As 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.
OK, 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.
As 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. I 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. Here is what my finished version 1.o of these paravanes look like when they are all ready to go to work. Each 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. Deployment 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. The 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. My 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. Staying 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. If 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. Easier 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. Here 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. Retrieval 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. I 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. The 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? I 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.
I 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.
As 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. As 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.
Other 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. We 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. We 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. And 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. The 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. Seems 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. Weather 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. This 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? Our 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.
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.
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.
Picking 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. Taking 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. As this satellite shot from space shows the Strait is VERY narrow and the only place where all the water of the Mediterranean flows in. Not 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. Oh, 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. It 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. You 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. We 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. We 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. Mother 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. This 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 …..
…. 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. Historically 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. On 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. Being 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. Today fortifications like the one in the photo above have been restored and updated such as we saw here. We 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. As 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. Diverse does not begin to capture the tremendous variety of everything from architecture and colours to ….. …. butchers …. …. fish … … spices …. … pastries … …. and dress.
I enjoy just taking it all in and observing details of the buildings, the people and the businesses. Christine 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. Where she walked there last week for her afternoon coffee. and to this patisserie with her “Freedom machine” parked out front. Meanwhile, back at Tanga Marina Bay …….. We 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! 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. This 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.
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?
Zooming 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. For 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.
To 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! The 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
I 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. This 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.
Here 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!
The 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. Christine 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. Gibraltar 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.
Today 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? The Rock itself did not disappoint, either as we sailed by it coming in or up close and personal as we walked around it today. Pardon 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?
As 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. This 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.
As 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.
Sheesh! Half way through the month of August already!
Time for a brief update on what’s been happening with us and Möbius over the first two weeks of August.
Weather here continues to surprise us with how ideally cool it is. This past week has seen the daily temperatures drop a few more degrees from their previous norms of about 32C / 90F down to about 28C / 82F as I sit typing this at about 3pm on Sunday. Evenings and mornings are even cooler and with the constant Meltemi winds blowing through the boat sleeping is very comfy and mornings are starting to feel downright chilly! Not sure why this area is experiencing such relatively cool summer when the rest of Europe, the UK and many other parts of the world are seeing record high temperatures but we’ll just enjoy and be grateful that we’ve got such ideal conditions.
Here is what else we’ve been up to the past two weeks.
Update from Kalymnos Greece
Christine and I have settled into a nice rhythm here onboard Möbius and in this lovely south end of Kalymnos Island that I showed you around in the last post. If you did not see that post, this map will help orient you as to where the small island of Kalymnos is at (red pin) in the bigger picture of this Eastern end of the Med. This satellite view of the island of Kalymnos (click to enlarge any photo) will help you see how arid and mountainous it is. Möbius is the south harbour at the Red pin. To give you a sense of scale, the coast road allows you to circumnavigate the whole island in just 68 km/42 miles. So not too big which suits us just fine.
Christine continues to be very dedicated to getting her knee back to full working order and goes for a swim each day where the surprisingly brisk ocean water is the perfect medium for her physio exercises. Progress is slower than she’d like but improving. This is but one of may swimming spots she gets to chose from every day. And almost all of them have a beachside taverna so she gets to enjoy a Freddo Cappuccino and water in the shade when she finishes her exercises. Thanks to her E-bike that she got before we left Turkey she is able to get to pretty much any of the swim spots on this end of the island in less than 10 minutes and with no strain on her knee, so all good. The town itself is small but lively with daily arrivals of Turkish Gullets and other sail boats as well as lots of ferries that bring people to and from the surrounding islands or as far away as Athens. Makes for good people watching including this very salty dog of a Captain. As with most small towns though there are some less savory characters like this one who manage to sneak in when no one is watching. In addition to swimming, Christine loves to use her E-bike which she calls her “Freedom machine” to explore further afield and she has been super impressed by how well the “pedal assist” of her trusty E-bike allows her to climb even the steep hills that are the norm everywhere on the island once you leave the waters edge. Her explorations down random little roads and alleys continue to produce finds like this old church. Which can often reveal surprise treasures such as this interior of the building above if you go up the stairs and push the door open. When not out swimming or exploring, Christine is hard at work in her office every day here aboard Möbius as she starts doing the heavy mental lifting of creating a whole new set of characters and timelines for the newest book she is writing. Stay tuned for more on that as it develops.
Meanwhile I am kept very busy with the combination of remaining boat jobs on the list and fixing the inevitable gremlins that pop up. Our Kabola diesel boiler suddenly stopped earlier this week after working flawlessly every day for the past year and a half so trying to sort that out. For now I’ve just turned on the 220V element in the Calorifier (hot water tank) for daily dishes and showers.
One of the unfinished boat jobs this week has been finishing building the paravanes so we can test them out when we next head out to sea. As you may recall from previous posts, Paravanes are passive stabilizers which work by “flying” about 6m / 20’ below the water. These help keep the boat level by resisting forces trying to roll the boat from side to side. As the boat rolls, one of the paravanes or “fish” or “birds” as they are sometimes called, resists being pulled upward while the other paravane dives down and sets up for its turn to resist being pulled up as the roll forces go to the other side.
The paravanes themselves, are suspended from Dyneema lines (super strong synthetic rope) that hang off of long booms extending out from each side of the boat at about 45 degrees. Here is a paravane in action from another boat.
If you’d like more details on our Paravane setup check out THIS blog post and THIS one from back in June when I was rigging the booms and starting to build the paravanes.
Before we left Finike in Turkey I had finished shaping and painting the 20mm / 3/4” plywood “wings” for the two paravanes and bolting in the T-bracket where the line goes up to the boom. Now I needed to cut these two aluminium plates to act as vertical fins that will help keep the paravane tracking parallel to the hull. Pretty straightforward to cut with my jig saw and shape with my angle grinder. Now just need to drill holes for the bolts that will attach the vertical fins to the T-bracket and the paravane wings. Like this. The holes along the top of the T-bracket are where the line going up to the boom attaches and provide adjustments for the angle the paravane will slice through the water at different speeds and conditions. Final step was to bolt on these two zinc weights that weigh about 15kg / 33lbs and create the nose of the paravane. This forward weight ensures that the fish will dive down quick and smooth when not being pulled upward. When the boat rolls the other way, the line pulls up which straightens out the fish and immediately start resisting the roll. Rinse and repeat! Here is the finished pair of paravanes all ready for testing, though I will probably put on another coat of epoxy paint for good measure.
Next week I’ll finish the rigging and get the lines attached from the ends of the booms to each paravane.
Not too bad a spot to be in and we are eXtremely grateful for just how fortunate we are to be here.
I’ll be back with more as our time races by here in Kalymnos and hope you enjoy these briefer updates. Let me know by sending your comments and opinions in the “Join the Discussion” box below and I’ll be back with more as soon as I have it. -Wayne
As has been the norm for most updates and perhaps life in general I guess, this will be a mix of good news and bad for all you faithful followers (thanks to you all!) In the good news column this week’s update will be mercifully short compared to some of the novel length ones I have been writing of late but the related not so good news is that this update will be disappoint all of you who have been anxiously awaiting to see and hear Mr. Gee roar back to his third new lease on life.
The finiteness of time is always the challenge it seems, and especially so on a boat it seems where there are so many things on the To Do list and so little time to get all of them done. I’m pretty sure most of you have your own version of this dilemma, which is actually a good thing in itself in that who would ever want to have NOTHING left on their To Do list?!?!? Not me at least.
So this past week has been filled with a litany of To Do list items which too precedent over those in Mr. Gee’s Engine Room (ER) though I certainly did not ignore him completely.
Getting Mr. Gee Ready for Life #3
If you have been following along, here is what things looked like in the ER when I left you in the last Update. Mr. Gee was back “in bed” with his four “feet” now resting firmly on the wide 25mm thick AL Engine Beds that run down each side of the Engine Bay. Now came all the “little things” that have to be reconnected, adjusted and tested before he is ready to start.
As many of you can relate to, the “little things” in life can often take most of the time and are of the highest importance and that is very much the case here. For example, before I can fasten the Mr. Gee’s four feet to the Engine Beds, I need to precisely align these two flanges. The bright Red one on the Right is attached to the end of the Nogva Prop Shaft and the darker Burgundy on it mates to is the Output flange coming out of the Nogva servo gear box on the far Left. These two flanges must be perfectly aligned axially, meaning both side to side and top to bottom with no more than 5/100th or 0.05mm/0.002” which for reference is about the thickness of a human hair. To do this, I need to remove the eight hardened bolts which hold the two flanges together, keep the two flanges up against each other and then measure the gap all around where the flanges meet to make sure there is ideally no gap or at least no more than 0.05mm. This is done using a feeler gauge you see in my hand here which is a thin piece of steel that is of an exact thickness. It was close but a bit too big on the Right side (3 O’clock) so I then go up to the front of Mr. Gee and pry his feet over to the Right just a wee bit and go recheck the size of the gap. If there is a gap top to bottom then you have to use the nuts on the motor mounts to tilt the engine/gearbox assembly to remove the gap. As you might imagine, it takes quite a few trips back and forth to get the two flanges completely flush with each other and once done I could replace the 8 hardened bolts and tighten them down in stages to their final toque of 160 NM/120 FtLbs, which is VERY tight. With Mr. Gee & Miss Nogva now perfectly in position, I could install the two hardened bolts in each of his four “feet” and torque these down to the very grunt worthy 225 NM/166 FtLbs.
Note, this is a photo from last year before I had drilled the holes in the Engine Beds so this time I just needed to reinsert the bolts into the existing holes. Here is an overview shot from my Fusion 360 screen which is what I used to design all the mounts. Each side has two feet/mounts for Mr. Gee and one for the Nogva. With Mr. Gee now in his final resting spot I could reattach the wet exhaust system. Wet refers to the fact that sea water is injected into the exhaust gas which removes both noise and heat from the exhaust and allows the use of much easier to handle rubber exhaust hose to take the exhaust gasses out of the boat.
The Blue/Red is special silicone hose where the stainless Mixing Elbow bends downward and mixes the sea water with the exhaust. The smaller SS pipe you can see pointing up here, is where the hose bringing the sea water attaches. Here is a peek inside the mixing elbow where you can see all the holes around the outer SS circumference where the water sprays evenly into the exhaust gasses. Now I could hoist the whole exhaust pipe assembly into place sliding the Blue silicone hose overtop of the angled input pipe on the large cylindrical Silencer/Separator in the top Separator of the ER.
Once in place I could also reattach the four SS supports which connect the exhaust system to the front and rear roll bars around Mr. Gee. This has worked out eXtremely well by keeping the exhaust system very tightly in place with no transfer of noise of vibration into the hull it never touches.
3” SS pipe attaches to the exhaust manifold on the Aft Starboard/Right end of Mr. Gee and then carries the hot exhaust gasses up and over to the SS mixing elbow and into the Silencer/Separator. The Black rubber exhaust hose curving down from the Silencer on the Right carries the now cooled and quiet gasses out of the ER and across to the AL exhaust pipe in the hull.
The sea water drains out of the bottom of the White separator and into the vertical Sea Chest where it exits out of the boat back into the ocean.
It has proven to be an eXcellent exhaust system; simple, efficient and quiet. I’ve used a Silencer/Separator combo unit rather than a more traditional “Lift Muffler” as this design has almost no power robbing back pressure and no “sploosh sploosh” as water from lift mufflers create when exhaust and water both exit out the side of the boat.
Time at last to install the new oil filter and fill it up with clean new oil. The rest of Mr. Gee’s 28 Liters/ 7.4 USG of engine oil I add by pouring into the two cylinder heads to thoroughly douse all the valves in clean new oil which then drains down to fill up the oil sump/pan. Lots more “little jobs’ such as reconnecting the six large Red cables to each of the two 500 amp Electrodyne alternators you can see on the top and bottom Left side here.
The list of connections is much longer of course and valve clearances need to be set, fuel pump and injectors primed, etc. but each one takes Mr. Gee one step closer to first start up. Unfortunately I ran out of time this week at this point so I will need to leave you hanging here and pick up again next week.
Engine Control Box
I do my best to “discipline” myself when doing boat jobs to always try to improve on whatever system I’m working on such that it is better than before I started. Such was the case in completing this latest rebuild of Mr. Gee where I wanted to build and install a much better and safer Engine Control Box.
Here is what I came up with. Quite simple but a bit time consuming to build. I started with a standard IP65 (waterproof) Grey plastic junction box and cut openings for an Engine Hour meter (top), Red STOP button, power “ignition” switch Left, Green START button Right and digital Tachometer on bottom. The junction box provided a cool, dry protected spot to make all the connections for these controls so I used these handy junction blocks to make secure connections between all the wires. Then I mounted the whole box up high just outside the ER door.
I’ve done my best to reserve the Engine Room to have ONLY the engine inside it; no other equipment, no batteries, no fuel tanks, etc. An ER is a great place for the engine but the hotter temperatures and vibration is not so kind to things like batteries, equipment, etc.
Here is a better shot of the Control Box in the upper center as you look forward down the Port/Left side of the Workshop to the WT door at the far end which separates the Workshop & ER from the interior of the boat.
By mounting this control box outside the ER followed the same thinking and added a safety element in that I could quickly shut down the engine in the unlikely event of seeing a fire inside and not needing to open the ER door. For orientation on how the ER and the new Control Box is mounted, here is the opposite view looking Aft from that WT Door toward the WT door leading out onto the Swim Platform at the far Left end. The whole Control Box setup and other wiring is still very much a work in progress as you can see with this perspective from inside the ER looking out through the door on the Left. In the upper center of this photo you can see how the wires from the Control Box have been led through a hole in the White AlucoBond walls lining the ER.
Off to the right I’ve mounted a new BlueSea junction box which provides me with 12 individually fused connections for each circuit. Next week I will be working on making all the connections for circuits such as the Start/Stop solenoids, Sea Water flow alarm, hot water circulation pump from engine to calorifier, engine sensors for pressures and temperatures and connections for the field wires from the alternators to the WakeSpeed 500 remote rectifiers and regulators.
I’ve had great success using these BS junction boxes on previous boats and they do a great job of making secure, neat easily accessed connections and fuses. There were a LOT of other To Do list items commandeering my time this past week but I’ll spare you from all those gory details and leave off here to be continued next week for those of you brave enough to return for more!
My sincere thanks to those who made it to the end of yet another “brief” update from your cub reporter aboard the Good Ship Möbius. I value all the comments and questions you leave in the “Join the Discussion” box below eXtremely highly so thanks in advance for all those contributions and I hope you will join me here again for continuing adventures as Christine and I work at getting Möbius and ourselves fully sea worthy and ready to throw off the dock lines and head back out to eXplore the world by sea.
Thanks to the many of you who responded to the “mystery novel” that I turned last week’s update into and for putting up with my amateurish mystery writing skills. I was quite taken aback but most appreciative of how many of you enjoyed along with what I hope to be the final chapter in the great Serial Oil Pressure Killer series here on Möbius.World.
This last week most of my time has been spent putting Humpty Dumpty aka Mr. Gee all back together again with his new crankshaft, bearings and now FLAT oil pipework fittings installed and you can read all about that below. He is now back to ‘’bed” resting on his anti vibration mounts and I’m working my way through the rest of the assembly and adjustments so I can bring him back to life purring away in his Engine Room. If all goes well I should be able to share the first start up in next week’s update so do stay tuned for that.
Picking Up Where We Left Off
In my focus on telling the long and winding tale about tracking down the real oil pressure killer I skipped over most of the process of reinstalling the new crankshaft, oil pump, oil cooler tube and all the many other parts that I had disassembled so I will catch you up with al that now.
One of the only things we are not so fond of about our years here in Turkey is how much time, money and energy it takes to get things shipped into or out of the country. Not completely sure why this is and we do sometimes have things all go very well, but most often it is quite a PITA. Such was the case with getting the previous crankshaft sent back to Gardner Marine in England to be reground and then getting the new crank, oil pump, cooler tube and O-rings sent back to us here in Finike marina.
With the help of our ever resourceful “Turkish Fixer” Alaaddin, the latest crate finally arrived about two weeks ago. The crankshaft alone weighs about 100kg/220lbs but Christine and I were able to get it out of the van and down the ramp onto the swim platform on Möbius without it going overboard. and then slowly get him down the steps into the Workshop. There are a number of parts that attach to the front end of the crankshaft such as a large disk vibration damper, triple row timing chain cog, roller bearings, etc. and these all need to be pressed or bolted onto the crankshaft. So I propped it up against the center workbench to do all this work. This tag confirms the sizes of the Main Bearing and Connecting Rod or “Big End” bearing journals after they have been freshly reground and then the bearings are oversized by this same amount to match.
Protective corrugated cardboard is wrapped around each journal to protect the finely ground surfaces during shipping and installation. To prevent the crankshaft from moving fore and aft there are two pairs of Thrust Bearings that need to allow no more than 0.006 – 0.009” of end play so you need to fit these to a newly ground crankshaft to get the exact fit. My good ole drill press often doubles as a vertical milling machine so I was able to use it again here to mill down each Thrust Bearing to just the right thickness. I could do a dry fit of this and check the gap with feeler gauges while the crank was out of the engine and then once it was in place I could double check with a dial gauge as you see here. I forcefully tap the crank fully forward to zero the gauge and then fully aft to read the total endwise travel. Reading was about 0.0065” or “six and a half thou” which is just right. Once I had the damper, roller bearings and chainwheel cog fully mounted I could start to carefully pull the whole assembly into the Engine Room. A bit like an inch worm’s progress, I just took it a step at a time. It was probably now approaching 140kg/300lbs but I could lift one end by hand and so I put in some plywood ramps to help me slide the crank slide into the ER ……… …… then inch it over under the anxiously awaiting Mr. Gee who was “hanging in there”. I rigged up a set of 6:1 blocks at the front and rear of the engine using Dyneema that I could wrap around the ends of the crankshaft and allow me to gradually pull it up into place. To make sure the large hardened steel studs that clamp the main bearings in place don’t touch and damage the ground surfaces, I wrapped the threads with lots of duct tape and then carefully peeled off the corrugated cardboard covers. Over on the workbench, I cleaned and prepped the main bearing shells in their big cast AL bearing caps. Each of the AL bearing caps are press fit into the solid AL crankcase so I used a hydraulic jack to push them into place and then the cast iron Bridges slide over the two studs and the nuts are torqued down.
FYI, the small oval surface you see machined on each Bridge is where the infamously “bowed” fittings with the O-rings bolt in place. Once I had the crankshaft bolted in place I could very carefully lower each Connecting Rod down onto their journals and bolt their bearing caps in place with the four bolts on each one.
Torqueing all these nuts down has to be done in a specific pattern as you progress through four different stages of increasing torque so that they are fully tightened and clamp the crank bearings precisely round. Crankshaft is now fully in place with all cylinders attached and turning easily so I now turned my attention to installing the very critical timing chain and the hand crank chainwheel and water pump/alternator cogged belt pulleys on the front end. Small and Light are never found in the same sentence with Gardner so I used the same inch work technique to get the massive solid cast AL oil pan/sump moved into the ER and in place under Mr. Gee.
I was able to reuse the 6:1 blocks and some webbing at the front and rear of the sump to pull it up into place and get it all aligned to slide onto the oil pump tube and the studs that attach the sump to the crankcase.
The flywheel is the most massive of all, not sure of its exact weight but I can tell you that it takes four burly guys to pick it up and it is all I can do to tip it upright when it is on the ground Fortunately the 6:1 blocks help me work smarter not harder and so once I got Mr. Gee pulled into the right position I was able to easily lift this beast up and into precise position to slide over the 6 end studs on the crankshaft. With the flywheel torqued down I could now mount the aft half of its housing and then bolt on the large mounting brackets I had designed for the anti vibration “feet” or mounts to attach to on either side. After carefully repositioning the overhead steel beams spanning the ER hatch up above, I was able to now lower Mr. Gee’s feet onto the Engine Beds for what he and I both fervently hope is the LAST time for a LONG time! And now the wrestling match begins as I coax all of Mr. Gee aft to engage the big rubber cogs on the CentaMax torsion coupling on the Nogva input shaft to the matching AL housing on the Flywheel.
The blocks help me take off some of the weight and then lots of elbow grease and pry bars allow me to slide Mr. Gee aft little by little. Here I now have it all lined up with the cogs just engaged. You can see the 3cm gap that I still have to slide Mr. Gee aft to fit tight against the Brown Nogva case. Done! Mr. Gee and Miss Nogva are now bolted back together and remarried for their new life together. Next up is this new bit of engineering art and science from Gardner that was in the crate with the crankshaft. This is the copper engine oil cooler pipe where the oil is pumped through on its own circuit with its own oil pump. The “dimpled” pipe creates more surface area for the cooling sea water to flow around and extract out the heat from the oil as it flows through the tube. Too bad this copper beauty has to be hidden away when I slide it into this cast Bronze housing but I’ve done my best to polish up the housing and give it a clear epoxy coating to keep it looking great for years to come. Who says you can’t have a bit of “bling” on a Gardner?! Here is the engine oil cooler all reassembled. The cast Bronze housing on the closest end is where the oil enters and then runs through that dimpled tube inside and comes out the far end where it then drains back into the pan all nice and cool.
Sea water is pumped into the flanged fitting you see lying open in the near end here and then it flows inside the square cast Bronze housing and out the large diameter copper pipe elbow you can see on the far end. Looking into that hole in the flange you see above, you can see the copper dimpled tube inside. Sorry for the poor photo but if you look closely you can see the Bronze oil cooler now installed along the side of Mr. Gee on the left side of this photo.
I then connected all the white water hoses you see on the Right side here to various parts of Mr. Gee. Some of these carry fresh water to the heat exchanger which is like the radiator in a car or truck but uses sea water to cool rather than air. Other hoses cary salt water in/out of the engine oil cooler and the heat exchangers and the water pump. You can see through the clear lid on one of the sea water strainer in the mid Right side. Big Black 5” Exhaust hose now reconnected to the large White water separator/silencer in the top Left corner and then down and out the ER where it connects to the AL exhaust pipe welded into the hull above the WL. And that’s where we are at as of now (Jan 30th 2022) and where I will pick up with you again next week. Lots more parts and systems to reconnect and install but if all goes well I hope to be able to bring you a short video of Mr. Gee starting up first crank as he usually does and let you all hear the sweet sounds of a Gardner 6LXB purring away.
Thanks for joining and for your comments and questions typed into the “join the Discussion” box below.