Not as much to post about the past two weeks as I have been out of commission after hurting my back badly when I tripped and fell last week and aggravated the four cracked discs I have had from a nasty motorcycle accident over 25 years ago. But the spasms are lessening each day since and just a matter of time before I’m back to just the usual back ache which is my normal state. No complaints from me though as we continue to enjoy taking our time to weave our way generally north through some of the hundreds of postcard like Bahamian islands.
When I left off in the last post we were in Red Cut Cay and after a few days there we continued up and anchored at Black Point then on to Allen’s Cay and then a very neat fully enclosed very tiny little bay on Royal Island as seen here on our chart plotter. This will give you a better perspective on how small the entrance was and if you click on the photo I have circled in RED the two short pieces of white PVC pipe that marked each side. Captain Christine guided us through as she put the entrance in our wake and …… …… I soon had the anchor down into the sandy bottom 2.5m/8ft below and we were soon enjoying our very own little anchorage with wine up in the SkyBridge. THIS is why we worked on the design so hard with Dennis to have the least draft possible; 1.3m/4.4 ft After Royal Island we made our way over to Lynyard Cay where we anchored for four days and had a chance to meet up with some sailing friends Mark & Shawnae who were anchored nearby on their latest boat s/v Big Sky Blue Waters (they hail from Montana). Difficult to show on maps as most of these spots are too small to show up but you can get a rough idea of our route and anchorages along the way. We are now anchored up near the north end of Great Abaco Island just off of Coopers Town. There is a storm front coming through this weekend with winds out of the West and South rather than the usual Easterlies so we’ll wait out here for that to pass and then make our way West as we get ready to jump off and cross over to West Palm Beach area in Florida in the next week or so.
That catches you up on our most recent travels and anchorages and now I thought that something a bit different might be of interest to many of you. Read on to see what you think and let me know your thoughts with comments in the “join the discussion” box at the end please.
Year in Review: Top Features We Like Most and Least on Möbius
Hard to believe but we started writing this Mobius.World blog back in March 2018 so we’ve just passed the five year mark for that and the primary motivation for creating and writing the 262 posts since then has been the hope that sharing our experiences here provides a good way for us to “pay it forward” for all the other people who went before us and shared their experiences from which we learned SO much. In keeping with that hope, as the calendar turns over to May (how did THAT happen so fast??) we have been actively cruising Möbius for one year now. Also on the hard to believe list is that our log book shows that we have just ticked over 7300 nautical miles (8400 miles/13,520 Kilometers) and most of that in just the last six months since leaving Turkey at the end of October. Last year we were in and out of a number of marinas so we have been through our share of Med mooring, docking, fueling up and the like. This year we’ve been on anchor every night for the past four months in quite a variety of conditions, bottoms and weather. We’ve done everything from short day trips, lots of overnight passages and some longer ones such as our trans Atlantic crossing of 14 days. With these cumulative experiences I thought now would be a good time to reflect on what we have learned over the past year about what is working out best for us as well as what has not worked so well and we would change or do differently to make Möbius even better. I will write this up as two blog posts grouping what’s worked best into one and then a second with what changes we would make to follow. In my experience I have found that first hand experience from others has proven to be the best and most useful for making my decisions and so I hope these twin posts will do likewise for some of you.
A few caveats before I go any further:
All of the points I’ll be covering are simply what has worked so well or not for us and our use cases with no suggestion that these would be best for other owners, boats and use cases.
There is no implied order or ranking of these items, simply a list.
Any mention of specific products is done for clarity only, these are not endorsements and we have no sponsors or affiliations with any of the products mentioned.
In the years of posts here on this blog, I have provided lots of detailed coverage, too much perhaps, of each of these items during the build so in this posting I will just be listing the reasons why each item is on the list. If you are interested in more details you can refer to these previous posts and I’ll provide links to some of these.
OK, with that out of the way, let’s jump right into our top favorite features on Möbius.
Starting up at the Bow, our whole anchoring system has proven to be eXtremely strong, reliable and easy to use and has perhaps contributes more than any other system to our SWAN factor that enable us to Sleep Well At Night in every anchorage in all conditions. The “SideWinder” mounting of the anchor off the Port side of the Bow which Dennis and I designed, has proven to be a great setup eliminating the anchor and roller assembly from sticking out over 1m at docks and keeps it very securely pressed against the hull in pounding seas with nary a sound or any movement. The primary components of our Anchoring System are
110Kg/242lb Rocna anchor
100m/330ft of Galvanized DS40 13mm chain
Maxwell windlass VWC4000 w/Maxwell controls at both helms and wired remote in forepeak
Lewmar Deluxe Heavy Duty Chain Stopper 13mm chain
Lewmar EVO 55 Self-Tailing Winch for kedging The chain all stows inside of a round aluminium chain bin inside the forepeak which has worked out eXtremely well as there is no “castling” of the chain as it is stowed. and any anchor mud and muck that gets in there is easily flushed out through the drain in the bottom that exits out the side of the hull just above the waterline.
Once the anchor is set we attach a 25mm/1″ nylon snubber line using a loop of Dyneema with a slip knot that goes through one link on the chain. This takes seconds to attach or remove and the snubber from the chain and absorbs of any shock loads on the anchor chain and eliminates any chain noise into the boat. Letting the chain out until the snubber is taking all the tension the line comes up through the large round “nose cone” in the very front of the Bow and ties to the Samson post. Leading the snubber line through the center of the Bow reduces side to side swinging at anchor and the hyperbolic curve machined on the inside of the sold AL snubber cone prevents chaffing of the line which still shows no sign of chaffing after over 150 nights at anchor so far. The large degree of forward slope of the anchor deck also worked out great making it easy to hose down with all the debris draining out the nose cone back into the sea. All together this is a super dependable and easy to deploy/retrieve anchor system that sets first time every time and resets immediately on severe wind shifts. Depends on water depth of course but typically we have about 30m/100ft of 13mm anchor chain out which adds an additional 120kg/265lbs to the 110kg/242lbs of anchor on the bottom so we SWAN very well every night and is definitely one of our favorite systems!
Foul Release silicone bottom paint
Our last minute decision to go with silicone based “Foul Release” bottom paint instead of CopperCoat has turned out to be one of THE best decisions we made. This Foul Release type of bottom paint never ceases to amaze me with how it prevents almost anything from growing on it and what might be there after months of sitting still comes off completely with a simple wipe with a sponge or cloth to bring it back to like new. We used the International version called InterSleek 1100SR but several other manufacturers such as Hempel “Silic One” are also available. This paint has been in the water for over two years now and it still cleans up completely with just a sponge or cloth if we’ve been sitting at anchor for a long time and currently shows no sign of wear or age. It is supposed to be good for 5-7+ years and so far looks like it will achieve that easily which would be a HUGE benefit in terms of efficient hull speeds and no costly annual haul outs. I can’t say for sure but I think that having such clean and slippery silicone hull surface contributes to our overall hull efficiency, speed and great fuel burn rates. What’s not to like??!!
Open and Accessible system installation
All of the system components, wiring and plumbing were given dedicated locations with completely open access. This reduced the time for initial installation during the build but more importantly continues to put a smile on my face every time I need to do any work or maintenance on any of the systems as everything is easy to access and mounted at a just right height for working on. Here in the Basement for example you can see how all the components such as all the 14 MPPT controllers on the Left and the three 240V Victron Multiplus inverter/chargers on the Right, are all mounted such that when I’m kneeling or sitting in front of them they are at the just right height right in front of you to see and work on. Same story back in the Workshop area where all the major components on the Right such as the DC Distribution box, Kabola diesel boiler, watermaker and AirCon chiller system are mounted on top of the shelves to put them at just right height as well. At the far end, the front of the Day Tank has been used to mount all the fuel filters, Alfa Laval centrifuge and fuel transfer valve manifolds are out in the open and at perfect height when standing in front of them. Underneath that shelf the electrical wiring, external rectifiers and water distribution manifolds are also open and easy to access.
All of the plumbing is similarly open and easy to access such as this manifold with valves for all the cold water consumers in the Master Cabin.
One of our four primary principles for the design and build of Möbius was Low Maintenance and having all the components, wiring and plumbing open and so easily and comfortably accessed has been a big factor in achieving this goal throughout the whole boat.
As we did for all the major components, we took a “systems” approach to the propulsion system from front of the engine to the prop. coupled to a Nogva Controllable Pitch Propeller (CPP) is also way up at the top of our list of favorite features on Möbius.
Our choice of a Gardner 6LXB engine aka Mr. Gee, coupled to a Nogva Controllable Pitch Propeller (CPP) via a Nogva HC-168 2.95:1 reduction gearbox is also way up at the top of our list of favorite features on Möbius.
The combination of the slow revving engine and lack of any transmission shifting created a seamless and smooth propulsion system. This was our first experience with CPP and it did take some time to learn how to run a boat where you first set the throttle at the RPM you want and then don’t touch it and just use the Pitch lever to increase pitch through an infinite range from zero/neutral to maximum pitch for the load and speed you want. With no shifting involved to go from forward to reverse it is eerily quiet and smooth when docking and when underway we essentially run the boat based on the EGT or Exhaust Gas Temperature meter to get the just right pitch for any speed we want.
We cruise between 8.5-9 knots and after 7300 nautical miles our overall propulsion efficiency has us averaging about 1.85 L/NM @ 8.5kts which we are eXtremely pleased with.
The dedicated “propulsion room” is another of my most favorite design decisions as it similarly provides open and easy access to Mr. Gee and all his components, ….. as well as the Nogva gearbox, coupling and Tides Marine dripless prop shaft seal. I am able to stand, sit or kneel on the grated composite flooring on all sides and with a full meter of width all around and each grate can be easily lifted out of the way to provide access underneath if needed. Having a dedicated engine room with nothing but the engine inside keeps everything inside easy to see and work on, easy to keep well ventilated and all the other components typically found in engine rooms such as fuel filters, batteries and system components are kept OUT of this environments heat and vibration. More examples of how well the open and accessible systems design is one of our favorite features.
Layout (cabin locations, balance living vs functional, up/down)
The overall interior layout also makes it way to the top of our favorite aspects of live aboard Möbius. For us it has the Goldilocks balance between amount of living space vs functional systems space and our decision to have a very large forepeak up front and then an even larger engine room/workshop space in the rear has resulted in a great layout as well as keeping these spaces completely separate with their own dedicated access so you never need to go through a living space area to get to something in the forepeak or engine room or workshop. The vertical layout has also worked out eXtremely well for us with each cabin a few steps below the SuperSalon and the SkyBridge up above. One of the most useful features of our layout is having an enormous “Basement” area below the floor of the SuperSalon. We designed this to be 1.2m/ 4ft high such that you can easily move around by bending over and not hit your head on anything and then sit or kneel to access any of the equipment mounted on intermediate floor to ceiling walls or access any of the many storage bins and shelves in the Basement. The stairs leading down into the SuperSalon from the Aft Deck on the Left and then around to the stairs down into the Ships Office and Guest cabin on the Right provide excellent access between all these areas. Very difficult to photograph but hopefully this pano shot of the SuperSalon will help convey why we like this layout with the 360 degrees of glass so much.
We knew we wanted a Flybridge overtop of the main Salon or House so this was part of the design from the beginning but I don’t think either of us appreciated just how much we would enjoy this feature and how much time we would spend up here both when at anchor and underway. Part of what makes this space work so well is our decision to put the Upper Helm at the Aft end of the SkyBridge. As we’ve done in several areas of the boat we have created an initial prototype for the seating in this SkyBridge Lounge area by using patio furniture which we rearrange from time to time to figure out what will work best longer term. So far this L shaped layout has worked out best. There are great sight lines when sitting in the Helm chair just outside this photo on the far Left and yet still takes full advantage of the height for sight lines through the 360 degrees of windows that surround this entire space. The Bow and the side rub rails are all fully visible from the Helm chair. The roof overtop of the outdoor galley down on the Aft Deck does prevent a direct view of the transom but otherwise the sight lines Aft are great and we have a camera that displays a birds eye view of the transom on the Helm displays if needed when backing into a dock.
The Helm down in the SuperSalon duplicates the Upper SkyBridge Helm. But unless the weather is very cold or wet we much prefer to run the boat from the SkyBridge with its added height and even better visibility.
At anchor it also makes a great office space and a comfy bed for naps and off watch time as well. So the SkyBridge definitely makes it onto our top favorites list.
Hot Water & Heated Floors
Another example of the advantages of taking a Systems approach is our Domestic Hot Water system or DHW and probably fair to say that the heart of our DHW system that puts his solidly on our top favorites is our decision to install a Kabola diesel fired boiler. Located with all the other system components in the Workshop it is out of the way yet easily accessible. The 75L Kabola boiler is our primary source of DHW as it circulates through one of three heat exchanger circuits in our Calorifier that stores all our hot water as can be seen in this cutaway demo. The second heat exchanger circuit routes hot water from our Gardner engine and so whenever we are running the boat this provides all our hot water instead of the Kabola boiler. The third heat source is a 240V electrical heating element which we can use if the water based heat exchangers should ever fail.
However the one feature of our DHW that truly steals the show in cold weather is mostly invisible and that our Heated Floors. Underneath the vinyl flooring in all the living spaces there are circuits of plastic PEX tubing that circulates hot water and provides a creature comfort in colder climates that is difficult to adequately describe in words. A detailed description of the whole heated floor system can be found HERE in this previous blog post.
As you can read in that more detailed blog post, this is quite a simple system really but does take a bit to get your head around how it works as this is all part of the overall domestic hot water system so that all the water flowing through the floor PEX is coming from the Calorifier in the Basement circulating the same water as distributed to all the sinks and showers on the boat. No valves to adjust or turn on/off it all works by virtue of how this “Open Direct” plumbing design dictates.
Overtop of the PEX tubing and rigid foam, these industrial vinyl floor planks provide a fantastic floor in all weather conditions and are specifically made to work well with heated floors. Critical for our use on a boat, these vinyl floor planks have a simulated wood grain texture molded in which has proven to be completely skid proof even with wet feet and any spills clean up easily. After two years of rigorous use these floors show zero signs of wear or marks which helps keep them on our top favorites list.
There are three independent zones for the two cabins and the SuperSalon and each is controlled by one of these easy to set thermostats which maintain whatever temperature you want.
The manifolds and pumps are mounted down in the Basement up against the Aft bulkhead and yet another example of how easy this whole system is to access.
Battery & Solar Based Electrical System
Yet another systems approach on our top favorites list is our overall Electrical system. It is “battery based” in that all four voltages; 12V + 24V DC and 120V + 240V AC comes from our 1800Ah @ 24V House Battery bank. AC is created via the 5 Victron MultiPlus inverter/chargers and the DC is provided via three DC distribution boxes; Central Main in the Basement plus one in the Forepeak and one in the Workshop for the high amperage circuits there. Solar is our primary source for recharging the house batteries most of the time but when we are underway the two massive 250A x 24V Electrodyne alternators with WakeSpeed 500 regulators provide up to 9KW of power and we also have the option of connecting to shore power whenever we are in a marina. There are eight 320W solar panels that form the roof of our SkyBridge as seen in the photo above and then three more mounted on top of the cantilevered roof over the Outside Galley on the Aft Deck as seen here. And then three more mounted in a hinged frame in front of the SkyBridge. These 14 solar panels add up to just over 4kW of potential power and most days our battery monitors show an actual input of between 1kW during the winter months and up to over 2.5kWh of power during summer hours. Each solar panel has its own MPPT controller which are mounted in the Basement and feed into individual circuit breakers for further control as seen here. Having a dedicated MPPT for each panel reduces the impact of any shading on any panel and helps with the overall performance of our solar system. This screen shot from our Victron VRM display shows a summary for our solar output vs electrical consumption so far in 2023. And this summary of the past 2 days, April 28+29 2023 lets you see how it varies throughout a 24 hour day. We have not been in a marina or connected to shore power in the past four months and the combination of solar and alternator power is keeping our batteries 100% charged every day and so easily makes it onto our favorites list!
Handholds Everywhere for Everyone
Safety was another of the four design principles we had and one example that has proven to be a big favorite is the way we were able to ensure that there were super solid hand holds for EVERY person onboard from children to adults.
On the exterior the handholds are all 30mm diameter thick walled AL pipe such as these on the aft end of the house roof near the Aft Deck. These pipe handholds also make for eXcellent strong points for fastening things with Dyneme and other lines. Perhaps one of the most important spots for handholds is along the side decks when you are moving between the Fore and Aft Deck areas. On the left you can see the continuous length of AL pipe that runs along the entire edge of the house roof and then the three rows of Dyneema landlines that Christine rigged between each of the sturdy vertical AL stanchion pipes. The top lifeline is 1 meter above the deck so hits most adults about waist height which ensures that even if you were to be thrown against these you would be stopped and not flipped over top. Up at the Bow there is a very solid set of AL pipe railings that wrap all the way around and make this area extremely safe and fun spot to be for dolphin watching or just dangling your feet overboard and taking in the scenery at anchor or underway. At the far end of the Aft Deck there are solid AL pipe railings for the corner of the deck before the stairs going down to the Swim Step and then a solid AL pipe railing on the other side of the steps. In the Engine Room, Mr. Gee has a full set of AL pipe railings wrapped around him to ensure you can’t be tipped over onto him in rough seas and these have worked out very well to also provide good support as you are leaned over working on various parts. On the interior of the boat one of our favorite esthetic features of the gorgeous Rosewood cabinetry is the design we came up with to incorporate built in hand holds to the design that are located on all the cabinets in all the cabins and SuperSalon. This example is on the corner of the Galley cabinet across from where the fridges are located. These solid Rosewood edges wrap around the whole boat to form what we call our “Blue Horizon Line” and their key feature is that they have a deep groove that is at about waist height where your fingers naturally slip in to provide an eXtremely secure hand hold. We have had our grandchildren onboard several times now and these have worked out as designed to be at Goldilocks height and size for their fingers too.
Possibly saving the best for last, something that brings us joy every day is the choice of interior materials we made.
The Rosewood we chose for all the cabinetry really steals the show and this shot of the Galley cabinets will give you some idea. We were very fortunate that Naval Yachts happened to have their very best cabinetmakers throughout the entire build and they were a joy to work together with to produce details such as how all the grain is bookmatched such that it literally flows from one piece to the next. This was made possible because after months of searching we were able to purchase an entire flitch of Brazilian Rosewood that had been flat cut from the same log. As each slice comes off they stack these in order and therefore the grain of each slice follows the next. The other key was finding a matching stack of solid Rosewood that would be used to build the frames and every edge of every panel. NO veneer edging allowed! Unlike more typical construction, all plywood edges had these T shaped pieces of solid Rosewood glued in place and then the veneer was applied AFTER so that it overlapped the solid wood edging. What this does is ensure that there are no glue joints exposed and they become invisible as they gradually transition from veneer to solid. When these panels would be used for a corner of a cabinet, a thick piece of solid Rosewood was glued glued on and then this solid edge was rounded over in a shaper to create a large radius corner The Rosewood was more than 11X the cost of any other hardwood so to help stretch the prized solid pieces it was sometimes possible to glue on a piece of cheaper hardwood like this and then round the Rosewood for the corner. For the very large radius corners, strips of solid Rosewood were edge glued up and then radiused like this. Or like this. When combined with the Turquoise Turkish marble and the inset Blue Horizon line strips, the end result was well worth the extra time and expense to build. We carried the same combination of materials throughout both cabins, Salon and Galley and I hope these few photos help you see why this puts a smile on our faces every day. There is a LOT more that we like about our dear Möbius and she has definitely lived up to being “Project Goldilocks” by being just right, just for us but the above items hit upon most of our top favorite features and I hope this review was worthwhile. Of course there is always the other end of the spectrum and so in the next blog post I will follow up by reviewing things that have not worked out as well or are things we want to change so do stay tuned for that.
It was a busy week for both Christine and me but nothing too blogworthy so this week’s Möbius update will be short for a change.
I just returned to Möbius last night after spending most of the week in England. This was my first trip for 2022 and a nice change of pace for me. It has proven to take a LOT of time, energy and $$ to get parts shipped from England to us here in Turkey so I decided it was best to go pick up the new parts I needed for Mr. Gee in person from Gardner Marine Diesel and bring them back with me. To be honest, I will take just about any reason to make a trip to GMD and see Michael, James and David there so it was an easy decision. To make it even more compelling, Pegasus Airlines has very cheap flights twice a week between Antalya and London so my entire trip would cost less than the customs duties to ship the parts to me and would take at least a month, sometimes two to get here. The icing on the cake for me was the chance to get in a visit with a very good friend Robin and his wonderful wife Jayne. Robin and I first met when we were both fairly new to Autodesk back in about 1990 and have continue to grow our friendship over all those years. My thanks to Robin and Jayne for opening their home and hearts in welcoming me to stay with them and we had a delightful three days hanging out and catching up.
My outbound flight was very early in the morning so we decided to rent a car and spend the night in a fun little hotel not far from the airport and enjoyed a nice “date night” out at a great little family restaurant right across from the hotel. Christine was then able to do some shopping for groceries and other items that are much more available at the larger stores and malls in Antalya and then drive back to our small town of Finike so it all worked out very well..
We also took advantage of being back in Antalya to stop by the Free Zone and Naval Yachts to see the progress on the several new builds they have underway. XPM78-02 mv Vanguard is now looking very much like a boat now that the superstructure for the Pilot House is in place. The other build is for the larger XPM85-01 which is in the early stages of the ‘hotworks’ and after a long wait due to supply chain and other issues, all the aluminium plates and parts have been delivered. These boats are built upside down in this first stage until all the hull plating is welded in place and then the hull is flipped right way up. The upside down deck plates are first put together in the steel framework bolted to the floor and then frames and bulkheads are tacked in place. Meanwhile, over on Vanguard, Uğur and Nihat, who did most of the AL work on Möbius are now busy welding the hundreds of Al pieces in place. You can see some of the cut and rolled plates for the keels setting on the floor to the Left. XPM78-02 is based on the same design as Möbius but will have twin JD engines as you can see from the dual prop tunnels in these two photos. The aft deck will be slightly larger and the Owners have decided to build some of the furniture into the boat such as this L-shaped dining area. Large window behind it, WT door into the SuperSalon in the middle and stairs up to the SkyBridge on the Right.
Here is the view from inside the SuperSalon looking back out onto the Aft Deck.
Going up those stairs the SkyBridge is starting to take shape and more built in furniture with an other L-shaped settee at the Aft end. Peering down from the very Aft end of the FlyBridge and roof overtop of the Aft Deck you can see the same arrangement as on Möbius with the doghouse for walking into the Engine Room on the Left and matching winding stairs on both sides. Looking up and aft lets you see another view of the upside down XPM85. Back down to Deck level on Vanguard, you can see another owner driven change with the addition of these bulwarks running most of the length of the side decks.
Bulwarks run all the way up to and around the Anchor Deck and bow. Up at the Bow the “sidewinder” anchor setup is the same as we designed for Möbius along with the Samson Post in the center and nose cone in the very front. This setup has proven to work out eXtremely well on Möbius so has been replicated here on hull #2. You can see how Dennis has nicely designed the Bow and anchoring arrangements to now include the wrap around bulwarks.
Lest we should forget the Mighty Möbius, I will leave you with THIS LINK to a series of photos that Captain Christine put together while I was off in Gardner Land in the UK this past week. Christine went through some of our archives of thousands of photos over the past 6 months or so and put the ones she liked into this album. So if you’ve been Jonesing to see less of the Engine Room and all the detailed technical shots that I post and more of the interior and exterior of Möbius, click the link above and enjoy your tour through this collection. Thanks for taking time to join us here again this week and hope you’ll be back again next Sunday for the latest weekly update on what’s been going on in Möbius.World.
Special thanks to all of you who have been contributing your questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below and please keep them coming!
We don’t use SCEM as filters per se, we use them to keep us on track, keep our priorities straight, by reminding us of what our fundamental values are for this boat. When doing our due diligence and research on some potential piece of equipment It is all too easy to get attracted or distracted by things like cool features or just the sheer number of choices and so as we go through our decision making we are constantly circling back through SCEM to make sure these fundamental requirements are being met.
This week in this Part 2 of our decision making process, I will do my best to summarize the more specific criteria we use to ultimately make our final decisions upon. I will cover this as a series of the following questions that we ask and answer to our satisfaction at least, as we evaluate each bit of kit and then use these to make our call.
What problem is this item attempting to solve?
Is the problem/item a want or a need?
Consequences of adding this item? Domino effect?
Does it pass the Goldilocks test?
New vs Tried & True?
What problem is this item attempting to solve?
Might sound like a silly question at first but it is surprising how often answering this question provides the most help in in our evaluation of a design decision or of a given piece of equipment. Let me use our decision of what battery type to use for our House Battery Bank to illustrate but one example of how valuable this question was.
To put this question into context, keep in mind that Möbius is a completely Battery Based Boat, meaning that ALL of our onboard electrical power comes from our House Battery Bank and therefore this is one of THE most critical systems on the boat and one that in some cases our lives can depend upon. For an XPM or any true eXpedition boat that is going to be able to carry us safely and comfortably to locations across the full spectrum of eXtremes of climate and remoteness, we need to be as self sufficient as possible and so our onboard electrical power rates right up there alongside diesel fuel and fresh (potable) water as a critical requirement. An XPM type boat is designed to spend the majority of its time at anchor or at sea, in our case often for months at a time, so in all our design and equipment decisions, we assume that we will have no shore based resources such as shore power, stores, shipping, airports, etc..
Finally, for a bit more context, let me add that we have also chosen to not have an independent generator onboard so ALL of our four voltages, 12 & 24 Volt DC and 120 & 230 Volt AC, come from our House Battery Bank. Most of the time we keep our batteries charged via our 4.48kW array of 14 320W Solar Panels and when underway we have 12-14kW available from the two eXtremely robust 250A @ 28V Electrodyne alternators which Mr. Gee keeps spinning. One of the very first decisions we needed to make to chose our batteries was what type or chemistry of batteries would be the Goldilocks just right, just for us House Batteries? I’m not going to go over this in any detail here but these are the five battery types we had to chose from:
FLA; Flooded Lead Acid
AGM: Absorbed Glass Matt
Many of you and others we talked to, thought for sure that the choice was obvious; go with Lithium and we did consider them, and all the other types, very thoroughly. But it was that question of “What problem is this trying to solve” that made it clear that Lithium was not the best choice for us and that’s the story I’d like to elaborate on here a bit.
Our battery decision making started at the very beginning of our design process, around 2016, and in some ways we designed and built the boat around the House Batteries. For the first few years, we thought we would go with GEL based OPzV batteries such as this one.
These OPxV type batteries are eXtremely robust and often referred to as “traction batteries” as they are used in things like all electric forklifts in warehouses so they had good cycle life and good resistance to sulfation and other features that wold make them a good choice for Möbius.
During this time we were reading more and more about Lithium batteries and we were seeing more and more people who were choosing to go with them so we also spent a good bit of time researching the various types and makes of Lithium, primarily LiFePO4 or Lithium Iron. This relatively new type of battery was said to have a lot of amazing features with the top ones being longer lasting (more cycle life), ability to accept much higher charging rates thus take less time to charge, but perhaps the biggest feature was their much higher energy density. This means that you get much more usable Watts from the same amount of space and weight compared to what you would get from other battery types. Said another way, you could get the same amount of energy out of a much smaller size and lighter battery bank.
As the months and years went by, these claims were validated more and more and we saw the steady increase of Lithium Iron being the batteries of choice for more and more boats so it seemed like the choice was clear right? However when we applied our criteria and use case and asked the “What problem is Lithium trying to solve?” question, we realized that we didn’t have the same “problems” as most of these other boats such as size and weight of our House Batteries.
My earlier comment that we had designed the boat around our House Battery Bank is not that far off as we had designed the hull to take maximum advantage of the characteristics of our original consideration of OPzV batteries which were very large and very heavy. Each OPzV 2/4V cell measured 215mm/8.5” Wide x 277mm/10.9” Deep x 855mm/33.6” High and weighed 110kg/242lbs each, and we needed 24 of these! As we often do, we turned this “bug” into a feature and built four large battery compartments into the framing of the bottom of the hull such that each compartment straddled the 25mm thick x 350mm high keel bar running down the centerline of the hull. By positioning these battery compartments on the very bottom and center of the hull, we effectively turned the lead in our batteries into a proxy for some of the lead ballast we needed. This is a photo from last year of one of our four battery compartments.
The point here if you are following along with me is that for the use case and design of an XPM, the “problem” that Lithium batteries would solve with their high energy density for a given weight and size just wasn’t a problem we had; we had the room and we wanted the weight. So the search for our Goldilocks batteries continued.
For awhile we continued to think that OPzV Gel batteries were the best fit for us, however, just as we had been following the developments of Lithium batteries we had also been tracking the growing use of Carbon Foam type batteries from FireFly. They ticked all the boxes on our list of criteria, most notably these were proving to be eXtremely robust and several attempts by test labs trying to purposely destroy these batteries failed and they proved to be almost indestructible which is a huge factor for us and our use case. These Carbon Foam batteries are also able to work and charge in much lower temperatures such as those we expect to have when we are in polar regions of the world and they are one of the only battery types that don’t suffer from sulfation. and are happy, even recommended, to stay at Partial State of Charge for long periods of time which would normally be the death of most other batteries.
Near the end I found real world installations of these batteries, some of which had been in place for more than ten years and so just before placing this large order of batterie we changed and ordered 24 of these 4V L15+ size Micro Carbon Foam batteries which now make up our 43.2kW House Bank (1800Ah @ 24V) made by FireFly and they have been working flawlessly for the past six months.
Let me be clear that I am NOT saying that Lithium batteries are not a great choice for many boats, nor am I saying that Carbon Foam batteries are “the best”, I am just hoping to explain how and why we made our decision to go with Carbon Foam and why they are the Goldilocks just right, just for us choice. All thanks in part to the question we regularly ask near the beginning of our decision making process; What problem is this trying to solve?
Is the problem/item a want or a need?
We often put each item we are trying to decide on into either the Need to Have or Wish/Want to Have category. Pretty self explanatory I think, Need to Have are items that we feel are mandatory must haves in order for us to feel confident in going to sea and living full time aboard Möbius. Examples for us include things like;
our high output watermaker,
Furuno Radar and other navigation equipment,
eXtremely high amounts of acoustic & audio insulation,
comfortable Helm Chairs,
that little FLIR One thermal camera I used to find the overheated wiring a few weeks ago,
great HVAC systems
Global communication capability (right now via our Iridium GO)
and items like this.
The Want/Wish to Have category can be subdivided into groups such as;
buy as soon as the budget allows
later when it is ready for real world use (ours)
nice to have, perhaps a gift to ourselves or each other
Current examples on our Wish/Want list includes things like:
second Furuno Radar with NXT technology,
forward facing sonar when it is has been in more mainstream use and is robust enough for our use case
active stabilization, most likely Magnus Effect type
kite sail with autopilot to add to our propulsion and reduce fuel usage
Portland Pudgy, Christine’s long time wish for a small, light sailing dingy
affordable high speed internet such as that being promised by 5G and satellite based systems being developed.
We also have a third category worth mentioning which is the Don’t Want Onboard category which is sometimes the best choice. Items on this list would include things like;
anything that requires propane (too much of a pain to fill around the world)
anything that requires gasoline (too short a shelf life these days)
Consequences of adding this item?
As a good friend and fellow world sailor likes to say “Everything needs” and so we spend time trying to imagine what the needs and other consequences will be if we add this bit of kit to Möbius. Our primary prioritization of Maintenance, lack thereof, would factor into this for example and hence decisions such as;
no paint/wood/SS on the exterior,
being single fuel boat with no propane or gasoline,
but it could also be other consequences of adding this item to our boat. An XPM is complex by virtue of needing to be so self contained and as we often say Möbius is like a floating village in that we have to look after making all our own water, all our own energy, dealing with all our own waste and so on, but we do strive to apply the KISS or Keep It Simple & Safe philosophy to all our decisions by finding the simplest solution possible. Examples of this would include:
manual roll attenuation with our fully mechanical/manual Paravane A-Frames
manual Tender Davit system vs hydraulic
Gardner engine (no turbo, no electrics, low revs, etc.)
The Domino Effect is perhaps a branch of the consideration of the Consequences of any decision as I just outlined above and is when the result of a decision has follow on effects to other systems on that boat. This can work both ways; sometimes these dominos are positive ones and in other cases they are negative or undesirable consequences. For example, installing the eXtreme amount of EPDM and acoustic insulation throughout the boat has a domino effect;
stabilizes the interior temperatures and makes them more temperate in both very hot and very cold climates
this reduces the energy required to cool/heat the boat
this allows us to install smaller capacity and less expensive HVAC systems such as Air Conditioning and heating
this lowers the demand on our House Batteries and HVAC systems so they run with less loads and last longer
An example of when the Domino Effect can work the opposite direction might be the option we considered of installing fin type active stabilizers. These work extremely well to reduce the roll in many conditions when on passages but they would also introduce a Domino Effect of consequences that took them out of the running for us, such as;
their protrusion from the side of the hull reduces the safety factor when in areas with uncharted rocks, coral heads and the inevitable groundings on these.
not suitable when ice is present in polar waters
unlikely but possible if a fin is hit hard enough to create an underwater breach of the hull
are extremely complex and often top the lists of most maintenance problems we read from other global passage makers.
most require a significant hydraulic system to operate which adds yet another whole system onboard to maintain and repair.
I might add that having gone through this Domino Effect as we considered active fin stabilization, it also helped us see that we could find a different type of active stabilization if we should ever want that, and one that eliminates most of the dominos I listed above. This would be stabilizers that use the Magnus Effect which is offered by several different manufacturers now.
Does it pass the Goldilocks test?
We essentially answer this question by virtue of having gone through all the questions and priorities I’ve already listed. Because we have highly personalized our overarching principles of SCEM and articulated much more detailed specifics of our use case, our decision making helps us ensure that we are making choices and decisions that are by definition, Goldilocks, just right, just for us.
However, this is such an important factor for us that we do keep coming back to to this “Goldilocks Test” to make sure we are avoiding the tendency to “go with the flow” of following what others are doing or “the way its always been done” and are staying true to ourselves and our preferences. I will site a more “meta” example here which is our decision in the design phase to “upsize” the length of the boat from the 18-20m / 60-65 ft that we initially imagined and then at the same time “downsize” the interior to have just 2 cabins and 2 heads.
Our decision to extend the length to 24m/78ft was driven two factors; simple physics that hull speed is a factor of Length on the Waterline and our discovery that contrary to popular opinion there is not very many restrictions on boats that are over 20 meters whereas there are some very significant changes to the rules governing ships that are over 24 meters. With our prioritization of efficiency, we pushed the length to just under 24 meters. With our infrequent use of marinas the increased docking fees do not affect us very much. Furthermore, with more and more catamarans being purchased, many marinas are changing their dock rates to be calculated based on overall area of each boat, LOA x Beam and so our slender 5m Beam reduces our overall area and we are often cheaper or about the same as much shorter but wider boats.
Our decisions to “downsize” the interior and thus reduce maintenance and costs was based on the fact that 99% of the time Christine and I are the only two people living onboard so we wanted to make the interior fit us and our needs. Our Master Cabin is very spacious and luxurious for us. Our Guest Cabin works very well when we do have guests onboard but most of the time it is a very purposefully designed Office for Christine Kling, the Captain’s nom de plume when she is working on her next book and running her growing book business. Our SuperSalon is indeed living up to that name the more we live in it. And my very full size Workshop and Engine Room is that of my dreams.
There are many other examples of how the Goldilocks Test has driven our decisions such as;
Manual Paravane system and Tender Davit that is KISS and as former sailors handling lines, winches and clutches is second hand.
Though we designed and built the cabinets, electrical and plumbing for them, we chose not to install either a Dryer or a Dishwasher as we are just not fans of either one and prefer washing and drying by hand.
I could give countless more examples of how we have applied the Goldilocks Test to almost every decision we have made during the design and the building process but I think you get the idea. We have now been living aboard Möbius since she first launched in February and we are finding that our continuous use of this Goldilocks Test has worked eXtremely well for us in designing and building Möbius and we can and do recommend it highly for almost all decisions and choices you make.
New vs Tried & True?
Christine and I are self described nerds and geeks so we have a great fondness for technology that is on that well named “bleeding edge” and we have a full compliment of devices to show for it. However, when it comes to equipment for Möbius, and especially all of it that is on that Must Have list, it must be remembered all those decisions must be made within the context that Möbius is an XPM type boat that is designed and built to live up to that acronym for eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker. So when it comes to deciding on equipment, materials, construction and design of these items, they must, all be Tried & True. To us this means equipment that has been in regular use on boats, ideally with similar use cases as ours, for several years and has stood that test of time.
Some examples of this for us include:
we delayed our decision to go with FireFly Carbon Foam batteries until after we had been able to find enough examples of these batteries being installed in other people’s boats in large numbers for many years.
We chose to go with all Furuno for navigation because it is so widely used by commercial boats in fishing fleets, government agencies and the like and hence this equipment is designed and built for continuous 24/7 use in some eXtremely harsh conditions. They also have an excellent reputation for their continued support of even their oldest equipment.
Our decision to go with a Gardner 6LXB engine that is still one of the most efficient diesel engines ever produced and is still in use in thousands of commercial boats worldwide. It is also perhaps one of the best examples of the KISS approach to design and engineering which adds to how well it passes the Tried & True test.
individual MPPT controllers for each of our 14 solar panels as this has been well proven to be the most efficient combination for both overall efficiency, least affected by shading and highest redundancy.
Let me end with a final example of the value of taking this Tried & True test for mission critical ships and equipment from no less than the US Navy! A recent article caught my eye a few weeks ago where even the us Navy has learned the folly of installing untested equipment on their ships. This link to the article USS Gerald R. Ford Problems: The Navy Admits Its Big Mistake (popularmechanics.com) provides a brief but telling story. as outlined in that article the Chief of Naval Operations, Mike Gilday, says the U.S. Navy built the aircraft carrier USS Ford with too many new technologies. such that now, the Ford is several years behind in its life cycle because of problems with many of those new technologies.
The last of the Ford’s four advanced weapon elevators, the most glaring example of the ship’s tech gone wrong, should enter service later this year.
When the Navy first built the Ford, it incorporated nearly two dozen new technologies, some of which are still giving the service headaches 4 years after the ship entered the fleet. Those delays meant the Navy only commissioned the Ford in 2017, despite laying it down in 2009. Even then, problems lingered, especially with the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) and the advanced weapon elevators (AWEs).
The ship’s first full deployment, originally scheduled for 2018, is now set for 2022.
I think this unfortunate real world example does help to make the point that for XPM types of boats with use cases to match, all the “mission critical” equipment onboard MUST have passed the Tried & True test.
Bubble Bubble, Toil & Trouble!
Leaving you with the latest bit of kit that Captain Christine just approved and installed onboard, a fully manual sparkling water maker! Especially in these hot summer months, Christine particularly enjoys her cold sparkling water and I do too but we don’t like having to buy it in cases of plastic bottles. We have our watermaker for similar reasons for our regular drinking water. Initial tests have elicited the same smile you see here so this item has now passed the all important Captain’s Test and has been welcomed aboard. Thanks so much for making it this far if you have and I do hope that this slightly different format and content is of interest and value to most of you. Let me know either way with your comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below and I’ll be back with more for you same time next week.
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**
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!
Not as much for this week’s Show & Tell as the Commissioning Phase is now underway which mostly involves setting up and testing all the many systems onboard which doesn’t yield much visual interest. It is not too much of a stretch to say that the systems on an eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker like XPM78-01 Möbius are similar to what a floating village would require. Given the eXtremely remote locations we favor we often have no support systems ashore or when on passage and so we need to be completely self sufficient with what we have onboard. For example we need to be able to do all of the following for an indefinite amount of time and be our own:
Power Plant to generate all our electrical power; 12 & 24V DC and 120 & 240V AC
Water Utility able to create and store all our own Domestic Fresh Water and Domestic Hot Water
Sewage Treatment Plant able to pipe and store all Black Water (sewage)
Grey Water Treatment Plant able to pipe and store (drainage from all showers & sinks)
Telecom Utility looking after all our own cellular, WiFi and satellite communications.
Weather Station maintaining up to date and highly accurate weather at all times is a BIG factor in keeping us safe, knowing where to be and more importantly where NOT to be at any given time and what anchorage is best for any given day’s weather.
Navigation System allowing us to know in great detail what is all around us both above and below the waterline in order to plot our routes safely.
Full Repair Shop. Christine and I are the only two people on board and so if something breaks or needs fixing or maintaining, as we often say “If these four hands don’t or can’t do it; it doesn’t get done. So we need both all the knowledge, skills and tools to fix every system and every piece of equipment onboard.
Equipment & Supply Store. We need to carry any and all parts and supplies that are needed to service and maintain all these systems and again, if it isn’t onboard, it doesn’t exist in our world.
I could go on for some time but you get the idea. The Commissioning Phase we are now in is all about getting all the components in all those systems up and running and getting them all adjusted so they work correctly and together. So while there isn’t as much to show and tell you about this week, there is a LOT of things going on in this critical phase. So without any further delay, come along for this week’s update for the week of March 15-20, 2021.
One important announcement before we begin.
We had an eXtremely eXciting start to this week when Captain Christine began her next circumnavigation of the Sun. I won’t give away the number of her new circumnavigation, let’s just say that the two digits add up to Lucky 13! We are sleeping on the boat now so I was able to have her wake up to this little surprise on Monday morning.
Möbius on the Move!
For a boat that is still experiencing a number of “installation issues” that are preventing Möbius from being able to move under her own power, we have sure been doing a lot of moving!
I’ve grabbed this shot from Google Earth to help show our different locations over the past few weeks.
Position #1 is where we have spent the most time on the End Dock Wall. #2 is where we were sandwiched between the Green and Red/White boats on the Side Dock Wall and #3 is where we are now on the outside wall of Setur Marina.
As you may recall from last week’s post our first move was to be towed off Position #1 on the end wall of the harbour over to #2 on the side wall between the big Green Monster and the Red/White power cat. This was our new view looking off our bow to the now empty end wall where we had been at position #1 for the past 2 weeks.
The reason for that move was because the little guy on the Right here was coming in to dock and get loaded up. As you can see there was barely enough dock space for our two little Red tugs, let alone us or any other boats. After loading that ship up he left and we were able to move back over to the end wall. One of the small harbour tugs came and hip tied himself to our Port side and quickly moved us back to the end wall again. That lasted until late afternoon on Thursday when we suddenly got the call that they needed to move us again because another long cargo ship was on its way in to dock on the end wall. If you look closely at the photo above (click to enlarge any photo), you will see that a new Coast Guard boat was now in our previous spot #2 between the Green and Red/White boats and so the only option was for them to move us over to Setur Marina which is only a few hundred meters away. With the help of the marina staff we Med Moored to this new dock #3 at the marina using two of the marina’s lines to our bow and then lines off both stern quarters to the dock. This is where I am typing this post right now and while our stay is temporary, Christine and I have been enjoying this first sight of Möbius tugging at her dock lines with Mother Ocean just off our bow and calling our name eXtremely loudly!
Ramazan and I were able to get several of the remaining cabinetry jobs done in the Super Salon this past week. He pulled out this back wall behind the 43” monitor on the far Right/Stbd side of the Main Helm and cut the slots for the return air to the Stbd Air Handler. It is a bit of a shame that this beautiful Ro$ewood panel will rarely be seen as it is hidden by the 43” monitor that is mounted here but it makes us smile every time we do. Simple and effective, these slots allow air to flow through them into the space behind where the Stbd side Air Handler lives and delivers either chilled air on AC or hot air in Heat mode to this side of the Salon. While Ramazan putting in those slots, I lent a hand to work on mounting the Dinette table which is a job I have been longing to do for months now.
This is the air assist pedestal and the XY slider setup from Zwaardvis that I have shown you below and now it was finally time to mount the table to it. This ingenious bit of hardware allows us to move the table 200mm/8” fore/aft and side to side enabling us to always have the Goldilocks Just Right position for the table. To reference the mounting I lowered the pedestal to put the table in “Bed” position and then moved the X and Y sliders underneath to allow movement in all 4 axis. I marked the slots on the feet of each slider with black pen as you can see here and I laid out two different positions; Passage Mode and Anchor Mode. To allow me to move between these two modes I installed these threaded metal inserts which gives me metal M6 threads to fasten the table to the XY slider. Fun Fact: I have had this set of threaded inserts for almost 40 years as I first used them when I was building bunk beds and other furniture before my 2 children were born!
I used a Forstner drill bit to carefully drill the flat bottom pilot holes and then you just install each metal insert with a hex socket to drive the external threads into the sides of the wooden holes. Et Voila! 16 metal inserts with M6 threads in them all ready to accept the SS M6 bolts I will use to mount the table to the XY Slider and Pedestal. You can see how this works now and I have also mounted the Black handle that unlocks the table and allows you to slide it wherever you want it to be. Here is the final result, this being in Anchor Mode dinning table position. From here you can move the table down and out in both directions to be in “Coffee Table” mode or all the way down into Bed mode or anywhere in between.
With so much more Commissioning work to be done I quickly covered it all in protective cardboard and painters tape for now. As you can imagine, we can’t wait to remove all of these protective coverings throughout our beloved Möbius and convert from the current construction zone mode to Beautiful Living mode!
Pole Dancing Anyone?
Nihat was back onboard for a bit this week and he installed what should be the last of the aluminium components on the SkyBridge which is this 40mm/1/5” AL pipe that does 2 important jobs; a wire chase to bring some of the cables for GPS and cameras mounted on the Roof down into the Upper Helm Station and ….. ……. a hand hold when standing and walking up in the open area of the SkyBridge.
This adds a 3rd pole onboard for the Captain to use in her Yoga Pole Dancing routines! And that’s a wrap for this week and I need to get back to trouble shooting some of the gremlins that have been creeping up with our steering, throttle and CPP Pitch angle controls.
Thanks for taking the time to join in the journey and hope you’ll be back for more again next week.
Möbius completed her second week afloat and I’m delighted to report that we ARE still floating and not a drop of seawater inside thank you very much! Christine and I spend all day aboard working our way through the still growing punch list of jobs for us and Team Möbius from Naval Yachts to work on and we sleep aboard each night for safety’s sake as she is still so new and the probability of some surprise that could endanger the boat will be high for the first month or so until we get all the systems up and running and fully tested.
So our routine is to get up at our usual 06:30 or so, walk the dogs and drive back to our apartment to make breakfast, shower, etc. and then head back to the boat. We do the same at the end of the work day here, whenever that ends up being and drive back to the apartment for dinner and then back to the boat for the night. It is working out well as a good way for us to start to familiarize ourselves with the boat’s systems and be here to help out the rest of Team Möbius with all their tasks to complete the work remaining to fully finish this beautiful boat. We have a few more things that need to be done before Möbius is fully seaworthy and safe to take out on her first sea trial run and if things go well we hope to do that this coming week so do be sure to join us here again next week to find out if that happened and how the first test run went.
As with the previous blog posts over the past month or so, I will do my best to cover the large range of “little” jobs that have been done so this will be more of the “fly through” style Show & Tell, where I will let the photos do most of the talking and just add a few comments for context and understanding.
AND …………. there is a special Bonus Video hot off the press from Captain Christine which will fully explain the references in this week’s title so be sure to hang in to the end for that!
If you haven’t done so already, grab a tasty beverage and a comfy seat and let’s dive right into this week’s Update.
Sing it with me ….. Möbius is her Name-O…
Some of you might recall seeing Mobius’ name and her Port of Registration in the Bailiwick of Jersey in black letters several months ago, but those were just temporary stick-on vinyl letters that were required to complete the registration paperwork in Jersey. This week the CNC cut aluminium letters finally showed up and Orhan and Ali quickly had them adhered to the Aft Transom wall for Captain Christine’s approval.
These letters are made out of 10mm thick aluminium and we will paint their outer surface Black for better visibility a bit later. But it was another one of those little things that makes her feel more and more like a “real boat” as we slowly get used to the idea that “Did we actually DO this?!!!”
* For the sharp eyed curious types, the little item above the E in Jersey is the bracket for for the door latch on the WT door behind Christine.
And the vertical gravestone looking item with the donut hole in it is a fair lead for bringing lines aboard from shore or other ships and up to the big Lewmar power winch on the Aft deck.
Orhan (Left) and Ali arranged the letters on the Aft Deck so we could decide on final spacing before the mounted them. Each letter of the boat’s name must be a minimum of 150mm/ 6” high to meet the Registration requirements of Jersey and most other countries and these are 180mm high. Wood strip to line up the bottoms of each letter and some painter’s tape to keep them in place overnight while the Grey Sikaflex cured. Jersey lettering is required to be at least 100mm / 4” high and ours are 120 / 4.75” so they all easily meet the size requirements and still seem to be in good proportions with the size of the Transom and Swim Platform. Ooops! Can’t forget the umlaut as that is the proper spelling of the Möbius strip which is a big part of the whole story behind why we chose this name.
For anyone not familiar with them a Möbius strip is a surface with only one side was discovered by the German mathematician Augus Ferdinand Möbius and hence the spelling. If you have not previously played with Strip or it has been awhile, then do yourself a favor and try making one for yourself (quick How-To HERE) and playing with this seemingly impossible surface as you cut it in half and other fun experiments.
** The sharp eyed amongst you might have also noticed when my left hand appears in some of the photos here, that the the wedding rings I designed and had cast from 3D printed wax models I made are also a Möbius Strip. But that’s a whole post in itself so I’ll leave that for later.
And here is the end result.
Sorry I didn’t get a better shot after removing the painter’s tape from the two umlauts but I’ll try for one next week with a shot of the whole Aft end of Möbius.
*** For the curious, the winch handle on the Left is used to open the two dogs that keep the AL door into our HazMat locker very tight and fully watertight.
Hinged Front Solar Panel Rack
Uğur finished installing these two hinged support posts that keep the front three 345W solar panels propped up when we are at anchor and want these panels to be horizontal or parallel to the waterline for best solar performance.
The other key reason for propping up these 3 Solar Panels on this hinged rack is to create the giant wind tunnel which captures even the slightest breezes coming over out bow when at anchor and funnels it through the large Black vertical mist eliminator grill you can see at the far end. After having most of the salty humidity removed by the Mist Eliminator grills this fresh air then fills a large plenum box above the ceiling in the center of the SuperSalon and is controlled via 5 diffusers in the ceiling panel which provides eXtremely good fresh air flow throughout the SuperSalon. In the raised position, the hinged posts fit into one of these Delrin sockets and are secured by the SS bolt. The tops of the posts are captured in this bracket with another SS Allen head bolt providing the hinge pin. When we want to get ready to head back out to see, or in high winds, we just lift the panel up a few inches and the ball ends of the posts can slide aft as they fold down with the hinged rack. Another one of the “Big little jobs” that got going this week was making the last 3 wooden liners that wrap around the inside AL surfaces of the 10 glass covered hatches on Möbius. Seven of these wood liners have been done for many months now as they are all made out of Ro$ewood and were done when the rest of the Rosewood interior was being made. These last three on the Aft Deck which bring lots of light and fresh air into my Workshop will be appropriately made from laminated marine wood and then painted White. Here you can see how these wood frames are a snug fit inside the 10mm thick AL frames of the hatches. Once each liner had been fully test fitted they were taken back to the Naval shipyard to finish them which included the two small cut-outs you can see in this photo for where the latches for the hatch handles will go. The top edge of these wooden liners need help create the groove and support surface for the edge seals that ring each hatch and make them completely watertight no matter what Mother Nature and Mother Ocean throw at us, so they were cut and fitted as part of the hatch installation. Trim-Lok is a very cool company that discovered after LOTS of research for the Goldilocks hatch seals. Trim-Lok was great to work with via their excellent web site which allows you to design your own edge seals using their “Hatch Seal Product Builder” site so last year I had designed these edge seals as part of my overall design of the hatches themselves. You can see how these edge seals have two connected parts to them, the U shaped rubber channel pointing to the Right here is lined with aluminium U-shaped “staples” which allow the edge to stay flexible as it wraps around the tight corner radius at each corner of the Hatch Frame and still grips the 10mm AL edge. The upper part on the Left here is the “bulb”, a hollow tube of EPDM rubber that provides the “squish” and the actual seal against the underside of the hatch lid and keeps all the water outside where it belongs. This is one of the Rosewood liners that goes into the Guest Shower, if you will please pardon the mess of construction debris, you can see how the top edge of the wood liners form both the inner groove where the edge seal fits over the AL frame and how the flat top surfaces of both the AL frame and the wood liner provide a very solid surface for the bottom of the EPDM bulb to be sandwiched and squished tight when the top of the bulb is pushed down by the closed hatch lid. Here is a closer shot during one of the test fittings so you can see how these seals work.
This attention to such details and my decision to design my own hatches is all part of my overall obsession about keeping all the water on the OUTSIDE of the boat! Our past experiences and that of most other sailors, has taught us that hatches are one of the prime culprits and most annoying of leaks on a boat so we set out to build some Goldilocks Just Right hatches that establish a strong fully watertight seal when closed and will stay that way for at least the next 10 years. *** Check back in with me here in 2031 for an update on how well these worked. For now though we are delighted with how well our hatches have turned out and in the coming week or so I will be able to show you the final step; mounting the custom designed hatch handles and latches.
STEERING our Course to Freedom
We left off last week with the beginning of the installation of the emergency manual steering wheel in the Main Helm and we finished that this week. We regard this as an “emergency” or backup steering system as we have several layers of fault tolerance designed into our primary Kobelt steering system with dual redundant double acting hydraulic steering cylinders and dual redundant Accu-Steer HPU 400 24 volt hydraulic steering pumps.
A the very bottom here, you can see how the SS adaptor we machined bolts to the Vetus steering wheel and then slides over the SS shaft coming out of the Bronze Kobelt 7012 manual hydraulic steering pump above.
The majority of the time this wheel will be taken off and stored somewhere nearby the Helm by simply loosening those two SS machine screws that clamp the wheel adaptor to the pump shaft. The elbow coming out of the top of the pump goes over to a 1 liter AL header tank we fabricated here and is mounted inside the triangular upper storage area on the Stbd/Right side of the Main Helm and keeps a steady “head” of hydraulic oil to feed this pump. When you turn the steering wheel the pump forces hydraulic oil out one of the two valves on the rear of the pump where you see the two red handled ball valves here, and those hoses go all the way back to the cylinders attached through the Tiler Arm to the Rudder Shaft and the boat turns. Way back in the Workshop we have been setting up and commissioning the two Accu-Steer HPU400 pumps, also owned by Kobelt, and this is a shot looking straight down at the Blue anodized AL manifold housing of the Stbd side HPU400. These are 2Speed pumps so the two silver cylinders in the middle here are where you adjust the High/Low Speeds but this is rarely needs any adjustment.
We have custom designed this whole steering system with Lance Lidstone and Keivan Ashouei and they have continued to provide us with outstanding support and assistance throughout the installation and now the setting up and commissioning of our whole steering system.
FYI, at maximum conditions these pumps are set to put out 1000 PSI of hydraulic pressure that gives us much more than we need under even the most severe scenarios. Just the way we like it and have designed all the systems onboard Möbius.
Keivan has been especially helpful via WhatsApp video calls at very early Am times for him and late PM for me. when we had a few problems with the initial settings on some of the control valves which one of the installers on this end had changed from the factory pre-set positions without me knowing but it was an easy fix once we identified it.
We also had a bit of a setback when one of our more “burly” installers got a bit too aggressive when tightening down the SS bleeder screws, one of which you can see at the top of this cylinder. These bleeder screws push a small SS check ball down against a seat machined as a chamfer in the brass end caps and if you don’t follow the Kobelt Installation Instructions (harrumph, harrumph!) and overtighten the bleeders more than the maximum 5 ft.lbs torque, they score a groove into the SS check ball as you can on this one.
Difficult to photograph but if you look closely and click to enlarge this photo (works on all photos in all blog Post s BTW) you will be able to see the groove cut into this SS check ball by the SS bleeder screw.
But as luck would have it and with the help of our “Turkish Fixer” Alaaddin, we were able to find a ball bearing that had the exact same 3.8mm diameter steel balls in it and by cutting this bearing open was able to end up with 7 brand new SS check balls!
To make matters much worse though, this excess force and force the SS ball into the soft brass seat damaging it as well. Easy to tell when this happens as the bleeder screw now leaks! Even more difficult to photograph this but if you enlarge and look closely at the bottom of this threaded port for the bleeder screw, you will see how you can badly deformed the brass seat is here. The solution I came up with was to remove the brass end caps as you see me doing here and then try to make a little tool that would cut a new seat in the brass and put it back to the original 118 degree angled chamfer. I was too busy making this custom tool bit and machining the new seat to take any photos but the good news is that it all seemed to work well and I was able to machine new seats on all four end caps.
Tune in next week to find out if this all really does work when we reassemble all the cylinders and put all 1000 PSI into them and see if we have any leaks.
Wish us luck! One of the other BIG little jobs that Ramazan checked off this past week was the installation of our 10 different fire extinguishers that are spread throughout the whole boat. We have doubled up on these as well with the one of the Right here being the traditional style most of you would be familiar with. Then we have doubled up with these rather new and totally awemazing fire extinguishers from Maus in Sweden. If you have not heard of these before please do check out the link above to the UK Maus site which has some very compelling video sequences showing how and how well these puppies work!
OK, I’ve saved THE BEST for last this week and hope you too will find it worth the wait. This is of course the reference to this week’s title and have you already guessed what this is all about?
NO! It is not in reference to the fact that Captain Christine says I bear a certain resemblance to Gene Wilder in this infamous scene from the fun movie Young Frankenstein.
Will this clue help you guess?
Hint; you are looking at the two high amp 24V cables going into Mr. Gee’s starter. How about this clue?
Yes, that is Mr. Gee’s engine coolant water temperature gauge.
Hint: check out the temperature even if it is a bit blurry. Obvious right??!!!!!
Ahhhh, heck, why don’t you just watch the fun even by playing the short little video clip below that Christine just finished putting together as that will be MUCH better than my belaboured and boring explanation.
Click PLAY below and enjoy!
That’s right! He’s ALIVE!!!!!!!
After a gestation period of almost 5 years and a LOT of work along the way to fully restore this 1971 Gardner 6LXB marine engine to his original if not better than factory new condition, Mr. Gee has been “reborn” and his newest “Birth Day” is now March 6th, 2021.
It all went down just as you see in the video above. After topping Mr. Gee up with fresh water, oil, diesel fuel, saltwater cooling heat exchangers and priming his fuel injection system, he lit up on first crank, first time! I’m not even going to start telling you more as I won’t be able to stop myself from going on and on and on, even more than I usually do if that is within the realm of believability. Instead I’ll just let you enjoy the video as I go join my Beautiful Bride and Captain Christine as we enjoy this MAJOR Milestone for us and we toast Mr. Gee’s Birth Day and wish that he will start up first time every time during his next lifetime and ours.