Hard for us to believe but this week marked the beginning of Year Two as we passed the one year mark since Project Goldilocks began last April 6th and the productivity freight train that Team Möbius is, continues to pick up speed on the tracks to completion by the end of this year. We were all too busy with the ever increasing teams and types of work that has been happening to stop and celebrate this milestone and it is one of those things where you wonder simultaneously at how it could have been so long ago and yet how short a time it seems. As per the title and what you’ll see and read in this week’s progress update we now have teams working on finish welding in all our in-house designed and built deck hatches both glass and aluminium types, hand hold railings, electrical wiring, insulation, fuel hoses and manifolds, engine room door, wood and material selections for the interior design work which is picking up steam now too. So with that brief synopsis let me stop telling and start showing you this week’s progress.
If you’ve been following along the past few weeks you’ll know where you are and what these are. That’s right we are in the Basement and these are the two large fuel manifolds for selecting which fuel tank we are pulling from and which tank we are returning to when either polishing or transferring fuel. Most often this will be filling up the 500L Day Tank which is the supply source for the two diesel consumers, the Gardner engine and the Kabola water heater and then from time to time when we are polishing the fuel via the Alpha Laval MIB303 centrifuge or transferring fuel from one tank to another to keep all that weight well balanced and where we want it.
The manifold on the left manages all the return hoses and the one on the right the supply to each of the six fuel tanks below the Basement. You can see the large access hatch opening above into the SuperSalon and we’ve located all these ball valves here for quick and easy access whenever we need to switch which tank we are drawing from and returning to.
The manifolds have 14 hoses connected to them, six each to/from each tank and then a main supply and return line leading up to the Day Tank in the Workshop and they have now started laying in all these rubber fuel hoses along the “superhighway” of wire trays that you’ve been seeing installed over the past month. Speaking of the Day Tank, it moved aboard for a temporary stay to determine the precise location it will have and finalising the brackets to hold it there. Here you see the partially welded up Day Tank making its way through the WT doorway from the Swim Platform into the Workshop. Moving it straight forward from the door the Day Tank nestles into its spot up against the WT Bulkhead into the Guest Cabin and the Starboard side wall of the Engine Room on the left here. If you look closely you can just make out the WT Bulkhead in the back as it is all covered with the black EPDM insulation and you can see two of the aluminium pass through sleeves on the right where hoses, wires and plumbing lines need to penetrate a WT Bulkhead frame. Where hoses, wires and pipes need to pass through a Water Tight Bulkhead, oval shaped aluminium sleeves have been welded in such as the three you can see on the left of this photo. Near the end of the build once all the systems are fully installed these sleeves will be filled with a special certified foam to completely seal them. And there are some off/on ramps built in where we need to run hoses and cables across a bulkhead such as this. You might think some giant squid has squeezed aboard but this is the beginning of installing the larger 50mm/2” ID rubber hose for the Fill & Vents boxes where they connect to each fuel tank when refuelling. These might look like two periscopes watching the action happening on the hose trays but they are actually two of the Fill/Vent connections into this fuel tank in the Basement that is inboard of the Grey Water tank in the background here with its access port on the right and some of the SAE5 flanges on the left where the Maretron and Hart tank level lines go. Up in the Master Cabin the water tank access ports are being fitted with their SS studs…………. Fuel rated gasket material is cut to fit……….. ……… and lids are carefully torqued down and then each tank is pressure tested to ensure it remains fully sealed. Finishing up with tanks for this week, Uğur and Nihat are welding in the flanges around these two void (empty) tank sections which separate the water tanks in the aft end of the Master Cabin from the fuel tanks in the Basement This is required by CE and class certification but is also just good practice to eliminate any chance of fuel and water mixing. 6mm / 1/4” aluminium plate covers will be bolted in with gaskets to keep this area fully waterproof as well as providing access in the future should it be needed for these areas which are located under the Queen bed in the Master Cabin. Up at the front of the Master Cabin Mummy is busy finishing off the installation of the special acoustic insulation on this WT Bulkhead where the Forepeak on the other side. With 50mm / 2” of EPDM on the other side, this is our typical over engineering just to ensure that anytime someone is sleeping in the Master Cabin noised from anchoring don’t interfere with their sleep. These large acoustic insulation panels have peel & stick adhesive to keep them fully sealed against the aluminium plates and then these aluminium fasteners are glued to the aluminium bulkheads and the foam is pressed in place.
To finish, these large diameter aluminium locking washers are pressed on and the spikes are bent over and cut off to ensure these panels stay put prior to having the acoustic plywood panels fastened over top.
Finishing off the insulation update this week, Mummy has also been busy completing the exacting job of applying the thick cloth backed foil over all the EPDM foam insulation on the Basement walls and ceiling. This foil has proven to be a great solution to providing the just right surface in the Basement. As you can see it is VERY bright in here with all the reflection off the aluminium foil and it is Xtremely durable and easy to clean. What’s not to like? Installation of all the glass topped deck hatch frames we’ve designed and built in house is now finished with these last two 70cm / 28” square welded in place on each side of the Aft Deck. These are located overtop of the middle of the length of the 5m long workbenches below in the Workshop. At the very back of the Aft Deck Uğur, Nihat and Sezgin were hard at work building the door for the entrance into the Engine Room. We decided to put a fire rated glass window in this Engine Room door so we can do a visual check of what’s going on inside before opening this door. We have plenty of gauges that would raise alarms if something goes wrong in the Engine Room but this adds an additional degree of safety when we are doing our hourly Engine Room checks on passage.
Inside the Port side of the Workshop looking forward we see the Engine Room doorframe tacked in place. Uğur fits the short stingers that Nihat has cut to shape for the short area between the new door frames and the rest of the ER walls. And Sezgin arrives to fully weld the frames to the walls. Yiğit designed up these hinges and Uğur quickly fabricated them and tacked the door in place on the new door frames to check that the door can open the full 270 degrees so it folds all the way around out of the way up against the back wall of the ER. You can see the window cut-out here as well. It is a bit of an odd angle but might still give you a better sense of how this ER door fits. This is looking aft towards the door diagonally across where you enter the Workshop from the Swim Step. Last but definately not least the rest of the hand hold railings have been fabricated and tacked in place around the perimeter of the whole Pilot House. Here we are looking at the Starboard/Right Aft corner of the Pilot House looking forward along the side decks. Moving up to the front of the Pilot House, there are similar hand holds run across the forward overhang. These are huge safety factors enabling us to go out on deck if ever neccessary and always have an Xtremely sturdy and easy to grip hand hold around all 360 degrees of the Pilot House. These hand rails are about 1.4m / 4.5ft off the deck which is a just right height for easy reach while walking along these areas and they also provide a continuous series of places to clip your safety harness to.
Early Thursday morning Christine and I went out to the Antalya airport to start our most recent led of the Never Too Nauti Grandparents World Tour with a quick trip to Florida for some much needed time being Gramma and Grampa with our three grandchildren and three children and their respective spouses. This low quality shot is as we were amongst the very first flights to land at the brand new Istanbul airport which opened thee days earlier First time we have been able to get all of this extended family together and is about the only thing that could pull us away from building our boat with Naval Yachts. Inside this new airport is truly enormous and stunningly designed. We had a chance to explore and admire it as we had a few hours before our flight to Miami. So we are leaving our beloved Möbius in the Xtremely capable hands of the rest of Team Möbius and Naval Yachts and staying in close contact via Email and WhatsApp to make sure we are there to answer questions and provide input whenever needed. We fly back on the 26th and thanks to Yiğit taking photos every day onboard Möbius I will be able to continue to get these weekly update posts coming so that you, and we, don’t miss any of the action as this incredible voyage and adventure continues.
Thanks for joining us and don’t forget to add your questions, comments and suggestions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
The Spring air has cooled off a bit this week but things have REALY been heating up inside Naval Yachts shipyard with all the progress and exciting new developments on Project Goldilocks, our just right, just for us new 24m/78’ aluminium XPM78-01 Xtreme Xploration Passage Maker. There is a LOT to cover this week so come join me for a look around and some explanations of this week’s progress.
This slightly distorted fisheye view captures the three Naval Musketeers responsible for all the great work on the hatches that you saw getting started last week. Uğur on the far right then Nihat in the hard hat and WonderWelder Sezgin with his back to us.
If you look closely (click to enlarge any photo) you can make out the jigsaw cut lines in all three hatches.
This is up on the foredeck overtop of our 5m long Master Cabin which has 3 large hatches, one forward on center which puts it directly overtop the vanity sink, one that Uğur is cutting in this photo on the Port side overtop the shower and then one on center in front of the Pilot House windshield where Nihat is standing which puts it right over our Queen sized bed below. I’ve stepped inside for this shot looking forward out the center window from the Main Helm and with the people above and down below will give you a sense of scale.
Each of these hatches are 700mm / 28” square and Nihat is standing in the hatch over our shower. Another sense of scale with the smiling Yiğit who is the “main man” for Möbius looking after all the CAD work and overall coordination of the whole project. Always a bit scary to see huge holes being cut into your boat but those hatch frames behind Yiğit and Uğur will soon be completely welded into ……….. ……. the deck, stringers and frames below such as these which will …………… ……… result in an even stronger deck and hull. The hatch frames are way over engineered for this being all 8mm thick aluminium so it is definately up for the task with no flexing.
These beautiful big hatches will bring tremendous amounts of natural light and breeze into our cabin and there are 7 more elsewhere in the boat which you’ll see in the coming weeks. With the holes all cut the hatch frames fit in snugly and are tacked in place. Uğur is checking with this thick flat white plate resting on the upper edge of the inner frame which is the critical surface for the hatch seal, to make sure it is perfectly flat and planar ensuring no twisting as occurred in the fitting and tacking. One hatch tacked and ready for Sezgin to do the finish welding.
The two rectangular holes in the rear are where the hidden hinge arms sit inside hinge arm boxes which will be welded in next.
You can see one of the drain holes that are on each side where a 20mm / 3/4” ID pipe will carry any water that gets into this Gutter area back into the sea. After welding the perimeter of the hatch frames to the underside of the deck plates from down below, Sezgin moves up onto the foredeck and does the final weld of the 8mm / 5/16” hatch frame to the upper deck. Before you know it, they’re all done and Mehmet has carefully ground the welds flush with the deck. Mehmet is meticulous and makes this very exacting grinding look quick and easy but I know better from experience. Because there will be no paint there will also be no filler so these are now the final surfaces that we will see and there is no room for any “oooops” moments of taking off too much aluminum.
We will finish these deck edge corners off with a small router to give them a nice even 3mm radius and then do a bit of cleanup on that milled flat edge on the 8mm inner frame where the hatch seal goes.
In between all the welding of hatch frames Sezgin was also busy doing the final TIG welding of these Xtremely beefy bow railings. There will be two “dolphin watching” seats added to the inner aft section of these railings and a tall arch/mast for the forward mounted antennae, lights, GPS and assorted other electronics.
However MY favorite spot is going to be sitting on that beautiful bow section of the Rub Rails nicely wedged in between the two vertical railings with my feet dangling over to enjoy the view up there and be Möbius’ hood ornament!
Not all of this week’s excitement was up on deck with the hatches though!
Can you guess what this is? Does it help if I fold it over to show you the other side?
Or tell you that this has Xtremely thick aluminium foil on one side of thick woven fireproof cloth?
Feels similar to denim blue jeans cloth.
Or that it is fully certified by the Classification societies for large superyachts and commercial ships such as Lloyds, Bureau Veritas, Rena, ABS, DNV and others to be fully fireproof? That’s right, this is the foil covering over the EPDM insulation foam down in the Basement. It is an option to buy a fire rated version of the EPDM with a layer of foil already glued to one side but after testing some samples I felt that the foil was too thin to stand up to years of use, cleaning, leaning into, etc. so we brought in this specialised foil covered cloth and it is now being used to cover all the EPDM on the walls and ceiling of the cavernous Basement area.
The white perforated trays you see are where the runs of wire and hoses will be attached as they make their way to their respective ends of things like manifolds for fuel and water and distribution boxes for electrical circuits.
The two L bars in the foreground of the photo above are where these two large fuel manifolds will be mounted within easy reach from the hatch opening in the SuperSalon floor above to set which tank we are drawing from and returning to. More on the whole fuel system in the coming weeks.
Any idea what those two round discs at the celling/bulkhead in the upper left corner of the photo above and here are for?
These two 25mm/1” thick discs have 3/4” NPT pipe threads on the inside and will soon be fully welded into the aluminium plate bulkhead with matching discs welded to the other side and this is how we take two fuel lines through this WT bulkhead.
If you look down in the photo above at the tank tops aka floor you can see four SAE5 flanges welded into the tank tops where matching flanges for the fuel hose fittings will attach. Two hoses on the right run up to 90 degree elbows in those threaded discs to go through the WT Bulkhead and the two hoses attached to the flanges on the left run up the vertical white tray and then over along the ceiling to get over to the fuel manifolds shown above.
As with installing the EPDM foam insulation, this foil has been very labour intensive and exacting work cutting, fitting and gluing each section into the maze of areas between frames and stringers and around every corner and edge. However it is well worth this investment and is turning out to be a fabulous solution to provide an Xtremely safe, easy to clean and bright surface for the life of our boat. Hilmi who is our main electrician has led the way putting in what amounts to something akin to a superhighway system with corners, on and off ramps and about everything but a cloverleaf all in preparation for the nautical miles of wires and hoses that will soon be riding in this support system. Wires? Did someone say wires??
Yet another part of the exciting developments this week was seeing the first wires start to go in. These are some of the cables for lighting up in the Master Cabin and as the weeks go by you will see all those cable trays filling up quickly.
But WAIT! There’s MORE!!!!!
For the past few months we have been working with Naval’s incredibly talented interior designer Unzile (pronounced “Un zee lay” and as part of this we’ve been spending lots of time rummaging through what sometimes felt like acres piled high with stacks of all different wood veneers at several different lumber yards. After MANY hours of searching for our Goldilocks wood species for our interior cabinetry, we finally zeroed in on two woods known here as “Pelesenk” and “Santos” both of which translate into types of Rosewood. Unzile has been working up in Istanbul lately so most of our discussions of late have been via Email but she has that rare talent to be able to understood eXactly what we meant when we told her things like we were looking for a wood with Xtreme character in its grain, not even and consistent, not too dark, not too light, grain that swirled wildly and differently in each board, not brown, not blonde, some tones of red wine with burgundy and purples. Proof of her talents arrived on Thursday when these four samples were delivered by courier so you don’t need to take my words for it, you can literally see what I mean about Unzile’s talents and the woods we were looking for.
One of the biggest challenges has been finding a wood that we can get in both veneer AND solid wood planks so the lumber yard sent this small sample of the rough sawn Santo/Rosewood planks they have.
The equally talented Naval cabinetmakers and finishers have been busy making up samples of the veneer laminated on marine plywood panels with solid wood edging and some large radius sold wood corners and then varnishing these. Varnish wasn’t quite dry by end of the day yesterday (Sat) so you’ll have to wait until next week’s update to see how they look when finished, but trust me, it will be WELL worth the wait!
Once we see the finished samples we’ll make our decision of the lucky wood that Möbius’ cabinets wears. With all the business of Möbius and the many other boat projects Naval has underway, Daddy Dincer did not have time to get me any pictures of the twins for this week’s blog so you’ll sadly have to be content with just the time lapse video overview below.
Whew!!! What a week! Hope you enjoyed watching and reading as much as we have enjoyed living it and we’ll be back next week with more.
Till then, we hope all of you are making good progress with your projects and lives and we can’t thank you enough for taking time out of doing so to join us here. Please do add even more by putting your questions, comments and suggestions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Well, Spring has definately sprung here in Antalya and the flowers and birds are not the only ones who are full of energy as the work on Möbius within the Naval Yachts shipyard continues to blossom and bloom. Progress continued on building the new hatches you saw started last week as did work on the aluminium pipe railings and the installation of trays for wire and hose runs. Let’s go check it out.
Picking up where we left off last week here are five of the ten new hatches we’ve designed all assembled and ready for the final TIG welding of the inner frames to the Gutter frame. These hatches are sitting upside down from how they will be installed and you can see the finished TIG welding around the corner where the outer frame attaches to the Gutter frame. Here you can see the different stages of welding the three individual 8mm thick plate parts which make up the Frame of the hatches. The one in the foreground is fully welded and ready to head to have the three edges machined and the hatch in the middle has the Gutter and Outer frames tacked in place ready for the Inner frame to be slid in place, tacked and then fully welded. If you have not seen last week’s update post here is what the finished hatches will look like. I’ve made the Deck plate transparent so you can see how the hatches fit flush with the deck and what lies below.
Note too the white pipe extending below the middle of Gutter frame. There is one 20mm / 3/4” ID drain pipe on each side to quickly remove any water that collects in the 40mm / 1.6” wide Gutters. Not shown are the latch handles and SS gas compressed lift cylinders on each side. And this section view will show you how the Hatch Lid fits into the Frame with the thick solid wood liner on the inside extending down below the ceiling panels.
Once the Frames are fully welded together we put them on this vertical milling machine to level the edges which are critical for the watertight seals. I sized the initial widths of the flat bar shapes to be CNC cut out of the 8mm thick AL plate to be 5mm larger than their finished size to give us enough material to do this leveling. The Hatch frame is clamped upside down to the table so the bottom edge of the inner frame can be cut first as it is not critical to the functioning of the hatches but gives us a good reference surface for milling the two upper edges which are critical.
With this bottom surface all trued up the hatch is flipped right side up to cut the top edges of the Inner and Outer frames which are critical to the seals working properly.
This close up shot shows the finished upper edges all nicely milled flat and true.
As per the drawings below the Hatch seal fits overtop of the edge of the Inner frame you see here and so it is important that this surface is absolutely flat and on a plane parallel to the edge of the outer frame which is welded flush with the Deck plate. The bottom of the hatch seal has an upside down U shaped PVC bottom which will fit tightly overtop of the inner frame edge you see here and then there is a hollow 11mm / 1/2” EPDM rubber tube on top which is squeezed about 50% by the flat inner surfaces of the Lid when fully closed. Similar to how the door seals on your car work.
Next up are these Hidden Hinge Boxes which are welded to the outer frame and the underside of the Deck plate. I’ve made the 10mm thick aluminium they are made of to be transparent in this quick render so you can see the Hinge Arm and SS pin on the inside. See the animation at the end of this post to see these Hidden Hinges in action. Rectangles of 8mm plate you can see stacked up in the front here are first cut and then tacked together. After being fully welded the Hinge Boxes are cleaned up and ready to be mounted later on after the Hatch Frames have been welded into the Deck. A rectangular hole needs to be cut into the Outer frame where the Hinge Arm will sit and I’ve roughly marked that out to show you here. This small rectangle on top here will show you how the 6mm thick Deck plate sits flush with the top edge of the Outer frame and how the Hinge Box rests tight against the bottom of the Deck.
Both holes have been cut into this Frame and the Hinge Box is all ready to be welded in place. We will wait until the Hatch Frames are all welded into the Deck to fit and weld these Hatch Boxes in place so we can ensure they are in precisely the right orientation to line up for for the SS Hinge Pins. The Frames are all now ready to be fit and welded into their respective locations in the Deck. Or in the case of the first hatch to be fitted, into the overhead of the entranceway from the Swim Platform into the Workshop. Moving up top onto the Aft Deck we see the other side of this entranceway with the hatch location marked out and if you click to enlarge this shot, as you can do to any picture in the blog, you will see that the side closest to you has already been cut with the jig saw blade that has been inserted in the right corner for clarity.
Next week we should see most of the ten hatches being installed like this in various locations in the Deck such as one here under the stairs on the aft Starboard (right) corner of the Pilot House/Galley which lead up to the SkyBridge. This is largest of 3 hatches which bring lots of natural light and fresh air into the Guest Cabin/Office below. As per the title of this week’s post work also picked on with the mounting and welding of the many sets of Railings which are made from 40mm / 1.6” thick walled AL tubing.
First Uğur and Sezgin fit the Delrin sleeves that have been machined to fit snugly into the AL pipe sockets for the bottoms of each Stanchion post and Railing leg. The 40mm pipe of each Railing or Stanchion post is also a snug fit into these black Delrin sleeves so it takes a bit of force for Sezgin to push these two legs of this Gate Railing into place.
In addition to helping get a nice tight fit for the Railings and Stanchions, these Delrin sleeves ensure there is no metal to metal contact between the two aluminium surfaces which would lead to crevice corrosion, We’ve taken so much care to get such a close fit so the Railings won’t have any wobble when you grab or lean on them. One of my pet peeves! Once they are all positioned correctly and tacked together, each Railing is welded and cleaned up.
The top of these Railings and the Stanchion posts are 1m/40” above the Deck/Rub Rail which is much higher than most boats but just right for these XPM type of boats which will see some very Xtreme conditions as they Xplore the world. The big Paravane A-Frames will hinge on the Rub Rail forward of the Gate Rail above and be book ended by this tapered Railing on the other side.
Three Grey Dyneema lifelines will run horizontally between all these Railings and the Stanchion posts making for a very safe and difficult for anyone to fall overboard with the possible exception of our little Yorkie Barney! Up front at the Bow the large sloped Anchor Deck area is fenced in by these sturdy Railings which will raise the on deck safety factor of this critical area all the higher which makes us VERY happy. The seemingly never ending task of installing the nautical miles of EPDM foam insulation continued of course and Muammer or “Mummy” as he is mostly called, diligently keeps making more and more progress and never tires of it. For a slight change of pace though, this week he has also been applying some of the thick foil covered cloth which is glued overtop of the EPDM in areas such as this in the Basement. This specialised foil cloth is very thick and meets all the classification society requirements such as Lloyds and RENA which all the big superyachts are required to carry. The foil has a thick fiberglass like cloth backing and is relatively easy to cut with sharp scissors and utility knives but it is very painstaking to fit it around all the complex shapes in these areas. But it provides us with an Xtremely tough surface that will stand up to years of use, resists pretty much everything that might get on it, is easy to clean and creates a very easily light enclosed area such as in the Basement. This foil covered cloth is being installed in the Basement right now because of this exciting sign of progress. We are starting to mock up the locations of all the electrical devices and other equipment that will live down here.
The foil needs to go in first so the many aluminium trays such as the white ones you see mocked up here can be more permanently mounted. These trays provide great support and easy mounting for all the electrical wiring, hoses and pipes that run throughout the boat. Yiğit on the left and Hilmi are working with me here to finalise the location in this particularly busy area where electrical lines, fuel hoses, plumbing runs and vent and fill lines all run through and need to stay out of each other’s way.
With locations all decided, Hilmi is now able to fit the AL flatbar which the trays are riveted to.
One last bit of detail and excitement for us is the pouring in place of the thickened epoxy filler we are using to level and fill in the grooves and lower surfaces where the tank tops are welded to hull framing.
If you look along the outer edges by the hull sides (click to enlarge) you’ll see how they have temporarily glued some plywood to the angled margin plates that matches the height of the tank top surfaces and provides a stop and leveling surface as the trowel the epoxy level.
We need to get these floor surfaces all flat and level prior to installing the 40mm thick Rigid XPS foam board that goes on top for both insulation and where the PEX tubing will be pressed in place for the in-floor heating that will be in all living area floors to keep us Xtremely comfy when we are in colder climates. And that’s what’s been happening here with the build of XPM78-01 Möbius for the week of March 18-22, 2019.
If you’d like to see this in video here is a quick sped up compilation of the few bits of video I was able to take this week. Hope you enjoy and let me know in the comment section below what you prefer format wise for these weekly updates between explanatory text and photos or video and how well each is or isn’t working for you. I’m always wanting to get as much feedback from you as possible on what’s working, what’s not and any suggestions for me to consider so thanks in advance for that.
And saving the best for last as usual, here is this week’s dose of cuteness for all of you with this update shot of the infamous Dinc twins, Mert and Yiğit. Daddy Dincer sent this one to show them modeling some of the clothes we gave them for baby gifts. At the time (end of Dec) the boys were SO small that we thought they would take a long time to grow into them so it is amazing to see them sporting their new outfits already.
Thanks for taking your valuable time to join us here and we look forward to getting any and all comments, questions and suggestions from you via the “Join the Discussion” box below.
It is Christine’s Birthday today, Happy Birthday my Beautiful Young Bride! So I snuck away early Friday afternoon and we drove East from Antalya along the coat to the beautiful old town of Alanya and have a fabulous room up at the top of a hill in an old castle with a view out over the original Red Tower and the inner harbour. Here is a quick panorama shot to give you and idea of this fabulous old city or Alanya.
But not to worry, I’ll do my best to make sure this week’s Möbius progress update posting WILL happen before the weekend is out and right now there is a HUGE downpour that has already dropped more than 80mm/3” of rain in less than 2 hours so we are enjoying the view from our room across the the harbour to the mountains on the far side. Christine is busy working on her daily Turkish lesson so she doesn’t loose the “streak” she is on with them and I’m taking advantage of the time to get this blog post started. As you might have already noticed, this will be a much longer post than usual as there is much to explain and show you so settle into a comfy chair with a good beverage and let’s get started.
This week was particularly exciting as work started on building the new hatches for Möbius which we have been designing and deliberating on for many months. Having Xtremely great hatches is super important to us because they bring in most of the fresh air and all the natural light into both our Master Cabin and the aft Guest Cabin. We have lived aboard boats with hatches for decades but never with ones we would rate as great. Sometimes they are just not well sized, sometimes they open the wrong way for the breezes, or they let any nearby raindrop in. Worst of all though is that pretty much all of them start to leak at some point, especially ones up on the foredeck when on passages in big waves that often bring volumes of sea water crashing onto the decks and penetrating even otherwise good seals no matter how well you try to “dog” them down tight. So we were determined that we would find a way to have truly GREAT hatches on Möbius. Hatches that are Goldilocks by being just the right size in just the right place and oriented just right to catch the least bit of fresh breezes coming over the bow when we are anchored. And MOST importantly of all, hatches that would NEVER leak under any conditions.
Then I added in two more and perhaps two of the most challenging must have characteristics; one, the hatch frames had to be raw aluminium that was shaped and thick enough to be welded directly into the decks and underlying framework, and second the hatches had to be significantly above the requirements for them to be certified for a full self righting situation.
This is a tall order and set us out on a very long and winding search for many years now dating back to well before we decided to move over from sail to power and to design and build our own boat as we had already been on the hunt for new hatches for our last sailboat Learnativity for a long time. We’ve been to most of the big boat shows on several continents to talk with the various hatch vendors. We’ve tapped into all the online forums, magazines and trade journals we could find. We’ve talked to MANY fellow liveaboard cruisers, most of whom share our pain and spent time exploring every detail of their hatches. All of which helped us figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to hatches so we had a very clear sense of the key traits of a great hatch and we know what we were looking for.
It may sound like an episode from Mission Impossible or an obsession to some of you but I believe it is possible to design and build a boat that stays dry inside in ALL conditions and does not EVER leak. One key to this is that one of my primary rules is that there will be NO penetrations of the deck or hull which could ever leak. None, zero, nada. No bolts, screws or rivets which penetrate the hull. No parts mounted through holes cut in the deck and then sealed with caulking or the like. One of the places where even good hatches often end up leaking is through their mounting of the frame to the deck where water finds its way, often under very severe pressure from so called Green Water in high seas, through fasteners or through seals and sealants that fail over time. Hence my hatches had to be welded into the hull and leave a single challenge to being leak free; the gasket that seals between the hinged lid and the outer frame. Even this is a challenge, but a solvable one which lets me put all my focus on making these lid seals as leak proof as possible.
I’m sure many of you are shaking your heads at this point with a wry smile on your lips and a wish for good luck but we are accustomed to being on the hunt for parts and equipment for Möbius with equally as daunting lists of Must Haves and other requirements and eventually we were able to find a few companies who make truly great hatches. But, and you knew that was coming didn’t you, none of these companies carried their great hatches in our sizes or at all and so they would need to be custom built and this was going to take both too much time and cost too much so the choice was simple and a bit like Möbius herself, we would need to design and build our own.
This is not as difficult as it sounds as it is more a case of assembling all the various features which are on our Must Have list and putting them together into a single design of a hatch. None of these features are new in and of themselves so we are not so much designing a new hatch as we are creating our own combination of features and ideas from many different sources. This holds true for the design of the whole boat IMHO as there are very very few features truly new and never seen before features in any boat. What sets any given boat apart from others is the combination of features they select to use and how they put them all together.
I find Autodesk’s Fusion 360 to be a fantastic tool for doing this kind of evolutionary design work and I used it to try out my initial ideas for the Goldilocks just right hatch I’ve outlined above and ended up with the design you’ll see below. I have not had time to create any proper renderings of these so I will just grab some screen captures from within Fusion 360. I have coloured the two basic aluminium parts for clarity with the outer Frame in RED and the inner Lid in BLUE. I’ve made the 15mm/5/8” thick glass that is glued to the Lid and the partial deck surface around the outside of each hatch to be transparent so it is a bit easier to see what’s inside and added a bit of wood appearance to the inner wood liner which is all that will be seen from the inside of the boat.
Basic components you see here are:
* Red Outer Frame made from 3 pieces of 8mm/ 5/16” thick AL plate
* Blue Lid made from a 8mm thick outer flat bar frame welded to a top which is CNC cut as a single piece from 10mm/ 716” aluminium plate which then has a 15mm/5/8” thick clear tempered glass plate which sits flush with the other edges of the Lid frame and the top Deck surface.
* 20mm/ 3/4” thick wood inner liner which extends through the interior upholstered head liners.
I have omitted the handles and latch details for clarity but you can see where they attach to the two round bosses on the underside of the blue Lid.
Two SS gas compression lift cylinders are also not shown and will mount to the aft corner of the Gutter inside the red Frame and the side of the blue Lid to assist with opening when the latch handles are turned. In the interest of time and what will likely already be a long post, the basic key design requirements I ended up with include the following:
KISS (Keep It Simple & Safe) the design for both functional use as well as the fabrication of these hatches by using the least number of individual parts and keeping each one as simple as possible using stock aluminium.
KISS the fabrication process as straightforward as possible requiring as few special tools, jigs and machines as possible so that it can all be done in house with our current capabilities.
Design the hatches so as to eliminate any high pressure sea water forces from bearing directly on the seals so that readily available good quality seals will be able to easily keep all water out for many years of daily use and then be easily replaceable when they do eventually wear out.
Ensure that the entire hatch is well above and beyond engineering and certification standards to stay intact and fully sealed in the case of a full roll over or self righting recovery.
KISS the latching or locking mechanisms by having no external access for opening, all latches operate from inside only.
KISS the latching system and have an ability for a varying degree of locking or “dogging” down the hatches over time as the seals may take some set.
Present the least possible interference and disruption of the clean deck surfaces for both equipment and humans. eg. no toe stubbers or line catchers
Maintain the lowest possible maintenance factor as with all other aspects of the design of these XPS boats.
Along the way to the final design I ended up designing these hatches to be completely flush with the deck surfaces they are welded into. I wrestled with this decision of flush versus having the hatch frame extend up above the deck surface by 50-100mm/2-4” or so which is typical of most hatches and which was how I had initially thought they would sit. I came up with several such above deck designs which would have worked very well but in the end flush mounted hatches won out through my version of “the process of elimination”. What is the most sure fire way to deal with those high pressure sea water forces being able to reach the seals? Eliminate them. What is the best way to keep the deck surfaces free and clear? Eliminate any part of the hatches being above or below the deck surface. By making the top glass surface flush with the deck any big seas that end up on deck will simply pass right over these hatches and leave the seals to just deal with any standing water that collects in the Gutter area you will see below that runs like a moat around the outside perimeter of the Red Frame inner and outer frames before it drains out the two holes in the bottom of the Gutter.
It is a bit difficult to show but here is a quick render of how the top glass surface of the hatches sits completely flush with the deck surface.
Notice anything missing in the rendering above? Where are the hinges??One of the trickier parts of creating a fully flush hatch is how to keep the hinges below the deck and this is what I came up with for our “hidden” hinges.
For clarity I have turned off the deck plate that sits flush with the red tops of the outer frames and made the Hinge Boxes that are welded to the red outer Frame to appear transparent so you can see the blue hinge arms inside. The 8mm Hinge Pins are in white.
I’ve turned the Deck plate on for this render and moved around to show the inside rear hinge area from the inside with the hatches fully open.
The Blue Hinge Arms will initially be milled out of a single meter long piece of square aluminium stock to form the profile for the Hinge Arms you can make out in this and the rendering below and then cut and machined to 50mm/2” long lengths for each Hinge Arm which is TIG welded to the outer frame of the Lid. For those interested in more details this section side view might help to see how the Deck (orange), Outer Frame (light blue) and Lid (yellow) all work together. I’ve turned off the seals that fill the gap on the top of the inner most vertical light blue Frame and the inside surface of the Lid.
The gap between the outer edges of the yellow Lid and the light blue Frame is about 5mm and there will be two 20mm diameter drain pipes for the water to quickly flow out through the bottom of the light blue horizontal Gutter frame where the Lid sits. The Latches and Handles are omitted here for clarity and will attach to the round yellow boss seen on the right side here. There are ten hatches in total, all of them square, six large ones 700mm/28” square, one 600mm/24” and three 450mm/18”.
Whew! Hope that long explanation and renders help give you a good sense of what these hatches will look like and how they work, now let’s get back to reality and see how this design is being transformed into real aluminium.
It all starts with two full sheets of 8mm aluminium plate which the CNC plasma quickly cuts into the individual pieces for the ten hatches. CNC cutting is a very precise method which creates this very small amount of scrap. One of the many great things about building with aluminium over other materials such as fiberglass, carbon, etc. is that every bit of scrap is equally efficiently recycled so all this goes into the recycle pile in the yard and is sent off to be melted down into new sheets.
As you can see here and noticed in the renderings above most of the parts of this hatch design are made from single lengths of 8mm plate, basically simple flat bars. Only the Gutter bottom of the 3 part Frame which you see here, and the 10mm top plate of the Lid are cut out as fully formed parts.
The 10mm top plate parts are out being cut by a waterjet CNC machine as we want to have a fully finished edge out of the CNC machine to be flush with the edges of the 15mm glass plate. As you have read in the intro, I really pushed hard on KISSing this hatch design to end up with the least number of pieces in the overall design with the least specialised tooling or jigs required.
I also spent a lot of time working out how these parts would be formed, assembled and welded to keep the build time and costs as low as possible.
The majority of the work to shape the parts was done with four equal large radius bends for the corners of the outer and inner Frames and the outer edge of the Lid frame. To do this, Uğur and Nihat quickly made up this jig for the big hydraulic press and did a couple of test bends to dial in the process. We decided to build one full Frame first to make sure our methodology and tooling was optimal and this is the first bend of that first hatch Frame. I designed the Gutter bottom to be a single piece so that we could take advantage of the accuracy of the CNC cutting to ensure that the outer and inner frames had to be the exact right size, all edges parallel and perfectly square.
Here is that first Frame with all four corners of the inner frame bent and being checked for fit. Using large clamps, the inner frame is then pulled tight against the inside of the Gutter bottom and then the overlapping ends you see up at the top of the photo are cut to the exact length and the inner frame is tacked together. With the inner frame tacked together in precisely the right size Uğur welded both sides of the butt joint to turn the inner frame into a single continuous inner frame. The same process is repeated to bend the four corners of the outer frames. Then the outer frames are clamped tight to the Gutter bottom, tacked in position and the butt joint welded up. The inner frame is reinserted into the Gutter bottom, clamped up very tight all around and tacked in final position.
The fully assembled and tacked Frame is then cleaned up and ready for final welding.
The upside down Frame in the back is one of the 450mm / 18” hatches and the one in the foreground is the 600mm / 24” hatch Frame. Here is a close up shot of the Gutter I’ve been referring to which is where any water that runs down through the 5mm gap between the outside edge of the Lid and the inside edge of the outer Frame you see on the far right. This Gutter is 45mm / 1 3/4” wide and about 75mm / 3” deep and there will be two 20mm / 3/4” ID drain pipes welded into the bottom of this Gutter to quickly drain all the water down and back into the sea. Sezgin arrives with his TIG welder and gets busy welding up the outside corners to turn the 3 pieces of the Frame into a single part which is then ready to be fitted and welded flush into the deck plates. Outer frame fully welded to the Gutter bottom…. …… followed by the inner frame being fully welded and this Frame is ready for final machining and then fitting into its location on the deck.
I don’t think you need to know much about welding to agree that this is not only strong but beautiful work and it is a shame that it will never be seen once these are welded into the Deck, but we will all know its there and helps account for the huge grins we will all have on our faces when we launch. I realise that these hatches are Xtremely Xtreme, over the top some will surely say. But will NEVER leak, and as the guy who has to live with these, sleep under them, maintain them and fix anything that goes wrong, I think they are well worth the extra effort and I could not be happier with the way these have turned out and look forward to showing you the next phase of building the lids and then fitting and installing the finished hatches into the boat.
The other bit of excitement this week was the Mr. G., our Gardner 6LXB main engine was lifted up one floor and moved into his new home and my new workshop for restoring him to better than new condition.
That is him hanging from the end of the extending boom of one of the many “Preying Mantis” cranes in the yard while Mother Möbius looks on over on the far right making sure her energy source is being treated well. Now safely resting on the door into his new home on the first floor. Ready to be rolled over to his place in this voluminous new workshop area where he will be lovingly restored and then taken back down and mounted inside Möbius in a few months. It is now Sunday night and we are back from our FABULOUS weekend in the town of Alanya, about a 2 hour drive east from our home in Antalya. We walked our little hoofies off probably logging 20km over the two days and most of that as you can see was either straight up or straight down!
It was just as spectacular from our room at night. The pano shot above is looking the opposite way from the previous one above, this one looking West along the coast towards our place in Antalya. Worth clicking on these shots to see some of the details of the castle and fortified walls of this town that dates back to the 12th century.
Before you go, while it is very short here is a time lapse video of some of the work this week and I hope you’ll enjoy seeing a hatch built in about 30 seconds!
Lest you think that hatches are all that has been hatching here is the latest progress photograph of the Dinc twins, Yiğit and Mert who as you can see are also making GREAT progress and growing up fast already.
Thanks for joining us and please do add your comments, questions and suggestions in the Join the Discussion box below.
Progress continues this week installing the seemingly endless amounts of EPDM foam on every interior aluminium surface while the focus shifted to fabricating the Fuel Vent boxes to match up with the Fuel Fill boxes you saw last week. Grab a comfy chair and a beverage and let’s go check it all out.
After trying many different materials and designs for the Fuel Vent boxes this is what won out. Keeps it in all aluminium so no dissimilar metals involved and building these mitred U tubes made from 50mm/2” OD thick walled aluminium made it possible to create the inverted U shapes in this very small volume. Plus they look so cool!
Reminds me of my more youthful hot rod days welding up header pipes and intake manifolds to eke out more power from my many car projects back then. Picking up where we left off last week, here is one of the two Fuel FILL boxes all welded into the Port side coaming at the aft end of the side decks that run alongside the Pilot House.
The Fuel Vent box will be installed directly in front of this in the blank space to the left in this shot and both will have sealed lids that bolt in place with thick rubber gaskets around their perimeter.
Check out the video at the end of this post to get a better idea how these will work. Seen from the inside, here is what the finished Fuel Fill box looks like. The smaller 25mm pipe on the right is the drain that will safely return any spilled fuel that is captured within the Fill Box back to the fuel tank.
One of our big design goals was to eliminate having spilled diesel fuel getting on the decks or into the water when “bunkering” as filling up our huge tanks is called. If you compare the photo above of the outside view with interior shot you can see how big the catchment volume is, capable of holding as much as 15 litres but with the big drain lines not much would accumulate.
Here is a close up of the internal Vent U tubes tacked in place inside the Vent Box Uğur, who is the one who is basically responsible for this wining design, quickly TIG welds all the pipes…….. ……….. and soon has one Fuel Vent box ready to be installed.
It is quite unusual to have fuel come out the vents, especially when our tank tops are over 2m/6.5 ft. below this but we’ve put in a similar drain line as the Fill boxes to make sure any spillage, usually just foam if any, drains back into the fuel tanks.
Uğur soon has the rectangular hole cut and the Fuel Vent box tacked in place on the Starboard side.
As many of you know from filling other boats, unlike the automatic shut offs in gas stations which mostly avoid spills, when filling fuel tanks in boats you know when the tank is getting full by listening carefully to the air whistling as it leaves the vents. So having the vents very close to the fills like this, really helps us hear this important sound in the often very noisy environment of a large fuel bunkering area.
Here is what the Port Fuel Vent box looks like this from the outside looking aft.
If you look closely (click any photo to bring up full size version) you will see the Fuel Fill box with its lid closed in the background and the Fuel Vent box cover grill is laying on the side deck below.
We will have two different types of Fuel Vent Box cover plates, one with demister grill on the upper area to allow air in and then a solid plate that we will switch to when leaving the boat for longer periods of time so that humidity in the air cannot get into or out of the tanks and allow some water to condense out and into the fuel. A small detail but an important one for us and another example of the joys of designing and building your own boat!
Speaking of joys, check out all this EPDM foam insulation going into the ceiling of the SuperSalon area! The hull sides have more uniformly sized areas but as you can see here in places like the ceiling it is all very irregular shaped surfaces so much more time consuming to custom cut each piece of EPDM to be just the right size.
Right size is just slightly larger than the actual area by about 5-10mm/ 1/4 –3/8” larger so that there is a slight compression fit to keep each edge sealed tight against the next so measuring and cutting each piece of foam is time consuming. The Engine Room was MUCH faster and easier to insulate with all its large flat equal sized cavities. The protocol we have worked out for all the EPDM insulation is to wrap each stringer and frame with 10mm thick first and then fit the 50mm thick pieces between such as what you see here on the WT Bulkhead at the end of this photos
The side walls were all fabricated from 50mm L bar in a grid you see here and this made it easy to fill all those cavities with 50mm EPDM and then cover the whole wall surface with a layer of 10mm.
Next all these surfaces will be covered with Alucobond which is a sandwich construction of thin aluminium sheets on either side which are anodized white (or other colours) and bonded to a thicker (5mm or so in our case) core that can be made of a variety of materials such as this fibre based one we are using in the ER, Workshop and Basement.
This provides us with a perfect surface for mounting things on, is all white so reflects light well and cleans up very quick and easy.
Alucobond is also available with different cores such this aluminium honeycomb for the core which creates unbelievably stiff and light panels. Our Galley/Kitchen countertops will likely be made using this aluminium honeycomb panel with thin sheets of stone such as marble or granite. Gives us real stone countertops that are featherlight. More on that in future posts.
This is a fabulous material to work with as you can cut grooves on one side with a router bit or circular saw, which let you bend the sheet as much as 135 degrees or put in a parallel series of such grooves to bend the sheet into a round corner. We will be using these various types of Alucobond in many different places on Möbius so stay tuned for more.
I will leave you with this slightly humorous shot from up on Möbius’ decks looking down on the shop floor as the boys moved the SkyBridge Solar roof out of the way for now. It will give you an idea of its size which is such that each of those eight open frames will each have a 360W solar panel mounted to them to form the actual roof over the SkyBridge.
It’s been very busy with all the behind the scenes work on designs and details as we ramp up for installing all the systems, equipment, interior, wiring, plumbing, etc. so I didn’t get too much time for taking and editing videos this week but here is a sped up look around video from this past week.
We really appreciate you taking the time to come along for the ride with us and please add any of your comments, suggestions and ideas in the Join the Discussion box below.
Not as much visible progress this week as most of the work is on finishing previously started projects and behind the scenes work designing hatches and working on the interior designs. But hope you’ll enjoy the shorter than usual post all the same and let’s dive right in.
The workbenches and matching lower shelves which run the full length of both sides of the hull in the spacious Workshop are now pretty much complete with all their brackets and braces fully bolted in place. This is the workbench on the Port/Left side looking forward from the aft of the workshop. This is the Starboard side workbench and shelf looking forward along the side of the Engine Enclosure wall.
The Day Tank will soon be mounted on the WT bulkhead you see at the far end of this picture and the workbench and shelf will provide the mounting surfaces for things like our Alfa Laval centrifuge, fuel filters and manifolds, watermaker, Kabola boiler, calorifier and others so this area will quickly fill up once we get all that mounted. We have tried to centralise most of the things which need somewhat frequent attention such as filling the Day Tank, running the watermaker, adjusting fuel and water manifolds, etc. Having this readily accessed area with full standing headroom will be such a treat compared to the cramped spaces on our previous boats and most boats for that matter.
I’m sure I have gone on and on about these workbenches and Workshop but for the guy who has to keep everything working aboard and usually with no shore side resources, this is a BIG deal and I could not be happier with the way it is all working out.or more excited by the prospect of getting to work in such a great Workshop.
Moving up on deck, the double bollard crossbar style cleats were also finished off this week being fully TIG welded top and bottom through the beefy Rub Rails. Along with the central big Samson Post you see in the background just behind the big snubber line nose cone, these four cleats at the bow provide plenty of options for any lines we need when docking and tying up to shoreside attachments. Moving to the very aft Port end and looking forward we see this aft pair of cleats and off in the distance you can make out the two big Crane Cleats which sit between the fore and aft pair of cleats giving us a total of six cleats and fair leads on each side. We don’t tie up or go to marinas very often but when we do having all these Xtremely strong and efficient cleats will make it quick and easy to do so. Meanwhile, below decks, more miles of the EPDM insulation continue to be painstakingly installed. Down in the Basement area below the SuperSalon floor and looking forward at the WT bulkhead with our Master Cabin on the other side shows some of this week’s insulation progress. Over on the forward Starboard side of the Basement the stairs leading down into our Master Cabin are almost fully clad in 50mm EPDM and the remaining unclad walls and ceiling areas will soon be done as well. Finishing up this week’s update with something new, can you guess what this beautiful bit of aluminium sculpture is going to be?
Will it help if I tell you that when installed this will be rotated 90 degrees clockwise from what you see here? Like this………….. …… and this.
This is the one of the Fuel Fill boxes we’ve designed based on our years of less than satisfying ways of filling up boats with diesel fuel. The most common design is to have all the fuel fills mounted flush with the side decks down where you see the hammer and plans in this photo, with each fill having a round threaded cap with a rubber O-ring seal. This works, but not well in our experience and has many drawbacks most notably that when raining or if the seals ever leak you get water flowing directly into your fuel tanks. More common and problematic, when, not if, you have the inevitable spills while fueling up all the diesel is now running along the decks and worse over the sides.
Instead, we’ve designed these Fuel Fill boxes which are mounted vertically on the aft sides of the Pilot House with fully sealed fold down and locking doors on the outside. This design keeps our side decks clear, provides for easy to reach fueling stations, eliminates the chance of rain or sea water getting into the tanks and most importantly contains any spillage in the wide deep tray surrounding the fill pipes. Each of these Fuel Fill boxes could hold as much as 15 litres, but if you look at the bottom of the Fuel Fill box above you will note the smaller pipe on the right side in that photo which is a drain line that returns any spilled fuel to the tanks.
Forward of each Fuel Fill box these two Fuel Vent boxes will soon be welded in place. These Vent Boxes will have a demister grill on the upper half where they attach the the PH coaming so that they too can capture any fuel foam that might make it all the way up here. As with the Fuel Fill boxes these Vent boxes contain any such spills within and will have a similar drain pipe back down into the fuel tanks.
Large diesel bunkering hoses don’t have the same kind of automatic shut offs you are used to when filling up a vehicle at the gas station. Instead you are alerted to the tanks being full by listening carefully to the change in tone of the air coming out of the tank vent lines. By locating all the fuel vents right beside the fills makes it very easy to hear this sound and makes it relatively easy to gauge when the tanks are full with plenty of time to shut off the flow from the nozzle and avoid any spillage. The other nice feature of this Vent Box design is that when we leave the boat for longer periods of time to fly back to visit grandkids, family and friends, we replace the demister grills with sealed AL plates that bolt in their place and prevent any humid air circulation getting into the fuel tanks and eliminating any condensation that might be created.
Our Alfa Laval MIB303 centrifuge can easily remove every bit of water or other contaminants that might find their way into our fuel tanks but we would rather prevent water from getting into our fuel in the first place, and leave the Alfa Laval to cleaning up the contaminants we can’t so easily control. When you are full time live aboards and spend most of your time in Xtremely remote parts of the world this kind of “belts and suspenders” thinking and designing is critical and becomes second nature.
These are just the latest examples of what we are appreciating and enjoying more and more about our “collaborative work of art and engineering” approach where we get to apply all our experiential learning and create the just right, just for us Goldilocks boat and home thanks the talents and skills of Dennis at Artnautica and the whole Team Möbius that Naval Yachts has assembled and included us within.
And that pretty much wraps up this week’s progress report. In addition to what you’ve seen above we have also been busy this week finalizing the design of the hatches we will soon start building, working out more of the details for the interior design of all the living spaces, choosing woods, fabrics, ceiling and wall coverings and we will show you more about all that in the updates to follow.
We would be most appreciative of your comments, questions and suggestions you can add in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
See you again next week and thanks for taking the time to join us here.