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
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,
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.
Another eXtremely busy week for Christine and I as we continue to work our way through all the rigors of getting Möbius ship shape and ready to head out to sea.
I’m sure some of you must be wondering why such a seemingly simple step is taking so long? But many of you who have ever moved into a brand new home or new RV or new boat, especially custom built ones, will be able to relate to the seemingly endless list of jobs big and small that need to be looked after before your new “home” feels like it is yours and that you have worked through all the “little” things that don’t work right and all the improvements or installation of additional things be that putting in the new lawn in your newly built home.
I’ve read that many others who have gone through this process say that to get to the point where you can simply enjoy your new home and not be constantly working on it, takes about a year. From what experience I have had so far with both boats and homes that sounds about right to me. Hence Christine and I remind each other that this is a marathon not a sprint AND we enjoy* the whole process of making Möbius our full time super comfy home.
* Well most of the time anyway!
While we are seemingly busy non-stop, there isn’t much to see during this process that suits a Show & Tell so this will be a relatively short blog update (lucky you!) but let’s jump right on and catch you up on what’s been happening aboard the Good Ship Möbius this past week of May 24-30, 2021.
Wonderful Days in the Neighborhood
We continue to have stellar “Spring” weather here in Antalya though it is really more like an early arrival of summer.
Daily highs are typically in the low 30’s C / 90-95F and usually with a nice breeze to make it all very pleasant. Almost always clear blue skies, complete with the exclamation point of jet trails. This is our immediate neighborhood here at Antalya Setur Marina.
Things have changed a bit here as our big Blue powerboat neighbor to the right in this photo finished all their jobs, launched and headed out for sea on Wednesday.
So we now have a lovely large empty space next to us and our views of the Med and the Coast Guard station are much improved when we are out having our nightly sundowner wine on the Foredeck each evening.
And we continue to enjoy our life here propped up “on the hard” though we would of course much prefer to be floating on the water and hope to be doing so by end of June at the latest.
As you will soon see, Mr. Gee is not the only one “moving up in the world” as we have had some significant new neighbors move in next door in the form of these three little guys from the Turkish Navy. As you may have noticed in some of the aerial and satellite photos I’ve put in some recent posts, the area behind the big beautiful breakwater here on the far Western end of the Antalya coastline, contains four very different harbours within and I’ve marked up this satellite photo to help visualize.
Not the most pleasant terminology but this is an all too apt description of what commonly happens during the initial few months after moving into a new home/boat/RV etc. which is when brand new equipment fails to work. We have had our share of these already and likely more to follow in the coming months.
This is one of the latest “infants” to be DOA, our fabulous new Bosch washing machine. After going for many years without any washing machine Christine had been really looking forward to testing out this fancy (to us) new washing machine that she had so thoroughly researched and chosen. Alas, it made it part way through the first wash cycle and stopped working. As the saying goes “the lights were on but no one was home” as the big LCD panel lit up with all the controls, but none of them or the selection dial responded to her input.
Of course everything is under warrantee and Bosh is a very popular brand here in Turkey but it still took them three different calls and over three weeks to end up replacing all 3 internal circuit boards! Even though this was MUCH sooner than expected, we know that it is always when not if equipment and appliances will need to be serviced so we have designed the boat with accessibility as a key component and so it was a relatively quick task to help these two Bosch servicemen to remove the washing machine from its cabinet, set it on the floor and allow them to open it all up and replace those 3 circuit boards.
Good news is that IT WORKED! and Christine has already put it to the test with multiple different loads of laundry and is just beaming at the “upgrade” in her onboard chores.
Electrical System Update
Many of you have been asking about how some of the various systems are performing in their early days as we start to gather more real world data and while still early, here is a preliminary update for you on how our overall electrical system has been working.
This is a very high level graphic I’ve put together to show the overall Electrical System on Möbius. Given our use case of being in very remote locations and on anchor over 95% of the time, we are a fully “battery based boat” which in short means that we have no generator or other source of external electrical power input and so ALL our electrical power comes from our 1800Ah @ 24V 43.2kW House Battery Bank as you can see in the illustration above.
To be clear, we DO have the option of connecting to Shore Power with plug ins for these at both the Bow and Stern, however we are so rarely have access to Shore Power we consider this just an emergency backup if we were to need to go to a marina to work on components within the battery based system.
Even when we DO have ready access to Shore Power, such as we do now up on the hard here in Setur Marina, we chose to still NOT connect to the Marina’s Shore Power grid. This is partly because electricity here at this marina is very pricey, but more so because we simply don’t need it and also want to be more fully testing out our overall electrical system in its normal state of running entirely off the House Battery Bank and charging those with “just” our large 4.5kW solar array consisting of fourteen 320 Watt panels, each with their own Victron 100/20 MPPT controller.
This is a screenshot of the Victron Connect app on my phone a few minutes ago (10:30 am Sunday 30 May, 2021) and as you can see the solar panels are having no problem at all bring the House Bank back up to 100% SoC (State of Charge) after running everything on the boat while the sun was down.
Because we are in “test mode” for the first few months we have been maxing out all systems and in the case of our electrical system this means running EVERY electrical device onboard as fully as possible. For example, after we had fully tested the Kabola KB45 diesel boiler for about a week we shut it down and turned on the 230V 1500W electrical heating element in the Calorifier (water heater tank) which is a very big consumer. Other electrical equipment on all four voltages (12V + 24V DC and 120V + 230V AC) we are using daily and as frequently as possible to build up the data set for maximum use includes such electrical consumers as:
Bosh 4 burner induction “hob” cooktop with extraction fan running throughout
Bosch Smart Oven that combines convection/grill/microwave
Kenyon 230V BBQ grill
250L/hr watermaker run about ever 4-6 days
two 130L 24V refrigerators
two 70L 24V freezers
230V electric kettle & 230V espresso machine
Bosh washing machine (now that it is working)
At least 4 computers and at least four large monitors which are rarely turned off
50” TV for nightly “dinner and a movie” onboard streaming content from YouTube, Netflix, Apple TV, etc..
a long list of internet based equipment such as routers, bridges, cellular & WiFi extenders, etc..
VacuFlush toilets w/ Bidets
an eXtremely extensive Maretron monitoring and control system and an equally extensive NMEA 2000/N2K network
the usual compliment you would expect from two nautical nerds of 3 smartphones, 4 smart home (Amazon/Google/Apple) devices all of which need to be regularly charged or plugged in.
and the usual assortment of regular living items such as lights, music, TV, sound systems, fans, etc.
With so many other systems needing our attention, the only two significant systems we have not yet tested and run extensively are the 3 zone in-floor heating system and the AC/heating system via the Webasto V50 Chiller and the four Webasto Air Handlers (5400 BTU overall) in the three cabins. We will get to those as soon as we can and all the more so as the daily temperatures start to rise up for summer into the mid 30 to 40C range typical of Antalya summers.
For the more technically minded, here is a bit larger history view of what’s been happening since we launched back on 20 Feb. 2021.
We have had a LOT of different scenarios onboard since launch and during the commissioning of all the electrical components so we have twice run the batteries down below 20% SoC and also had no battery connections several times and hence some of the very eXtreme numbers you see here. In total we have used 21,808 Amp hours with an average 24hr discharge of 417Ah and yet only required 5 total charge cycles.
During the past 3+ months since launching, we have had 230V shore power connected for about 3-4 days to test out the chargers in our 5 Victron MultiPlus Inverter/Chargers but otherwise our only source of “external” power is from the 14 solar panels. We are therefore eXtremely happy with these preliminary results and I will publish more and more such real world data as we collect it and once we are underway and back to our more typical use cases.
Mr. Gee Gets High!
Interestingly, the one bit of kit that seems to get the most attention from so many of you is our beloved Gardner 6LXB engine, which as most of you know by now, we affectionately refer to as Mr. Gee.
Unfortunately and uncharacteristically of any Gardner, Mr. Gee has a problem. He suddenly lost oil pressure on the first sea trial last month, falling from his usual 38 PSI down to about 20 PSI which is definately NOT a good thing! While I have a pretty good idea of the source of this problem, I won’t know for sure until I can do an eXtensive tear down that involves removing the huge cast AL oil pan so I can inspect the crankshaft, oil pump and bottom end bearings.
All a very straightforward BUT to get at these bottom end components I have to lift Mr. Gee about 1 meter up out of his normal home resting solidly on his 25mm thick engine beds and that is taking some time. I also need to remove both of the heads so I can check out the pistons and valves and this will also put Mr. Gee on a serious weight reduction program making the job of raising him up one meter a bit easier. As I remove these various bits and bobs I put them out on one of my workbenches in the Workshop right outside of the ER, which now has the appropriate dual meaning of Engine Room and Emergency Room! Running through the dismantling process quickly for you, off come the valve rockers, pushrods and cylinder head bolts. Off comes one of the cast iron cylinder heads which weigh in at a svelte 65kg/145lb. (ask me how I know?!) This is what Mr. Gee looks like when he goes “topless”!
All looks good so far as I confirm that there has not been any contact between the valves and the piston tops. Whew! Workbench continues to fill up even though I’ve already moved all the intake and exhaust manifolds elsewhere. Down to a mere shadow of his former self, Mr. Gee is all ready to move UP in life. Or at least 1 meter up inside the ER.
I carry a 2 ton hydraulic hoist as quite reasonably I would argue EVERY serious XPM or eXpedition/eXploration boat should and in particular mine is a modular hoist which then also gives me these eXtremely strong cross members to span the overhead ER hatch (previously removed) frame and provide the overhead “sky hooks” aka attachment points for the two chain hoists that I also carry. (of course!) I’m a big fan of synthetic rope, Dyneema or AmSteel in particular as it is much stronger than the SS wire of the same size and MUCH easier to handle. In addition to using Dyneema for all our Lifelines, Davit and Paravane rigging, etc. I also us this for lifting and hoisting eXtreme loads and have used this throughout the entire rebuilding of Mr. Gee. (he likes that the Dyneema is very gentle on his “skin”)
In this situation I am using multiple loops of Dyneema to hang the chain hoist in the foreground as well as wraps around the front and rear ends of Mr. Gee where the hoist hooks will attach to him. My plan is to leave the Nogva CPP gearbox in place and then take the weight of Mr. Gee every so slightly so I can then slide him forward with his feet still resting on the AL Engine Beds. To do so I’ve removed all the bolts fastening the four engine mounts to the beds and then positioned the two chain hoists forward of where they would be vertically centered so that as I lift him up, Mr. Gee will be pulled forward and come away from the Nogva case.
At least that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it! Worked just as planned and if you look closely you can see that Mr. Gee’s silver AL flywheel housing has slid about 50mm/2” forward and now separated from the Burgundy Nogva gearbox. Now it was a simple matter of alternating between lifting with the front and the rear chain hoists to until I had Mr. Gee up about 1 meter above the engine beds and with plenty of space for me to get underneath and remove the oil pan, crankshaft and piston/connecting rod assemblies. With Mr. Gee now floating right where I need him, I built a super solid cross member using more of the rectangular steel components from my hydraulic hoist and then built up a support platform out of solid wood blocks so I could lower him down for stability and safety while I did the first part of the disassembly which involves removing the two halves of the flywheel housing, rear motor mounts, and the massive flywheel itself.
And YES! I have also put four more sets of Dyneema loops, one at each of Mr. Gee’s corners, to add a backup safety system in the unlikely event that any of the main supports should break or fail. Here is the view as of today looking down from on deck through the ER hatch opening. Blue lighting is due to the large blue plastic tarp I have setup on deck in the unlikely event we should get any rain and to keep the marina dust out.
Sadly, I must leave many of you with your questions, and mine too, still unanswered as to just what has caused that drop in oil pressure and just what I’m going to need to get Mr. Gee back to thrumming away endlessly and effortlessly in his comfy ER home.
You can rest assured that NO ONE is more anxious to get to the bottom of this than I am and I’m pretty confident that I will be able to share all of that with you in next week progress update Show & Tell.
Sorry to keep you hanging like this and thanks very much for continuing to join us in this latest leg of Project Goldilocks as we get XPM78-01 Möbius ready to head out to sea.
I would also be most appreciative if you could help me feel a bit less like I’m talking in an empty room by adding your questions, comments and suggestions in the “Join the Discussion” box below. I don’t always manage to answer your questions as quickly as I would like but I will continue to do my very best and please do know that I definately read and benefit from every one.
I double checked the calendar and it is indeed just the beginning of May but it sure feels like summer here in Antalya today. We’ve been having fabulous weather all year actually with an eXtremely mild Winter season that saw very little rain and very mild temperatures. But Spring has been off the charts in terns of great temperatures, low humidity and no rain. Today, Sunday May 9th, is a real scorcher and as I sit and type this aboard Möbius at 14:00 the temperature is a toasty 34C / 93F with a little bit of wind and crystal clear skies. No complaints from any of the crew aboard the good ship Möbius, that’s for sure.
While the lack of visual progress to show you continues as we work our way through the final jobs remaining to fully configure and test all the many systems onboard XPM78-01 Möbius, the amount of work required to play this real world version of Whack-A-Mole is relentless and non stop. That combination conspired to prevent me from putting together an update for you last week and I thank all of you who wrote to ask if all was well and thank all of you for your patience. In this Progress Update I’m going to combine the past 2 weeks into this one, so please grab a comfy chair and beverage and join me for a Show & Tell of what’s been happening from April 26th through May 5th, 2021.
All Hands on Deck!
In addition to all the configuration and testing, there is also a long list of those “little jobs” that add up to be quite a large amount of work all together and we knocked off more of these the past 2 weeks as well and here are a few examples.
Here we find Captain Christine, ably abetted by our two four legged crewmembers, Barney (Left) and Ruby, finished whipping the Dyneema lifelines she had previously spliced in place and which are working out eXtremely well. The Rosewood Dinette table came back from being refinished and is once again mounted to the vertically adjustable pedestal with the XY sliders that allow us to move the table 200mm / 8” fore/aft and side to side which enables us to always have the table in its Goldilocks position for any situation. There had been some small depressions on the top surface of the table which while minor, were also very visible and took away from the otherwise superb finish on all the woodwork so the Finishing crew quickly refinished it and as you can see it is now flawless. There are a LOT of valves, circuit breakers, hoses, electrical connections, etc. that number in the hundreds and so labeling everything is a must and makes it easy to know what’s what and how to operate all these systems. These 3 fuel manifolds provide a good example. You may recall a few weeks ago that the two cleats on the Swim Step were upgraded from AL pipe to solid and the heat from welding those in required that the TreadMaster be removed and now it has been replaced. The light Grey TreadMaster is also proving to be as good or better than we had hoped. The top priority is to provide a great non-skid surface in any conditions and the tight sharp diamond pattern of the TreadMaster eXcels in this department and locks even bare wet feet in place everywhere. Second priority is to provide a more bare feet friendly surface especially when in hot sunny climates so that you don’t have to do your “walking over red hot coals” fire dance when you are on deck. While not comparable to the tropics, today’s high temperatures and intense direct overhead sunlight gives us a reasonable test and we are happy with the results.
For a baseline, as of a few minutes ago, 14:30 Sunday May 9th, here is the temperature on the fully shaded Aft Deck area which my trusty IR temperature gun clocked at 32.4C / 90F. And out on the Stbd side decks that have been getting the most direct sun right now, the TreadMaster is at about 50.5C / 122.9F. Definately not cold, but I can stand in place on these decks without too much discomfort and when walking it is quite comfortable. As in life, everything is relative right and compared to our previous boats, with painted on non-skid on both fiberglass and steel decks, this is a HUGE improvement, so we’re happy with these results.
Love Thy Dock Neighbor!
You’ve seen in previous postings that we have some very interesting and varied dock neighbors here in the Antalya Free Zone with over 30 different boat builders producing a wild and wide range of boat sizes and purposes. Most of these boats are in a similar situation as we are, brand new being launched for the first time so that all the in-the-water testing and finishing can be done. Then once finished, they are off to their new home bases scattered around the world so boats are leaving and new ones arriving on almost a daily basis. Here are some recent examples of our recent neighbors:
On our Port side we have this 34m/112ft steel “Phi Phantom”. This is a support boat for a much larger superyacht so this is all function with huge flat decks and even larger bays below with that monster articulated crane to get all the “toys” off/on this boat and the superyacht. They also carry all the fuel, supplies, parts and maintenance crew. These kinds of support boats are often called “over the horizon tenders” as that’s where they are to stay out of sight of the high paying passengers on the superyacht or a “phantom boat” such as this one that is to stay similarly ghost like or invisible to the superyacht it supports. On our Starboard side we have this Bering 77 I showed you a bit in my last posting.
At 77 feet long overall, she is 1 ft shorter than Möbius but otherwise MUCH larger at more than twice our weight, much taller, much wider and quite a bit slower than Möbius (8 kts vs 11) but still a Goldilocks boat for the right owner and use case. Down the dock a few more meters is this little fella who showed up last week and is the basis of my “Love thy neighbor” heading for this section.
Why you ask? Look a little closer at some of her deck hardware ……….. Like here for example. Or zoom in a bit closer to read that red safety lock….. The more you look, the more interesting it gets. For example, when those hatches in front of the two rocket launchers are opened up it reveals a relatively typical set of instruments, controls and a small bench seat for the operator. Most of the time though and during testing, these hatches remain tightly closed and fully waterproof. So how do they operate the boat now and where is the Captain sitting? Inside here! Turns out this is a fully autonomous vessel or unmanned drone and the real “Captain” is actually sitting ……. …… here!
“ULAQ” is the first indigenous armed unmanned surface vessel (AUSV) developed in Turkey. It is being offered by Ares Shipyard and Meteksan Defence Systems to the Turkish Navy and you can read all about this fascinating research project HERE and HERE if you’d like to know more details. Suffice it to say that we treat all our dock mates with great respect and kindness!
Get the Lead Out no IN!
This was one of the more interesting things happening with our Bering 77 dock mates this past week.
Can you guess what they are up to and what’s in all those wood crates up on the dock? Is this a Turkish version of a Swill Alps horn? Nope, just an ingenious way of putting the lead ballast into the stern compartments of the Bering 77. Here is what is inside all those crates, 1000 Kg of 5mm diameter lead balls like this. One scoop at a time the little lead balls are poured into this funnel, run down the long black PVC pipe into the holds in the aft end and are then capped off with an aluminium plate that is bolted down overtop.
However, hands down, THE most exciting and interesting thing that happened on the docks this past week happened to us and Möbius.
Hmmmm, what do you think that crane truck is doing behind us?
And what is Captain Christine busy with and what are those weird shaped teak blocks on the Aft Deck? Aha! That’s our Tender flying through the air! and about to be lowered onto those Teak chocks on the Aft Deck. Like this……… ……. and this. And she fits like the proverbial glove and just as I had laid out in the 3D models; with the front Stbd fender just able to rub up against the vertical support bar coming up out of the Port Vent box…….. ……… and the Aft Port corner of the fender right up against the doghouse over the stairs from the Swim Platform into the Workshop. And there she is! Our Tender finally setting in her new home and Möbius is now fully equipped. Sinan, our upholstery master made this tight fitting cover out of some waterproof Sunbrella fabric we had brought over from the US.
This shot provides a good perspective of how nicely everything fits and works together on the Aft Deck with the Tender onboard. Plenty of room in the Outside Galley and the entire Stbd side to walk back and forth the whole length of the boat. Here’s what it all looks like viewed looking forward. Next up is fitting all the rigging to raise/lower the Davit Arch and the Tender within it but that should be a relatively straightforward job that can wait for now.
Oh, and we’ve settled on a name for Möbius’ new “baby” and she will be called “Mobli”. A lot of different parts to the story behind this including a reference to Mowgli in Kipling’s Jungle Book as well as being our sense that Mogli is the diminutive version of Möbius.
Welcome to our family Mogli! We can’t wait to start playing with you in the water and showing you the awemazing aquatic world that surrounds us. Hope you enjoyed this combined 2 weeks worth of Show & Tell from all of us here on Team Möbius. We’ll be back with more next week as we inch closer and closer to leaving the Free Zone and returning to our lives sailing the world.
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!
However, the most important thing is that forward progress was made again this week, including two very exciting even though it too ended up being one of those half way steps. But half steps are still steps forward so we’ll take every one we can. The commissioning phase continued this week as we power up and test all our many systems and start shaking all the gremlins, both large and small, out into the open so we can deal with them. As you might imagine this often feels like we are playing the marine version of Whack-A-Mole as we get rid of one gremlin and two more pop up. The major systems we are currently bringing up to speed include the Kabola diesel boiler, the Furuno navigation system, Maretron monitoring system, Domestic Hot Water DHW system and the CPP pitch control system, to name but a few. None of this testing and problem solving creates very visual or entertaining content so again this week you get a reprieve from my typically much longer blog post so do enjoy this calm before the next storm of activity begins and let’s jump right into the week that was April 5-9, 2021.
First Guest Cabin Guest!
The biggest and best First this week by far, was the arrival of our dearest friends who flew half way around the world to spend two weeks with us as the Captain of Team Whack-A-Mole. Now THAT is a friend!
Some of you will recognize this “guest” who is really much more family as we have been friends and fellow sailors for a very long time and Christine and I have the great honour of being the godparents to all four of the children in this awemazing family.
Can you guess who this masked man is? Correct! John very generously left the rest of his family and flew all the way from Courtney British Columbia to be with us and as you can see from Captain Christine’s huge grin, we are both eXtremely eXcited to have our very first long term guest be such a very dear friend. Christine is particularly happy to have John join her in playing Whack-a-Mole with all the electronics systems such as navigation, Radar, AIS, Maretron and more. John is easily one of THE brightest people I have ever met and when it comes to resolving problems with computer networks and software he is an absolute genius so his plethora of skills has been put to VERY good use this past week.
This photo alone represents many hours of work and generated a LOT of grins onboard when John and Christine were able to get the TimeZero navigation software and the FLIR night vision camera up on both screens at the Main and Upper Helms.
As you can see it is daytime when this shot was taken but it is still fascinating to see how much the FLIR camera augments the reality that you are seeing up at the top looking out the front window at the Main Helm.
Here is a bit closer view for those interested and click to enlarge any photo to see more.
We will be maximizing John’s talents until he has to fly out at the end of this week on the 15th. Thanks SO much my friend, we literally could not have built this boat without you!
Rockin’ the Dock!
Christine and I have been sleeping aboard Möbius every night since she launched as a safety precaution just in case anything should go wrong with this newborn boat. And of course we have our two dock mates, these two Police boats which are about to head off to their new home in Oman, to help keep us safe as well. As you can see, Möbius and her two bow buddies are very close friends. We also have constant entertainment with the various “little” ships like this one that come and go on the other side of the harbour as they get loaded up with goods of all description and move on within two days or so. More ships all around us and each one quite unique and very fun to watch and learn.
Since launch we have been gradually moving out of our apartment here in Antalya and onto our new home aboard Möbius and we are now having all our meals onboard and now with John being our first Guest to sleep in the Guest Cabin. He gives the Guest Cabin two thumbs up and it has been a true treat for Christine and I to be answering all his questions and sharing our eXcitement of our new “baby” with him. As you can see in this and several of the other photos, the huge renovation of the Antalya Free Zone harbour continues all around us. And I do mean ALL around us!
Möbius can just be seen on the very far Right in this shot with the last of the major concrete pours about to go in for the huge superyacht haul out facility they are putting in here. And the Firsts that happened this week were not just onboard Möbius! We’ve been watching them build this tiny little 560 Tonne TraveLift for the past 2 months and this was her maiden voyage earlier today. We are now tied up this massive concrete dock that did not exist two weeks ago! Never a dull moment all day every day here as both construction and ship loading go on 24/7.
New eXtremely Solid Cleats!
You may recall that we had a very unusual wind situation when we were tied up next door at Setur Marina just after we launched which produced some very large swells coming directly into the harbour and marina causing all of us on the outer wall to surge back and forth for most of the day. All of the boats beside us suffered multiple snapped lines and ripped out cleats so we were fortunate enough to just have this one ripped off our our Swim Platform. Gives you an idea of the forces we were dealing with. The beauty of aluminium is that even these kinds of breakages are not very difficult to repair and we decided to “upgrade” our cleats from pipe to solid aluminium so we should be able to withstand such situations in the future. Uğur and Nihat machined the new solid AL parts and got to work inserting them into the existing pipes welded into the hull and then welded the new solid posts in place.
The new and improved cleats are done!
First Half Step Sea Trial
I gave you the best First we had this week right at the beginning with John’s arrival and saved the biggest First for the finale this week which is that we had our first Sea Trial on Tuesday!
Or first half at least. This was my first chance to bring Mr. Gee up to speed and load as we dialed in more and more pitch on the Nogva CPP prop.
We opened up the big hatch overtop of the Engine Room as the paint on Mr. Gee’s exhaust manifold burned in and produced some smoke.
Mr. Gee gave an eXcellent performance and soon had us slicing through the water at just under 10 knots barely breaking a sweat at about 1000 RPM and seemingly not much load.
However, a little bit later we had a sudden loss of oil pressure as it fell from its normal 40 PSI down to 20 so I shut him off to investigate. I wasn’t able to find any leaks or other evidence of the problem so we started back up and idled back to the dock. Hence my reference to this being a half step first sea trial.
I am now busy figuring out what caused the loss in oil pressure and will have more on that for your next week. We were super eXcited to have John be able to join us for our first Sea Trial and he was quite taken with the views and situational awareness that the 360 degrees of glass provides from the lower Main Helm in the SuperSalon. He shot this little video segment to show you .
The initial portion of the Sea Trial went eXtremely well as we brought Möbius up to just under 10 knots by slowly increasing the pitch on the Nogva CPP prop and Mr. Gee was still loafing along at about 1000 RPM. Here is a very rough video shot from the Aft Deck when we were doing about 9.6 knots. My apologies for not having time to edit this into a better quality video but hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride none the less.
** For those wondering, there is a lot of noise during this test run as we have the big overhead Engine Room hatch open as well as the ER door into the Workshop and the WT door into the interior all open.
For those of you who might care, we were also eXtremely happy with the wake we were generating at 9.6 knots and really look forward to the next sea trial when we can bring Möbius up to full speed and find out just what that speed is and what the wake is like at WOT or Wide Open Throttle. Stay tuned for that in the coming weeks.
As you can tell, Christine and I are both eXtremely eXcited to reach this new milestone of our first Sea Trial even if it was cut short for now.
Hope you enjoyed this short but sweet Progress Update and please come join us again next week. And please add any and all comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Not as much for this week’s Show & Tell as the Commissioning Phase is now underway which mostly involves setting up and testing all the many systems onboard which doesn’t yield much visual interest. It is not too much of a stretch to say that the systems on an eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker like XPM78-01 Möbius are similar to what a floating village would require. Given the eXtremely remote locations we favor we often have no support systems ashore or when on passage and so we need to be completely self sufficient with what we have onboard. For example we need to be able to do all of the following for an indefinite amount of time and be our own:
Power Plant to generate all our electrical power; 12 & 24V DC and 120 & 240V AC
Water Utility able to create and store all our own Domestic Fresh Water and Domestic Hot Water
Sewage Treatment Plant able to pipe and store all Black Water (sewage)
Grey Water Treatment Plant able to pipe and store (drainage from all showers & sinks)
Telecom Utility looking after all our own cellular, WiFi and satellite communications.
Weather Station maintaining up to date and highly accurate weather at all times is a BIG factor in keeping us safe, knowing where to be and more importantly where NOT to be at any given time and what anchorage is best for any given day’s weather.
Navigation System allowing us to know in great detail what is all around us both above and below the waterline in order to plot our routes safely.
Full Repair Shop. Christine and I are the only two people on board and so if something breaks or needs fixing or maintaining, as we often say “If these four hands don’t or can’t do it; it doesn’t get done. So we need both all the knowledge, skills and tools to fix every system and every piece of equipment onboard.
Equipment & Supply Store. We need to carry any and all parts and supplies that are needed to service and maintain all these systems and again, if it isn’t onboard, it doesn’t exist in our world.
I could go on for some time but you get the idea. The Commissioning Phase we are now in is all about getting all the components in all those systems up and running and getting them all adjusted so they work correctly and together. So while there isn’t as much to show and tell you about this week, there is a LOT of things going on in this critical phase. So without any further delay, come along for this week’s update for the week of March 15-20, 2021.
One important announcement before we begin.
We had an eXtremely eXciting start to this week when Captain Christine began her next circumnavigation of the Sun. I won’t give away the number of her new circumnavigation, let’s just say that the two digits add up to Lucky 13! We are sleeping on the boat now so I was able to have her wake up to this little surprise on Monday morning.
Möbius on the Move!
For a boat that is still experiencing a number of “installation issues” that are preventing Möbius from being able to move under her own power, we have sure been doing a lot of moving!
I’ve grabbed this shot from Google Earth to help show our different locations over the past few weeks.
Position #1 is where we have spent the most time on the End Dock Wall. #2 is where we were sandwiched between the Green and Red/White boats on the Side Dock Wall and #3 is where we are now on the outside wall of Setur Marina.
As you may recall from last week’s post our first move was to be towed off Position #1 on the end wall of the harbour over to #2 on the side wall between the big Green Monster and the Red/White power cat. This was our new view looking off our bow to the now empty end wall where we had been at position #1 for the past 2 weeks.
The reason for that move was because the little guy on the Right here was coming in to dock and get loaded up. As you can see there was barely enough dock space for our two little Red tugs, let alone us or any other boats. After loading that ship up he left and we were able to move back over to the end wall. One of the small harbour tugs came and hip tied himself to our Port side and quickly moved us back to the end wall again. That lasted until late afternoon on Thursday when we suddenly got the call that they needed to move us again because another long cargo ship was on its way in to dock on the end wall. If you look closely at the photo above (click to enlarge any photo), you will see that a new Coast Guard boat was now in our previous spot #2 between the Green and Red/White boats and so the only option was for them to move us over to Setur Marina which is only a few hundred meters away. With the help of the marina staff we Med Moored to this new dock #3 at the marina using two of the marina’s lines to our bow and then lines off both stern quarters to the dock. This is where I am typing this post right now and while our stay is temporary, Christine and I have been enjoying this first sight of Möbius tugging at her dock lines with Mother Ocean just off our bow and calling our name eXtremely loudly!
Ramazan and I were able to get several of the remaining cabinetry jobs done in the Super Salon this past week. He pulled out this back wall behind the 43” monitor on the far Right/Stbd side of the Main Helm and cut the slots for the return air to the Stbd Air Handler. It is a bit of a shame that this beautiful Ro$ewood panel will rarely be seen as it is hidden by the 43” monitor that is mounted here but it makes us smile every time we do. Simple and effective, these slots allow air to flow through them into the space behind where the Stbd side Air Handler lives and delivers either chilled air on AC or hot air in Heat mode to this side of the Salon. While Ramazan putting in those slots, I lent a hand to work on mounting the Dinette table which is a job I have been longing to do for months now.
This is the air assist pedestal and the XY slider setup from Zwaardvis that I have shown you below and now it was finally time to mount the table to it. This ingenious bit of hardware allows us to move the table 200mm/8” fore/aft and side to side enabling us to always have the Goldilocks Just Right position for the table. To reference the mounting I lowered the pedestal to put the table in “Bed” position and then moved the X and Y sliders underneath to allow movement in all 4 axis. I marked the slots on the feet of each slider with black pen as you can see here and I laid out two different positions; Passage Mode and Anchor Mode. To allow me to move between these two modes I installed these threaded metal inserts which gives me metal M6 threads to fasten the table to the XY slider. Fun Fact: I have had this set of threaded inserts for almost 40 years as I first used them when I was building bunk beds and other furniture before my 2 children were born!
I used a Forstner drill bit to carefully drill the flat bottom pilot holes and then you just install each metal insert with a hex socket to drive the external threads into the sides of the wooden holes. Et Voila! 16 metal inserts with M6 threads in them all ready to accept the SS M6 bolts I will use to mount the table to the XY Slider and Pedestal. You can see how this works now and I have also mounted the Black handle that unlocks the table and allows you to slide it wherever you want it to be. Here is the final result, this being in Anchor Mode dinning table position. From here you can move the table down and out in both directions to be in “Coffee Table” mode or all the way down into Bed mode or anywhere in between.
With so much more Commissioning work to be done I quickly covered it all in protective cardboard and painters tape for now. As you can imagine, we can’t wait to remove all of these protective coverings throughout our beloved Möbius and convert from the current construction zone mode to Beautiful Living mode!
Pole Dancing Anyone?
Nihat was back onboard for a bit this week and he installed what should be the last of the aluminium components on the SkyBridge which is this 40mm/1/5” AL pipe that does 2 important jobs; a wire chase to bring some of the cables for GPS and cameras mounted on the Roof down into the Upper Helm Station and ….. ……. a hand hold when standing and walking up in the open area of the SkyBridge.
This adds a 3rd pole onboard for the Captain to use in her Yoga Pole Dancing routines! And that’s a wrap for this week and I need to get back to trouble shooting some of the gremlins that have been creeping up with our steering, throttle and CPP Pitch angle controls.
Thanks for taking the time to join in the journey and hope you’ll be back for more again next week.
Möbius completed her second week afloat and I’m delighted to report that we ARE still floating and not a drop of seawater inside thank you very much! Christine and I spend all day aboard working our way through the still growing punch list of jobs for us and Team Möbius from Naval Yachts to work on and we sleep aboard each night for safety’s sake as she is still so new and the probability of some surprise that could endanger the boat will be high for the first month or so until we get all the systems up and running and fully tested.
So our routine is to get up at our usual 06:30 or so, walk the dogs and drive back to our apartment to make breakfast, shower, etc. and then head back to the boat. We do the same at the end of the work day here, whenever that ends up being and drive back to the apartment for dinner and then back to the boat for the night. It is working out well as a good way for us to start to familiarize ourselves with the boat’s systems and be here to help out the rest of Team Möbius with all their tasks to complete the work remaining to fully finish this beautiful boat. We have a few more things that need to be done before Möbius is fully seaworthy and safe to take out on her first sea trial run and if things go well we hope to do that this coming week so do be sure to join us here again next week to find out if that happened and how the first test run went.
As with the previous blog posts over the past month or so, I will do my best to cover the large range of “little” jobs that have been done so this will be more of the “fly through” style Show & Tell, where I will let the photos do most of the talking and just add a few comments for context and understanding.
AND …………. there is a special Bonus Video hot off the press from Captain Christine which will fully explain the references in this week’s title so be sure to hang in to the end for that!
If you haven’t done so already, grab a tasty beverage and a comfy seat and let’s dive right into this week’s Update.
Sing it with me ….. Möbius is her Name-O…
Some of you might recall seeing Mobius’ name and her Port of Registration in the Bailiwick of Jersey in black letters several months ago, but those were just temporary stick-on vinyl letters that were required to complete the registration paperwork in Jersey. This week the CNC cut aluminium letters finally showed up and Orhan and Ali quickly had them adhered to the Aft Transom wall for Captain Christine’s approval.
These letters are made out of 10mm thick aluminium and we will paint their outer surface Black for better visibility a bit later. But it was another one of those little things that makes her feel more and more like a “real boat” as we slowly get used to the idea that “Did we actually DO this?!!!”
* For the sharp eyed curious types, the little item above the E in Jersey is the bracket for for the door latch on the WT door behind Christine.
And the vertical gravestone looking item with the donut hole in it is a fair lead for bringing lines aboard from shore or other ships and up to the big Lewmar power winch on the Aft deck.
Orhan (Left) and Ali arranged the letters on the Aft Deck so we could decide on final spacing before the mounted them. Each letter of the boat’s name must be a minimum of 150mm/ 6” high to meet the Registration requirements of Jersey and most other countries and these are 180mm high. Wood strip to line up the bottoms of each letter and some painter’s tape to keep them in place overnight while the Grey Sikaflex cured. Jersey lettering is required to be at least 100mm / 4” high and ours are 120 / 4.75” so they all easily meet the size requirements and still seem to be in good proportions with the size of the Transom and Swim Platform. Ooops! Can’t forget the umlaut as that is the proper spelling of the Möbius strip which is a big part of the whole story behind why we chose this name.
For anyone not familiar with them a Möbius strip is a surface with only one side was discovered by the German mathematician Augus Ferdinand Möbius and hence the spelling. If you have not previously played with Strip or it has been awhile, then do yourself a favor and try making one for yourself (quick How-To HERE) and playing with this seemingly impossible surface as you cut it in half and other fun experiments.
** The sharp eyed amongst you might have also noticed when my left hand appears in some of the photos here, that the the wedding rings I designed and had cast from 3D printed wax models I made are also a Möbius Strip. But that’s a whole post in itself so I’ll leave that for later.
And here is the end result.
Sorry I didn’t get a better shot after removing the painter’s tape from the two umlauts but I’ll try for one next week with a shot of the whole Aft end of Möbius.
*** For the curious, the winch handle on the Left is used to open the two dogs that keep the AL door into our HazMat locker very tight and fully watertight.
Hinged Front Solar Panel Rack
Uğur finished installing these two hinged support posts that keep the front three 345W solar panels propped up when we are at anchor and want these panels to be horizontal or parallel to the waterline for best solar performance.
The other key reason for propping up these 3 Solar Panels on this hinged rack is to create the giant wind tunnel which captures even the slightest breezes coming over out bow when at anchor and funnels it through the large Black vertical mist eliminator grill you can see at the far end. After having most of the salty humidity removed by the Mist Eliminator grills this fresh air then fills a large plenum box above the ceiling in the center of the SuperSalon and is controlled via 5 diffusers in the ceiling panel which provides eXtremely good fresh air flow throughout the SuperSalon. In the raised position, the hinged posts fit into one of these Delrin sockets and are secured by the SS bolt. The tops of the posts are captured in this bracket with another SS Allen head bolt providing the hinge pin. When we want to get ready to head back out to see, or in high winds, we just lift the panel up a few inches and the ball ends of the posts can slide aft as they fold down with the hinged rack. Another one of the “Big little jobs” that got going this week was making the last 3 wooden liners that wrap around the inside AL surfaces of the 10 glass covered hatches on Möbius. Seven of these wood liners have been done for many months now as they are all made out of Ro$ewood and were done when the rest of the Rosewood interior was being made. These last three on the Aft Deck which bring lots of light and fresh air into my Workshop will be appropriately made from laminated marine wood and then painted White. Here you can see how these wood frames are a snug fit inside the 10mm thick AL frames of the hatches. Once each liner had been fully test fitted they were taken back to the Naval shipyard to finish them which included the two small cut-outs you can see in this photo for where the latches for the hatch handles will go. The top edge of these wooden liners need help create the groove and support surface for the edge seals that ring each hatch and make them completely watertight no matter what Mother Nature and Mother Ocean throw at us, so they were cut and fitted as part of the hatch installation. Trim-Lok is a very cool company that discovered after LOTS of research for the Goldilocks hatch seals. Trim-Lok was great to work with via their excellent web site which allows you to design your own edge seals using their “Hatch Seal Product Builder” site so last year I had designed these edge seals as part of my overall design of the hatches themselves. You can see how these edge seals have two connected parts to them, the U shaped rubber channel pointing to the Right here is lined with aluminium U-shaped “staples” which allow the edge to stay flexible as it wraps around the tight corner radius at each corner of the Hatch Frame and still grips the 10mm AL edge. The upper part on the Left here is the “bulb”, a hollow tube of EPDM rubber that provides the “squish” and the actual seal against the underside of the hatch lid and keeps all the water outside where it belongs. This is one of the Rosewood liners that goes into the Guest Shower, if you will please pardon the mess of construction debris, you can see how the top edge of the wood liners form both the inner groove where the edge seal fits over the AL frame and how the flat top surfaces of both the AL frame and the wood liner provide a very solid surface for the bottom of the EPDM bulb to be sandwiched and squished tight when the top of the bulb is pushed down by the closed hatch lid. Here is a closer shot during one of the test fittings so you can see how these seals work.
This attention to such details and my decision to design my own hatches is all part of my overall obsession about keeping all the water on the OUTSIDE of the boat! Our past experiences and that of most other sailors, has taught us that hatches are one of the prime culprits and most annoying of leaks on a boat so we set out to build some Goldilocks Just Right hatches that establish a strong fully watertight seal when closed and will stay that way for at least the next 10 years. *** Check back in with me here in 2031 for an update on how well these worked. For now though we are delighted with how well our hatches have turned out and in the coming week or so I will be able to show you the final step; mounting the custom designed hatch handles and latches.
STEERING our Course to Freedom
We left off last week with the beginning of the installation of the emergency manual steering wheel in the Main Helm and we finished that this week. We regard this as an “emergency” or backup steering system as we have several layers of fault tolerance designed into our primary Kobelt steering system with dual redundant double acting hydraulic steering cylinders and dual redundant Accu-Steer HPU 400 24 volt hydraulic steering pumps.
A the very bottom here, you can see how the SS adaptor we machined bolts to the Vetus steering wheel and then slides over the SS shaft coming out of the Bronze Kobelt 7012 manual hydraulic steering pump above.
The majority of the time this wheel will be taken off and stored somewhere nearby the Helm by simply loosening those two SS machine screws that clamp the wheel adaptor to the pump shaft. The elbow coming out of the top of the pump goes over to a 1 liter AL header tank we fabricated here and is mounted inside the triangular upper storage area on the Stbd/Right side of the Main Helm and keeps a steady “head” of hydraulic oil to feed this pump. When you turn the steering wheel the pump forces hydraulic oil out one of the two valves on the rear of the pump where you see the two red handled ball valves here, and those hoses go all the way back to the cylinders attached through the Tiler Arm to the Rudder Shaft and the boat turns. Way back in the Workshop we have been setting up and commissioning the two Accu-Steer HPU400 pumps, also owned by Kobelt, and this is a shot looking straight down at the Blue anodized AL manifold housing of the Stbd side HPU400. These are 2Speed pumps so the two silver cylinders in the middle here are where you adjust the High/Low Speeds but this is rarely needs any adjustment.
We have custom designed this whole steering system with Lance Lidstone and Keivan Ashouei and they have continued to provide us with outstanding support and assistance throughout the installation and now the setting up and commissioning of our whole steering system.
FYI, at maximum conditions these pumps are set to put out 1000 PSI of hydraulic pressure that gives us much more than we need under even the most severe scenarios. Just the way we like it and have designed all the systems onboard Möbius.
Keivan has been especially helpful via WhatsApp video calls at very early Am times for him and late PM for me. when we had a few problems with the initial settings on some of the control valves which one of the installers on this end had changed from the factory pre-set positions without me knowing but it was an easy fix once we identified it.
We also had a bit of a setback when one of our more “burly” installers got a bit too aggressive when tightening down the SS bleeder screws, one of which you can see at the top of this cylinder. These bleeder screws push a small SS check ball down against a seat machined as a chamfer in the brass end caps and if you don’t follow the Kobelt Installation Instructions (harrumph, harrumph!) and overtighten the bleeders more than the maximum 5 ft.lbs torque, they score a groove into the SS check ball as you can on this one.
Difficult to photograph but if you look closely and click to enlarge this photo (works on all photos in all blog Post s BTW) you will be able to see the groove cut into this SS check ball by the SS bleeder screw.
But as luck would have it and with the help of our “Turkish Fixer” Alaaddin, we were able to find a ball bearing that had the exact same 3.8mm diameter steel balls in it and by cutting this bearing open was able to end up with 7 brand new SS check balls!
To make matters much worse though, this excess force and force the SS ball into the soft brass seat damaging it as well. Easy to tell when this happens as the bleeder screw now leaks! Even more difficult to photograph this but if you enlarge and look closely at the bottom of this threaded port for the bleeder screw, you will see how you can badly deformed the brass seat is here. The solution I came up with was to remove the brass end caps as you see me doing here and then try to make a little tool that would cut a new seat in the brass and put it back to the original 118 degree angled chamfer. I was too busy making this custom tool bit and machining the new seat to take any photos but the good news is that it all seemed to work well and I was able to machine new seats on all four end caps.
Tune in next week to find out if this all really does work when we reassemble all the cylinders and put all 1000 PSI into them and see if we have any leaks.
Wish us luck! One of the other BIG little jobs that Ramazan checked off this past week was the installation of our 10 different fire extinguishers that are spread throughout the whole boat. We have doubled up on these as well with the one of the Right here being the traditional style most of you would be familiar with. Then we have doubled up with these rather new and totally awemazing fire extinguishers from Maus in Sweden. If you have not heard of these before please do check out the link above to the UK Maus site which has some very compelling video sequences showing how and how well these puppies work!
OK, I’ve saved THE BEST for last this week and hope you too will find it worth the wait. This is of course the reference to this week’s title and have you already guessed what this is all about?
NO! It is not in reference to the fact that Captain Christine says I bear a certain resemblance to Gene Wilder in this infamous scene from the fun movie Young Frankenstein.
Will this clue help you guess?
Hint; you are looking at the two high amp 24V cables going into Mr. Gee’s starter. How about this clue?
Yes, that is Mr. Gee’s engine coolant water temperature gauge.
Hint: check out the temperature even if it is a bit blurry. Obvious right??!!!!!
Ahhhh, heck, why don’t you just watch the fun even by playing the short little video clip below that Christine just finished putting together as that will be MUCH better than my belaboured and boring explanation.
Click PLAY below and enjoy!
That’s right! He’s ALIVE!!!!!!!
After a gestation period of almost 5 years and a LOT of work along the way to fully restore this 1971 Gardner 6LXB marine engine to his original if not better than factory new condition, Mr. Gee has been “reborn” and his newest “Birth Day” is now March 6th, 2021.
It all went down just as you see in the video above. After topping Mr. Gee up with fresh water, oil, diesel fuel, saltwater cooling heat exchangers and priming his fuel injection system, he lit up on first crank, first time! I’m not even going to start telling you more as I won’t be able to stop myself from going on and on and on, even more than I usually do if that is within the realm of believability. Instead I’ll just let you enjoy the video as I go join my Beautiful Bride and Captain Christine as we enjoy this MAJOR Milestone for us and we toast Mr. Gee’s Birth Day and wish that he will start up first time every time during his next lifetime and ours.