Our lives aboard Möbius have settled into the same pattern of working our way through the list of jobs needing to be finished before Möbius is fully sea worth and ready for us to get back to crossing oceans and eXploring the salt water world we both love so much. This work is far from “glamorous” or eXciting, just neccessary and a pattern we are accustomed to from our decades being full time live aboards and stewards of many boats before.
What IS eXtremely eXciting is the arrival of more and more members of our family of XPM style boats from the desk of our beloved Naval Architect and designer, Dennis Harjamaa who runs Artnautica Yacht Design in Auckland NZ. So let me provide a bit of background to help put this all in context.
Finding our Goldilocks NA and Designer for XPM78-01 Möbius
Back in 2016 when Christine and I got serious about switching from sail to power and designing and building our own new “Goldilocks” just right, just for us passage maker, we spent a year searching the world for our equally Goldilocks NA. There are a LOT of Naval Architects and boat design firms but what made our search so challenging was that we did not want to be just clients the designer worked FOR and end up with a boat design that was based on what the designer thought was best. Instead we wanted a designer who would work WITH us in a highly collaborative way to transform the very specific visions and specifications which we knew well from all our nautical smiles at sea. It took us almost a year and a lot of both nautical and air miles but we finally found and met up with Dennis when we had our previous boat in New Zealand and we knew right away that we had finally found our Goldilocks guy.
Winding the clock back a few years more, somewhere around 2010, after designing a lot of very successful smaller boats, Dennis set out to design the Goldilocks boat for himself and his partner Raquel to live aboard and enable them to start exploring the world by sea.
What he came up with was the LRC58 which you see rendered here and hull #1 called “Koti” has been their full time home near Auckland since it launched in 2013.
Since then FIVE more LRC58’s have launched from the Aluboot yard in the Netherlands and you can read all about them HERE on the Artnautica.EU website.
But wait! There’s more!!!
Not only did Dennis design the LRC58, he also built her almost single handedly! So now you are starting to understand why Dennis was and still is to this day our Goldilocks XPM designer!
The XPM Line of Boats Begins
Christine and I found the LRC name to be too generic and overused in the boating world and so we came up with the more specific eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker or XPM title to better suit this unique style of boats and therefore Möbius became hull #1 of the new XPM78 design.
We spent almost two years working with Dennis in what quickly became a collaborative work of art and engineering and resulted in the completed 3D model and drawings that were used by Naval Yachts to build XPM78-01 Möbius.
This is a relatively new style of boat which do not yet have a common name or acronym but are all designed and built for a small but growing group of like minded people with a common set of priorities and use cases. They are most often a couple, sometimes with a child or two, who want to be able to have a floating home that can carry them across oceans and eXplore the most remote spots on the planet and do so with the highest degree of safety, comfort, efficiency and low maintenance.
Such requirements tend to determine the overall characteristics of these boats so they are long, slender and slippery all aluminium hulls that are low to the water, self righting and efficient to run with as low amount of maintenance as possible to operate.
Since designing our XPM78-01 Möbius, more and more people have been intrigued by what Dennis calls his LRC or Long Range Cruising boats and have sought him out to design a Goldilocks version of an XPM for them and that’s what brings us to this post.
Over the years as more people became aware of our work building Möbius and chronicling it all with these weekly blog posts, Christine and I have been fielding more and more requests by people wanting to know more about these XPM boats, In spite of my Emails being even longer than my blog posts, some of these people have been brave enough to keep asking questions and receiving more and more of my novellas aka Emails as their interest grew. In several cases this has led to them coming to meet with us for lengthy tours of Möbius, Naval Yachts and the Antalya Free Zone and as you’re about to see, in several cases this ultimately led to several signing on the dotted line with Artnautica and Naval to design and build an XPM for them.
The first are an American couple, Chris and Sebrina and their son Rhys who not only endured hundreds of pages of my Emails but they also very courageously flew over to Antalya last December and we spent several days with them aboard Möbius as she was nearing the end of her build and showing them around Antalya and Naval Yachts. Apparently they liked what they saw as a few months later they had signed on with Artnautica and Naval to design and build what is now hull # 2 XPM78-02 Vanguard.
These are some relatively recent renders of how hull #2 has evolved.
You can see the XPM78 family resemblance and she is based on the same models as Möbius. However Chris & Sebrina worked with Artnautica and Naval on some important modifications to make this the just right, just for them, XPM78.
Keen eyed followers might notice that the Pilot House has been lengthened by about 1 from aka 1 meter which is a change that we recommended as well for all future XPM78’s. More significantly and perhaps controversial, the Pilot House has also been raised by about the same amount to enable the area underneath to become living space that includes a 3rd cabin.
Some of the other key changes that Vanguard will have include:
- Twin John Deer 4045 engines with double prop tunnels to keep the draft down.
- electric hybrid propulsion by Praxis added to the propulsion from twin JD diesel engines
- addition of a 3rd cabin
- extending the PH as noted above to make the salon in particular more roomy.
- raise the PH to convert what is the Basement on Möbius to all living space on Vanguard.
- bulwarks wrapping around the side and bow decks
- windows in the sides of the hull
Some will love those changes, others will question but all that matters is that this is what’s best for Chris, Sebrina and Rhys.
There are a growing number of designs similar to these XPM’s from other companies that have appeared in the past couple of years but almost none of these have gone on to be built. So pictures like this are a big deal IMHO!
Construction at Naval began in April and matches the way Möbius was built. A steel frame is built on the shop floor and then the hull is built upside down on top of this. For the curious, if you go back to posts here starting around April 2018 you can see when Möbius was at this same point and follow the construction from there if you’d like to look into the future of the building of Vanguard.
This is the most recent photo I received from Chris which I think was taken a few weeks ago at the end of August.
I believe Chris and/or Naval will soon be creating a blog to cover this build and I’ll be sure to pass that on here for those interested.
Not to be outdone, another couple, Andrew and Lily, also from the USA have recently signed on with Artnautica and Naval to build XPM hull #3 and this one will be much larger at 85’ LOA.
Covid travel restrictions have not allowed us to meet in person yet, but Christine and I have had some video calls with Andrew and Lily and they too have been subjected to my barrage of Emails as I attempt to answer all their questions.
Unfortunately as you may have heard in the news, there has also been a Covid related shortage in the world’s aluminium supply so work on both XPM78-02 and XPM85-01 has been delayed but Naval has been busy getting ready for the aluminium to arrive by building the steel support structure that XPM85 will be built upon.
Dennis and Naval are still working with Andrew to finalize the design so I don’t have much more to show you yet but will bring you updates when I get them and we could not be more eXcited for Andrew & Lily as their dreams are transformed into very real aluminium.
But wait! There is still MORE!!
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands
As if these new XPM builds were not enough eXcitement for one blog post, things have been equally as busy or more so over in the LRC world of Artnautica. Somewhere around 2018 Dennis was in conversation with the owner of LRC58-03 Britt which launched from the Aluboot yard in July 2017.
Rob Westermann and his wife Janet have been touring the many waterways surrounding the Netherlands and their conversations with Dennis soon resulted in Rob setting up Artnautica Europe. Rob and I first met at the big METS marine trade show in Amsterdam back in 2018 and have gone on to become very good friends who have visited with us in Antalya several times.
Rob is eXtremely bright and entrepreneurial and he has been a great partner with Dennis to extend and expand the LRC line of boats being built in the Netherlands as well.
Rob & Janet enjoyed their life aboard Britt so much that they decided they wanted not only more time but more boat and so began a conversation and a whole new design process that has now culminated in the LRC65 which will become the new home for them to continue to explore Europe and the world.
FYI, LRC58-03 Britt is therefore now for sale and can find out more about that and how to contact Rob HERE.
LRC65-01 Britt II
As you can imagine, Covid restrictions are doing their best to get in the way of getting LRC65-01 off the drawing board and into the build, but Rob is tenacious and very experienced so he was able to get in an order for some aluminium just as the supply was drying up and they expect to begin construction in about a month.
Dennis & Rob have created two layout versions GA 5 and GA 6 have each with different galley, settee, and helm station positions, as well as a different position of the staircase leading forward. This could be interchangeable between the two layout options.
As you can see here in this rendering of the framework of LRC65, the LRC/XPM boat similarities are much more than just skin deep.
Here is a similar shot of Mobius’ framework. When you peel away the outer aluminium plating, the familiar Artnautica framing signature is very clear to see.
There will be several propulsion options for the LRC65; twins of either Beta 75 or John Deere 4045 DTF 70 (80hp). The single-engine option will have a turbocharged four-cylinder, 130-160hp engine, likely supplied by SABB who make the CPP gearbox of choice and can therefore supply the whole driveline (Deutz, Iveco, and AGCO Sisu).
Cruise speed is 10 knots.
All the specifications for the LRC65 can be found HERE on the Artnautica.eu web site.
Phwew!!! That was quite the tour of the XPM Family Tree!
Coming around the XPM world full circle, I will leave you with this photo of the very first XPM, our beloved Möbius.
Hope you enjoyed the tour and if you have any questions or would like to consider creating your own XPM just let me know in the “Join the Discussion” box below or send me an Email to us at email@example.com
Last week in the post called How & Why do we make all our Decisions on Designing, Building and outfitting XPM78-01 Möbius? I covered how we developed and use our set of four founding or first principles to base all our decisions upon. We refer to these four pillars as SCEM which stands for Safety, Comfort, Efficiency and Maintenance (lack of).
We don’t use SCEM as filters per se, we use them to keep us on track, keep our priorities straight, by reminding us of what our fundamental values are for this boat. When doing our due diligence and research on some potential piece of equipment It is all too easy to get attracted or distracted by things like cool features or just the sheer number of choices and so as we go through our decision making we are constantly circling back through SCEM to make sure these fundamental requirements are being met.
This week in this Part 2 of our decision making process, I will do my best to summarize the more specific criteria we use to ultimately make our final decisions upon. I will cover this as a series of the following questions that we ask and answer to our satisfaction at least, as we evaluate each bit of kit and then use these to make our call.
- What problem is this item attempting to solve?
- Is the problem/item a want or a need?
- Consequences of adding this item? Domino effect?
- Does it pass the Goldilocks test?
- New vs Tried & True?
What problem is this item attempting to solve?
Might sound like a silly question at first but it is surprising how often answering this question provides the most help in in our evaluation of a design decision or of a given piece of equipment. Let me use our decision of what battery type to use for our House Battery Bank to illustrate but one example of how valuable this question was.
To put this question into context, keep in mind that Möbius is a completely Battery Based Boat, meaning that ALL of our onboard electrical power comes from our House Battery Bank and therefore this is one of THE most critical systems on the boat and one that in some cases our lives can depend upon. For an XPM or any true eXpedition boat that is going to be able to carry us safely and comfortably to locations across the full spectrum of eXtremes of climate and remoteness, we need to be as self sufficient as possible and so our onboard electrical power rates right up there alongside diesel fuel and fresh (potable) water as a critical requirement. An XPM type boat is designed to spend the majority of its time at anchor or at sea, in our case often for months at a time, so in all our design and equipment decisions, we assume that we will have no shore based resources such as shore power, stores, shipping, airports, etc..
Finally, for a bit more context, let me add that we have also chosen to not have an independent generator onboard so ALL of our four voltages, 12 & 24 Volt DC and 120 & 230 Volt AC, come from our House Battery Bank. Most of the time we keep our batteries charged via our 4.48kW array of 14 320W Solar Panels and when underway we have 12-14kW available from the two eXtremely robust 250A @ 28V Electrodyne alternators which Mr. Gee keeps spinning.
One of the very first decisions we needed to make to chose our batteries was what type or chemistry of batteries would be the Goldilocks just right, just for us House Batteries? I’m not going to go over this in any detail here but these are the five battery types we had to chose from:
- FLA; Flooded Lead Acid
- AGM: Absorbed Glass Matt
- Carbon Foam
Many of you and others we talked to, thought for sure that the choice was obvious; go with Lithium and we did consider them, and all the other types, very thoroughly. But it was that question of “What problem is this trying to solve” that made it clear that Lithium was not the best choice for us and that’s the story I’d like to elaborate on here a bit.
Our battery decision making started at the very beginning of our design process, around 2016, and in some ways we designed and built the boat around the House Batteries. For the first few years, we thought we would go with GEL based OPzV batteries such as this one.
These OPxV type batteries are eXtremely robust and often referred to as “traction batteries” as they are used in things like all electric forklifts in warehouses so they had good cycle life and good resistance to sulfation and other features that wold make them a good choice for Möbius.
During this time we were reading more and more about Lithium batteries and we were seeing more and more people who were choosing to go with them so we also spent a good bit of time researching the various types and makes of Lithium, primarily LiFePO4 or Lithium Iron. This relatively new type of battery was said to have a lot of amazing features with the top ones being longer lasting (more cycle life), ability to accept much higher charging rates thus take less time to charge, but perhaps the biggest feature was their much higher energy density. This means that you get much more usable Watts from the same amount of space and weight compared to what you would get from other battery types. Said another way, you could get the same amount of energy out of a much smaller size and lighter battery bank.
As the months and years went by, these claims were validated more and more and we saw the steady increase of Lithium Iron being the batteries of choice for more and more boats so it seemed like the choice was clear right? However when we applied our criteria and use case and asked the “What problem is Lithium trying to solve?” question, we realized that we didn’t have the same “problems” as most of these other boats such as size and weight of our House Batteries.
My earlier comment that we had designed the boat around our House Battery Bank is not that far off as we had designed the hull to take maximum advantage of the characteristics of our original consideration of OPzV batteries which were very large and very heavy. Each OPzV 2/4V cell measured 215mm/8.5” Wide x 277mm/10.9” Deep x 855mm/33.6” High and weighed 110kg/242lbs each, and we needed 24 of these!
As we often do, we turned this “bug” into a feature and built four large battery compartments into the framing of the bottom of the hull such that each compartment straddled the 25mm thick x 350mm high keel bar running down the centerline of the hull. By positioning these battery compartments on the very bottom and center of the hull, we effectively turned the lead in our batteries into a proxy for some of the lead ballast we needed. This is a photo from last year of one of our four battery compartments.
The point here if you are following along with me is that for the use case and design of an XPM, the “problem” that Lithium batteries would solve with their high energy density for a given weight and size just wasn’t a problem we had; we had the room and we wanted the weight. So the search for our Goldilocks batteries continued.
For awhile we continued to think that OPzV Gel batteries were the best fit for us, however, just as we had been following the developments of Lithium batteries we had also been tracking the growing use of Carbon Foam type batteries from FireFly.
They ticked all the boxes on our list of criteria, most notably these were proving to be eXtremely robust and several attempts by test labs trying to purposely destroy these batteries failed and they proved to be almost indestructible which is a huge factor for us and our use case.
These Carbon Foam batteries are also able to work and charge in much lower temperatures such as those we expect to have when we are in polar regions of the world and they are one of the only battery types that don’t suffer from sulfation. and are happy, even recommended, to stay at Partial State of Charge for long periods of time which would normally be the death of most other batteries.
Near the end I found real world installations of these batteries, some of which had been in place for more than ten years and so just before placing this large order of batterie we changed and ordered 24 of these 4V L15+ size Micro Carbon Foam batteries which now make up our 43.2kW House Bank (1800Ah @ 24V) made by FireFly and they have been working flawlessly for the past six months.
Let me be clear that I am NOT saying that Lithium batteries are not a great choice for many boats, nor am I saying that Carbon Foam batteries are “the best”, I am just hoping to explain how and why we made our decision to go with Carbon Foam and why they are the Goldilocks just right, just for us choice. All thanks in part to the question we regularly ask near the beginning of our decision making process; What problem is this trying to solve?
Is the problem/item a want or a need?
We often put each item we are trying to decide on into either the Need to Have or Wish/Want to Have category. Pretty self explanatory I think, Need to Have are items that we feel are mandatory must haves in order for us to feel confident in going to sea and living full time aboard Möbius. Examples for us include things like;
- our high output watermaker,
- Furuno Radar and other navigation equipment,
- eXtremely high amounts of acoustic & audio insulation,
- comfortable Helm Chairs,
- that little FLIR One thermal camera I used to find the overheated wiring a few weeks ago,
- great HVAC systems
- Global communication capability (right now via our Iridium GO)
- and items like this.
The Want/Wish to Have category can be subdivided into groups such as;
- buy as soon as the budget allows
- later when it is ready for real world use (ours)
- nice to have, perhaps a gift to ourselves or each other
Current examples on our Wish/Want list includes things like:
- second Furuno Radar with NXT technology,
- forward facing sonar when it is has been in more mainstream use and is robust enough for our use case
- active stabilization, most likely Magnus Effect type
- kite sail with autopilot to add to our propulsion and reduce fuel usage
- Portland Pudgy, Christine’s long time wish for a small, light sailing dingy
- affordable high speed internet such as that being promised by 5G and satellite based systems being developed.
We also have a third category worth mentioning which is the Don’t Want Onboard category which is sometimes the best choice. Items on this list would include things like;
- anything that requires propane (too much of a pain to fill around the world)
- anything that requires gasoline (too short a shelf life these days)
Consequences of adding this item?
As a good friend and fellow world sailor likes to say “Everything needs” and so we spend time trying to imagine what the needs and other consequences will be if we add this bit of kit to Möbius. Our primary prioritization of Maintenance, lack thereof, would factor into this for example and hence decisions such as;
- no paint/wood/SS on the exterior,
- being single fuel boat with no propane or gasoline,
- no generator
but it could also be other consequences of adding this item to our boat. An XPM is complex by virtue of needing to be so self contained and as we often say Möbius is like a floating village in that we have to look after making all our own water, all our own energy, dealing with all our own waste and so on, but we do strive to apply the KISS or Keep It Simple & Safe philosophy to all our decisions by finding the simplest solution possible. Examples of this would include:
- manual roll attenuation with our fully mechanical/manual Paravane A-Frames
- manual Tender Davit system vs hydraulic
- Gardner engine (no turbo, no electrics, low revs, etc.)
The Domino Effect is perhaps a branch of the consideration of the Consequences of any decision as I just outlined above and is when the result of a decision has follow on effects to other systems on that boat. This can work both ways; sometimes these dominos are positive ones and in other cases they are negative or undesirable consequences. For example, installing the eXtreme amount of EPDM and acoustic insulation throughout the boat has a domino effect;
- stabilizes the interior temperatures and makes them more temperate in both very hot and very cold climates
- this reduces the energy required to cool/heat the boat
- this allows us to install smaller capacity and less expensive HVAC systems such as Air Conditioning and heating
- this lowers the demand on our House Batteries and HVAC systems so they run with less loads and last longer
An example of when the Domino Effect can work the opposite direction might be the option we considered of installing fin type active stabilizers. These work extremely well to reduce the roll in many conditions when on passages but they would also introduce a Domino Effect of consequences that took them out of the running for us, such as;
- their protrusion from the side of the hull reduces the safety factor when in areas with uncharted rocks, coral heads and the inevitable groundings on these.
- not suitable when ice is present in polar waters
- unlikely but possible if a fin is hit hard enough to create an underwater breach of the hull
- are extremely complex and often top the lists of most maintenance problems we read from other global passage makers.
- most require a significant hydraulic system to operate which adds yet another whole system onboard to maintain and repair.
I might add that having gone through this Domino Effect as we considered active fin stabilization, it also helped us see that we could find a different type of active stabilization if we should ever want that, and one that eliminates most of the dominos I listed above. This would be stabilizers that use the Magnus Effect which is offered by several different manufacturers now.
Does it pass the Goldilocks test?
We essentially answer this question by virtue of having gone through all the questions and priorities I’ve already listed. Because we have highly personalized our overarching principles of SCEM and articulated much more detailed specifics of our use case, our decision making helps us ensure that we are making choices and decisions that are by definition, Goldilocks, just right, just for us.
However, this is such an important factor for us that we do keep coming back to to this “Goldilocks Test” to make sure we are avoiding the tendency to “go with the flow” of following what others are doing or “the way its always been done” and are staying true to ourselves and our preferences. I will site a more “meta” example here which is our decision in the design phase to “upsize” the length of the boat from the 18-20m / 60-65 ft that we initially imagined and then at the same time “downsize” the interior to have just 2 cabins and 2 heads.
Our decision to extend the length to 24m/78ft was driven two factors; simple physics that hull speed is a factor of Length on the Waterline and our discovery that contrary to popular opinion there is not very many restrictions on boats that are over 20 meters whereas there are some very significant changes to the rules governing ships that are over 24 meters. With our prioritization of efficiency, we pushed the length to just under 24 meters. With our infrequent use of marinas the increased docking fees do not affect us very much. Furthermore, with more and more catamarans being purchased, many marinas are changing their dock rates to be calculated based on overall area of each boat, LOA x Beam and so our slender 5m Beam reduces our overall area and we are often cheaper or about the same as much shorter but wider boats.
Our decisions to “downsize” the interior and thus reduce maintenance and costs was based on the fact that 99% of the time Christine and I are the only two people living onboard so we wanted to make the interior fit us and our needs. Our Master Cabin is very spacious and luxurious for us. Our Guest Cabin works very well when we do have guests onboard but most of the time it is a very purposefully designed Office for Christine Kling, the Captain’s nom de plume when she is working on her next book and running her growing book business. Our SuperSalon is indeed living up to that name the more we live in it. And my very full size Workshop and Engine Room is that of my dreams.
There are many other examples of how the Goldilocks Test has driven our decisions such as;
- Manual Paravane system and Tender Davit that is KISS and as former sailors handling lines, winches and clutches is second hand.
- Though we designed and built the cabinets, electrical and plumbing for them, we chose not to install either a Dryer or a Dishwasher as we are just not fans of either one and prefer washing and drying by hand.
I could give countless more examples of how we have applied the Goldilocks Test to almost every decision we have made during the design and the building process but I think you get the idea. We have now been living aboard Möbius since she first launched in February and we are finding that our continuous use of this Goldilocks Test has worked eXtremely well for us in designing and building Möbius and we can and do recommend it highly for almost all decisions and choices you make.
New vs Tried & True?
Christine and I are self described nerds and geeks so we have a great fondness for technology that is on that well named “bleeding edge” and we have a full compliment of devices to show for it. However, when it comes to equipment for Möbius, and especially all of it that is on that Must Have list, it must be remembered all those decisions must be made within the context that Möbius is an XPM type boat that is designed and built to live up to that acronym for eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker. So when it comes to deciding on equipment, materials, construction and design of these items, they must, all be Tried & True. To us this means equipment that has been in regular use on boats, ideally with similar use cases as ours, for several years and has stood that test of time.
Some examples of this for us include:
- we delayed our decision to go with FireFly Carbon Foam batteries until after we had been able to find enough examples of these batteries being installed in other people’s boats in large numbers for many years.
- We chose to go with all Furuno for navigation because it is so widely used by commercial boats in fishing fleets, government agencies and the like and hence this equipment is designed and built for continuous 24/7 use in some eXtremely harsh conditions. They also have an excellent reputation for their continued support of even their oldest equipment.
- Our decision to go with a Gardner 6LXB engine that is still one of the most efficient diesel engines ever produced and is still in use in thousands of commercial boats worldwide. It is also perhaps one of the best examples of the KISS approach to design and engineering which adds to how well it passes the Tried & True test.
- individual MPPT controllers for each of our 14 solar panels as this has been well proven to be the most efficient combination for both overall efficiency, least affected by shading and highest redundancy.
Let me end with a final example of the value of taking this Tried & True test for mission critical ships and equipment from no less than the US Navy!
A recent article caught my eye a few weeks ago where even the us Navy has learned the folly of installing untested equipment on their ships. This link to the article USS Gerald R. Ford Problems: The Navy Admits Its Big Mistake (popularmechanics.com) provides a brief but telling story.
as outlined in that article the Chief of Naval Operations, Mike Gilday, says the U.S. Navy built the aircraft carrier USS Ford with too many new technologies. such that now, the Ford is several years behind in its life cycle because of problems with many of those new technologies.
- The last of the Ford’s four advanced weapon elevators, the most glaring example of the ship’s tech gone wrong, should enter service later this year.
- When the Navy first built the Ford, it incorporated nearly two dozen new technologies, some of which are still giving the service headaches 4 years after the ship entered the fleet. Those delays meant the Navy only commissioned the Ford in 2017, despite laying it down in 2009. Even then, problems lingered, especially with the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) and the advanced weapon elevators (AWEs).
- The ship’s first full deployment, originally scheduled for 2018, is now set for 2022.
I think this unfortunate real world example does help to make the point that for XPM types of boats with use cases to match, all the “mission critical” equipment onboard MUST have passed the Tried & True test.
Bubble Bubble, Toil & Trouble!
Leaving you with the latest bit of kit that Captain Christine just approved and installed onboard, a fully manual sparkling water maker! Especially in these hot summer months, Christine particularly enjoys her cold sparkling water and I do too but we don’t like having to buy it in cases of plastic bottles. We have our watermaker for similar reasons for our regular drinking water. Initial tests have elicited the same smile you see here so this item has now passed the all important Captain’s Test and has been welcomed aboard.
Thanks so much for making it this far if you have and I do hope that this slightly different format and content is of interest and value to most of you. Let me know either way with your comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below and I’ll be back with more for you same time next week.
Our first week back aboard the good ship Möbius after our 3 week fun packed time being Gramma and Grampa with our two Granddaughters Brynn (beside me in Red) and Blair beside Christine in Green. Their parents, Lia & Brian joined us as well of course and we are all still savoring the latest batch of memories we created during our time with them exploring Turkey.
I’ll let the photo and the smiles tell you all you need to know about what a great time we had.
If you’d like to see and know more, check out THIS post that Christine put up last week with a few more photos and explanations.
After that MUCH needed break, it was back to work for Christine and I this week and we were soon ramped right back up to our typically busy selves onboard, me getting back to the still growing list of jobs needing done to get Möbius seaworthy and Christine getting back to working on her next books.
For those interested you can check out all of Christine’s best selling thriller novels HERE on her Author’s Page on Amazon.
And boy has it been HOT here in Finike!
Lest some of you should think, for reasons I can’t fathom, that I’m eXaggerating about the weather here, check out this snip I just grabbed from Accuweather.
See for yourself, daytime highs of 43C/110F and night time lows down to 22C/72F
Where is Möbius??
Speaking of Finike, some of you have asked about where we and Möbius are now located so here is a quick set of maps to show you,
Starting with this bigger picture to give you a sense of where Finike and Turkey is relative to the countries and seas surrounding us.
Zoomed into the coastline between Antalya where we started in the upper Right corner and Finike just around the coastal corner in the bottom Right. Distance by sea is about 70 nautical miles which would be 130km/81 miles.
We were originally tied up on the inner harbour wall where you see the two larger boats in the bottom center here. However, this was just outside the Setur Finike Marina itself with several very nice restaurants right behind us that featured very lovely live music every night, but a bit too loud and a bit too long (2 AM) for our liking.
So last week we moved over to the docks running along the sea wall breakwater that is in the upper Right in the photo above and we are now snuggled in between these two sailboats. A bit tight, but no one living on either boat and it is only a short walk to go for a swim over the other side of the sea wall, which we look forward to every night.
Here’s our view looking NNW across our bow at the rest of the marina with the town of Finike spread out behind and some of the surrounding mountains.
All in all a very nice spot that will be Möbius’ Home Port for the rest of this year as we eXplore more of the beautiful Turkish Turquoise Coast.
The Whack-a-Molomino games begin!
I’ve created this portmanteau “Whack-a-Molomino” in an attempt to articulate how my week has been going as I find myself playing this new game that combines;
the thrill of the hunt of playing the arcade game of Whack-a-Mole ….
…… that has been infused with the intrigue of the Domino Effect.
Read on and you will soon see what I mean.
Cooling Down Heats me up!
Let’s start with this riddle; “How can Air Conditioning heat you up?” The technically correct answer is that this is a feature of some AirCon systems which can run in what’s known as Reverse Cycle model which heats up the air going into the rooms instead of cooling it down. This is a very welcome feature in cold climates and the Webasto AirCon system in Möbius does indeed have this Reverse Cycle feature. However, this week it was a “bug” not a feature when things went pear shaped and the game of Whack-a-Molomino began while trying to get our AirCon system to cool down the cabins on Möbius in these very hot days and nights we’ve been having. Here’s how that went.
We have been anxious to test out the extensive Air Conditioning system based on a Webasto BlueCool V Series 77k BTU Chiller located in the Workshop which provides the chilled (or heated) water that is piped to ……
…… the four A Series Air Handlers; one 12K in the Guest Cabin, one 18 K in the Master Cabin and two 12K units on either side of the SuperSalon.
Each Air Handler is controlled by one of these MyTouch display panels in each Cabin and then there is a similar controller mounted on the Chiller in the Workshop. All these MyTouch control panels are networked together so you can control the whole system from anywhere on the boat.
A marine AirCon system uses the readily available sea water that is continuously pumped through the Chiller’s water to water heat exchanger which cools the antifreeze/water solution down to about 2-4°C.
This chilled coolant is then pumped through well insulated plumbing to the small water to air heat exchangers (mini radiators) in each Air Handler with a thermostatically controlled fan that blows fresh cold air into each Cabin.
I was primarily anxious to get some real world data on the energy consumption of this AirCon system and as you might imagine, these hot days provided all the more incentive. So Monday morning I went through all the pre-start preparations for this brand new and new to me set of equipment and controls. After re-reading the Webasto product manuals, checking that all valves for sea water and coolant were open, all the 230V circuit breakers were on, the five MyTouch displays all came to life and were ready for testing. I started with the Guest Cabin aka Christine’s Office where she is anxiously awaiting cool calm place to work on her books. At first I had a problem getting the Chiller unit to go into Cooling mode but it was stuck on Heating mode, but I worked with the two head technicians from Webasto to both design this system and then when they were commissioning it and so I was able to get in touch with them on WhatsApp and they were very fast to respond and show me the “trick” to get into the second settings menu by holding down the main screen for 3 seconds which then gave me the option to change the mode from Heating to Cooling and set it to be Automatic in the future.
All was going well as the Chiller fired up, brought the water temps down from 32C/90F which believe it or not is the sea temperature here, to about 3-4C and then the Air Handler in Christine’s Office came on and had cold air blowing in which put an eXtremely big smile on my Captain’s face! As I scurried about setting up the other three air handlers, checking for and fixing the leaks I found, and keeping an eye on the Amps/Watts meters I started to notice the very unsettling odor of burning wires! Yikes!
My nose quickly led me to the AC Main Panel in the Basement which is behind the now open Grey door at the far Right end in this photo. This is the Main AC panel for all the 120 volt and 230 volt circuits we have onboard.
Fortunately I had caught this early and there was no fire, just the unmistakable and unsettling smell of overheated insulation on electrical wires.
Everything looked to be fine when I first opened up the door of this Main Panel but the smell was clearly coming from somewhere inside. Almost all the wires are neatly tucked away inside plastic wire chases like this which do a great job of tidying up all the individual wires and keeping them tucked out of the way BUT you also can’t see what’s going on inside so I started to quickly unclip the tops on all these chases so I could see the wires inside.
In the literal heat of the moment I didn’t have the time to take any photos to show how it looked with the covers all in place but a few minutes later, with all the covers removed, I snapped this shot and at first glance all appeared to be well.
However, as I scanned all the wiring I realized that this jumble of Black wires in the middle above the row of gray plastic DIN rail junction blocks had not been there the last time I had looked over the AC wiring, though that was a year ago now at least. As I took it all in I was more and more puzzled as to what all these Black wires were needed for as most of them seemed to be just jumpers from one junction block to the next.
This is very puzzling because these DIN junction blocks have built in slots in the middle where you can insert proper copper jumpers that you press in place between any two or more terminals you want to interconnect.
The closer I looked the more strange it became and as I carefully moved some of the coiled up wires and found that multiple wires had been jammed into single terminals?
I quickly found the culprit when I burned my fingers on the wires jammed into terminal # 24 (Green arrow) and saw the melting plastic in the middle of that block which the Red arrow is pointing at.
I quickly and carefully pulled the sticky hot wire out of the the melting terminal and you can see the wire inside the White oval.
Again, lest any of you might think I’m eXaggerating how hot these wires had become, I submit as Evidence #1, this thermal image taken from about the same vantage point as the photo above. The thermal camera I use has this nifty feature of not only color coding the temperatures as well as overlaying actual temperature reading of key spots. As you can see the “White hot” wire I have removed from terminal #24 is at 101.1C / 214F
For those of you wondering about this photo and my thermal camera, here are some quick details of what I regard as, for now obvious reasons, one of my most important Safety devices I carry onboard Möbius and would not be without.
My ever so handy and well used Flir ONE Thermal camera plugs into the USB C of my Pixel 5 phone and displays the thermal images overlaid on top of the phones camera image where I can control the degree of transparency to see more or less of the thermal image vs the actual image by varying the degree of transparency.
As you can see in the photo above and relative to my hand here, it is a very compact little device which normally lives inside the protective hard shell “Otter box” case it comes with until I need to use it for situations like this.
I have this camera out at all times on passages and we use it on our hourly engine room and ship inspections to scan things like all the wiring panels, the Gardner and any other places where changes in temperature are not a good thing.
Not particularly cheap until you consider the consequences and expenses of NOT having one!
As a less dramatic and more positive example, I was also able to use my Flir ONE to check the temperature of the air vents in the Salon window sills when the AirCon unit was running and see precise temperatures which I could compare with the other vents and get precise readings to know how well the air was being cooled or not.
After this first round of Whack-a-Molomino my AirCon job had turned into a major AC wiring job so this was my “office” for the last four days as I used that plastic crate as my seat perched in front of the AC Main Panel removing all the wiring and replacing it with new and properly connected wires.
Wiring any boat can be challenging but on any metal boat boat and especially so an aluminium boat, this is eXtremely important as the consequences of incorrectly wired, especially AC and DC grounding wires range from accelerated corrosion from stray electrical currents to eXtremely rapid corrosion if current is traveling through the hull or other conductive components such as the prop shaft and propeller. For reasons that most of us AL boat owners can’t understand, this is an area that many professional and certified technicians seem to not understand and as a result many boats suffer unnecessary damage and shortened life spans.
It became worse as I tested and traced each of the existing wires and discovered that in several cases wires had be simply cut or disconnected in order to prevent things like the RCB safety circuit breakers from tripping. As I continued by drawing out a schematic of the current Main Panel, I discovered that the electrical diagrams I had been supplied with had not been kept up to date during the build process and given the importance of getting this right the best thing to do was to remove ALL the wiring and start over.
So I started with a literally blank piece of paper and drew out the schematic of how the AC wiring inside this Main Panel needed to be wired.
They are what they are, quick hand sketches, but they work for me and I have found that by drawing out each wire in every circuit and then tracing out each wire with colored highlighters it pretty much forces me to get it right. Red is the AC Hot/Load wires, Blue is Neutral and Green/Yellow is safety grounding “PE” wires.
I won’t belabour this any further and just provide these few shots I took along the way or the rewiring.
Here is the newly wired middle set of Gray Junction blocks with all the Black jumper wires you can see in the original photo up above now gone and proper DIN junction jumpers now in place where needed.
One of the most critical parts of AC wiring on boats is the Green/Yellow grounding wires which must be fully isolated from both the hull and the Blue Neutral wires and be connected at one and ONLY ONE connection point on the boat. This too had been missed and so here you can see the set of Green/Yellow wires I have separated from the other grounding bus bar a the bottom and added to their own set of Gray junction blocks above.
This is where I left off last night, all wires now properly connected and fully tested with both Shore Power connections and Inverter connections to ensure the grounding is correct and that the RCD (Residual Control Devices) are tripping immediately with the least bit >30mAmps of imbalance between the Neutral and the Load wires in each AC circuit.
Tomorrow morning I will finish up by reconnecting indicator lights, tidying up all the wires and putting them neatly into the wire chases for added safety. I’ll try t show you that in next week’s update.
And thus ended round one of this week’s Olympic Whack-a-Molomino games. I’m not sure who “won” here other than Möbius being the winner of now being both a better and a more seaworthy boat that puts us one step closer to being able to head out to sea with the complete confidence that is mandatory for doing so, or is at least for Christine and myself.
I’ll be back with more next week as I hopefully get back to what I originally set out to do; get our AirCon system working!
Thanks for taking the time to join me for this week’s tournament and PLEASE do add your comments, questions and suggestions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Moving is the theme for this week, and more next week all of which is a VERY good thing! Albeit eXtremely short trips, literally a couple of hundred yards each, they still represent movement both progress wise and boat wise so it is all good. When I left you last week we had just moved onto one of the many brand new concrete docks not far from the infamous “end wall” dock inside the Free Zone Harbour where we have tied up several times in the past few months since we splashed on Feb. 20th but they had another big cargo ship coming into the port here so all of us tied up on the end wall needed to move to other locations so the Big Guys could come and go. I’ll show you more of that in a moment.
The other even more eXciting moves, yes plural, are hopefullly happening this coming week. On Tuesday we will be moving Möbius out of the Free Zone harbour for the last time and taking her around the corner to Setur Marina where she will officially begin her life as XPM78-01 Möbius. Not sure how long we will be there, basically as long as it takes for Christine and I to get her fully seaworthy and ready to cut the dock lines and head out to sea. I will chronicle all of that here in future weekly Progress Updates so you will get to see what all is involved as it happens.
But WAIT! There’s MORE!!! What could possibly top having Möbius start her own life with us? Easy, because the other big “move” which I am even more eXcited about is that my Beautiful Bride, aka Captain Christine flies back into my arms on Thursday night! She’s been away in Florida having a whirlwind of a time with all her family and friends back there in the Fort Lauderdale area and especially enjoying her much needed Gramma time with our grandson Liam. So it’s been great for her to get away from this non-stop boat work, and even more so jettison out of “Wayne’s World” for two weeks but I miss her terribly and can’t wait to meet her coming out the exit doors at AYT, Antalya Intnl Airport on Thursday.
And as you can see, I’m not the only one who has been missing the Captain.
For those who may not have met them yet, Ruby the Wonderdog is the mass of Black curls on the Left and Barney, aka The Barnes, our Yorkshire Terror at her side. Other than the past 3 years while we’ve been dirt dwellers during the build of Möbius, both of these guys have spent all their lives on boats, and a fair number of planes, trains and automobiles. 14 years worth for Ruby and 9 for Barney so they have a LOT of miles under their paws and more to come soon.
So it is easy to see why “moving” is the theme this week and next and now let’s move on to Showing & Telling you more about all the moves and other progress here on the Good Ship Möbius during the week that was April 19-23, 2021.
As with most posts for the past two months, the primary activity aboard Möbius is the commissioning of all the many bits of kit that make up our many systems.
Not too eXciting to watch quite frankly but eXtremely important to do and get everything right, working and tested. Sometimes we do this virtually, with the technician from the manufacturer coming aboard via the internet and truly eXciting scenes like this one!
Ismail, our electrician, and I are talking with Alex from Victron who is in his office in Istanbul and we have him patched in via a shared desktop on my laptop on the Left which is in turn connected by ethernet cable to the Victron network aboard Möbius, and via WhatsApp on my smaller computer for text and voice.
Together we are able to run and test all the Victron equipment such as the 5 MultiPlus Inverter/Chargers, Isolation Transformer, MPPT controllers and so on. Took us about 5 hours but we were able to get everything configured and they are now all good to go.
Similar virtual commissioning going on with our Kabola KB45 diesel boiler, though it was not so cooperative and we still have more to do to finish the commissioning and testing so we can finally have hot water aboard!
Part of the remaining work with the Kabola is getting this Grundfos Alpha2 circulation pump installed, filled with antifreeze solution and bled. This circulates the hot water for one of the heat exchangers which transfer their heat to our domestic hot water.
Commissioning also often involves some good Houdini skills such as Ismail up on top is demonstrating as they try to get the Kabola lifted up and put into it AL frame bolted to the Workshop shelf it lives on.
Mr. Gee gits ‘er dun!
While he is ailing and I have not had a spare moment to investigate the cause of his sudden loss of oil pressure on the first sea trials a few weeks ago, Mr. Gee was able to power the move here within the Free Zone harbour with no problem.
This was Mr. Gee’s oil pressure at start-up, right around 30 PSI, which for a Gardner is not much below the 38 PSI he normally runs at, however as the oil warms up it drops down to around 20 PSI so there is definately something very wrong that I need to get to the bottom of as soon as we are over in Setur Marina and I can make the time to start digging into the source of the problem.
Unfortunately I am relatively certain that I know what the problem is and it is not good news nor a quick fix. But I will leave all that until I have time to find out for sure what’s going on which means a significant dismantling I’m sure. Stay tuned for more on all that starting next week.
New Neighbors and Neighborhood
You may recall seeing this birds eye view from the last move we did from Setur over to the Free Zone harbour and this aerial view of the Free Zone Harbour on the bottom Left and Setur Marina on the bottom Right will give you a bester sense of the move this week.
Last week were at position #1 on the End Dock Wall and this week we are now back over at position #2 where we were about a month ago.
Next week’s move has us going from #2 over to #3 in Setur although we don’t know just where we will be in Setur just yet.
We are Med Moored in our new home this week, which means there are lines off our Bow as you can see here, which extend out to a massive weight at the bottom of the harbour with all these lines firmly attached. On your way in, you pick up the float that is on the end of one of these lines and bring it aboard while you back down with your stern to the dock.
Like this. It takes a bit of getting used to this style of docking but the key advantage, at least to the marina, is that each boat only takes up its width on the dock rather than its length if you were to be side tied. So you can have a LOT more boats docked on any given length of dock. This is the norm in the Mediterranean and hence the name Med Mooring.
If you look closely at the bottom of this photo you will see how we are able to use our swim ladder for a passerelle or “gang plank” for getting on/off the boat. You can’t really see it but there are massive black rubber fenders or bumpers all along the edge of the concrete dock and that’s what the end of the now horizontal swim ladder rests on. Works well and makes getting on/off the boat quite quick and easy.
This is our new Starboard side neighbor, a brand new Bering 77 “Veronika” which just launched. There was some good press coverage of the launch that you can see HERE if you’re interested in knowing more.
If this boat looks vaguely familiar, there is a good reason for that as you saw this boat two weeks ago when I was showing you the “Launch Fest” going on here when the new 560 Ton TraveLift started working after more then 4 months with no launching capabilities here.
Based on hull length, Veronika is just one foot less than Möbius at 78 feet, however these shots are a great example of how length of any boat tells you so very little about the boat itself or provides any real comparison. This is a much more traditional “Trawler” and so you can perhaps understand why I hesitate when people ask me if an XPM such as our XPM78-01 Möbius is a Trawler?
For a quick comparison, Veronika’s basic measurements first followed by those of Möbius:
- Displacement: 165 metric tons vs Möbius’ 45
- Beam: 7.3m/24 ft vs 5.0m/16.4 ft
- Cruise Speed: 8 kts vs 10-11 kts
- Range: 4000nm vs 8000
- Accommodation: 6cabins, 6heads + up to 4crew vs Möbius 2cabins, 2 heads and no crew thanks very much.
Take a moment to study the differences between Möbius and Veronika and you will quickly see that other than being about the same length, they share almost nothing else in comparison.
You can find the whole set of specs on the Bering 77 HERE if you’d like to learn more and see more photos.
Just so we are clear, it is not a question of which one is “best”, they both are, just depends on your use cases and taste. There’s a boat out there for everyone and every use case. We are just SO eXcited that thanks to Dennis at Artnautica and everyone at Naval Yachts we now have our Goldilocks Just Right, Just for Us, boat!
And that’s a wrap for this past week folks. Lots of activity, just not much visual results to show you but hope you continue to enjoy coming along on this ride with us and that you will be back again for more next week.
In the meantime, please do leave any and all questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below. While I am atrociously behind in responding to your most recent comments, they add a HUGE value to this blog and for Christine and myself and I am eXtremely appreciative of each one so thanks for that!
A VERY busy week here onboard the Good Ship Möbius as everyone on Team Möbius moves into the final stage of the build completing all the installations of equipment and beginning the commissioning of all these systems by their factory representatives and others. Due to a major reconstruction project of the harbour inside the Free Zone * which removed all the previous launching facilities, Naval needed to launch us quite a bit sooner than expected by transporting Möbius overland to the nearby Setur Marina. So in addition to the usual post launch commissioning of systems, we all continue to work our way through the Punch List of jobs needing to be completed in order to get Möbius into seaworthy condition to begin taking her out for sea trials. To say that we are all eXtremely busy would be the understatement of the year! But. for Christine and me, we are even more eXtremely eXcited to be back where we belong, home onboard a boat that floats.
* You can learn all about this huge and fascinating project by watching THIS VIDEO ANIMATION which does a great job of showing how the whole new harbour facility will work.
I hope you will accept my apologies in advance for another hurried weekly Möbius Update as I blast through as much of all the different jobs that we have all worked on this past week. So grab your favorite beverage and chair and join me for this week’s Show & Tell.
Let me start with a quick snapshot leading up to this adventure that began over 5 years ago.
After two years of intense collaborative design work with our AbFab Naval Architect Dennis at Artnautica Yacht Design, the building of XPM78-01 Möbius began at Naval Yachts on April 6, 2018.
1053 days of build time later, as most of you have likely seen in last week’s posting HERE, she finally left that temporary womb last Friday for a watery delivery into her permanent home with Mother Ocean last Saturday.
As I write this blog post from the SkyBridge of our beloved Möbius, we have just finished our first week afloat tied up to the concrete dock wall inside the Antalya Free Zone Harbour.
And I am VERY happy, though not surprised, to report that ALL the sea water has remained where it belongs OUTSIDE of Möbius and our bilges only hold the remnants of construction dust and debris.
Looking all the world to me like two tugs that escaped from a children’s animation story, these two almost new tugs are our most immediate neighbors.
Tied up less than a meter in front of Möbius’ Bow.
These two tugs have crew aboard 24/7 as they are responsible for bringing every cargo ship into and out of the commercial side of the Harbour such as this recent little visitor, the 180m 36k Ton Argo B, who left about 04:30 this morning after loading up with several thousand “Big Bags” of industrial dry goods.
These two tugs are also the Fire Boats for the Harbour. And last night, they surprised and delighted us by bringing over a home made pizza just out of their oven! Can’t think of a better example of why we LOVE living with these awemazing people of Turkey.
Tied up almost as closely to our Stern is this first of four Police boats which are being built by Ares Yachts here in the Free Zone for the government of Oman. These are a bit longer than us at about 26m but share many of the same basic attributes as our XPM-78 with all aluminum construction and built like the proverbial tank.
We even have the same jet propulsion system though in our case just with our Tender and a single not these massive twin jet drives driven by two equally massive MAN diesel engines.
One item that we do not share, YET! with these boats is that mount for a 50 cal machine gun. But rest assured that once I get my 3D printer setup one of my first projects will be to create a realistic enough looking plastic replica to produce a silhouette that will add to our “don’t mess with me!” look to any onlookers thinking of approaching us with mal intent!
I took this shot of our neighborhood early this morning after the Argo B had left and the tugs were back in front of us. The weather has been truly spectacular for the past two weeks with daytime highs reaching 24C/77F and gloriously sunny clear blue skies with very little wind. Not a bad place to spend our first week afloat.
For safety of such a new and incomplete boat, Christine and I are sleeping aboard each night and then going back to our apartment for breakfast and dinner and then we will move aboard full time once all the sea trials are done.
One of the projects I did not have enough time to show you last week was the completion of our rather unique “Sidewinder” anchor roller assembly that Dennis and I came up with so let me show that to you now.
I decided to make the two anchor rollers out of solid aluminium and didn’t take me long to design a 3D model of this in Autodesk Fusion 360 and create the 2D dimensioned drawings to machine them from.
Aluminium is a dream to work with and the in house machine shop has a very good sized lathe that was easily able to machine the two anchor rollers out of a single blank of 200mm/8” OD aluminium round stock.
I wanted to keep the anchor and the chain electrically isolated from the hull to reduce any corrosion problems and was able to do so with two details. One is this Black Delrin bushing which we press fit into each roller with a nice rolling fit for the 40mm/1.6” SS pin that each roller spins on.
The second isolating detail was to machine these Teflon discs that get separate the sides of the rollers from the inside cheeks of the anchor roller assembly welded into the hull. Then a large SS end cap bolts on either end of the SS pin on the outside.
Here is what that all looks like when assembled.
For safety and quiet when pounding into big seas we very specifically designed the whole roller assembly to exactly match the shape of this 125kg/275lb Rocna anchor by obtaining a 3D model from Rocna to design with. The way our design works is that those flared out bottom edges you see in the photo above have been designed such that they exactly match up with the inside of the flukes of the Rocna when pulled aboard and thus the Rocna becomes one with the hull and will not budge no matter what Mother Nature throws at us. This creates not only a very tough and strong anchor mounting setup but also one that does not make any noise due to movement between the anchor and the roller assembly which is so common on many other boats we have run.
So Nihat, Uğur and I spent quite a few hours with the anchor raised on a chain block that allowed us to get the position of the anchor just right and then layout the centers for each SS roller pin. Front pin and roller have been mounted here and we are laying out the location for the 2nd Aft roller.
Uğur and I came up with this idea of building an extended 40mm carbide hole saw so that he could drill both cheeks in one go and keep the two holes for the SS roller pin on the same centerline. We lucked out finding the head of a 40mm carbide hole saw with its shank broken off and Uğur TIG welded a 200mm/8” long piece of 13mm/ 1/2” OD rod to it that we could chuck in my Milwaukee drill. Worked like a charm!
With the rollers both installed we tested it all out with the 13mm / 1/2” chain and the Maxwell VWC4000 Windlass and did a bit of tweaking of the rollers final shape to capture the chain nicely so it stays aligned as the chain goes Out/In and doesn’t twist.
Did not take us long to get to the Goldilocks Just Right point
and “Rocky” was in his new home as solid as his name.
Uğur and Nihat both gave it their thumbs up and so we knew it was good to go!
Another job and details I did not have time to post last week prior to the launch was the finishing of the silicone based International InterSleek 1100SR Foul Release bottom paint and the zinc anodes so let me go back and show you that.
Once the super slick, slippery and shiny silicone InterSleek was fully dry the last few underwater details could be attended to such as mounting the Red plastic prop on the Vetus 220kgf 300mm/12” Extended Run Time Bow Thruster.
Which is capped off with its own Zinc to reduce any problems with corrosion due to the mix of dissimilar metals involved with its construction of Bronze, SS and AL.
In keeping with our Darth Vader, lean & mean look, we decided to make the 100mm/4” Boot Stripe that makes the transition between the top of the Black InterSleek and the bare AL hull, be gloss Black as well and we are eXtremely happy with the result that emerged as the masking tape came off to reveal the final look.
The final detail for the underwater portion of the hull was mounting the ten 125mm / 5” diameter Zinc anodes which keeps all the metal bits that are in contact with seawater all at the same potential voltage and eliminates the battery effect that would eat away at our precious Stainless Steel, AL and Bronze components.
Being near the bottom of the Noble scale of metals, Zinc is what will erode instead and makes it easy to replace the zincs every few years when they get too worn away.
We designed a very simple mounting system for the Zincs and Uğur had previously welded 80mm discs of 20mm / 3/4” thick AL to the hull with an M16 thread in the center for the SS M16 bolt that he is fastening this Zinc on the Rudder with.
To ensure a good electrical connection for many years between the Zinc and the AL mounting disc, we coated those surfaces and the bolt with dielectric grease and then I followed along after Uğur and covered the SS bolt heads with some clear silicone to make it all the easier to remove and replace these zincs in a couple of years. I usually do this while the boat is in the water using my Hookah or Snuba system so these little details all help to make that job go quick and easy.
With all these preparations of the below the waterline areas of the hull and everything removed from underneath, Möbius was ready for the arrival of “Big Bird” the yellow 72 wheel boat mover to arrive the next morning and carry her overland to the marina for launching.
TILLER ARM DETAILS:
Another few details that we needed to look after before Launch Day were for the all important steering system and the Tiller Arm in particular. Similar to the Bow Rollers, last year I had designed this typically over engineered Tiller Arm in Fusion 360 and had it CNC milled out of a single block of aluminum.
Here is a shot from almost a year ago when we first mounted the finished Tiller Arm to the 127mm / 5” OD solid AL Rudder Post.
And here is a more recent shot of what it looks like with the two double acting Kobelt hydraulic steering cylinders in place.
Such a massive Tiller Arm being powered by equally as beefy twin hydraulic cylinders, produces a LOT of force and so there needs to be some eXtremely strong and solid Tiller Arm Stops built in to stop the Tiller Arm when it goes hard over to each side. Fusion 360 to the rescue yet again to help me quickly design these Stops which Uğur and Nihat quickly fabricated and were ready to mount.
After carefully testing out the Just Right position for each stop, they were able to drill the four holes in the AL Rudder Shelf and bolt down one Stop in either side of the Tiller Arm body. The SS bolt and lock nut allow us to adjust the final Stop position of the Tiller Arm once we are in the water and have the steering all working.
I like to practice and live well by what I call “Readiness for the UneXpected” and in the case of our steering system that meant having multiple layers of fault tolerance for the Steering System. This starts with twin independent Kobelt 7080 hydraulic steering cylinders sized so that either one can fully steer the boat in the most adverse sea conditions.
Then two independent Kobelt Accu-Steer HPU400 24V hydraulic Power Pack pumps, two independent Furuno 711C AutoPilots plus two independent Furuno Jog Levers. This gives us eight levels of fault tolerance to go through.
And if ALL of that should uneXpectedly fail, then we have this Kobelt manual hydraulic Steering Pump ……………
……….. that we can slide this Emergency Steering wheel onto and steer the boat the “old fashioned” way.
And if ALL of that should somehow uneXpectedly fail we have THIS final layer of fault tolerance for our steering system; a completely independent and manual Emergency Tiller Arm.
Can’t get too much more KISSS or Keep It Simple Smart & Safe than this; a 2m/6.5ft length of 80mm thick walled AL pipe that slides through the 20mm/ 3/4” thick plate we see Uğur bolting to the Tiller Arm body and then the pipe slides through a matching hole bored through the top of the Rudder Post.
We attach a block and tackle setup on each side of the end of the Emergency Tiller which fasten to shackles mounted on stringers on the adjacent hull sides which allows us to move and lock the Rudder in any position we want.
Yes, I do know that it works and Yes, you can ask me how I know that!
Miscellaneous Work on Deck
Finishing up this blog post is between me and another very late dinner so I’m going to speed through a series of other jobs that got done this first week in the water.
Turkish Turquoise Marble countertops got installed atop both Vent Boxes on the Aft Deck to create our Outdoor Galley.
SS sink plumbed.
And installed in the Starboard/Right side Vent Box.
Plumbing connections all ready to connect to the sink; Red & Blue PEX lines with shut off valves for the Hot/Cold water to the sink faucet, Brass elbow for the sink’s drain and small Blue tube with the Black elbow to drain the water extracted by the Mist Eliminator grills in the Engine Room supply air duct.
Orhan with his home made adaptor for his pneumatic caulking gun ……..
……. to get into some hard to reach spots around the Pilot House windows like these.
Uğur prepping the nylon insert mounts for the Passarella on the Swim Platform and another on the Port side gate.
Ever the ingenious one on Team ,Uğur came up with this brilliant DIY solution for mounting our Fire Hose in the HazMat Locker; an empty plastic spool of MIG welder wire!
Which will rotate on this pipe mounted on the side of the HazMat Locker.
With the Black Fire Nozzle mounted alongside. Any wonder why I just love working with this guy who has been with us from the very first day of the build?!!!
More Uğur Goodness, on Saturday no less, as we designed and built this simple setup for propping the front 3 Solar Panels mounted on this hinged frame up in the horizontal position when we are on anchor.
This horizontal position not only helps out with solar power production but you can see the demister grill across the far end of what now becomes a giant wind tunnel to capture all the fresh breezes blowing over our bow at anchor and funnel them down into the SuperSalon.
Two SS pipes that are hinged to the bottom of the Solar Panel frame and will fit into these Black Delrin collars Uğur machined which were then glued down to the aluminium floor with a SS set screw to lock them in place.
When we are ready to convert to passage making mode and head out to sea, you simply lift the panels up a few inches and the two support rods slide aft as the panel is lowered down and locked into place.
Our Sparkie Hilmi always has a long list of electrical jobs that need his attention and this past week was certainly no exception. With almost 150 circuit breakers on XPM78-01 Möbius to safely look after all our 12 & 24 Volt DC circuits and our all our 120V & 240V AC circuits, it was quite the design challenge to figure out where and how to place all these.
We ended up with two primary circuit breaker panels; this one on the angled short wall on the Stbd/Right side of the Main Helm Station.
And this larger one in the Corridor at the bottom of the stairs leading down from the SuperSalon to the Guest Cabin, Ships Office and Workshop/Engine Room.
After months and months of preparation, Hilmi was finally able to bring it all together this past week by attaching these Black AL panel fronts with all the engraved labels onto the hinged access doors into each of these Circuit Breaker panels.
Next week the hinged glass doors are due to arrive which will finish off these critical component of the electrical system on Möbius.
The double paned 16mm thick glass window finally got installed in the Engine Room door this week which is a critical component to completely closing in the Engine Room in the case of a fire.
And the gas lift cylinders have now all been installed on the Glass Deck Hatches which I designed and Naval built in house. Now just need to finish installing the rubber edge seals and the AL hatch handles and the deck is totally watertight!
I can’t possibly do justice to explain the amount of work that Christine has done this past week alone on getting all our navigation and electronics in both Helm Stations all setup and working.
Nor can I articulate how much I LOVE my Captain!
What I can do though is to leave you with this shot from early this morning that does capture for me just how well we have succeeded in designing and building our new home with all of Team Möbius to meet the goal we set out over 5 years ago to blend in perfectly when in a commercial dock as apposed to a ‘yachty’ marina.
And with that I am going to hit the “Publish” button on this latest Möbius Weekly Progress Update and look forward to bringing you more Show & Tell of this coming week’s progress that begins first thing tomorrow morning.
One year ago, Christine and I returned from a brief trip over to the UK for her Birthday (March 15th) just as the whole Corona 19 pandemic was ramping up and caught us squarely in the vortex. Given our ages, let’s just say rapidly approaching 70, every day since we have been playing a kind of Russian Roulette by going into the shipyard to work on Möbius and so we are eXtremely eXcited that tomorrow morning at 11am we are going to get our Covid 19 vaccine shots!
Of course, this doesn’t put an end to anything really but sure will help with our upcoming travel plans, for which we shall be eternally grateful to this country we have called home for almost four years now and that love a wee bit more every day. Thank you Turkey for allowing these two salt water turkies to enjoy your beautiful country and people!
First and most importantly, let me send out a big Happy Valentine’s Day wish to all of you. I hope that you and those you love treat yourselves to an extra special Valentine’s Day Sunday. Christine and I have done our best to do the same though our Valentine Möbius seemed to get the majority of the TLC and attention as you’ll see below.
Before I begin this week’s Progress Update, a brief story (I promise!) that sums up our lives right now.
When I was about 8 years old, my never ending curiosity lead me to read about one of Zeno’s paradoxes that completely dumbfounded me and led to many sleepless nights trying to wrap my head around it. That paradox has been haunting me again as we get closer and closer to finishing and launching XPM78-01 Möbius so I thought you might enjoy the story. I suspect many of you know this particular paradox often referred to as Zeno’s Paradox of the Tortoise and Achilles and you too might have also found it undeniably true but equally hard to accept at first. My eight year old self read it as a simple question;
If you want to get from Point A to Point B and each step you take is exactly 1/2 the distance between you and Point B, how many steps will it take you to get there?
An infinite number of steps and you will never get all the way there! Think about it, you’ll see the paradox.
Ahhh, I see those smiles and nods of recognition and you already know why I feel like I am living that paradox every day! Step after step, progress being made as we inch closer and closer but it feels like we’ll never get there. We WILL of course and you can read all about various “solutions” or different takes on this paradox but it does nicely sum up how Christine and I are feeling at this point.
More to the point that YOU care about and why you are reading, let’s jump into this week’s Show & Tell of the many half steps that Team Möbius DID make this past week of Feb. 8-13, 2021 and did move us closer to the finish line. And my apologies in advance for likely rushing you through this week’s Show & Tell, but it has been a very long week and it is now late Sunday evening as I’m typing this up and my vivacious Valentine awaits as does our dinner so I hope you will pardon the rush job this week.
Silicone based Foul Release Bottom Paint
If you were not able to catch up to last week’s Progress Update post “The Captain & Mr. Gee get CRANKY!” it may help to go read that over before continuing as we picked up where we left off last week wtih the preparation for the application of the International InterSleek 1100SR Foul Release paint that will cover all the underwater aluminium surfaces and keep them clean and slick by not allowing any marine growth to stick.
By the end of last week, we left the bottom paint crew having finished applying all the coats of International Epoxy Primer to the freshly sanded bare AL hull surfaces and masking off the 100mm / 4” wide glossy Black Boot Strip that makes the transition between the top of the Black InterSleek and the bare aluminium hull sides above the WL.
With the top and bottom edges of this Boot Stripe all taped off with Blue Painter’s Tape, they did a quick sand of the areas that would be sprayed with the glossy Black International Perfection polyurethane paint.
It was just before 18:30 quitting time when they got to the quick and easy part of spraying on several coats of the Black Boot Stripe. It is getting lighter here as the days get longer but still needed the help of an LED work lamp to do the spraying.
They let that dry for 24 hours and then masked it off for the big job coming next; applying the InterSleek 737 “Pink” primer coats and then the Black InterSleek final coats.
For the application of the InterSleek primer and topcoats, Naval called in the Big Guns from neighboring industrial boat builder Damen as they have a whole team of people who do nothing but InterSleek on the bottoms of the many big ships that they build and launch each year.
Given its thick consistency, InterSleek requires the use of airless spray equipment so they wheeled this bad boy over under Möbius and we brought out all the cans of InterSleek 737 Pink which is a three part A+B+C mix.
Ilyas is the Manager of Damen’s InterSleek team and started mixing this 3 part mix of 737 primer.
As per its name, an airless sprayer does not use compressed air to atomize liquid finishes out the end of a spray gun. Instead it uses hydraulic principles to push liquid paint directly from a big intake pipe set into the can of 737 Pink you see here and then out a spray gun nozzle at the other end. That big black round cylinder at the top of the airless sprayer seen here wrapped in protective plastic, is a giant rubber diaphragm that pumps up and down and pumps the liquid paint out the thing black hose you can see exiting the photo on the far Right edge by the blue pail.
This is the actual spray gun at the other end of that black hose where the highly pressurized paint flows out the small nozzle on the upper Right and ……..
…….. onto the hull like this.
As a former Automotive and Autobody teacher and antique car/motorcycle restorer, I have done my fair share of traditional spray painting but this airless spraying is more like using a very well controlled fire hose!
Möbius is 24m / 78 feet long on each side and yet
…. it took Ilyas less than 15 minutes to spray on two thick coats on all that area!
And that included details such as the Rudder and prop shaft Skeg, and …..
…… the Bow Thruster Tunnel.
The 737 Pink primer was allowed to set up for 24 hours and then it was time for …….
…….. the final 3 topcoats of the Black silicone based InterSleek 1100 SR which is also a 3 part mix. All mixed up and ready to be hydraulically pumped to that big spray gun in Ilyas’ hand.
While Ilyas suited up his team mates were busy rolling the Black InterSleek 1100 on all the edges of things like the Rudder and CPP Prop Skeg.
Depth and sonar transducers……
….. and deep up inside all the 5 Sea Chest tubes.
InterSleek 1100SR all mixed up and suction pipe set inside so it is all systems GO!
Difficult to capture with the camera amongst all the fumes but that gun blasts out a cone of paint that is about 1m / 39” wide
And so once again Ilyas had the first coats of Black InterSleek all sprayed on in under 15 minutes!
It is a fascinating product which looks very wet even when it is fully dry 24 hours later and to the touch it feels “sticky” and it remains that way throughout its 5-8 year expected life. You know this feeling if you have ever handled soft silicone cooking mats or the like as that is just what is now covering all of Möbius’ bottom. Go ahead and try to stick to that you little marine munchkins!
A second coat was applied the next day and once that had dried it was time to reposition all the support stands so that the area underneath them could also receive the full silicone InterSleek treatment.
Uğur was masterful at this tricky task as he positioned a new steel stand to one side of the existing ones and then hammered in new wood wedges to take up the weight of the boat enough to remove the wedges on the other stand and take it out.
And you can see what I mean about this InterSleek stuff being slick!
With the old wedges and stand out of the way we reveal these bare AL patches whose turn it is now to get the full epoxy primer and InterSleek treatment.
These patches are carefully taped off with some special “super tape” that can manage to stick to silicone and then a roller can be used to apply the epoxy primer coats like this.
Once the epoxy primer coats were fully dry, the 737 Pink silicone primer was rolled on next.
BTW, you can see that special tape quite well here.
Finally, the last 2 coats of Black InterSleek are rolled on and our bottom is done!
The Black discs you see like this one are 25mm / 1” thick AL mounting pads with a blind threaded hole where a circular Zinc anode will eventually be attached before launch.
This is how the very aft end of the hull will look for its underwater portion.
Painting the Nogva CPP Propeller
We got mixed reviews and recommendations for using the same InterSleek 1100SR to keep the CPP propeller equally as clean and slick as the rest of the hull so we opted to go with a single purpose silicone paint propeller paint called “PellerClean” which the Japanese company SeaJet created. If you would like to know more about this product and how to apply it, Matt over on the “MJ Sailing” YouTube channel that he and Jessica maintain so well, has THIS full video on their application of PellerClean on their prop last year. If you are not already subscribed to Matt and Jessica’s MJ Sailing channel we can recommend it highly as it is one of our many favorites for great boat related content.
This propeller treatment wasn’t covered by our agreement with Naval Yachts so Christine and I looked after this application. Do I really need to answer the question about why I am so madly in love with my Valentine and perfect partner for my very imperfect self?!?
The application of these very specialized silicone paint systems is very exacting so we followed them to the letter and prepped all the bronze with a 80 grit wheel to give the upcoming PellerClean Primer a good bit of “bite”.
The 2 part yellow coloured PellerClean comes in premeasured cans which you simply stir together well for about 5 minutes and then brush on.
It is very thick with a consistency similar to mayonnaise so it is a bit challenging to get all the brush marks out in the first coat.
But with each of the successive 3 coats we were able to get it well evenly applied and then let dry for 24 hours.
The clear topcoats go on next and curiously these are a single part product and after my experience with it I suspect it is pretty much pure silicone.
Another late night at the yard for us so this is all shot in the dark with just the LED work lights which really skew the phot colors so it looks very greenish here whereas the real colour is closer to a bronzy yellow but the more important part is that this is goes on smooth and slick!
I finished the 2nd coat of clear PellerClean yesterday and I’ll see what it looks like in the morning and decide whether to add a final 3rd coat.
It was not cheap but a clean propeller and bottom makes SUCH a difference in terms of boat speed and amount of power it takes to propel the boat through the water. This was very evident to us on our previous 52 foot sailboat and so now with our XPM power boat, these super slick easy to keep clean surfaces will make a huge difference in our fuel economy and increase our speed through the water. Stay tuned for those data points once we launch and start logging real world measurements.
More “Big Little Jobs” this past week:
Apologies in advance again for blasting through this but thought you would enjoy seeing some of the “little jobs” that add up to Big things which got done this past week.
Our Super Sewer Sinan, whipped up this “skirt” that wraps around the round Anchor Chain Bin and seals the top to the Hawse Pipe where the Chain comes In/Out and keeps all the muck and mud from the anchor chain, inside the Chain Bin where it is easily rinsed out through the drain in the bottom.
I had originally thought about having Sinan put in a clear plastic window so we could see inside the Chain Bin to see how the chain was moving In/Out but instead we went with this KISSS Velcro slit which you can open up anytime and peer inside.
Sinan attached the Skirt to the outside of the top of the Chain Bin with snap fasteners so it is also quick and easy to do the Full Monty and take the whole skirt off (but you can keep your hat on!)
The cylindrical tops of these Tiller Rudder Stops were back from the machine shop with their M16 threads for the SS bolt and locking nut that provide adjustment so Uğur was able to finish welding these up and we will show you them being mounted next week.
Ramazan was busy much of this past week up in the Master Cabin and here is is fitting the FastMount fasteners for the access panel below the seat in the Master Shower. This provides full access for all the plumbing and water manifolds hidden away inside the base of the Shower Seat.
Which the Captain is particularly looking forward to and testing out here.
Just outside the Shower, Ramazan has now installed the mirrors on this cabinet above the Vanity Sink at the very forward end of the Master Cabin.
As well as these mirrors on the doors of the cabinets above the sink inside the Master Head/Bathroom.
Overhead dropped ceiling above our bed is reflected in the mirror here so you may need to look twice to figure out that this is the full length mirror that Ramazan is mounting to the inside of the Shower/Head door now laying on top of the bed.
From the outside looking in I find Ramzan up at the Main Helm taping off the Rosewood Window Sills as he installs all 21 of the HVAC air vents on all the SuperSalon windows.
We were able to track down these very well made rotating adjustable air diffusers that are made for use in many different makes of cars and trucks and are the Goldilocks solution for bringing the hot or cold air from our AC/Heating system into the SuperSalon.
Same as the ones you would be familiar with in your car, these rotate and can be closed shut as in the photo above or tilted open at different angles. This will give us full adjustment to the air coming in to direct it into the room or up onto the windows for some defroster like function.
The largest front and center window in front of the Main Helm gets 3 of these vents.
And all the other windows have 2 diffusers.
Captain Christine has jumped feet first into the deep end of the electronics systems on Möbius and had a very busy week working with things like our PepWave cellular/WiFi router which I will cover in another post focussed on all of our electronics.
We had just enough of this gorgeous Turkish Turquoise marble from our inside Galley to use in our Outdoor Galley countertops as well and that all got mounted this past week.
We didn’t have quite enough to do all the countertops in single slabs but we are SO in love with this marble that we created the tops out of several pieces.
The system I came up with started with 6mm AL plates that are through bolted to the Vent Boxes underneath and then the marble is permanently adhered to these AL plates with industrial SikaFlex.
This allows me to remove the whole countertop for future access by unbolting these AL plates and provided a super solid backing for all the marble pieces.
First slab with the cut-out for the SS sink all glued in and ready for the 2nd piece.
To be set into the SikaFlex much like how you would lay ceramic tiles.
This will give you a sense of how our Outside Galley is shaping up and next week the marble team will be in to finish sealing and polishing the tops and edges. I can smell the salmon cooking on the BBQ already!
Möbius Goes to the Dogs!
Saving a bit of the best for the last, our two dogs, 14 year old Ruby the Wonderdog in Black and 9 year old Barney The Yorkshire Terror were onboard for the first time with Captain Christine so they could check out what will soon be their new floating home too.
Like us, they have both spent most of their lives as boat dogs and so are awaiting the move onto their new boat/home as anxiously as we are.
Barney is a rather “excitable boy” who can sometimes get a wee bit too excited at the edges of our boats so the bottom Dyneema lifeline that Christine now has all finished is at a custom “Barney height” so he got to measure up to that.
And down in the Master Cabin we have what we refer to as The Barney Bed, where Mr. Actionallnightlong, will be able to sleep and practice is nightly training for the Olympics all by himself!
And THAT folks is going to have to be a wrap for tonight as I am Wayyyyyyyyy past my time limit and bedtime and dinner still awaits.
Thanks SO much for taking the time to join us here again this week and just because it is taking me much longer than I would like to answer them, PLEASE keep adding your questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
See you here again next week as we take yet another of our infinite half steps forward.