interior cabinetry of the ambulance.  We qualtiy of construction of these Horton ambo boxes is incredible and we considered leaving it largely as as we designed the layout transforming this into a full time XRV, it quickly became clear that the best approach was to remove EVYERYTHING and strip it down to the bare aluminium framework and starting the new build from there.  I will have MUCH more details on all that in future posts but here is a quick run through of the lengthy process of removing everything.
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Difficult to capture it all but this photo shot from the rear looking forward will give you an idea of what the inside of the ambo looked like to begin with.  Side entrance door on the very far Right, pass through window into the cab you can see behind the jump seat, refrigerator (black rectangle) top Right, Oxygen controls above what they call the “bar” on the Left of the seat and then lots of extremely well built cabinets, drawers and doors throughout.

PXL_20240201_232052187There is a LOT of electronics in these modern ambulances and this is a small sample of one of the 5 LCD touch screens on the top Left, controls for the Oxygen and vacuum pumps below it, pass through door into the drivers side DS external compartment on the lower Right and then 120VAC and 12VDC plugs on the Right side of the wall.

 


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Looking back here out through the rear double doors as the demo begins.

PXL_20240218_212803963To be certified for emergency use these ambulances must be able to go through a complete 360 degree roll over without any damage to the interior or its occupants, more on that in future posts, so they are built like a proverbial tank, just all out of aluminium with a bit of stainless steel and in the case of the countertop here a Corian like composite.

PXL_20240218_212628987If you check out the exterior photos up at the beginning you will see that there are compartments on all four corners of the module/box and a double door one in the middle of the drivers side.  These are all accessed through eXtremely robust aluminium doors on the exterior and on the inside they are all built out of aluminium diamond plate. 
As per this example on the passenger side front compartment, they also have equally robust adjustable shelves also built out of 3mm / 1/8” diamond plate.  Compartments also have 120V and 12V outlets throughout.    

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There was literally not a toothpick worth of wood in the entire build, EVERYTHING is built from either aluminium plate or ACM (Aluminium Composite Material) and so I carefully unbolted all the fasteners holding the modules together and moved them into my storage building for future use in either the new build or for future home projects.

As you can see by peering into that tall cupboard on the mid left, there is also a LOT of wiring and electronics involved which added to the puzzle.

PXL_20240311_014256672The builders at Horton also went to great lengths (pun intended) to build the cabinetry out of very large single sheets of AL and ACM (Aluminium and Aluminium Composite Material) This piece that I finally wrestled off the driver side wall was over 4 meters or almost 14 feet long!

PXL_20240311_014847952Starting to empty out. 

PXL_20240312_005207407Getting down to bare AL framework in walls. You can see the stairs leading out the passenger side (PS) door in the bottom Left corner here and then the bench that runs down the PS side.  The AL track embedded in the middle of the floor is for the Stryker stretcher to slide into and lock in place but that will need to wait for another day.

PXL_20240409_224310182This is a very small amount of the material that I removed from the interior.  Some covered with contact cement or padding as you can see but all very high quality material and very valuable for using in future projects so it all gets stored away.

 PXL_20240227_233325623Another one of the LCD screens, this one while I was running the engine every few weeks to keep battery levels and systems all working. 

It was cccccccold in Saturna this past winter but not quite as cold as the disconnected “interior temp” gauge says but the exterior temp is accurate at 35F/ 1.6C! 


You can control most everything in the Happitat or ambo module from these screens and all the option buttons on the sides.  May try to repurpose these for use in Lance as we build but for now they all go in the rapidly growing electronics pile.

Oregon Here We Come!

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As part of our pivot to new landlubber status we are going to establish a type of “mobile snowbirds” lifestyle where we will spend the warm summer months on our lovely island getaway we refer to as “RavensRidge” on our 4 acres on Saturna Island which I’ve circled in Red here.  Click to expand any photo and Click on the link to Christine’s article “From the Canary Islands to Saturna” above for details and photos.

Saturna Island is is nestled amongst the Canadian Southern Gulf Islands and the US San Juan Islands as you can see by the very zig zag border line.  We live on The No Plan Plan but our intent is that when the weather turns cooler on Saturna in October or so will move into Lance full time and head to warmer climes in the southern US, Mexico and Central America.  As those areas start to get too warm we‘ll head North back for more warm and sunny weather at RavensRidge.       

Right now though because we ended up buying both Lance and RavensRidge quite unexpectedly this past January we are out of synch with this snowbird like schedule and officially we are both residents of the US and so we need to keep our total time in Canada to be less than half the year.  Factoring everything into the equation, we decided to find a place to rent in the US for the rest of this year where I work on transforming Lance and Christine write her next books.  It took quite a bit of online searching but we found the ideal spot in southern Oregon and drove Lance down to Klamath Falls mid April and set up our latest home base here.

          You didn’t really think we would stay in the same place for very long now did you???

PXL_20240413_001222241.MPIt is a rather unique property that matches our equally unique needs as it is a commercially zoned location with a two bedroom home adjoining a huge workshop/garage.  We even have our very own parking lot that you can see in front of Lance here so not much grass for me to have to mow!

 

 

 

 



PXL_20240424_213326611Lance feels right at home here as his brothers and sisters all live in the big Fire Department across the street.


Klamath Falls is the Goldilocks not too big, not too small, size for us where we have all the shops and services we need, great Amazon, FedEx, UPS, USPS deliveries for all the equipment and supplies we need to build out Lance AND no sales tax!  Both of which are a huge benefit for this latest project.
       

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This is one half of the garage after I set up some workbenches and unloaded some of my tools and equipment I brought down in Lance. Provides a great place for me to work and Christine has her latest office all set up in the 2nd bedroom so it suits us very well. 

PXL_20240417_002440878On the other side of the workshop, this is about a quarte of the materials that came out of the ambo.

 


Demo Part II

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As you saw in the photos above I had removed most of the interior in Lance’s original ambo box while in Saturna and so I was down to the bare AL frame & skin on the walls as you see here.  So once in Klamath Falls mid April I continued with the demo and removed the ceiling and the floor. 
You will also note that I have yet to remove the miles and miles of wiring and electronics inside but like eating an elephant it is one bite at a time right?!

PXL_20240420_235336732The ceiling was a double layer of ACM (Aluminium Composite Material) with a foil faced backing sandwiched between it and the AL ceiling ribs. 

PXL_20240421_004925946All of which came out relatively easily.

PXL_20240420_235321940 Leaving just these battons of insulation to remove that were also simple to remove and left me with the bare ceiling to work from.  The entire box is framed with 2” x 2” or 50mm square aluminum tubing with 3.2mm or 1/8” thick walls.  The frames are all welded gogether and you’ll notice that many have additional 45 degree gussets for additional strength and rigidity. 
For those wondering why it is all Black, all the surfaces have been sprayed with black sound deadening.  

PXL_20240621_231811767I tackled the floors next. First by peeling off the diamond pattern rubber sheet floor surface.

PXL_20240621_235354881Under the diamond pattern flooring was a layer of AL faced 13mm / 1/2” thick ACM board and then under this ACM floor was a 5mm / .2” thick rubber sound deadening matt.  The ACM board was bolted through the 10 gauge AL floor pan that is welded to the 2” x 3” AL floor joists.   Stainless bolts in aluminium tend to corrode over time so it was quite a chore to remove each of these floor bolts with my manual torque screwdriver but I was able to finally find and remove all of them.

PXL_20240622_231728341With all the bolts removed I was then able to carefully pry up the ACM board ………

PXL_20240622_232115650 ……… and flip it and the underlying thick rubber sheet up and finally reveal the actual AL floor panels.  

PXL_20240622_233325441They had cut the ACM floor out of what must have been a huge single sheetso to make my life a bit easier I used my track saw to cut it lengthwise into two halves to make it a bit easier to get out of Lance.  I will reuse this ACM and be able to butt the new straight edges up to each other to avoid any seam.

PXL_20240622_235245745I was very familiar with ACM or Aluminium Composite Material as we used it extensively in building Möbius V1.0 and it is an incredibly useful building material that many are not aware of.  It comes in large sheets in thicknesses from 2mm to at least 55mm or 1/8” to 1” and each sheet has three layers, a 1mm thick layer of aluminium on both sides of the center polyethylene foam core. 
ACM is eXtremely rigid, flat and easy to cut with regular carbide saw blades, routers, etc.  You will see me working with ACM in future posts as it is a key material I will be using in the new build of Lance.

PXL_20240623_001458433There were a few of he SS bolts that had sheared the heads off during removal so I went through and removed all of them.  The black surfaces you see are thin rubber non skid sheets which are very solidly glued to the AL floor panels.  I’m debating whether or not to peel them off and take the floors down to bare AL or leave as is.  For now I am leaving them alone as it makes for a good surface for me to stand on and work from.

 

 

 

 

 

       
        

OK enough already Wayne!!!

Whew!!  That was a bit of a marathon to bring you up to about mid July and my congratulations and condolences to any of you who persevered to reach this point. 

I’ll try to get back to posting about every Sunday and bring you up to about real time with this build process in the next few postings.  Next week I will show you the significant task of carefully removing literally miles of wires and then starting to add in the new framework for the three big windows are will be installing.  I’ll also add some posts about the extensive amount of 3D modeling I’ve been doing to create both the existing box as well as then designing the layout and virtually building all the interior cabinetry, bed, galley, etc. 

So if you are still interested in following along with our adventures as we make this transition from sea to land please do subscribe and stay tuned for more and join us on our latest adventures into Möbius World V2.0.

 

Thanks,

Wayne

  

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.

Enjoy!

-Wayne

Last Leg of this Turkey to Norfolk Journey Completed! Möbius Update May 18-24, 2023

Last Leg of this Turkey to Norfolk Journey Completed! Möbius Update May 18-24, 2023

We have just completed the last leg of our journey that actually began when we left Turkey back in October and headed West across the Med, across the Atlantic, up through the Caribbean and Bahamas, across the Gulf Stream to Florida and then North mostly up the ICW to were we are now safely docked at Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth Virginia just across the river from Norfolk.  My last post “Skinny Dipping our Way to Florida” update on May 18th covered our travels from Florida up to South Carolina and this is now the final Update from there as we are now safely docked in Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth Virginia just across the river from Norfolk.  We arrived here on May 24th having covered just over 8200 nautical smiles since leaving Turkey and we will now hit the “Pause” button and stay here for the next few months.  But I’m getting ahead of myself so let’s go back and pick up where we left off in the last Update.

Bull Creek anchorageWhen I last left off in the “Skinny Dipping” post above, we were anchored in a bend on Bull Creek just off of the Waccama River in South Carolina where we were enjoying the serenity of that great spot we shared with the alligators and waited for three days while a storm front went through.


Bull Creek to Tidewater route mapOur patience was rewarded with none of the wind or other effects from the storm reaching us in our little hideaway in Bull Creek and this map is my best attempt to show you our route and anchorages from there all the way up to our final spot at Tidewater Yacht Marina.  The many riverways, canals and Inter Coastal Waterway ICW we were on are too small to show up at this scale on the map so I’ve just put a Red marker for each anchorage along the way and then connected those Red dots with the White line you see here.
IMG_2858We first made our way from Bull Creek up to the small Mile Hammock Bay where we anchored for the night with a few other boats.  This spot is also right beside the somewhat infamous military Camp Lejeune but was a very peaceful anchorage for us.
PXL_20230522_130943388Next stop we anchored in was just outside the very cute little town of Oriental where we went ashore to the local grocery store which kindly and conveniently offered a free shuttle service to bring us and our groceries back to the dinghy dock.  This whole section of our travels through North and South Carolina has been this kind of small and laid back towns that have been a real treat to enjoy their hospitality.
IMG_2881 And as if that weren’t enough, Oriental also treated us to yet another fabulous sunset on this trip.
IMG_2877Captain Christine managed to catch this fun shot of that sunset in our SkyBridge windows.
IMG_2886For our next stop Christine found the tiny R.E. Mayo Seafood Company that offered us a night tied up to what was left of their dock.  We also took advantage to stock up on freshly caught shrimp and Cod.
PXL_20230521_165205497Möbius continued to perform flawlessly and our eXtremely small wake was a very big plus as we motored past all the many docks in front of riverside homes and marinas along the way.  We are doing just over 9 knots in this photo so you can see how small the wake is.  We still slowed down when passing through “No Wake” zones but we got a lot of waves of appreciation from home owners and boat owners along the way.


PXL_20230519_131304129Our travels through these inland waterways has also treated us to a fascinating variety of bridges and locks we need to pass through on our way.  The bridges are all quite different as well such as this “swing” bridge that rotates on a central foundation in the middle of the river. 
PXL_20230519_131350013Some of these bridges have specific set opening times so we do our best to time our arrival to get there just before they open while others are “on demand” such as this one where we call the Bridge operator on the VHF radio when we are a few minutes out and ask for an opening.  And then through we go.
PXL_20230524_181333998These lift bridges are perhaps the most common and vary a lot in size.  We missed the opening of this Great Lift Bridge and we had to wait two hours for it to open on our last day of the trip just before the lock at Great Bridge just inside the Virginia border.
PXL_20230524_181408708The Great Bridge Lock (yes, a bit confusing as Great Bridge is the name of the town as well) is immediately after we passed through the Great Bridge opening and we had to wait for about another hour as the Alexander Duff tug and barge had first priority to go through the lock so we all had to wait for him to arrive and get into the lock.
PXL_20230524_183104647We had passed him a few hours earlier but he got the last laugh as he now passed us to be first into the Great Bridge Lock.  Fortunately Möbius is very skinny at 5m/16ft beam so the lock attendants were easily able to have us pull in a long way up the Port/Left side of the barge and this allowed them to fit a few more ships behind us to pass through the locks in the same go.
IMG_2863This trip has also been fascinating with the huge variety of boats we have seen such as this good sized commercial fishing trawler.  If you think our paravane booms are big, click on this photo and check out these ones!  They use these booms for suspending their nets on either side but if you look closely you can see their paravane hanging off the end of the boom.
IMG_2893There was some nasty weather on its way so we decided to put in a bit longer last day and go all the way up to Tidewater before it got to us.
IMG_2891And Wow! what a difference in scenery and culture as we covered the last few miles after entering Virginia and found ourselves going through the large commercial industries and military shipyards surrounding Norfolk.
IMG_2912Turned out to be another very good decision as we pulled into Tidewater Yacht Marina in the late afternoon on May 24th with blue skies, sun and almost no wind and were soon able to side tie ourselves up to this long T-dock.
Tidewater Yacht MarinaWe stayed there for the past week and then two days ago the great staff at Tidewater had us move over to our new home dock. 
I’ve labelled both of these docks on the aerial photo above to give you a better idea of our new home for the next few months.
IMG_2897Christine has been exploring the fun town of Portsmouth and was able to find the Memorial Day parade for a bit of experience with the local culture.
IMG_2898She reported that the parade consisted mostly High School bands, gym clubs and the like so very much the feel of the small American town vibe which is part of the reason we chose Tidewater for our extended stay.
PXL_20230605_125523496So this is our and Möbius’ new home for the next few months.
And that’s a wrap folks!  Both for this set of Updates and for our latest series of voyages for the past seven months.  We’ve successfully completed our plan to bring Möbius across the Atlantic and up the East Coast of the US to this area where we can now hit the Pause button for several months as planned and let the severely overworked Captain Christine hang up her Captain’s hat for awhile and FINALLY be able to restart her life as a best selling author and get her next few novels written and published.  I can’t begin to tell you what an immense set of responsibilities she has taken on to get us here so safely and comfortably and just how proud and grateful I am that she choses to be my Captain aboard Möbius and in my life.  Thank you my awemazing Bride!

This is also mission accomplished to put us closer to our Grandchildren and other family and friends as we have definitely been lamenting the lack of time with them.  As you may have read in the last few blog posts we have already been able to have our Grandson Liam with his parents come stay with us twice in the last two months and up next we have our two Granddaughters from California and their parents flying in on July 4th to stay aboard with us for a week or so.  Life doesn’t get much better than that!

I will continue to keep you updated here and I do have the promised Part II to the review of our experiences of these last 8200 NM of voyages on Möbius that I will get posted in the next few days so please stay tuned for those.

Just before I sign off and post this, I want to extend our most sincere appreciation and gratitude to all of you for taking the time to join us on all these adventures for however many months or years in many cases that you’ve been following along here via these blog posts.  Your presence has been a HUGE part of what has made these experiences so special and we can’t thank you enough for being there and taking the time to also add all your comments, questions and suggestions along the way.  We’re not yet sure where to from here but that’s what we have the next few months to figure out and will let you know as our ideas evolve and form.

-Wayne

Skinny Dipping our Way to Florida  Möbius Update May 1-18, 2023

Skinny Dipping our Way to Florida Möbius Update May 1-18, 2023

Another 2+ weeks go zipping by and May is already half over!  Lots of changes for us in this time as we crossed over from the Bahamas where we left off in the last update, and entered US waters for the first time on Möbius as we begin to make our way North along the East coast of the US.  Here is a quick summary of our travels the past two weeks.

Bahamas to Florida

In the last update we were anchored off of Coopers Town on the NE coast of Great Abacos waiting for a storm front to pass and provide us with a good weather window to make our second “Atlantic crossing” over to Florida.

Coopers Town to West Palm route We left Coopers Town on May 3rd and anchored for the night on the NE corner of a tiny little island Mangrove Cay which Christine knew from past visits here on her boat, would provide us with a good jumping off point for the crossing.


IMG_2761Speaking of jumping off, SpaceX was thoughtful enough to provide us with quite the send off as you can see in this great shot Christine captured with the twilight launch of their latest “Falcon Heavy” rocket on our last night off Coopers Town.  It was much more spectacular when seen from this distance compared to the close up view she got when we were anchored off Cape Canaveral last week.


IMG_2769Not to be outdone, Mother Nature also helped to send us off on our crossing with this beautiful sunset as we were anchored off Mangrove Cay.


Bahama Banks sat photoMy reference to “skinny dipping” in the title is because we have spent most of the past month dipping our very skinny boat in the very “skinny” waters with depths of under 3m/10ft in most places.  In the Bahamas this is known as “The Banks” and you can see this very vividly in the sat photo here with all that light turquoise coloured skinny waters.  This is one of the many reasons we worked so hard to keep Möbius as “skinny” as possible with a draft of about 1.3m/4.3ft so we are good in up to about 5 feet of water.  Seeing these skinny depths is a bit disconcerting at first but you soon get used to it and just pay a lot more attention to depths on the charts as you go.


Gulf Stream sat heat mapOur spot off Mangrove Cay was very peaceful and next morning we had the anchor up by 7am and headed for West Palm Beach which was just a bit south of due West.  In this heat map you can see the warm waters that create the Gulf Stream that flows North at up to 6 knots at times so we “crabbed” our way across it with the boat pointing ESE at times in order to make the straight line across to West Palm Beach. 
Our Furuno Auto Pilot worked well to make this very easy and the crossing went without any problems taking about 10 hours with an overall passage average of about 8.2 knots in spite of fighting the current a bit. 

Back in the USA!

west-palm-beach-floridaWe have both been into West Palm Beach inlet on previous boat trips in the US and it provides a very easy entry and is an official Port of Entry which we needed as this was our first landing in the USA.  As with most countries the checking in process is getting much faster and easier being done online and with aps on your phone.  In the USA this is done with the “CBP Roam” app from US Custom & Border Protection which we have been using in the USVI and Puerto Rico so it all went without a hitch once we had anchored inside the inlet near the bottom of this photo.


IMG_2778With one more passage in the logbooks, it seemed worthy of a celebration so we popped the cork on a cold bottle of bubbly fresh out of the fridge and took in all the entertainment provided by all the commercial and recreational ships and boats in this very busy spot in the good ‘ole USA.


Port_of_Palm_Beach_Expanded_View_of_the_Channel_and_the_HarborWe anchored in the lower Right corner of what is labelled as the “Turning Basin” in this chart as this is where lots of the big cargo and cruise line ships dock over on the far Left of this chart.  We were also back in more skinny waters anchoring in 5-8 ft of water but all worked out fine.  Next day we took the dinghy ashore in the dinghy and I went to the nearby CBP office to get a Cruising License while Christine headed for the grocery stores to top up our fridges and freezers for the next few weeks.


Fun with Family & Friends

IMG_2789Our Grandson Liam lives just a few miles South of West Palm so Christine had made arrangements for Liam, Tim, Ashley to drive up for some more time aboard on the weekend.  Ashley’s Dad Dan was also able to make the trip so he got his first visit onboard and even caught a feisty little Mangrove Snapper from the Aft Deck! 
IMG_2795Christine and Tim cooked up some burgers on our grill to top off the evening.  Tim & Liam stayed for a sleep over to put the icing on the cake and then Ashley came and picked them up on Sunday afternoon.  Way too short but a great visit none the less.

ICW mapFrom West Palm we made our way North along the coast before heading into the Intercoastal Waterway or ICW at Fort Pierce near Jensen Beach were our dear friends Steve & Kathleen live.  A good anchorage on the South side of the bridge with a very well done dinghy dock to make it easy to come and go ashore and we spent three days anchored there enjoying some extended time with Steve & Kathleen both on Möbius and in their home where Kathleen treated us to a “low country boil” meal of shrimp, sausage, corn and more.  Steve was kind enough to loan us his pickup truck for our stay so we were able to get lots done and had a great visit with them.


IMG_2822We continued up the ICW to Coco Beach that is close to where our friends Pam & Dave live and we were able to host them aboard Möbius for their first visit and then go ashore for a craft market that was going on that day.  In the next few weeks we will be day-tripping our way North to Norfolk and we will do quite a bit of that travelling along the amazing ICW that you can see in the map above.  The ICW is quite fascinating and though it keeps you busy steering the constantly winding narrow channel we enjoyed more “skinny dipping” our way along this scenic “Ditch” as it is often called. 
IMG_2816

The deepest sections are typically about 8-12 feet deep at best but is well marked on the charts and with Red/Green markers like this one to guide your way.  Popular amongst the animal kingdom as well!
PXL_20230512_154643238Traversing the ICW involves going under lots of bridges, some that are fixed such as this one and others that are draw bridges where we have to time for an opening to get through. 
PXL_20230512_144814286We have an air draft of about 8.2m/26.9ft so there are also some bridges with clearances of around 30ft that we can go through without needing them to open.  From Coco Beach we decided to head back out of the ICW to make the jump up to Charlottesville South Carolina offshore and avoid the tighter sections along Georgia that Christine is not too fond of having spent a LOT of time cruising the ICW in many of her previous boats over the years.

Launching Off Shore

IMG_2819Even better though was that this gave us a chance to go have the very interesting experience of traversing the lock at Cape Canaveral and


IMG_2825….. have a truly front row seat of the launch of yet another SpaceX rocket in the wee hours of the 14th that Christine stayed up to grab this photo. 


Port Canaveral LockIf you click to enlarge this photo, the one below and the chart above you will see how interesting this route out to the Atlantic was.  We took a hard right turn off the ICW just North of Coco Beach as per the chart above, to traverse the canal you can see at the top of this photo.  That involved just making it in time for the 17:00 opening of the bridge that is just off the top of the photo that is looing due West.


Port Canaveral Lock looking East Here is the opposite view looking due East towards the Atlantic with Cape Canaveral off to the far Left.  We anchored just to the Left of the breakwater sticking out near the bottom of this photo to put us right beside the entrance into the lock on the Left.
PXL_20230514_101214520The Canaveral lock opens for business at 6am so we had the anchor up about 5:50 to catch the sunrise and round the end of the breakwater into the lock just after six.  Christine slid us alongside the well built rails on our Starboard/Right side and I tied two lines fore and aft just to secure us while the doors closed behind us and then soon opened in front.  Not too dramatic as there is less than a foot of height change but still a fun experience.
PXL_20230514_103104393Exiting out of the lock we called the bridge keeper to ask for his next opening and soon slid our way through.
PXL_20230514_104252320Passing several large cruise ships and then some commercial docks you see here as the sun rose to welcome us back out into the Atlantic. 
PXL_20230514_213606681As usual, Weather Wonder Woman Christine continues her masterful work at scheduling our passages in just the right weather windows. 
PXL_20230515_043213291.MPThe passage up to Charlottesville was about 300 nm/345 miles/556 km and we had the anchor down in the ICW just North of Charlottesville just under 31 hours after entering the Canaveral Lock.  That averages out to 9.7 knots which is our fastest passage time ever thanks to getting off shore enough to catch some of the Gulf Stream which had us doing up to 13 knots at times.  Fuel burn for this trip was equally as great averaging 1.38L/nm or 2.75 USG/nm
PXL_20230515_145746768We knew when we left that we would likely get “spanked” a bit by Mother Nature just before arriving in Charlottesville and things were a bit more “sporty” for the last two hours as we made our way back to shore and into the welcoming arms of the breakwater.
PXL_20230515_164820140However we were soon back into calm waters once inside the breakwater leading into Charleston.

Back in the ICW

Charleston ICW to our 1st anchorageOnce inside we turned Right to get back into the ICW for about an hour of smooth sailing up the ICW and pulled over into a small waterway in the tidal grasslands where we enjoyed a very peaceful anchorage and a great sleep that night.
route up ICW to Butler IslandThe green on this screen grab from Google Maps is all grasslands and marsh and will give you a bit of an idea of our fascinating scenery the past few days as we snaked our way along rivers that all interconnect to provide a shallow passage inland.  We anchored for the night of May 15th just off the SW corner of Butler Island which I’ve tried to show on this crude little map.
Bull Creek anchorageThere was a big blow forecast for last night (Wednesday May 17, 2023) so we motored about 15 nautical miles (28km/17 miles) further up the Waccamaw River and then took a fork to the Left at Bull Creek where we have now been anchored for the past 2 nights just off to the side of this narrow river.  So far we’ve only seen two small boats with local fishermen go by so we’ve been enjoying the eXtremely relaxing scenery and wildlife.
PXL_20230517_152431454The tidal based currents flowing through these rivers gently swings us around about twice a day and this our view looking South.
IMG_2845It is quite the amazing feeling to be so truly isolated in this magical wilderness where the only sounds are the wild birds ashore,
IMG_2846the buzzing of dragonflies like this one that wildlife photographer eXtraordinaire Christine managed to capture on one of our lifelines.
IMG_2841and the occasional splash of alligators alongside the boat.  Click to enlarge and look close in about the middle to see one that stopped by yesterday.  Turned out to be a smart spot to lay over as we have been far enough inland that we hardly got any of the 40+ knot gusts apparently happing over on the cost beside us.  Today (Thursday) has been an overcast and drizzly day so we’ve been enjoying a quite day in the SuperSalon surrounded by this ever so peaceful greenery surrounding us allowing us to catch up with some online jobs such as getting this update put together and posted for you. 
IMG_2840We’ll pick up the anchor tomorrow and continue to day hop our way up the ICW and various rivers as we make our way North to Norfolk where we have a reservation in a marina there starting on June first and where we will likely stay put for the rest of the summer.
Lest you think I’ve forgotten I am still working on the second installment of what has worked out best and least well of the features and equipment on Möbius and will get that uploaded in the next week or so as time allows with cruising every day.  The logbook says we just passed 7900 nautical miles in the past 8 months with an eXtensive range of experiences along the way and hope that sharing those with you will be of interest and use so do stay tuned for that and my chronicling of our travels as we work our way North through all these awemazing waterways.

Thanks for taking the time to join us here and please do leave any questions, comments and suggestions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.

-Wayne










One Year & 7300nm later; Most & Least Favorite Möbius Features  April 17-30 2023

One Year & 7300nm later; Most & Least Favorite Möbius Features April 17-30 2023

Not as much to post about the past two weeks as I have been out of commission after hurting my back badly when I tripped and fell last week and aggravated the four cracked discs I have had from a nasty motorcycle accident over 25 years ago.  But the spasms are lessening each day since and just a matter of time before I’m back to just the usual back ache which is my normal state. 
bahamas_map routesNo complaints from me though as we continue to enjoy taking our time to weave our way generally north through some of the hundreds of postcard like Bahamian islands.


PXL_20230421_175816562When I left off in the last post we were in Red Cut Cay and after a few days there we continued up and anchored at Black Point then on to Allen’s Cay and then a very neat fully enclosed very tiny little bay on Royal Island as seen here on our chart plotter.
PXL_20230421_174626444This will give you a better perspective on how small the entrance was and if you click on the photo I have circled in RED the two short pieces of white PVC pipe that marked each side.
PXL_20230421_174718305Captain Christine guided us through as she put the entrance in our wake and ……
PXL_20230421_175223227…… I soon had the anchor down into the sandy bottom 2.5m/8ft below and we were soon enjoying our very own little anchorage with wine up in the SkyBridge.  THIS is why we worked on the design so hard with Dennis to have the least draft possible; 1.3m/4.4 ft
route to Coopers TownAfter Royal Island we made our way over to Lynyard Cay where we anchored for four days and had a chance to meet up with some sailing friends Mark & Shawnae who were anchored nearby on their latest boat s/v Big Sky Blue Waters (they hail from Montana).  Difficult to show on maps as most of these spots are too small to show up but you can get a rough idea of our route and anchorages along the way.  We are now anchored up near the north end of Great Abaco Island just off of Coopers Town. 
There is a storm front coming through this weekend with winds out of the West and South rather than the usual Easterlies so we’ll wait out here for that to pass and then make our way West as we get ready to jump off and cross over to West Palm Beach area in Florida in the next week or so. 

That catches you up on our most recent travels and anchorages and now I thought that something a bit different might be of interest to many of you.  Read on to see what you think and let me know your thoughts with comments in the “join the discussion” box at the end please.

Year in Review: Top Features We Like Most and Least on Möbius

Hard to believe but we started writing this Mobius.World blog back in March 2018 so we’ve just passed the five year mark for that and the primary motivation for creating and writing the 262 posts since then has been the hope that sharing our experiences here provides a good way for us to “pay it forward” for all the other people who went before us and shared their experiences from which we learned SO much.   In keeping with that hope, as the calendar turns over to May (how did THAT happen so fast??) we have been actively cruising Möbius for one year now.  Also on the hard to believe list is that our log book shows that we have just ticked over 7300 nautical miles (8400 miles/13,520 Kilometers) and most of that in just the last six months since leaving Turkey at the end of October.  Last year we were in and out of a number of marinas so we have been through our share of Med mooring, docking, fueling up and the like.  This year we’ve been on anchor every night for the past four months in quite a variety of conditions, bottoms and weather.  We’ve done everything from short day trips, lots of overnight passages and some longer ones such as our trans Atlantic crossing of 14 days.  With these cumulative experiences I thought now would be a good time to reflect on what we have learned over the past year about what is working out best for us as well as what has not worked so well and we would change or do differently to make Möbius even better.  I will write this up as two blog posts grouping what’s worked best into one and then a second with what changes we would make to follow.  In my experience I have found that first hand experience from others has proven to be the best and most useful for making my decisions and so I hope these twin posts will do likewise for some of you.

A few caveats before I go any further:

  • All of the points I’ll be covering are simply what has worked so well or not for us and our use cases with no suggestion that these would be best for other owners, boats and use cases.
  • There is no implied order or ranking of these items, simply a list.
  • Any mention of specific products is done for clarity only, these are not endorsements and we have no sponsors or affiliations with any of the products mentioned.
  • In the years of posts here on this blog, I have provided lots of detailed coverage, too much perhaps, of each of these items during the build so in this posting I will just be listing the reasons why each item is on the list.  If you are interested in more details you can refer to these previous posts and I’ll provide links to some of these.

OK, with that out of the way, let’s jump right into our top favorite features on Möbius.

Anchor system

IMG_2709Starting up at the Bow, our whole anchoring system has proven to be eXtremely strong, reliable and easy to use and has perhaps contributes more than any other system to our SWAN factor that enable us to Sleep Well At Night in every anchorage in all conditions.  The “SideWinder” mounting of the anchor off the Port side of the Bow which Dennis and I designed, has proven to be a great setup eliminating the anchor and roller assembly from sticking out over 1m at docks and keeps it very securely pressed against the hull in pounding seas with nary a sound or any movement.
PXL_20201014_082740608.MPThe primary components of our Anchoring System are

110Kg/242lb Rocna anchor

100m/330ft of Galvanized DS40 13mm chain
PXL_20230426_203728345

Maxwell windlass VWC4000 w/Maxwell controls at both helms and wired remote in forepeak

Lewmar Deluxe Heavy Duty Chain Stopper 13mm chain

Lewmar EVO 55 Self-Tailing Winch for kedging
PXL_20230426_203658604The chain all stows inside of a round aluminium chain bin inside the forepeak which has worked out eXtremely well as there is no “castling” of the chain as it is stowed.
PXL_20210210_113928698and any anchor mud and muck that gets in there is easily flushed out through the drain in the bottom that exits out the side of the hull just above the waterline.


PXL_20230427_142622061Once the anchor is set we attach a 25mm/1″ nylon snubber line using a loop of Dyneema with a slip knot that goes through one link on the chain.  This takes seconds to attach or remove and the snubber from the chain and absorbs of any shock loads on the anchor chain and eliminates any chain noise into the boat. 
PXL_20230426_203523246Letting the chain out until the snubber is taking all the tension the line comes up through the large round “nose cone” in the very front of the Bow and ties to the Samson post.  Leading the snubber line through the center of the Bow reduces side to side swinging at anchor and the hyperbolic curve machined on the inside of the sold AL snubber cone prevents chaffing of the line which still shows no sign of chaffing after over 150 nights at anchor so far.  The large degree of forward slope of the anchor deck also worked out great making it easy to hose down with all the debris draining out the nose cone back into the sea.
All together this is a super dependable and easy to deploy/retrieve anchor system that sets first time every time and resets immediately on severe wind shifts.  Depends on water depth of course but typically we have about 30m/100ft of 13mm anchor chain out which adds an additional 120kg/265lbs to the 110kg/242lbs of anchor on the bottom so we SWAN very well every night and is definitely one of our favorite systems!

Foul Release silicone bottom paint

PXL_20210521_132919072Our last minute decision to go with silicone based “Foul Release” bottom paint instead of CopperCoat has turned out to be one of THE best decisions we made.  This Foul Release type of bottom paint never ceases to amaze me with how it prevents almost anything from growing on it and what might be there after months of sitting still comes off completely with a simple wipe with a sponge or cloth to bring it back to like new.  We used the International version called InterSleek 1100SR but several other manufacturers such as Hempel “Silic One” are also available.
PXL_20210521_133015028This paint has been in the water for over two years now and it still cleans up completely with just a sponge or cloth if we’ve been sitting at anchor for a long time and currently shows no sign of wear or age.  It is supposed to be good for 5-7+ years and so far looks like it will achieve that easily which would be a HUGE benefit in terms of efficient hull speeds and no costly annual haul outs.  I can’t say for sure but I think that having such clean and slippery silicone hull surface contributes to our overall hull efficiency, speed and great fuel burn rates.  What’s not to like??!!

Open and Accessible system installation

IMG_20200527_095915All of the system components, wiring and plumbing were given dedicated locations with completely open access.  This reduced the time for initial installation during the build but more importantly continues to put a smile on my face every time I need to do any work or maintenance on any of the systems as everything is easy to access and mounted at a just right height for working on.
PXL_20230426_213319964Here in the Basement for example you can see how all the components such as all the 14 MPPT controllers on the Left and the three 240V Victron Multiplus inverter/chargers on the Right, are all mounted such that when I’m kneeling or sitting in front of them they are at the just right height right in front of you to see and work on.
PXL_20230426_213832093Same story back in the Workshop area where all the major components on the Right such as the DC Distribution box, Kabola diesel boiler, watermaker and AirCon chiller system are mounted on top of the shelves to put them at just right height as well.
PXL_20230426_214004899At the far end, the front of the Day Tank has been used to mount all the fuel filters, Alfa Laval centrifuge and fuel transfer valve manifolds are out in the open and at perfect height when standing in front of them.
PXL_20230426_213903037Underneath that shelf the electrical wiring, external rectifiers and water distribution manifolds are also open and easy to access. 


PXL_20211212_100924297All of the plumbing is similarly open and easy to access such as this manifold with valves for all the cold water consumers in the Master Cabin.

One of our four primary principles for the design and build of Möbius was Low Maintenance and having all the components, wiring and plumbing open and so easily and comfortably accessed has been a big factor in achieving this goal throughout the whole boat.

Propulsion Perfection:

PGL sketch 54 Nogva-HelsethAs we did for all the major components, we took a “systems” approach to the propulsion system from front of the engine to the prop.  coupled to a Nogva Controllable Pitch Propeller (CPP) is also way up at the top of our list of favorite features on Möbius. 


PXL_20210401_133343724Our choice of a Gardner 6LXB engine aka Mr. Gee,
IMG_20191118_102450coupled to a Nogva Controllable Pitch Propeller (CPP) via a Nogva HC-168 2.95:1 reduction gearbox is also way up at the top of our list of favorite features on Möbius. 

The combination of the slow revving engine and lack of any transmission shifting created a seamless and smooth propulsion system.  This was our first experience with CPP and it did take some time to learn how to run a boat where you first set the throttle at the RPM you want and then don’t touch it and just use the Pitch lever to increase pitch through an infinite range from zero/neutral to maximum pitch for the load and speed you want.  With no shifting involved to go from forward to reverse it is eerily quiet and smooth when docking and when underway we essentially run the boat based on the EGT or Exhaust Gas Temperature meter to get the just right pitch for any speed we want.


We cruise between 8.5-9 knots and after 7300 nautical miles our overall propulsion efficiency has us averaging about 1.85 L/NM @ 8.5kts which we are eXtremely pleased with.

PXL_20230426_213808786The dedicated “propulsion room” is another of my most favorite design decisions as it similarly provides open and easy access to Mr. Gee and all his components,
PXL_20210129_124430339….. as well as the Nogva gearbox, coupling and Tides Marine dripless prop shaft seal.  I am able to stand, sit or kneel on the grated composite flooring on all sides and with a full meter of width all around and each grate can be easily lifted out of the way to provide access underneath if needed. Having a dedicated engine room with nothing but the engine inside keeps everything inside easy to see and work on, easy to keep well ventilated and all the other components typically found in engine rooms such as fuel filters, batteries and system components are kept OUT of this environments heat and vibration.  More examples of how well the open and accessible systems design is one of our favorite features.

Layout (cabin locations, balance living vs functional, up/down)

Interior GA plan snipThe overall interior layout also makes it way to the top of our favorite aspects of live aboard Möbius.  For us it has the Goldilocks balance between amount of living space vs functional systems space and our decision to have a very large forepeak up front and then an even larger engine room/workshop space in the rear has resulted in a great layout as well as keeping these spaces completely separate with their own dedicated access so you never need to go through a living space area to get to something in the forepeak or engine room or workshop.
012 Interior GA inboard profile Rev C snipThe vertical layout has also worked out eXtremely well for us with each cabin a few steps below the SuperSalon and the SkyBridge up above.  One of the most useful features of our layout is having an enormous “Basement” area below the floor of the SuperSalon.  We designed this to be 1.2m/ 4ft high such that you can easily move around by bending over and not hit your head on anything and then sit or kneel to access any of the equipment mounted on intermediate floor to ceiling walls or access any of the many storage bins and shelves in the Basement.
IMG_0620The stairs leading down into the SuperSalon from the Aft Deck on the Left and then around to the stairs down into the Ships Office and Guest cabin on the Right provide excellent access between all these areas.
IMG_1506Very difficult to photograph but hopefully this pano shot of the SuperSalon will help convey why we like this layout with the 360 degrees of glass so much.

SkyBridge

PXL_20210926_072850258We knew we wanted a Flybridge overtop of the main Salon or House so this was part of the design from the beginning but I don’t think either of us appreciated just how much we would enjoy this feature and how much time we would spend up here both when at anchor and underway.
IMG_1568Part of what makes this space work so well is our decision to put the Upper Helm at the Aft end of the SkyBridge.  As we’ve done in several areas of the boat we have created an initial prototype for the seating in this SkyBridge Lounge area by using patio furniture which we rearrange from time to time to figure out what will work best longer term.  So far this L shaped layout has worked out best.
IMG_1570There are great sight lines when sitting in the Helm chair just outside this photo on the far Left and yet still takes full advantage of the height for sight lines through the 360 degrees of windows that surround this entire space. 
IMG_2511The Bow and the side rub rails are all fully visible from the Helm chair.
IMG_2510 The roof overtop of the outdoor galley down on the Aft Deck does prevent a direct view of the transom but otherwise the sight lines Aft are great and we have a camera that displays a birds eye view of the transom on the Helm displays if needed when backing into a dock.

IMG_1514The Helm down in the SuperSalon duplicates the Upper SkyBridge Helm.
IMG_1580But unless the weather is very cold or wet we much prefer to run the boat from the SkyBridge with its added height and even better visibility.

IMG_1574At anchor it also makes a great office space and a comfy bed for naps and off watch time as well.  So the SkyBridge definitely makes it onto our top favorites list.

Hot Water & Heated Floors

PXL_20220110_133823995Another example of the advantages of taking a Systems approach is our Domestic Hot Water system or DHW and probably fair to say that the heart of our DHW system that puts his solidly on our top favorites is our decision to install a Kabola diesel fired boiler.  Located with all the other system components in the Workshop it is out of the way yet easily accessible. 
IsoTemp Basic cut awayThe 75L Kabola boiler is our primary source of DHW as it circulates through one of three heat exchanger circuits in our Calorifier that stores all our hot water as can be seen in this cutaway demo.  The second heat exchanger circuit routes hot water from our Gardner engine and so whenever we are running the boat this provides all our hot water instead of the Kabola boiler.  The third heat source is a 240V electrical heating element which we can use if the water based heat exchangers should ever fail.

IMG_20200723_175120However the one feature of our DHW that truly steals the show in cold weather is mostly invisible and that our Heated Floors.  Underneath the vinyl flooring in all the living spaces there are circuits of plastic PEX tubing that circulates hot water and provides a creature comfort in colder climates that is difficult to adequately describe in words.  A detailed description of the whole heated floor system can be found HERE in this previous blog post


Open Direct HEATING Mode illustrationAs you can read in that more detailed blog post, this is quite a simple system really but does take a bit to get your head around how it works as this is all part of the overall domestic hot water system so that all the water flowing through the floor PEX is coming from the Calorifier in the Basement circulating the same water as distributed to all the sinks and showers on the boat.  No valves to adjust or turn on/off it all works by virtue of how this “Open Direct” plumbing design dictates.


IMG_20200724_153643Overtop of the PEX tubing and rigid foam, these industrial vinyl floor planks provide a fantastic floor in all weather conditions and are specifically made to work well with heated floors.  Critical for our use on a boat, these vinyl floor planks have a simulated wood grain texture molded in which has proven to be completely skid proof even with wet feet and any spills clean up easily.  After two years of rigorous use these floors show zero signs of wear or marks which helps keep them on our top favorites list.


PXL_20220110_133737110There are three independent zones for the two cabins and the SuperSalon and each is controlled by one of these easy to set thermostats which maintain whatever temperature you want.


In Floor heating manifolds   pumps installedThe manifolds and pumps are mounted down in the Basement up against the Aft bulkhead and yet another example of how easy this whole system is to access. 


Battery & Solar Based Electrical System

XPM Electrical System v5Yet another systems approach on our top favorites list is our overall Electrical system.  It is “battery based” in that all four voltages; 12V + 24V DC and 120V + 240V AC comes from our 1800Ah @ 24V House Battery bank.  AC is created via the 5 Victron MultiPlus inverter/chargers and the DC is provided via three DC distribution boxes; Central Main in the Basement plus one in the Forepeak and one in the Workshop for the high amperage circuits there.
PXL_20230305_194435025Solar is our primary source for recharging the house batteries most of the time but when we are underway the two massive 250A x 24V Electrodyne alternators with WakeSpeed 500 regulators provide up to 9KW of power and we also have the option of connecting to shore power whenever we are in a marina. 
PXL_20220614_084653028There are eight 320W solar panels that form the roof of our SkyBridge as seen in the photo above and then three more mounted on top of the cantilevered roof over the Outside Galley on the Aft Deck as seen here.
PXL_20230421_174621920And then three more mounted in a hinged frame in front of the SkyBridge.  These 14 solar panels add up to just over 4kW of potential power and most days our battery monitors show an actual input of between 1kW during the winter months and up to over 2.5kWh of power during summer hours.
14 MPPT croppedEach solar panel has its own MPPT controller which are mounted in the Basement and feed into individual circuit breakers for further control as seen here.  Having a dedicated MPPT for each panel reduces the impact of any shading on any panel and helps with the overall performance of our solar system.
2023 Solar screen shotThis screen shot from our Victron VRM display shows a summary for our solar output vs electrical consumption so far in 2023.
Solar screen shot 2daysAnd this summary of the past 2 days, April 28+29 2023 lets you see how it varies throughout a 24 hour day.
We have not been in a marina or connected to shore power in the past four months and the combination of solar and alternator power is keeping our batteries 100% charged every day and so easily makes it onto our favorites list!

Handholds Everywhere for Everyone

Safety was another of the four design principles we had and one example that has proven to be a big favorite is the way we were able to ensure that there were super solid hand holds for EVERY person onboard from children to adults.

PXL_20230429_221424227On the exterior the handholds are all 30mm diameter thick walled AL pipe such as these on the aft end of the house roof near the Aft Deck.  These pipe handholds also make for eXcellent strong points for fastening things with Dyneme and other lines.
PXL_20220410_045308681Perhaps one of the most important spots for handholds is along the side decks when you are moving between the Fore and Aft Deck areas.  On the left you can see the continuous length of AL pipe that runs along the entire edge of the house roof and then the three rows of Dyneema landlines that Christine rigged between each of the sturdy vertical AL stanchion pipes.  The top lifeline is 1 meter above the deck so hits most adults about waist height which ensures that even if you were to be thrown against these you would be stopped and not flipped over top.
PXL_20220409_122230625.MPUp at the Bow there is a very solid set of AL pipe railings that wrap all the way around and make this area extremely safe and fun spot to be for dolphin watching or just dangling your feet overboard and taking in the scenery at anchor or underway.
PXL_20230429_221545056At the far end of the Aft Deck there are solid AL pipe railings for the corner of the deck before the stairs going down to the Swim Step and then a solid AL pipe railing on the other side of the steps.
PXL_20210401_133333873In the Engine Room, Mr. Gee has a full set of AL pipe railings wrapped around him to ensure you can’t be tipped over onto him in rough seas and these have worked out very well to also provide good support as you are leaned over working on various parts.
PXL_20230429_221349601On the interior of the boat one of our favorite esthetic features of the gorgeous Rosewood cabinetry is the design we came up with to incorporate built in hand holds to the design that are located on all the cabinets in all the cabins and SuperSalon.  This example is on the corner of the Galley cabinet across from where the fridges are located.
PXL_20230429_221334439These solid Rosewood edges wrap around the whole boat to form what we call our “Blue Horizon Line” and their key feature is that they have a deep groove that is at about waist height where your fingers naturally slip in to provide an eXtremely secure hand hold.  We have had our grandchildren onboard several times now and these have worked out as designed to be at Goldilocks height and size for their fingers too.

Interior Materials:

Possibly saving the best for last, something that brings us joy every day is the choice of interior materials we made. 

IMG_0926The Rosewood we chose for all the cabinetry really steals the show and this shot of the Galley cabinets will give you some idea. 
IMG_0622We were very fortunate that Naval Yachts happened to have their very best cabinetmakers throughout the entire build and they were a joy to work together with to produce details such as how all the grain is bookmatched such that it literally flows from one piece to the next.
IMG_20190509_140446This was made possible because after months of searching we were able to purchase an entire flitch of Brazilian Rosewood that had been flat cut from the same log. 
IMG_20190510_111038As each slice comes off they stack these in order and therefore the grain of each slice follows the next.
IMG_20190509_140503The other key was finding a matching stack of solid Rosewood that would be used to build the frames and every edge of every panel.  NO veneer edging allowed!
IMG_20190515_125458Unlike more typical construction, all plywood edges had these T shaped pieces of solid Rosewood glued in place and then the veneer was applied AFTER so that it overlapped the solid wood edging.
IMG_20190515_125524What this does is ensure that there are no glue joints exposed and they become invisible as they gradually transition from veneer to solid.  When these panels would be used for a corner of a cabinet, a thick piece of solid Rosewood was glued glued on and then this solid edge was rounded over in a shaper to create a large radius corner
IMG_20190516_152458The Rosewood was more than 11X the cost of any other hardwood so to help stretch the prized solid pieces it was sometimes possible to glue on a piece of cheaper hardwood like this and then round the Rosewood for the corner.
IMG_20190517_172430For the very large radius corners, strips of solid Rosewood were edge glued up and then radiused like this.
IMG_20190516_181601Or like this.
PXL_20230429_221349601When combined with the Turquoise Turkish marble and the inset Blue Horizon line strips, the end result was well worth the extra time and expense to build.
IMG_0601We carried the same combination of materials throughout both cabins, Salon and Galley and I hope these few photos help you see why this puts a smile on our faces every day.
DJI_0034There is a LOT more that we like about our dear Möbius and she has definitely lived up to being “Project Goldilocks” by being just right, just for us but the above items hit upon most of our top favorite features and I hope this review was worthwhile.  Of course there is always the other end of the spectrum and so in the next blog post I will follow up by reviewing things that have not worked out as well or are things we want to change so do stay tuned for that.


Friends & Fun in USVI, Puerto Rico + Bahamas Möbius Update 27 March – April 16, 2023

Friends & Fun in USVI, Puerto Rico + Bahamas Möbius Update 27 March – April 16, 2023

The past three weeks have flown by as we enjoyed having friends aboard and we continue meandering our way from USVI to Puerto Rico and now into the Bahamas. 

St Thomas   James routes with LiamPicking up where we left off in the last update, we were in St. Thomas USVI after a super fun week with our Grandson Liam and his Mom & Dad, Ashley & Tim as we sadly took them over to the airport to fly back to Florida. 
IMG_3147We then anchored Möbius over on the East end of St. Thomas so that we could pick up our very good friends Bob & Sue from Victoria BC when they flew in a few days later.
IMG_3134We spent the next few days moving Möbius along similar routes to the ones in the map above to show Sue & Bob around St. Thomas and St. John Islands.
PXL_20230331_140225371Bob & Sue were keen for some passage time aboard Möbius so they set up their return flights out of San Juan so they could join us on the relatively short trip from USVI over to Puerto Rico.
St. Thomas to Salinas PR route mapSo we moved over to Brewers Bay on the West end of St. Thomas for the last night in USVI before making the short jump over to the small island of Culebra that is part of Puerto Rico.  The RED route on the map here. (click to enlarge)
IMG_3155Christine & I had been to Culebra doing delivering a catamaran for some dear friends back in 2017 so it was fun for us to be back in this small island again as well. 
IMG_2697Next hop was over to Salinas on the South coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, GREEN on the map above, which was another spot that we had been to previously on that same delivery.
336803574_236703462231402_3109976857720055454_nTiming also worked out just perfect as some long time sailing friends of Christine were spending their last night on their sailboat in Salinas before sailing off to Antigua the next morning.  We joined Willie, Mark, Dick & Deb for a fabulous group lobster dinner in the small restaurant at the Salinas Marina to send them off in grand fashion. 


Mark kindly extended the lease on his rental car so we enjoyed that luxury to spend the day on the road with Sue & Bob seeing more of Puerto Rico including a stop for some delicious lunch at a roadside pig roast spot that was a favorite of Willie’s and then dropped Sue & Bob off at the San Jose airport.  Bon voyage nos Amis, thanks for the memories.
PXL_20230409_102543545

And !poof! just like that everyone was gone and it was back to just the two of us on Möbius as the Captain took us out of Salinas Bay for our next leg of the journey.
St. Thomas to Salinas PR route mapWe needed to check out of Puerto Rico so we moved over to the small anchorage in Puerto Real on the far West end of PR.  WHITE on the map.
IMG_2706We stayed in Puerto Real for the night and enjoyed a good dinner out at the local restaurant by the marina.  This was our first time in a marina this year, last time was in the Canary Islands in December before heading out on our Atlantic Crossing.  Solar panels are working eXtremely well and we have not needed shore power since we left Greece back in October nor most of the past year but being on the dock was convenient for doing the check out and a date night before heading off for the Bahamas.
USVI to Bahamas route mapMore and more countries are automating their marine check in/out process to be done online and this is working better and better but still has some odd bugs in the system and took us a few hours to complete but all went well in the end. 
PXL_20230409_102836332We anchored outside the marina for the day and left later in the afternoon to time our arrival in the Bahamas to be in daylight for good visual navigation.  This would be about 600 nautical miles (690 miles/1,110 km) passage and would take us a bit less than three days.
USVI to Bahamas route mapWe decided to head for Clarence Town to check into the Bahamas, a favorite of Christine’s from her many years sailing the Bahamas in her previous boats years ago.  You can click to enlarge this map but it is challenging to show the Bahamas on a map as it consists of more than 3,000 islands, cays, and islets and most of these only show up when you zoom way in.  But the RED line in this map will give you a rough idea of our route. 
It is estimated that the Bahamas’ territory encompasses 470,000 km2 (180,000 sq mi) of ocean space with a total population of 400 thousand people spread across this area.
IMG_2646As usual, Weather Wonder Woman Christine found us another great weather window with very calm wind and seas making for smooth sailing as we settled into passage making mode for the next three days.
PXL_20230409_141159259For those interested in the boat’s performance, I’ve highlighted some of the key stats on our Maretron N2KView screen here.  I’ve set up two different SOG Speed Over Ground SOG meters, the one in Green is showing 9.5kts SOG averaged over about 3 minute intervals to give a better reading vs the one in Yellow showing 10.6kts which is the instantaneous SOG at the moment.  When calculated for the entire 560nm passage our average SOG anchorage to anchorage was 8.5kts and our overall fuel burn average for the passage was 1.7 L/NM or 2.2 NM/USG. 
The RED circle is the EGT or Exhaust Gas Temperature showing 359 degrees C / 678 F which translates into about 80% load.  We keep the EGT between 330-360C most of the time as this seems to be the best combination of ideal load, fuel burn and speed.  We will continue to try out other settings and report on the results in future updates.


PXL_20230411_115428224As you can see, conditions were ideal for power boating for most of our three days at sea and we only put the paravanes out for one night to reduce the roll when we encountered some larger swells out of the NE.
IMG_2712The canine crew seemed to approve as well.
sat view Charlestown anchorageWe pulled into the well protected bay just off of Clarence Town on the North coast of Long Island and had the anchor down just after 10am Thursday, 13th of April.  As you can see depths in most bays and cays in the Bahamas is very shallow, averaging about 2.4m/8ft here and will help you understand why we worked so hard with Dennis to minimize our draught which is about 1.4m/4.6ft.
IMG_2719This is a relatively remote Port of Entry for the Bahamas and we had checked in online before arrival and then spoke with the agent by phone when we were anchored.  He is based over in Stella Maris on the other side of Long Island but he kindly offered to make the 90 minute drive and met us at the Government Wharf I’ve pointed to above and we completed the paperwork and got our passports stamped there and we were now officially in the Bahamas!
IMG_2724Christine went ashore the next day to stretch her legs and got a kick out of the slightly dark humour of the location of this Covid Test center from months previous.  Fortunately she reported no dead men sighted.
Long Island mapWe had a good night’s sleep and woke up to find over 10 other boats anchored around us, the nerve!  So we pulled up anchor and headed up to the very North end of Long island Green route here.
Santa Maria Bay anchorageChristine had picked out a lovely little bay just around the Northern tip of Long Island at Cape Santa Maria and she maneuvered us in and I dropped the anchor onto the sandy bottom in about 2.5m/8ft of water. 
PXL_20230415_213655153This is the view looking South as we enjoyed sundowners just the way we like it; the only boat in the bay.
Rudder Cut CayAfter enjoying the tranquility of our private anchorage, we continued to follow our previous wakes through many of the small Bahamian islands and cays and yesterday morning we made the jump North to another favorite anchorage at Rudder Cut Cay.  This photo will help you see how thin and small these cays are.
Wayne   piano mermaid Rudder Cut CayThis spot is quite famous amongst cruisers as it has a sunken statue of a mermaid playing a piano in the shallow waters here.  I went into our archives and dug up this photo from May 8, 2017 with me checking it out.  The mermaid said that she was working on her next composition and didn’t need any of my help so I let her be.
Cave at Rudder Cut CayThere are also several of these large caves carved into the shore just beside us here and are large enough to take your dinghy inside of and make for some fun snorkeling.

And that’s a wrap for this Mobius Update folks.  We continue to live and move on The No Plan Plan but in general we will continue to enjoy our time as we wander through the Bahamas and make our way North up to the East coast of the US.  It is looking most likely that we will spend the summer months up in the Chesapeake Bay area where we can stay put for several months so Christine can have the time and quiet to focus on writing her next novel.  I will continue to post updates along the way once or twice a month with some brief updates on places we get to and things we see.  Hope these travel logs are of some interest and please let me know what you’d like more of and less of as well as any questions you have as we go.

Thanks,

Wayne