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
Another hot and busy week onboard the Good Ship Möbius here in the Finike marina as we continue to work on the seemingly endless ToDo list of jobs we need to complete to get Möbius fully ship shape to the degree that we can be confident to go to sea on her. Weather here continues to be wonderful although the daytime temps have been creeping up to the mid 30’s (mid 90’s for those who are metric challenged) but we have the AirCon working very well now and use that to cool down Christine’s office during the daytime, the SuperSalon for dinners and our Master Cabin just before we head off to bed. The “eXcessive” EPDM insulation we installed throughout the boat is really paying great dividends now as it keeps the heat out and the cooled down temps in so the loads on our AirCon chiller system are minimized.
This great weather, which is normal for us in this part of Turkey, also inspired Captain Christine to take to the air as she started to log more hours with our DJI Mavic Air 2 drone. We’ve had it for quite a while but have both been so busy with boat work that we just have not had the time to fly it and become familiar with it. Christine will put together some videos she took with it and post these a bit later for you to enjoy and I can give you this aerial view of Möbius as a teaser.
This is where we are tied up at Finike Marina and will give you a different perspective on what Möbius looks like from above. Easy to see the 14 solar panels from this viewpoint.
Flying a bit further away to give you this view looking back at Möbius to help orient you as to where we are within the marina. You can Click to enlarge this or any other photo.
This pano shot from a bit further out will give you a better sense of our surroundings and where we go for our evening swim after quitting work every day.
You may recall that back in June we drove up to a big hardware store north of us to pick up a new air compressor for the Workshop and after testing it out and thinking over the best location, I got around to permanently mounting it this week.
Reminding you that this is a WORK shop, so a bit messy, but you can see the white Kuletas compressor mounted underneath the Aft end of my Port/Left side workbench.
This is one of the newer types of compressors that has two motors each with two compressors so four compressors all together. This enables each one to be smaller and run at lower RPM’s and run eXtremely quietly! I can hear it come on when I’m in the workshop but it doesn’t interrupt a conversation and you can’t hear it at all outside of the workshop.
This air compressor is a super handy bit of kit to have and in addition to using it to power some pneumatic tools, clean tight passages out and blow up inflatable kayaks and the like, we use this to provide air to breathe using our Hookah or Snuba gear to work underneath or dive down to about 20m/65ft up to 100 feet around the boat.
It was definately a shoehorned fit with less than 1cm to clear at the top but this location keeps the compressor out of the way, easy to service and uses an otherwise not so usable wedge shaped space.
And of course we continue to have some “infant mortality” jobs on the list such as when this seam in our brand new sand filter burst and started spraying seawater all over the Workshop.
While I hunt down a newer and better version I have just bypassed this for now and run the seawater supply to our Delfin 200L/hr watermaker through just our primary and secondary sediment filters for now. These “media” or sand filters are most commonly used for swimming pools so many of you will recognize this. However they are the secret weapon for dramatically reducing the maintenance of a watermaker by filtering out almost everything down to about 5 microns prior to going to the two sediment filters. We would normally need to clean those filters every 10 hours of use and replace them every month or so whereas with the media filter in front, the sediment filters last for over a year.
What I will do for the rest of this posting is go through the belt drive system I designed and built to power the seawater pump and Electrodyne alternator mounted on the front of Mr. Gee. I’ve been reminded by several of you that I promised to do this many months ago so my thanks for your patience in waiting until now. Hope the wait will have been worth it.
To put this all in context, I had a relatively large seawater pump and two very large alternators that I needed to mount on Mr. Gee our Gardner 6XB and then drive them both from his crankshaft.
The seawater pump weighs about 7kg/15lbs and each of the Electrodyne 250A @ 24V alternators weigh 40kg/88lbs so the mounting system needs to be eXtremely strong and solid. Both the pump and the alternator require a good bit of power to drive them so the drive system needed to be equally as tough and to be up for this task of years of trouble free service.
I won’t go into much detail on this but the seawater pump pulls seawater direct from the sea chest in the Engine Room and then pumps this water through three heat exchangers/coolers, one to cool engine oil, one to cool the engine’s water/antifreeze coolant and one to cool the Nogva gearbox oil before it finally and perhaps most importantly gets sprayed into the exhaust elbow to cool down the exhaust gas and then exit out of the boat.
If this pump fails for any reason, the engine would overheat quickly and cause some extreme damage. Both of these bits of kit are therefore very critical to keeping the boat running, the seawater pump in particular so I needed to come up with a design that would be as bullet proof as possible.
There are two of these big red Electrodyne brutes which have a de-rated output of 250A @ 24V and each one weighs in at 40kg/88lbs and can take up to 20HP to drive at maximum output so their mounting and driving systems have to be equally as eXtreme.
However this essentially gives us the equivalent of a 12kW “generator” whenever Mr. Gee is running so these ensure that we never have any shortage of amps to keep our batteries fully charged and power all our electrical systems whenever we are underway.
Of course we are at anchor much more than we are underway so our 4.4kWp solar array keeps the batteries fully charged the majority of the time.
But how to mount them and drive them was the big question?
Direct PTO Mounting for Electrodyne #1
Mounting one of the #1 Electrodyne alternator was relatively easy as Gardner LXB engines have a dedicated PTO driven system for driving one alternator. I had a short jack shaft in my spare parts that I was able to machine some adaptors for that connect the end of the jack shaft to the PTO output and the input shaft of the Electrodyne.
Then I was able to machine some other adaptors for these ribs where the alternator body bolts directly to the side of the Gardner crankcase.
Using this Black metal band strap to hold it all together. KISS and eXtremely strong, what’s not to like?
As you can see this was quite the shoehorned fit but was relatively straightforward to do compared to coming up with a way of mounting the second Electrodyne.
Mounting Big Red #2
Physically mounting the second alternator was actually not too difficult thanks to the nice large flat mounting pad that the Gardner 6LXB’s have on their front Left corner. This was originally used to mount things such as air compressors on the automotive version of LXB’s used in trucks or to mount water pumps on the marine versions. I had another place in mind for the seawater pump so I used this mounting pad for the second Electrodyne instead.
Pretty straight forward, I machined two 25mm thick AL plates and drilled them to match the spacing of the four threaded holes that were already in the mounting pad.
Then I machined and drilled the riser for the through bolt on the bottom of the Electrodyne and welded this all together.
This created a super solid mounting system for this second Electrodyne. Then I fabricated a SS bar that connects to the red tab you see just in front of my knuckles here, which holds the alternator in its final position and it was now fully mounted.
But how to drive this second Electrodyne AND the sea water pump was the big question!
Mounting the Jabsco 6400 Series Sea Water Pump
Having used the Left side mounting pad on the Gardner for Big Red #2 I now needed to come up with an equally robust mount for the Jabsco seawater pump.
As you can see the pump has a simple flat mounting pad on the bottom with four bolt holes to fasten it down and wanting to KISS (Keep It Simple & Safe) I decided to go with an equally simple flat bar of 25mm thick AL which I could quite easily mount vertically over on the Right side of Mr. Gee.
Didn’t take me long to fabricate this mounting bar, bolt the Jabsco pump to it and create some simple mounts for this bar to bolt onto the front right side of Mr. Gee.
As with the Electrodyne alternators, the mounting part of this puzzle was relatively easy, now on to the bigger challenge of driving both the water pump and the alternator.
Designing the Drive System
I spent a LOT of time sketching out ideas on my favorite medium; old cardboard boxes! I would sketch up very rough ideas of every possible drive system I could imagine and pulled lots of dimensions off of Mr. Gee, the Electrodyne and the Jabsco sea water pump as I refined the design.
As my idea took shape I started searching for the components I would need for the actual drive components such as the pulleys for the belt and what their requirements were for power, RPM, etc..
I knew this was going to be a rubber belt drive system but traditional V-belts were just not up for the job even if I used two or three of them and they tend to slip quite easily if the belt tension is not just right and very tight. They also require very close alignment or else they start to wear and through black rubber dust all over the engine room.
Ask me how I know all this?!!
For a long while I thought I was going to use a multi V serpentine belt drive setup, As per this nice lineup of different V belt types of pulleys, you can see that these multi rib belts and pulleys are able to handle much bigger loads and are more durable. These are used on millions of cars and trucks around the world to drive their alternators, water pumps, etc. so they are well proven.
Better yet, I already had two of these as they came with the Electrodyne alternators I already had on hand. You can see one inside the white rectangle on the left.
However, this still left me with having to custom build a multi V groove pulley to drive all this off of the front end of Mr. Gee’s crankshaft and one to mount on the keyed shaft of the Jabsco water pump. Not a big deal in and of itself, BUT if I was going to have to build custom pulleys, why not go for an even better belt drive system?
Good – Better – Best
Traditional V belt drives are good and serpentine multi groove V belts are better but cogged belts are THE best when it comes to driving high power shafts. My Harley Davidson motorcycles used these instead of chain drives so I was very familiar with them and how well they worked.
Many of you might know of these and refer to them as “timing belts” as they are used in millions of gas and diesel engines in cars, trucks, busses and boats around the world to very accurately drive the camshaft in those engines. In that job they are required to have zero “slip” or else the timing of the valves opening and closing won’t work and they need to be eXtremely long lasting as replacing them can be very expensive due to all the labour required to remove and replace them on most engines.
Once I got onto that line of thinking the choice was simple. Amongst other benefits these cogged belts gave me the following benefits:
- Tried and True having been used for decades in millions if not billions of exiting engines
- Readily available to buy new ones around the world if ever needed. (I of course have two spare on hand already)
- Zero slip = zero belt dust = super accurate tachometer sensing on the alternator
- fast, easy, tool-less belt changing
- automatic tensioning with readily available spring loaded tensioners used in those millions of other engines
- low axial (sideways) loads on the bearings of the alternator and water pump which in my experience is the #1 cause of failure.
- Dead quiet operation; no belt squealing or squeaking
As you can see, this decision was easy, now on to designing a way to make this all work and find the cogged belt drive pulleys I would need to buy or make.
McMaster-Carr to the Rescue!
Where do you go when you have these kinds of needs for mechanical parts?? THE best source I know of, which also happens to have one of THE best designed web sites I’ve ever used; McMaster-Carr.
Within seconds, I got to this page that had eXactly what I needed.
A full range of these beautifully machined cogged belt pulleys. Took me a few more hours playing around with different sizes for the three pulleys I needed to get the RPM just right for the outputs of the water pump and the alternator;
* one large 142mm pitch diameter for the main drive off the Crankshaft,
* one medium size 142mm pitch diameter to drive the Jabsco pump at its sweet spot of output when Mr. Gee is at 1400 RPM cruising speed
* and one smaller 66 Pitch diameter pulley to drive the Electrodyne at its Goldilocks RPM.
In addition to the three pulleys; I also ordered the just right sized cog belts made by Gates. Only one belt is needed but I ordered 3 so I have two for spares in the unlikely event that one belt breaks at some point.
The real Pièce de résistance though came when I happened to notice down at the very bottom of the McMaster-Carr page you see up above, these “quick disconnect bushings”.
Took me a few minutes to realize just how ingenious this design was and the short story is that the smaller diameter of the quick disconnect part in my hand has a slight taper to it which fits into the matching inner hole of the cogged pulleys.
This allows the Quick Connect to slide all the way inside the cogged belt pully and you’ll notice that these Quick Connects are slit on one side opposite the keyway.
Holding the two parts together you tighten down the three bolts which forces the tapered QC to expand and jam itself tightly onto both the keyed shaft and the outer cogged pulley.
You will be forgiven for not sharing my eXcitement but for me this mounting system to attach the cogged belt pulleys to just about any size of keyed shaft was was like a gift from the mechanical gods. I quickly added three to my order and it was on its way to me.
Putting All the Puzzle Pieces Together
I now had all the pieces for this fun puzzle but still had to design it all up so that it could be installed on Mr. Gee. So I turned to my favorite 3D modeller, Autodesk’s Fusion 360 and was able to convert all my cardboard sketches into 3D models of each of the pieces and then accurately position them.
McMaster-Carr provides 3D model files for everything they sell so I could quickly download the three pulleys and three Quick Connect fittings. Took a bit longer to create the 3D models for the Jabsco pump and the Gardner parts surrounding the crankshaft but with those on my screen I could then try out different positions within the constraints I had from Mr. Gee.
This was additionally challenged by the fact that I had also designed a custom version of the Gardner chain drive hand starter system which is the black line diagram you see overlaid here.
Things were particularly “interesting” and close fitting down around the crankshaft where I needed to fit the red chainwheel for the hand starting chain and then come up with the Blue AL adaptor for it to spin on which in turn would be just the right spacing for the cogged belt pulley mounted on the custom Olive Green adaptor to attach the cogged pulley to the crankshaft.
As you may have figured out by now I don’t throw ANYTHING away and so I had kept the original 4 V belt pulley that came with Mr. Gee, even though it had a large piece of it broken away. But this gave me the center piece that was already machined to just right fit on the keyed end of Mr. Gee’s crankshaft so I cut it out with a plasma gun and used it ….
….. to quickly machine it into this part which is the Olive Green part in the 3D model above.
After making a few more parts, I could now dry assemble everything to see how well my 3D modeling transformed into the real world on the front of Mr. Gee.
Now to test how the belt fit and if all the pulley’s aligned with each other in all three planes so the belt would run true and free with no binding or chafing.
Worked out great!
BUT, there was still one critical part missing.
Can you figure out what that missing part is?
Correct! I need to add in that spring loaded automatic belt tensioner!
To mount this onto the front of Mr. Gee in just the right fore/aft position so that the black idler pulley rides exactly in the center of the rubber cogged belt, I needed to space it out about 38mm so I quickly used by drill press/milling machine to build this solid AL spacer.
Next I made up a template for the 10mm thick AL plate that this would mount onto.
Bolted that to the Gardner cast AL support bracket supporting the cast AL cooling water holding tank, held the spring loaded tension wheel out of the way while I slid the cogged belt into lace and released the tensioner.
Et Voila! It all came together and works like a charm.
Final piece of this multipart puzzle was to add in the chain drive hand crank system to make sure all the many players in this very busy front end all played nice together.
You can see just how tight some of these clearances were in all this but it worked out just as I had modelled it, all the belt pulleys and chain wheels aligned with each other so they were all happy and it has been running like a charm for the past few months now.
Whew! Sure glad I was finally able to put this all together for you and for those who were brave enough and preserved to get to the end of this long and winding explanation. Congrats to all of you who did and for the smart ones who just skipped to the end.
I’ll leave you with one parting shot from Christine’s recent photo shot with the drone. It is a bit distorted with such a wide angle but this is looking across the entrance to the marina where Möbius is a bit left of center along that stone breakwater.
Thanks for joining me here again and don’t forget to add your comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
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.
I’m going to depart from the usual Show & Tell weekly update posting here today and do something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time and continue to get requests for. It will be less Show/photo based and more Tell/text based than usual so it may not be your cup of tea and please feel free to skim and speed read accordingly.
Over the 5+ years of designing and building what is now XPM78-01 Möbius, I have very gratefully received a lot of recommendations for our followers and others we meet, for equipment and bits of kit they think we should install.
This always leads Christine and I to researching and learning as much about each item as we can and that in itself has been eXtremely valuable and helpful. Many people have been surprised at our decisions as to what bits of kit we do decide to use and those that we don’t and have been curious as to our reasons and our process for making these decisions which by now, likely run into the thousands.
I have done my best to answer these questions when they appear here as comments on the blog or ones I receive via Email or text messages and these have often led to valuable exchanges in the discussion section. However, I’ve been meaning to write a better response that outlines our decision making process for a long time and that is what I’m going to do my best at today.
For more details than you probably want with the background and context of our thinking around these topics you can refer to THIS blog post from back in April 2018. In that post you will find two summative points I made that will provide some context to this article;
- the byline of our purpose to be “Wandering, Wondering and Pondering the world one nautical smile at a time”
- and that we were setting out to; “ design and build an exceptional long range Passage Maker that is strong, safe, fast, fun and efficient, serving as our full time home along with the infrequent guests who join us on expeditions exploring the most remote locations of the world in exceptional safety and comfort.”
Lastly, let me be sure to be clear that ALL of what you will read below is framed within the context of two primary points:
1. Our only application here is for an XPM type of boat that is going to be used as intended to live up to that moniker of eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker.
2. This is all about our pursuit of what we called “Project Goldilocks”, wherein we set out to design and build the just right boat, just for us to live and learn on for the indefinite future.
All our decisions are made within this Goldilocks concept of just right, just for us and while we hope and hear that the sharing our our thinking and our experiences is of some use and value to other cruisers, please don’t misconstrue any of this to be what is “best” for any other boat or sailors.
Decision Making Process:
As with most decision making I think, ours is not a linear step by step process and is more of an ongoing series of discussion, mostly between Christine and myself, which cycle and loop through many different categories but for the sake of this explanation, let me outline the basic categories that we cycle through.
Over the combined years and nautical smiles that we’ve both logged while sailing the world, a set of “first principles” emerged and during the very early days of designing Möbius, after a LOT of discussions between us, we synthesized these down to four: Safety Comfort Efficiency Maintenance or SCEM for short.
Oxford defines First Principles as;
“the fundamental concepts or assumptions on which a theory, system, or method is based”
It was a long and winding but very fun and rewarding effort to boil the results of our discussions down to a “reduction sauce” of SCEM and then articulate what each of these meant to us, but these first principles proved to be invaluable throughout the entire design and build of Möbius and has been generating growing dividends ever since as we continue to use them almost every day.
I don’t think it makes sense to try to put SCEM in any order as they are all important but it would also be true to say that Safety ranks up at the top of our decision making. Safety is also somewhat synonymous with confidence which is a value that we MUST have before we will ever head out to sea or even “just” be on anchor in our floating home.
Safety in this context is primarily the safety of ourselves and our passengers as well as those around us. Whenever we find ourselves in some kind of severe unexpected situation at sea one of us literally asks the other “Is anyone going to die?” and that bifurcates the discussion and our decision making from there. Given our use case of having Möbius take us to some of the most remote locations in the world where we often find ourselves quite totally alone and in some very eXtreme environments, it is not any exaggeration to say that our lives do quite literally depend upon our boat and our ability to use her and it is within this context that safety factors into every decision we make and every bit of kit we install.
It isn’t a “bit of kit” but this first principle of Safety also influenced our very purposeful design of Möbius to be easily mistaken for a military, coast guard, police type boat with a “don’t mess with me” vibe. This all relates back to our use case of being in eXtremely remote locations and locations where conditions ashore are unknown and possibly have people who might be motivated to approach us with mal intent if they see a bright and shiny “superyacht” off their shore.
Two other very quick and different examples, out of hundreds at least, to illustrate our safety based decisions;
1. Anchoring and ground tackle.
We prefer to anchor rather than use mooring fields or marinas and SWAN or Sleep Well At Night becomes of paramount concern every night, and day we stay anchored. Our basic tenants for choosing anchor and ground tackle might be summed up as “go big or go home” in that we go with the largest and most bulletproof anchor, chain, windlass, etc. that we can carry.
We only want one main anchor on the boat such that EVERY time we put the anchor down we know our best bit of kit is holding us in place be that for an hour’s lunch stop or for weeks or more through storms and all that Mother Nature can test us with.
In keeping with another theme in our decision making of only going with “Tried & True”, for our anchor we went with a Rocna, the same brand of anchor that had served us flawlessly through over 12 years of sailing our 52’ steel cutter “Learnativity” and just upsized it to about the largest one they make at 110kg/242lbs. This is attached to 120m/400’ of 13mm / 1/2” G4 galvanized chain and a Maxwell VWC 4000 windlass.
2. FLIR One thermal camera.
In last week’s post, you saw a vivid example of the value of this small bit of kit that I used to identify the faulty wiring that had severely overheated and could have easily resulted in a fire and further damage. An odd item that you won’t find included on too many other boat’s list of Safety Equipment but I think last week’s use alone will explain why this is on our list of Safety Equipment.
Comfort in this context is somewhat synonymous with Safety because if we don’t have a boat that allows us to do what we do without being beat up when conditions get rough, or there is equipment that is not comfortable and convenient to use, then we won’t be as likely to use it.
Comfort takes on an eXtremely important role as it encompasses what keeps us wanting to sail further, go to more places, stay longer in those we enjoy and so on. You will often hear those of us who are full time live aboards or spend most of the year living on our boats say that “we are not camping”! For us, this is our home and our life and most of our days so designing and building a boat that will “… take us on expeditions exploring the most remote locations of the world in exceptional safety and comfort.” as I noted in the old April 2018 post I linked to above.
Examples here would include some of the obvious such as eXtremely comfortable Helm Chairs as one of us usually needs to spend most of our waking time on passages sitting in them and when conditions get rough these seats need to keep us comfortably in place and able to fully control the boat while seated.
Less obvious Comfort related items would include things like our paravane stabilisers which dramatically reduce roll both while at sea and on anchor and make life aboard both much more comfortable and safer.
Lack of comfort on an global passage maker such as Möbius would also result in fatigue, aches and pains which would lead to poor and possibly dangerous decisions at sea.
We use Efficiency in an all encompassing way here as it applies to everything from fuel efficiency to cost efficiency to time efficiency. These are often very interrelated to themselves as well as to the other three First Principles of SCEM. Fuel efficiency is obviously related to cost efficiency but less obvious perhaps is the efficiency of things like insulation of the hull and all our bulkheads. This high degree of insulation adds to our overall efficiency in multiple ways such as reducing the energy requirements of our HVAC systems (Heating Ventilation And Cooling) to keep the interior of the boat as cool or warm as we wish. Better insulation also makes the whole boat much quieter, keeping each cabin sonically isolated from both the sounds of others in or on the boat as well as some of the sounds of the sea in big storms which can add to the stress of the situation and which in turn can compromise safety.
Less obvious perhaps are things such as electrical efficiency with sizing everything from wires and cables to batteries, inverters, chargers, refrigeration, HVAC and indeed almost all of our electrical equipment. We have to produce all our own electricity and therefore efficiency in producing every watt and then using every watt most efficiently allows us such “luxuries” as being able to be at anchor indefinitely.
We must also produce all our own Potable water for drinking, cooking, bathing, etc. as this is critical to our self sufficiency and health. Therefore being able to produce all our own fresh water most efficiently in terms of the energy our watermaker requires and the time it takes to do so, factors into our decision making and thus another example of the key role efficiency plays in our decision making and equipment selections.
Actually this should probably be LM as it is all about LACK of Maintenance, but this First Principle also drives a lot of our decisions in the design and building of Möbius. Pretty much everything on a boat, no different than a house or a car, requires maintenance to keep all their bits and pieces working properly, looking good and lasting as long as possible. On a boat, and especially on an XPM boat, the conditions we operate in are much more severe and harsh. Imagine if your home was constantly being shaken, sometimes quite gently as in a swaying tree house, but sometimes shaken quite violently as if it were perched atop the Disneyland Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Add to this being immersed within salt water and humid salty air and you can begin to appreciate why cruisers often joke that their life is spent moving from one exotic repair destination to the next!
What raises Lack of Maintenance to being a First Principle for us though is what we call the “two hand rule” which we illustrate by holding up our two hands and saying “See these? If something breaks or stops working, these are the only two things that can fix it”. For most of us, doing our own maintenance is the only way we can afford to life this life and for the less sane of us, we actually enjoy working on our boats. Up to a point at least. On a more serious note, in our use case we NEED to be able to fix our boats ourselves by having the neccessary tools, materials, parts and skills because we are often in places or out at sea where we are the ONLY people present. There is no one else to call for parts, tools or expertise and even if there was they couldn’t get to you. In this context then, being able to do your own maintenance and fixing can become something your life depends upon.
In our case examples of decisions we have made that are highly influenced by the Maintenance or lack thereof principle, are things such as deciding to build an aluminium boat and to leave it all raw and unpainted. Aluminium naturally forms a thin almost invisible layer of Aluminium Oxide on the surfaces exposed to air which therefore creates an eXtremely hard inert protective coating that requires zero maintenance on our part.
Lack of Maintenance also drove other exterior decisions such as having no paint, no stainless, and no wood. In addition to the significant reduction in Maintenance, these decisions also go towards cost efficiency as repainting a boat, keeping it all clean and shiny and varnished, is also eXtremely eXpen$ive so the benefits start to multiply.
Another good example of this decision making process and how our first principles often multiply each other is our choosing to go with Carbon Foam FireFly batteries. We literally live off our batteries as we have no generator (also less maintenance and more comfort) and these Carbon Foam batteries are about as bullet proof as batteries get, require almost no maintenance, have extremely long cycle life and are eXtremely cost effective.
Whew! As usual, your brevity challenged author has yet again applied his mastery of neverasentencewhenaparagraphwilldo to make this go much longer than originally intended and so I’m going to stop here and follow the lead of the truly talented author onboard, Captain Christine Kling, and turn this book aka article, into a multi part series.
Here are some examples of topics I will cover in the next parts of this series about how and why we make the decisions and chose the equipment that we install on Möbius:
- 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 Tech or Tried & True?
- Valuation? Is it the best value?
Perhaps the most important reason for stopping here and turning this into a series of articles is to pause to ask YOU if this is the kind of content you want and find useful???
I’m not suggesting that this will become the new form for all my future articles as I think it only fits a few topics and I will continue to produce the Show & Tell articles as the work on finishing and then cruising on Möbius continues. However I would be eXtremely appreciative if you would add a short comment in the “Join the Discussion” box below to let me know your thoughts on this type of content, and the Show & Tell ones as well so I can get a better feel for what’s working best for you and what’s not? What would you like more of/less of? What topics would you like me to address that I have not so far?
I can’t promise that I can or will do all that you ask but I do promise to take your suggestions into account as I continue to write and post here on the Mobius.World blog. My thanks in advance to all your feedback and assistance in improving my writing. As you’ve clearly seen I can use ALL the help I can get!!
Hope to have you back again to join me next week.
Alas, the milestone of moving under our own power has eluded us for another week but next week is looking very promising for Möbius’ first of many sea trials. We continue to experience a series of “installation issues” that have prevented our Kobelt hydraulic steering system and Kobelt Throttle/Pitch controls to work as they should and so without steering and propulsion we haven’t been going too far other than being towed. But the fuel economy has been fabulous!
As with last week, with less progress than usual and not much of it being very visual, I don’t have as much content as usual for this week’s Show & Tell Progress Update, but grab a comfy seat and something tasty to drink and let’s get started with what I can show you about the past week of March 22-28, 2021.
Nazar Boncuğu Keeps Us Safe!
Many of you may already be familiar with Nazar Boncuğu aka “Turkish Evil Eye” as they are the most popular tourist souvenir of all and these captivating cast glass blue eyes have found themselves being transported to homes and boats all over the world, including ours. As is the tradition, we have one right outside the front door of our apartment for the past 3+ years. When Christine and I first came to Turkey back in 2014 so Christine could do her meticulous research for her next book at the time which became Knight’s Cross, we saw these Turkish Eyes warding off evil spirts on the bows almost every fishing boat in the many harbours we visited so of course we had to have them on Möbius’ bow too!
While they can be found in shops almost everywhere, we wanted the Goldilocks Just Right version of Nazar Boncuğu and last week Christine spotted these two beauties in a specialty glass shop in Antalya and knew that these were it!
As you can see in this photo, right now our pair are basking in the sun atop one of our Ro$ewood Galley Garages where they do look resplendent with the light coming off the water, but they are destined to be securely adhered to the bow next week so do stay tuned for those shots.
Do I See Light at the End of this eXtremely Looooong and Winding Tunnel?
In many ways, this whole adventure began back in March 2015 when Christine and I were making the 3000nm passage from Majuro in the Marshall Islands, down to Suva in Fiji.
We had spent almost a year in Majuro which we are very much looking forward to returning to on our previous 52ft steel sailboat Learnativity and we had an awemazing 3 week passage down to …..
. ………. Suva with stops along the way at the island nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu along the way.
I had given Christine a copy of Robert Beebe’s “passagemaking bible” Voyaging Under Power and she was reading it on the passage down to Fiji and we would discuss it a lot as we sailed south. Over the course of that 2+ week passage, we both became more and more aware of just how different passagemaking under power would be compared to sailing which we both knew and loved so much.
By the time we got to Suva we had made the transition from thinking of switching from sail to power as a fun joke to being a real vision of our future. As do most adventures I think, certainly most of mine, they begin when you start following your curiosity and now, six years later, we can see that this was when the adventure of designing and building Project Goldilocks, as we called it at the time,
In those six years we have gone from a very big vision to an eXtremely big reality and the path along the way has been like most of our adventures, one that includes several storms and other challenges along the way but always worth it for the joys at the end as one adventure transitions into the next. We are not quite at the end of this latest adventure as the build continues, but we are now living more and more onboard and we grown increasingly eXcited about bringing this adventure to a close and beginning the next one back out on the ocean, eXperiencing the new storms and joys of what promises to be a very different type of voyaging under power for the first time.
Installation Issues Getting Resolved
The most recent set of “storms” for us has been a series of what I will simply refer to as “installation issues” which we have needed to resolve before we can begin to voyage under power for the first time on our first of what will be many, sea trials to shake as many gremlins out of the brand new Möbius and have as much of what is often referred to as “infant mortality” as possible before we finally leave Antalya in our wake. This less than appealing term “infant mortality” is actually quite accurate in the context of a newly built custom boat as it refers to the several cases we are sure to have where brand new equipment and a brand new boat, will have items that are DoA or have not been installed correctly and fail to work as they should. So far we have had very few new bits of kit that have been DoA on arrival but we have had a number of installation problems that have been keeping us from being able to go on our first voyage under power; our first sea trial!
This past week I have been working closely with our new electrician Ismail and along with some continuing eXemplary technical support from Lance, Keivan and Hicham at Kobelt Canada. I have been working with Lance to design our steering and control systems for about four years now all together, and I can’t say enough about all of them at Kobelt who have been up in the very early morning for them in Vancouver, late evening for me here in Antalya, in order that we can do some live video calls for a techie version of Show & Tell as we went through hydraulic setups, wiring and they could watch what the moving components were doing, hear the sounds when they mattered and really be as close to being here in person with me as is possible. As it turns out, all of the equipment from Kobelt arrived working as designed but the extensive list of items involved from hydraulic pumps, cylinders and valves to electronic controls and autopilot systems have been installed over the past 18 months and we are only now connecting all the parts together and there have been some issues along the way.
Three weeks ago the problem was that we weren’t getting pressure to the hydraulic steering cylinders, then two weeks ago we were having a long lag in time between when the Throttle or Pitch control levers were moved at one of the Helm Stations and when the lever on the Actuator box in the Engine Room moved and hence when the Throttle/Pitch cables and levers moved. This past week we have been having difficulty getting the CPP Pitch Angle Gauges at each helm to communicate the correct Pitch Angle as the Pitch Control Levers were moved Ahead/Astern. It goes as does most problem solving, you trace your way back to where you began, compare the schematics and guidelines from the manufacturers to the actual “as built” installation and you find the differences between those and fix them. Sounds simple, and it is, but it sure can take time and effort to follow these long and winding paths.
Perhaps it has been thanks to those two Turkish Evil Eyes being onboard that we have been on a solution per week schedule and the first two problems had been resolved in the previous two weeks, and I am delighted to report that as of last night (Saturday 27th March here) Ismail and I have the Pitch Angle gauges working and mounted back where they belong at each Helm Station! We have tested all this with here at the dock Mr. Gee thrumming away and our Nogva CPP churning the clear waters underneath making Möbius tug at her dock lines. Once all the other critical jobs have been finished such as finishing the deck hatches so they all close and seal properly, finishing and testing the fire hose and a still rather long punch list of other jobs, we will be *almost* good to go!
Almost, because there remains one last major and eXtremely critical system that needs to be finished before Möbius is seaworthy enough for her first sea trials; Navigation System. This involves getting the key elements of our whole Furuno Navigation system working and configured as this includes things like our Radar, AutoPilots, VHF radio, AIS (Automatic Information System) and all the related screens, computers and black boxes which controls all that navigation equipment. Good on that front is that Captain Christine has been leading her very own team of technicians which Naval has sub-contracted with to assist with getting the eXtremely multi-faceted navigation system of hardware and software all wired, inter-connected and configured.
For those interested in the details of our navigation system and to give the rest of you an idea of what all is involved, here is a quick overview of some of the individual bits of kit Christine and I have pulled together to build our Steering & Navigation system**
** FYI, on the Mobius.World blog site, there is a complete list of all the equipment in all the systems on Möbius available under the tab at the very top ribbon called “The Boat” which you can see by clicking HERE.
Here is the list of the components in our Steering, Navigation and Communications systems which are very intertwined:
Primary STEERING x2 Kobelt Designed dual fully redundant hydraulic systems
2x Kobelt Accu-Steer HPU400 pumps
2x Kobelt 7080-B12 Balanced cylinders
STEERING Controls x2 Kobelt NFU jog levers @ Main & Upper Helms
Kobelt 7176 wired “Walk About” handheld remote station @ both Helms
auto pilots x2 Furuno 711C Auto Pilots, 2 independent units for redundancy
Steering Backup………. Kobelt manual hydraulic pump @ Main Helm w/ steering wheel
Emergency Tiller stored in ER, attaches direct to Tiller Arm w/ block & tackle controllers
main helm monitors… 2x LiteMax NavPixel 19” touchscreen 1600 nits @ 1280 x 1024
1x 43” LiteMax Durapixel sunlight readable 1600 nits @ 3840×2160
1x Samsung 50” SmarTV
upper SkyBridge monitors x2 LiteMax NavPixel 24” touch, 1000 nits @ 1920 x 1080
Navigation software x2 Time Zero Professional w/ Sounder + Radar modules
x1 RosePoint Coastal Explorer
x3 Navionics on Tablets
charts:….. Full set of Navionics World Mega-Wide charts on Furuno/TimeZero
Full set of Navionics/C-Map charts on Coastal Explorer
Main helm PC………. Micro ATX tower
Intel I7-9700, 16GB Ram, 1TB SSD, GTX 1660 6G OC Graphics card
Skybridge PC Kingdell Fanless mini PC, Intel I7-1051 16GB Ram, 512GB SSD
gateways:… RosePoint Nemo, NEMA 0183/2000, TCP/UDP, RS-422, RS-232, RJ45 ethernet
Maretron USB100 USB Gateway
Maretron IPG100 IP ethernet Gateway
AIS x3…………….. Emtrak A-200 Class A
Standard Horizon AIS B Class in GX6000 VHF radio
Tender = Vesper XB-8000 smartAIS Transponder w/ WiFi + NMEA2000 gateway
Weather station ….. Airmar 220 WX
w/ ultrasonic wind, barometer, 3 axis accelerometer, gyro + compass
Infra-red night vision….. FLIR Gyro stabilized camera M332
radar… Furuno FAR 1523 Radar Black Box with 6’ open array
heading compass……… Furuno SC33 Satellite compass
GPS Furuno GP330 GPS head dedicated to Radar
Standard Horizon GPS Head into GX6000 VHF radio
Standard Horizon GPS Smart Antenna SCU-31
Vesper GPS Head into XB-8000 in Tender
remote controllers x2:…… Furuno MCU004 Monitor Controller on Helm Chairs
Kobelt 7018 “WalkAbout” handheld wired remote @ both Main and Upper Helms
depth sounders x2
@Bow = Furuno BBDS1 bottom discriminating Black Box w/ 5205PSD transducer
@Stern = Furuno Ultrasonic UDST800 depth, speed, temp traducer
- VHF RADIO.. Standard Horizon GX6000 w/ AIS + NMEA2000
- w/ AIS + SART target display & GPS Compass
- RAM 4 remote mic @ Main Helm
- Wireless mic w/access point
- loudhailer….. Standard Horizon Dual Zone 25W PA / Loud Hailer
- with preprogrammed fog signals + Listen Back
- Horn………. Kahlenburg S-330 air horn
- Satellite coms…………. Iridium GO!
- Data logger…. Yacht Devices Voyage Recorder YDVR-04
- Search light………. ACR Artex RCL-95 Pan/Tilt/Zoom 500W Searchlight w/ Remote
- Monitoring….. Maretron monitoring system
- Including All: bilges, tanks, batteries, engine, fuel flow, smoke & heat, etc..
- Viewed on any screen and remotely via Maretron N2K View
- on boat networking… NMEA 2000 N2K dual backbone 2000 network throughout
- Multiplexers for NMEA 0183 + RS432
- Gateways via USB & IPG
- Victron, and Maretron networks for monitoring
- IP Cameras. Forward facing IP camera mounted on Skybridge roof
- Aft Facing camera above swim step
- Reolink Bullet IP camera engine room
- Reolink Dome IP camera engine room
- Video encoder. Axis Camera Encoder
- WiFi Antenna. Microtik Groove 52 AC Wi-fi antenna
- WiFi booster … WeBoost Drive Reach
- Cellular antenna…….. Wilson Wide Band Omni-Directional Marine Antenna for cellular
- ROUTER……. PepWave Max Transit Duo router
- Network Access Storage. Synology NAS Disk Station w/ 2X 8 GB Seagate Barracuda drives
Well, you get the idea, there is a LOT of moving parts to this puzzle.
And as you can see here, some of those moving parts are often crowded around Captain Christine at the Main Helm in this case! Yunus on the far Right is the the manager of this connection and configuration team and Erdal with the toque in the middle is the lead technician and they have been a true treat to work with.
Some of the “moving parts” are blinking lights such as this set on the back of just three of our network switches in one of three “Internet Alcoves” as Christine calls them. Strange though, we have “cut the cord” more than most people ashore and Isn’t it great that we are living in a wireless world!
Zooming out a bit of that alcove to show you that it really is quite small but it does have even more hardware!
Another very “wireless” alcove, this one behind the 50” monitor and home of Boat Computer #1 and the Synology NAS on the Left side of the Main Helm.
Out on the Aft Deck looking up at the Main Arch and the Tender Davit on the Left, to show you yet another very “wireless” area along the Arch where all of our external navigation and communication equipment resides.
One eXciting milestone this week has been seeing that 6ft Open Array antenna spinning around for the first time on our Furuno FAR 1523 Radar!
My favorite Geekette, aka Capn’ Christine aka my Beautiful Bride, is a wee bit shy but I was able to at least get her hand in this shot as she tilts the two 19” LiteMax screens at the Main Helm to show how she now has TimeZero running charts on the Left and an awemazing amount of detail of the seabed below us thanks to our Furuno BBDS “Black Box Bottom Discriminating Sounder” where we can watch individual fish swimming below Möbius’ hull and details of the composition of the sea bead down to about 75 feet below the “top of the bottom”.
I will leave you with this shot of the view at your eye height when sitting in the Captain’s Chair here at the Main Helm. Now, if we can just get past that sea wall …………………..
Thanks for joining us again for another week in the adventure of Project Goldilocks. Please be sure to leave any and all comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below and I hope you will join us again next week for what I hope will be the report of our first sea trials! Wish us luck! We will need it!
The weather here in Antalya has continued to be absolutely spectacular with a daytime high on Thursday of 22C/72F! We did have some strong winds for 2 days this past week but they only served to make the views even more awemazing as they made the air crystal clear and the views of our surrounding snow capped mountains and the Mediterranean just popped visually and keeps smiles on our faces all day long and then the night sky has been just as brilliant.
While it was another eXtremely busy 24/7 week for all of us on Team Möbius there isn’t as much for this week’s Show & Tell as much of our work has been troubleshooting and commissioning of systems which doesn’t get captured too well by a camera. We are also still working our way through a number of veXing system installation and commissioning issues including controls for our steering, throttle and CPP Pitch and so Möbius is not yet able to move under her own power and so the first of many sea trials is yet to happen but hopefully this coming week.
Nevertheless there is still lots of progress to share with you and so let’s just dive right and catch up on all the progress that happened this past week of 8-13 March, 2021.
More Lovely Days in the Neighborhood
We continue to be delighted and entertained by the new neighborhood we have been floating in on the end concrete wall of the harbour inside the Free Zone. However yesterday they towed us off the end wall and moved us over to one of the side walls of the harbour and put us right in front of this Green Monster “Aqua Helix”.
with a LOA of 24m and Beam of 5m we thought Möbius was long and skinny with a Length to Beam ratio of 4.8. But as you can see by this bow on shot, we don’t hold a candle to this little green fella which was built by the Damen boatyard beside us sporting a LOA of 73.4m and Beam of 11m which works out to a L/B ratio of 6.67.
You can check out all the numbers and details on this FCS 7011 Crew Transfer vessel “Aqua Helix” HERE on this very well done overview from Damen Shipyards.
Captain Christine has made sure that we are comfortably clear of our very nearby new neighbor as we get an up close and personal chance to get to know this amazing boat.
* As per the brochure I linked to above, Aqua Helix is a Crew Transfer boat for wind and solar farms as well as oil drilling rigs and other situations where there are people living and working miles off shore and often in very nasty weather conditions year round.
A very different look from the sides and if you check out the brochure you will find lots of photos of the interior which is more reminiscent of an airplane or fancy ferry with seats that have built in TV access and fully recline while you zip your way at up to 40 knots out to your place of work out on the high seas.
And on our opposite Starboard side we are even more friendly with this little Red & White catamaran, also built here in the Antalya Free Zone by Damen Shipyards. With her “twin axe bows”, mv Allegro is a bit different design than Aqua Helix but also a “Fast Crew Supplier” and all three of us share many similar overall attributes so it is great fun to be sandwiched between these two family relations.
Earlier in the week, “Allegro” had docked right in front of us on the end wall but we both moved over to the other side of the harbour yesterday because there was a large cargo ship coming in that needed the entire end wall where we have been docked for the past 3 weeks. You can read all about Allegro HERE and when she is all finished she will head over to her new home in Germany.
Möbius is now rafted up and tied to Allegro for what we think will be the next few days but all subject to change without notice.
This was the scene yesterday (Saturday) afternoon as we left our former neighborhood with our original two buddies Bozçay III and IV which are 19m Long by 8m wide so a L/B ratio of 2.4. The day earlier they had push/pulled the little cargo ship “NewChang” into this corner slot in front of us so she could be loaded with hundreds of Bulk Bags of cargo.
NewChang is registered in Hong Kong and weighs in at 25,569 tonnes with a LOA of 180 meters/590 ft and Beam of 32m/105 ft which for reference works out to a L/B ratio of 5.6
A you can see here looking over to our new neighborhood sandwiched between Allegro and Aqua Helix, It was a very short trip across the harbour and so our move was all done in short order.
Continuing with the international theme of neighbors from different countries, we also had our first visitors aboard Möbius since she splashed when Wade and Diane drove up from Antalya for a day trip to come see us again now that we were in the water.
Wade and Diane are fellow Canadians and cruisers who we met and visited on their boat sv Joana which is in the marina about 50nm east of us in Alanya. They sailed up the Red Sea last year and are spending the next year or more exploring the gorgeous coastlines of Turkey so we hope to be able to anchor with them in the next month or so. They drove up with another couple of cruisers, Erik and Pam who are also in the marina at Alanya beside Wade & Diane and we had a fun time taking them on a guided tour of Möbius and then out for a lovely lunch at a nearby restaurant right on the Med.
Möbius is Officially Flagged in the Bailiwick of Jersey!
Here is the photo I promised you last week with the Workshop door closed so you can see all of the newly mounted aluminium lettering of Möbius name and Port of Jersey.
Even better, Uğur and Nihat kindly fabricated and mounted this removable AL flagpole!
They no sooner had it bolted in place when Captain Christine jumped at the chance to do the very first flag raising and signal that we are now officially part of REG or the Red Ensign Group and are very eXcited about voyaging proudly under this commonwealth flag.
Here is a shot looking aft at our previous neighbors, these 23m Police boats heading over to Oman when they are all finished. While their mission is drastically different than ours, construction and systems wise we are all very much from the same family of boats.
As you can see, this photo was taken at the beginning of the week when we were back in our previous neighborhood on the end wall.
One very welcomed bit of progress this past week was seeing these White beauties come aboard and get installed.
Can you guess what these are?
Probably not too hard a question for most of you who have been following for a long time, (or those who just read the sub title!) but yes, these are the wood liners for the three hatches in the Workshop such as this one which is way up high in the Doghouse over the entryway from the Swim Platform into the Workshop.
I have been busier than a one armed wallpaper hangar as my Dad used to say so I will have to get you more photos when the finish these hatches next week but you can see how these wood liners slide snuggly up into the awaiting aluminium frames of the hatches welded into the deck.
For those wondering, the odd shaped slots cut into the liners are to allow the tangs on the aluminium hatch handles to reach in to the aluminium blocks bolted to the inside of the frame sides.
I will get better photos for you next week and show you how these hatches and latches I designed for Möbius actually work but you can get a good idea I think from this shot looking up at the two hatch handles up on the top end on this smaller 45cm x 45cm or 18 inch square hatch.
One of the big jobs upon launching a new boat is what is referred to as the “Commissioning” stage where of all the many systems that have been installed onboard are setup, adjusted, configured and tested. As you can see here in the midst of us commissioning our Kabola KB45 Ecoline “Combi” diesel boiler it isn’t always “pretty” as we track down all the bugs and gremlins which show up at this stage of starting up all these systems for the very first time.
For the bigger systems such as the Kabola diesel boiler we bring in a factory authorized technician to do all the initial adjustments of commissioning and this is Ali Polat from Kalender Services adjusting the fuel pressure on the Kabola.
Commissioning of some of the more complex systems require very special servicing equipment such as this gas analyzer that Ali connected to set the CO and CO2 levels in the exhaust to get them to their Goldilocks settings for perfect combustion and fuel economy.
Ali ran into some problems finishing this today (Sunday) and had to fly back to Istanbul this afternoon so he has left the gas analyzer with me and I will get online with the technicians at Kobelt HQ in the Netherlands and complete the commissioning of the Kabola.
This Kabola diesel boiler will be our primary source of all hot water applications onboard XPM78-01 Möbius providing the just right temperature water to not only our DHW or Domestic Hot Water for showers and sinks, but also heated water for our in-floor heating and the Heat side of our HVAC or Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning system where it will heat up the interior air by blowing it across little radiators inside the four heat exchanger fan coils in our three Cabins.
These new Ecoline Kabola boilers have reached the pinnacle of efficiency fuel economy and emissions wise but they are also built like tanks and as you know by now, that “Beauty and the Beast” combination always gets my attention and business. This shot of the insides of the boiler assembly itself will give you a bit of an example of this. The grey tube on the far Right is where the diesel injector lies and burns with a totally blue flame and then all the hot air circulates through all the pipes you see here with the heating fluid captured inside as part of the closed loop between the boiler and the Calorifier that holds all our hot water for DHW, in-floor heating and hot air heating.
Another inner workings shot for you of the Left side of the Kabola where the waterworks all happen. The heating fluid circulation pump is the Silver/Black item in the far lower Right and the Copper and SS tubing route the fluid (water and antifreeze) though the two separate coils of heat exchangers inside the Kabola with the upper primary one providing the heat inside the Calorifier and the secondary lower one providing the hot water for the Webasto fan coils inside each Cabin for backup interior heat.
In spite of all the other demands on my time I was able to carve out enough to get the Media or “sand” filter set up and filled. This is the very first filter that the sea water goes through on its way to the Delvin 200 liter/hr watermaker and these things are truly awemazing in terms of their filtration capabilities. Even as “just” a regular sand filter such as those used in most swimming pools these are incredible filters but I give this filter some superpowers by using Zeolite in place of regular silicone sand. If this is new to you and you’re interested in knowing more, here is the Zeolite product description that does a good job of describing the properties and capabilities of Zeolite;
What Is ZeoSand? ZeoSand is a high purity natural zeolite that has a unique three dimensional honeycomb structure. Natural zeolites were formed millions of years ago by alkaline salt water altering volcanic ash. ZeoSand is a new type zeolite that has a huge surface area and a natural ammonium ion trapping capacity. The same natural zeolite in ZeoSand is also used as a soil amendment and feed additive.
Why Does ZeoSand Give Superior Clarity? The sandpaper rough surface has 1 to 15 micron pore spaces that trap smaller particles than sand; thus, water clarity is improved. A cubic foot of ZeoSand has the surface area of 100 football fields – 100 times greater than sand. ZeoSand’s huge surface area holds more dirt than sand; therefore, the time between backwashes can be increased. How Does ZeoSand Control Chloramines? ZeoSand traps and holds ammonium ions through a molecular sieving or water softening action. Sand does not trap ammonium ions. Less ammonia means reduced eye-burning chloramines. Since chloramines are lower, chemical shock treatments are not needed as often. A twenty five pound bag of ZeoSand will trap about half a pound of ammonium ions. How Is ZeoSand Used? Typically, one 25 pound bag of ZeoSand replaces a 50 pound bag of sand. ZeoSand weighs 55 pounds per cubic foot compared to sand that weighs 100 pounds per cubic foot. To install, remove all of the sand from the filter, and repair any damaged parts. Fill the filter half way with water and slowly pour the ZeoSand into the filter. Backwash until the backwash water is clear; this will take several minutes. Turn the filter off for two minutes and let the ZeoSand settle. Backwash for an additional two minutes, and check to be sure the backwash water is clear. If the backwash water is clear, turn the multiport valve to filter and start the pump. How Long Does ZeoSand Last? Under normal conditions, ZeoSand will need to be replaced about as often as sand. After filter use, ZeoSand may be added to your garden or potted plants as a soil conditioner. ZeoSand may be discarded as a non hazardous waste
See what I mean?
As you can see in the photo above I first put in a layer of 1/2 – 3/4” crushed rock which covered these six Black intake bodies which sit on the very bottom of the Blue filter body which is where the filtered salt water goes up to the top of the filter into the 6-way valve, and then poured in about 20kg of Zeolite “sand” to fill up the rest of this blue filter body.
Then I followed the instructions you see here to fully rinse and clean out the initial filling of Zeolite prior to using it to filter the sea water going into the Watermaker.
Many of you will recognize this 6-way valve on top of the Blue Zeolite/sand filter and it makes it easy for me to change from filtering to back flushing the Zeolite every few months to remove all the little nasties that the Zeolite has removed and send them all back out to sea and make live eXtremely easy for the other two finer paper filters on our watermaker so that they last up to a year rather than just a few weeks.
Can you guess what these Black rubber beauties are for?
Correct! These are the Fenders that wrap around the upper edge of our 6m AL Tender. Our Tender is as much of a “working boat” as is Möbius and as I’ve outlined in several previous posts our Tender will be part “tug boat” and be able to push/pull Möbius if ever neccessary or enable us to assist other boats that get themselves into difficult situations or need towing. Therefore we wanted to have an eXtremely strong and yet flexible fender system the same as proper tug boats have and that’s what you are seeing here. Indeed we ordered these from a Turkish company that specializes in manufacturing these rubber beauties for boats up to 200 meters as well as the fenders you see in commercial ports and docks.
I ordered the larger ones in the photo above, which are about 200mm/8” tall to wrap around the whole top edge of the Tender and then these smaller ones you see here which are about 120mm/5”
While the rubber is relatively hard, the hollow construction makes these 1.5 meter / 60” lengths quite flexible and so the technique that Uğur and I worked out was to start up at the bow and clamp the first length centered on the flat section of the bow and then bend it around the corners to run down both sides.
On commercial tug boats they use the holes you see going through these rubber fenders to bolt the fenders to the hull. However, I have this obsession about not having ANY penetrations of my aluminium hulls and so instead, we used this Bostik industrial adhesive which the manufacturer recommended to glue the fenders directly to the AL hull.
It worked like a charm!
We would start by sanding and scrubbing both the AL and the rubber surface where the fenders will be glued and then wiped them both clean with Acetone and then Uğur applied a generous bead of the Bostik adhesive.
We went through all the shops at Naval and rounded up over 100 clamps and used these to clamp the rubber fenders to the AL hull surfaces.
That first length of rubber fender that wrapped around the bow was the most challenging and then it was on to the much easier job of gluing the other 1.5m lengths down both sides.
Rinse and repeat!
The butt joints where two fenders meet up were easy to do as we just put on a good bead of adhesive and then one of us would push them together tightly while the other set up the clamps to the hull.
We cut some 10mm / 3/8” thick rubber to match the shape of the ends of each fender where they ended at the aft end to seal them off.
We had both sides done in about 3 hours and ……
……. moved on to the smaller fenders to wrap around the Aft dive platform overtop of the Castoldi jet drive.
This only took two lengths of rubber and it was an easy shape with a large radius corner on each side so this went quickly.
Looking a bit like a porcupine but the fenders were all glued on and we just needed to wait for a few days for the adhesive to fully cure before taking off all those clamps.
As you can see it was worth the wait!
Having spent over a year all together designing this beauty, I am eXtremely happy with the way it has turned out and think it will be the Goldilocks Tender for Möbius.
The combination of the swim platform and the rubber fenders keep the Castoldi 224DD jet drive eXtremely well protected.
She looks all the part and very much the slightly smaller partner for her mothership Möbius don’t you think?
But WAIT!! There’s MORE!!!!!!!
I decided to double down on the TLC for our Tender and so once the fenders were all done I moved on to the last two bits to fully finish this mini Möbius.
First up was designing and building a pair of chocks that will hold the Tender securely in place on the Aft Deck when the Tender is onboard Möbius when we are underway and where we stow the Tender every night.
Alaaddin, who we call our “Turkish Fixer” because he fixes all our problems and he was able to find a local carpenter who would build these teak chocks for us which started with this lovely plank.
He soon had that plank all planed and cut into the individual pieces that make up this pair of chocks.
All glued up now.
A few days later the suitably happy Alaaddin delivered the finished chocks to me at the shipyard.
And just like Cinderella’s slipper, the fit was Goldilocks perfect!
And the Tender was ready for her maiden voyage, on land as she emerged from Naval Yachts and headed out into the sunshine for the first time.
But WAIT!! There’s still MORE!!!!!!!
More TLC for the Tender To Möbius
I meant it when I said that I was going to double down on the TLC doses for our Tender and so the second item was designing and making a nice Sunbrella cover made to protect her from the UV and rain when she is waiting for us on the Aft Deck.
Naval has a very talented and very FAST upholstery craftsman and so I turned to Sinan to help me design and build this lovely cover and two days later he called me to come check it out!
Sinan and I decided to add one little extra feature with two of these grommeted tabs that we can pull up with small strings going up to the Davit above that will prevent rain from pooling in the middle of the large horizontal areas of the Tender cover.
And as I believe Porky the Pig used to say; “Th …. th ……th …..that’s all folks”!
I am one pooped pirate after yet another 7 day work week and it is another late Sunday night over here and posting this blog post is between me and dinner so I’ll sign off for now. Thank you all for following along and joining us on this journey that is nearing an end one of these days!
As always, even though I am woefully tardy in responding to many of your comments, PLEASE do add your comments, questions and suggests in the Join the Discussion box below and I hope you will be back again next Sunday for the latest Progress Update on Project Goldilocks, aka XPM78-01 Möbius