Sorry for the delay in posting this update of our Atlantic crossing but …………………….. we made it!!! and that is TAXing as in Trans Atlantic Crossing which was definitely NOT “taxing” as in difficult.
This is a quick and dirty sat view of our crossing.
I’ll provide more details below, but short summary is 2718 Nautical Miles/5033km/3127 miles in 13 days 23 hours. Zooming all the way out, here is a truly global view of our passage.
That’s a LOT of blue water! This is our GPS track since leaving Turkey/Greece back on Oct. 31st with 5766 NM/10,678 km/6635 miles
Zooming back in to provide some context of the Caribbean Islands that we will be in for the next few months. OK, now that you have all that for context, I’ll do my best to provide a summary of the passage and some of the more detail stats that many of you have been waiting for.
When we left off in the last update back on New Year’s eve, we were tied up in the Las Palmas marina on Gran Canarias Island all ready to head out New Year’s Day for our Trans Atlantic crossing. After going through the check out process New Year’s Day, we headed we cast off the dock lines at 11am and motored out of the well protected bay on the NE corner of Gran Canarias Island and put Las Palmas in what little wake we produce. Timing worked out great as you can see from the SkyBridge helm station as we we sailed into setting sun and more flat seas.
Passage and Paravanes Overview
As the nautical miles and days ticked by, we got into the typical and predicted Tradewinds that would help propel us across the Atlantic. Wind speeds averaged a bit more than 20 knots and swell averaged a bit more than 3 meters. All downwind sailing with both wind and swell coming from behind us and we had blue skies for almost the entire passage. Following seas are great because we get to surf down them as the pass under the hull and adds a bit to our overall speed. However, following seas also produce some side to side yawing and rolling that creates what Christine refers to as “corkscrew” type motion as the boat crests the top of the swell and can turn to one side as it surfs down the wave. It is really difficult to capture this in photos and video that conveys what it is like in person but here is a short video looking back from the Aft Deck to help show a bit better. For reference the top of the AL entry into the Workshop where the White LED light is mounted, is about 3m above the waterline.
This is pretty much the same physics in following seas for any monohull so nothing new to us just not the most comfortable and so we deployed the paravanes in these conditions, learned a lot and developed techniques and rigging to improve their performance and ease of launching, retrieving and clearing. When not in use, we stow the paravanes upright and tied to the aluminium gate stanchions which worked well. Deploying them is a simple matter of slowing the boat down to under 4kts and then I lower them over the side and into the water. I use the White nylon retrieval line you can see here connected to aft end of the AL fin. This suspends the Paravane in a vertical position and makes it very easy to raise and lower. As soon as they are in the water and trailing aft, I can just let go of the retrieval line and the Paravane immediately dives down in an arc the radius of the fixed length Orange/Black Dyneema lines that each Paravane is suspended from the outer end of the A-Frame boom. You can see the White triangle of the Paravane flying through the water about 6m/18ft below the surface. I shot this short video to try to do a better job of showing how our Paravane rigging works and how they fly along through the water.
I came up with this method of running the White retrieval line through an AL low friction ring embedded into the Orange/Black Paravane lines. These White retrieval lines run slack and if you look at the photos above you can see how they trail out behind the Paravanes so as not to have any effect on the position of the Paravanes until I want to retrieve them. Christine grabbed this shot from up at the bow looking aft which makes it easy to see how the Paravane lines run off the A-Frame booms on either side. We have not ever had a boat with active stabilisers so we don’t have any experience to compare the performance to. However I know enough from reading and talking with those who do have active fin stabilisers that they tend to reduce the rolling by about 80-85%. Based on our limited experience with Paravanes so far and in talking with others who have them, the estimate for more like 60-65% reduction. Plus of course each hull and boat is very different in its ride characteristics taking into account hull shape, boat speed, displacement, length, beam and a long list of other factors that determine how any given boat reacts to various sea conditions. Whatever the numbers there is no question in my mind that active stabilisers would reduce the roll more than passive Paravanes and I think we would all take less rolling and motion underway than more. So it becomes a matter of setting expectations and so far for me I have been very pleased with the degree our Paravanes improve the ride. Overall I would say the most accurate description is that they dampen the roll by making it much slower and less number of degrees and we have been very glad to have them as an option to deploy whenever we wish. On this downwind Atlantic crossing I would estimate that we had the paravanes in the water about 60% of the time. By having them in and out multiple times we were also able to get a much better sense of the speed reduction from the drag they produce and this ranged from .5 to 1 knot of overall boat speed.
Atlantic Ocean should be called Sargasso Sea!
A new challenge we literally ran into on this crossing was an enormous “bloom” of Sargasso seaweed that began part way through the first week of the crossing and continued all the way over to the Caribbean. Everywhere you looked all you could see were these yellow/green masses of Sargasso weed and all their “grapes”. Some of these were the size of small lakes and there was no avoiding them, you just held course and went through them. No harm to the boat but over time we started to slow down as these masses of seaweed started to wrap themselves around the Paravane lines. We evolved a technique for clearing these lines that worked very well. Christine would slow the boat down to about 3-4 knots and I would then hand pull the White retrieval lines through the hand winches on either side. The retrieval line would pull the Paravane into a tail up vertical position and as I kept pulling in a bit more line the Paravane would “pop” up out of the water like you see here. This would whip the two lines attached to each Paravane as it surfaced and jumped up out of the water and shake off most of the Sargasso. If there was some still remaining, I could quickly repeat the process by letting the retrieval line out until the Paravane dove down in its arc and shed a bit more Sargasso and then pull the line back in until the Paravane popped out of the water again and shook of the remaining Sargasso. Worked very well and the whole process of clearing both sides would take less than five minutes and the Captain would bring us back up to our regular SoG (Speed over Ground) of about 8-9 knots.
There were a few times when we noticed that we did not return to full speed after clearing the lines so we knew that we must have also fouled either the hub of the prop or more likely the top front edge of the rudder where it is close to the hull. When this happened we would stop the boat completely and run in reverse for about 30 seconds and also disengage the clutch so that the CPP prop would come to a full stop and then take the boat back up to speed and continue. First time this happened I dove down off the aft end of the boat by the Swim Ladder with my mask on to confirm that the rudder and prop were clean and clear, which they were, and so we brought the boat back up to speed and continued. This added procedure to clear the prop/rudder was only needed about 3-4 times in the two week passage and the rest of the time we only needed to clear the Paravane lines.
About the only breakage we had on this crossing was a SS shackle that attached the Paravane fixed length line to the outer end of the Starboard/Right boom which meant that we were down to just the one Paravane on the Port side. In these sea conditions it would have been a bit risky to bring the A-Frame into its vertical stowed position and climb all the way up to replace the shackle with a new one so instead I simply tied a bowline loop into the end of the Dyneema line and was able to climb up on the Arch and loop it over the end of the boom with our long boat hook. These Dyneema lines I had purchased were made to go on electric winches on the front of off road vehicles and if you look closely (click to enlarge any photo) you will see that they had some very tough reinforced anti chafe tubes wrapped around each which worked out just perfect for my use and no visible chafe by the end of the passage.
That was about the extent of the “excitement” on this passage so I am very happy to not have much else to report. All four of us quickly settled into our rhythm and the 14 days slowly ticked by until we arrived off the SE corner of the French island of Martinique where we anchored off of the small village of St. Anne. When we left the Canary Islands we thought we were going to head for Grenada but a good friend and long time sailing collegue from Switzerland, Philip, had flown into Martinique for a few weeks of kite foiling and we had not seen him for several years so we changed course to land here in Martinique. I’ll provide more details and photos of this lovely spot in the next update and now go back to providing more details on the passage that many of you have been asking for.
Passage by the Numbers:
Along with many of you, we have been looking forward to compiling some of the real world data of the boat’s performance as we put more and more nautical miles under the keel and more hours on the engine and all the systems. Easy to skip over for those not interested, but below is my summary of the overall performance of Möbius so far. I’ll try to keep it simple and just list all the measurements that I think will provide the best overview. We do everything in metric units but I’ll provide some conversions for US and British as well.
Total Passage Distance, Las Palmas Gran Canarias to St. Anne Martinique: 2718 nm / 3128 miles / 5034 km
Total Elapsed Crossing Time: 13 days 23 hours
Average wind speed & direction: 19kts @ 160 degrees to boat (almost behind)
Average seas: 0.8M surface waves + 3M Swell @ 165 degrees to boat
Overall Average boat SoG Speed over Ground: 8.1 kts/hr / 9.3 MPH / 15 Km/Hr
Average NM per 24 hour day: 195 nm
Total Diesel Fuel consumed: 5072 L / 1340 USG / 1116 Imp. Gals
Average Exhaust Gas Temperature EGT: 335 C / 635 F
It is worth noting that all these numbers are actual directly measured units, not estimates or calculations. Fuel totals for example are the sum of every refill of our Day Tank as measured using a sight glass tube. Distances are as measured by our GPS. Elapsed times are from the time we left the dock in Gran Canarias until we arrived at the anchorage in St. Anne Martinique.
To my way of thinking, using such direct measurements throughout the passage and totaled at the end of the total passage time frame and distance provides the most accurate and realistic numbers possible.
Our design goals for Möbius included being able to average 8-9 knots SoG enabling us to cover 200 NM per 24 hour day while burning less than 2 Litres per NM and so we are very happy with these real world numbers. Our sincere appreciation to our brilliant designer and NA, Dennis Harjamaa at Artnautica Yacht Design in Auckland, NZ for designing our hull and boat that met and exceeded all our design goals so well. Thanks Dennis!
I will continue to keep logging all the extensive amounts of measurements for every nautical mile we cover and will update these as the months, years and nautical smiles go by.
Mr. Gee v2 Performance
I’m also delighted to report that Mr. Gee v2 performed flawlessly. We’ve never had a power boat before and so having an engine running 24/7 for two weeks was also a new experience. In total Mr. Gee’s hour meters recorded 337.3 hours and he purred away every one of those hours without a problem. Needless to say we are particularly delighted about that performance figure!
Similarly, our Nogva CPP or Controllable Pitch Propeller and Gearbox also exceeded expectations and performed flawlessly so our overall propulsion choices continue to be one of our best decisions in designing this boat. This propulsion duo has given us a “set it and forget it” kind of combination where we pretty much just set Mr. Gee’s RPM at 1450 and let his governor keep it there, adjusted the Pitch until the EGT was at about 340 degrees C and didn’t need to change it until we put the anchor down in St. Anne two weeks later.
Answering more Questions:
To answer a related question I’ve received a few times about drive line noises and vibrations we might have given that the Gardner engine is directly bolted to the Nogva Gearbox and then a direct connection between the output shaft of the Nogva CPP gearbox and its propeller shaft.
This is in contrast to many boats which have a constant velocity universal joint or CV arrangement in their driveline but this is not possible with a CPP as the pitch adjustment rod needs to travel all the way from inside the gearbox through the center of the prop shaft and back to the hub of the CPP prop.
Instead, the Nogva gearbox input connects to the Gardner crankshaft via a large flexible rubber CentaMax coupling like this.
The loudest engine related noise we have is actually that of the extraction fan which runs at all times and is part of our fire suppression system and this is something I am looking into replacing with a quieter fan. The Gardner itself cannot really be heard at any speed from either helm station. There is no audible sound from any driveline vibrations but if you really focus on it you can feel a slight vibration when we are underway. It is very steady and smooth so not something either Christine or I have noted.
Difficult to know how to measure and better answer this question and I don’t have a similar hull with a fixed prop and CV setup for comparison but I can say that one of the features we have been most impressed with and appreciative is just how quiet Möbius is both underway and at anchor. Indeed one of the most common unsolicited comments we get from our guests and others who come aboard is the almost complete lack of any noises on the boat and just how quiet is is while on board.
However, I too was curious about noise overall and so during the passage I used a sound meter app on my phone to take some readings at various places on Möbius and found the following averages all taken while cruising at 9 knots in 22 knots of following wind and about 3 meter seas:
Inside Engine Room 80db
Workshop 73db with ER door open
Guest Cabin 57db (which shares a bulkhead with the ER)
Main Salon 55db
Master Cabin 50db
Aft deck 64db
This chart will help make some sense of these db decibel numbers. As another frame of reference, right now, sitting in the Salon typing this message with the door open while at anchor with about 21 kts of wind outside my sound meter is showing 21.5db
You can draw your own conclusions from these numbers but one of our better decisions was to put in so much EPDM and acoustic panel insulation in Möbius and we appreciate this literally every day we are aboard.
Observations from this Atlantic Crossing
Many people ask about a day in the life when we are on these passages and about our watch schedules. During the daylight hours we are quite informal about our watch schedules and just take turns being on watch and at the helm until we feel like a change and a break. In these mild weather conditions we spend most of our time up in the SkyBridge as it has such great views with its height above the water and 360 degree views all around. We have super comfy helm chairs from Llebroc at both helms which are fully adjustable to recline, change lumbar support and have a good foot rest so spending hours in these is a joy. We are both voracious readers and so we probably spend the most hours reading our wildly diverse range of book genres from romance and murder mysteries to quantum physics.
We find 6 hour night watches work best for us so we tend to have dinner around 6pm and then I start my watch at 19:00 and Christine comes on at about 1am through 07:00 when I get up and take over again. Christine will often go down for a few hours in the morning and then we settle into our relaxing day mostly lounging about and reading.
For me the biggest surprise of the passage was how much I missed the challenges that come from sailing. It is just little things like the satisfaction of adjusting your sail trim and getting a bit better boat speed. The drill you have to go through to adjust or douse sails when you see a squall up ahead and then put them back up after it passes. Or that calm that comes over you when you turn off the key after having to motor for some time and the sounds of just the water on the hull takes over your whole audio spectrum. I just felt a degree less personal satisfaction at the end of the passage having not faced those sailing types of challenges I had for so many years. However this is also the very first passage under power I’ve ever experienced so time will tell how this evolves and what new challenges lay ahead as our world voyage continues.
One thing that did not change was one of the things I have always marveled at and enjoyed about ocean crossings; being alone in the world’s vast ocean expanses for days or weeks on end. Where every one of the horizon’s 360 degrees is nothing but water meeting sky. We saw less than five other boats the entire crossing so we had these vistas all to ourselves and you truly felt blissfully alone. I am so grateful for these experiences where I feel like I am the most insignificant teeny little speck of dust on the planet and yet simultaneously also the most significant bit as I am all the only speck there is. I had that profound joy for almost all of this passage.
At night, the complete lack of any other light sources meant that I once again had night after night of stary stary skies that not even Van Gough could have captured. One interesting difference this time though was that I did become much more aware of the increased number of satellites taking over the night sky so I was glad to have this chance to take in all those stars against such a black background the likes of which I may only see in reduced degrees in the future.
Our timing worked out such that we had a lot of moonshine the whole passage so that was an extra bonus we both enjoyed on our night watches.
As well as our first crossing under power, this was also a first crossing of the Atlantic for both of us and so that felt great to add these experiences to our lists. I think the only other major ocean passage neither of us have done is now the Indonesia and the Indian ocean so we still have those adventures ahead.
Not sure how well I have been able to capture and convey our latest experience but I hope you found parts of it interesting and worth reading. If you have other questions or topics you would like me to cover in future posts please just put those in your comments below and I’ll do my best to cover these in future posts and comments.
We have now been at anchor here in St. Anne for almost two weeks and so stay tuned for an update on that in the next post. Until then, thank you VERY much for your patience with me in providing you this overview of our Atlantic crossing and I look forward to your comments and questions below.
NOTE: Still have frustrating technical issues preventing me from posting this latest update as I usually do. We have been creating these posts for five years with nary a problem but suddenly it isn’t working so I’ve created this update manually direct online to just get it out while we resolve the technical issues. I’m sure you can all relate from having similar challenges with technology and appreciate your understanding and patience.
As you can see the photos are much larger and don’t expand when you click on them so I will put the relevant text below each photo. But, should give you a good overview of what’s been going on the past two weeks and hopefully the next update will be back to normal format.
Möbius is still safely docked in this beautiful harbour on the South end of the Greek island of Kalymnos and other than some very gusty Meltemi winds the last two weeks have been unusually quiet aboard with the absence of Captain Christine. So we are down to just the three pupsketeers of Ruby, Barney and I aboard.
Christine has been enjoying some much needed Gramma time with our Grandson Liam and spending time with her family and friends. Liam has always been enthralled with tornados and loves making his own in bottles like this one while his Dad, Christine’s son Tim, enjoys the glee.
They have been enjoying outings like this one to a great hands on science museum in Ft. Lauderdale to Liam’s obvious delight.
Christine has been able to squeeze in time for a new hairdo and glasses and a visit with her very dear and longtime friends Kathleen and Steve.
She will be flying back here next Monday and the pups and I will be VERY glad to have her back.
Meanwhile back on Möbius I’ve been busy with several projects and ordering boat bits we can’t get over here that Sherpa Christine can bring back with her.
I am also regularly in touch with the good people at Gardner Marine Diesel GMD as they complete the building of Mr. Gee version 2.0. That has been going very well along with the forensic analysis of Mr. Gee 1.0 and they have been taking photos along the way and I should have more details and photos of that in the next blog post.
It took over six weeks for the engine to get from Kalymnos to the Gardner factory in Canterbury in the UK due to the huge crush of tourists in the EU this summer that took up all the spaces on the three ferries it takes to get there. Most companies in Europe also shut down for holidays in the month of August so that delayed things further but he finally made it. GMD have been removing all the parts that will be swapped over to the new engine. If all continues to goes well, the new engine should be fully completed and run in on the dyno in about two more weeks and start his hopefully much faster return trip!
This part of Greece we are in has always had very strong summer winds out of the North called “Meltemi” winds which are the result of a high-pressure system over the Balkans area and a relatively low-pressure system over Turkey. Most of the time they are good news to us as they provide a natural form of air conditioning to keep you cool day and night. Typically these gust up to 25 knots or so but in the wee hours on Monday they gusted up to over 50 knots! (57 MPH/92KPH)
Which leads me to the title of this week’s post…….
Things were howling pretty good all night but about 3AM there were several huge crashing sounds up on deck above where I was sleeping in the Master Cabin so I scrambled out of bed and up on deck to see what was going on.
In the early morning darkness it took me awhile to figure out what had happened but became pretty clear when I got up on the forward deck, turned around and looked back over the hinged solar panel array in front of the SkyBridge.
As you may recall, this set of three 300W solar panels are mounted in an aluminium frame that is hinged on the aft end so that it can be lifted up like this when we are at anchor or on a dock. This has double benefits of getting the solar panels horizontal which is often a better sun angle and then creates this huge wind funnel that takes the breezes over the bow back to a mist eliminating grill set in the far back wall.
Which then flows into the middle of the SuperSalon through the White air diffusers in the ceiling. The Black ones further forward get their air from another vent tucked under the overhang of the roof above the front window. Helps keep good airflows.
When we are underway, the panels simply fold down like this so they are flush with the angled roof section of the SuperSalon.
I’ll bet you can’t guess which position they were in on Monday night/Tuesday morning??!!
Took me awhile to put it all together as I tried to figure out what had punched that gaping hole in the middle panel?
At first I thought perhaps the strong winds had carried some hard heavy something crashing down onto the panel and there was a good culprit staring right at me from the bow of the oil tanker that overlaps our bow on the dock we are tied up to.
Made sense, but then I looked up…………….
I’d estimate it takes me about 20Kg/44lbs to lift the front of this panel up when I want to put it in the UP position so you would think that it would be pretty stable. But you’d be wrong!
These panels have been in the horizontal UP position for the past two months with nary a problem but what had happened was that Meltemi winds had shifted on Monday night so that they were coming more directly over the bow rather than over the Port/Left side they usually blow over, and one of those big gusts had lifted up the whole rack, slammed it against the front of the roof over the SkyBridge and the video camera had punched itself right through the solar panel.
Fortunately I have several new solar panels onboard for spares and so it only took me a few hours to unbolt the broken PV panel and bolt in a new one. These panels use these handy MC4 connectors with a built in fuse so all I had to do was unsnap the old ones and click the new ones in place and we were back to full solar capacity with all 14 panels now working.
Christine had a new and improved video cam that she had put on my ToDo list to replace the original one. How convenient!
Easy enough to unbolt what was left of the base of the old camera and bolt the new one in place. This new camera uses PoE or Power over Ethernet so only requires a single Ethernet RJ45 (waterproof) connector and it was good to test out.
Fired up the main boat computer in the SuperSalon and a few clicks later had the new camera streaking this video over the bow.
Right now we have four cameras onboard with a rear facing one off the transom which is great for docking and then two in the currently very empty engine room to keep an eye on Mr. Gee once he gets back in there.
Lots of other smaller jobs and time online sorting things out for the new engine and boat bits but nothing too entertaining to show so I’ll close out for this post and will be back when I have enough interesting content to share with you in the next week or two.
I will leave you with Gramma’s bed buddy and fellow geek.
Thanks for your patience in dealing with this delayed and different looking update. Hopefully we will get the technical posting problems sorted out and be back to the usual format in the next week or two.
Please put any questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
I’m not sure how it happened but another week and almost another month has somehow zipped by and it feels like Spring is finally in the air as the weather begins to warm here in Southern Turkey. Still a bit of a chill at nights but they are trending upwards and the forecast is calling for that to continue.
With Mr. Gee now back on his feet we are now ramping up our efforts to make Möbius fully ship shape and ready to head out to sea as the weather improves. It is now mostly all the little things that need to be done but they do take time and at the end of many days when I look around I don’t seem to see much visual progress but I does feel good to be checking items off of the To do list.
So let’s jump right in and get you updated on all that happened this week that I could photograph. Oh, and stick around for the Bonus video at the end!
Since getting Mr. Gee back up and running I’ve been spending a lot of my time doing all the “little” things on him such as getting all the various sensors wired up that measure things like oil pressure, engine oil, gearbox oil and coolant temperature.
If you look closely at this labelled photo (click any photo to enlarge) of the pressure and temperature senders on Mr. Gee you will notice that in addition to the analog gauges there is a second electric sensor that measures these same things. Here for example, is the Sika temperature gauge for the engine oil and on the left of it is the electric temperature sender which sends the oil temperature over to our Maretron boat monitoring system.
Over on the left side of the oil filter you can see the same combination of two analog oil pressure gauges and then a third electric sender at the very bottom. Over on the right front of Mr. Gee on the coolant manifold we find the analog temperature gauge and its electric cousin on the right.
It was finicky work running all the wires for these electric sensors and finding the best route to as I like to keep them well hidden and safe from chaffing so took the better part of a day to get these installed. Then I needed to chase a multi strand cable to get all output from these sensors over to the front Port/Left side of the Workshop where these Maretron black boxes and the Actisense EMU-1 are located. The EMU-1 is needed to convert the signals from the electric sensors and put this data on our NMEA2000 or N2K network which runs throughout the boat and carries all the boat data. This N2K network carries all the data to and from each sensor on the boat and allows us to display all this data on any of our many monitors onboard, our phones, laptops and tablets. This is the wiring diagram for the analog side of things with the wires from each sender going into the EMU-1. Which now looks like this. I will finish this job tomorrow by wiring the EMU-1 for the 24 volt power it needs. When we next have Mr. Gee running we can then check that the pressure and temperature data is showing up on the N2K network and Christine can build the screens to display all this info. We have done this dual analog/digital combination for most of the things we monitor on Möbius such as tank levels, water pressure, DHW temperature and many more. It is time consuming and costly but being able to monitor and log all this data is critical to being able to run Möbius safely and efficiently and to get early warning signals of equipment or systems as soon as they start to malfunction or fail. A big part of this is to be able to see this information from any screen anywhere on, as well as off, the boat so we find this to be well worth the effort and cost.
Having the backup analog gauges provides redundancy should any of the digital senders fail and also enables us confirm that the N2K data is accurate. As the recent mysterious missing oil pressure adventure proved, this double checking can prove to be eXtremely important!
My ER is Back!
Another one of those little and time consuming jobs was putting the grated flooring back in the Engine Room. We have used this composite grating in many other spaces such as the Workshop and Forepeak and it has worked out eXtremely well. Strong, solid, oblivious to any liquids and very non skid. Each grid has a frame surrounding it that is fabricated using aluminium L-bar which are then bolted to vertical L-bar supports welded to the frames. In the ER this grid flooring wraps all around Mr. Gee and is a huge safety factor when we ae underway and in rough seas as you always have a solid slip free floor under your feet. Not difficult work, just finicky to get the jig saw puzzle of all the individual frames fit back into their spaces and then bolted to their support bars.
At least in this case the results of all my time were very easy to see and it does feel particularly great to have the Engine Room back again since I first removed it back in June of last year.
Mr. Gee Video Tour Bonus
As promised, here is the bonus video so many of you have been requesting for so long. I don’t have the time to do any editing so this is going to be a very “uncut” and amateurish video I’m afraid but for all you Mr. .Gee fan boys and girls out there, hopefully this will hold you over until I can do a better version.
And for those who may have missed it, here is the video that was in last week’s update of the first starting of Mr. Gee version 3.0 after fixing the recalcitrant O-rings and finding the faulty oil pressure gauge that finally solved the mystery of the disappearing oil pressure.
Hope you enjoy these “rough and ready” videos from your trusty reporter and please type your questions and comments to let me know in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
If you want to get from Point A to Point B and each step you take is exactly 1/2 the distance between you and Point B, how many steps will it take you to get there?
An infinite number of steps and you will never get all the way there!
However, the most important thing is that forward progress was made again this week, including two very exciting even though it too ended up being one of those half way steps. But half steps are still steps forward so we’ll take every one we can. The commissioning phase continued this week as we power up and test all our many systems and start shaking all the gremlins, both large and small, out into the open so we can deal with them. As you might imagine this often feels like we are playing the marine version of Whack-A-Mole as we get rid of one gremlin and two more pop up. The major systems we are currently bringing up to speed include the Kabola diesel boiler, the Furuno navigation system, Maretron monitoring system, Domestic Hot Water DHW system and the CPP pitch control system, to name but a few. None of this testing and problem solving creates very visual or entertaining content so again this week you get a reprieve from my typically much longer blog post so do enjoy this calm before the next storm of activity begins and let’s jump right into the week that was April 5-9, 2021.
First Guest Cabin Guest!
The biggest and best First this week by far, was the arrival of our dearest friends who flew half way around the world to spend two weeks with us as the Captain of Team Whack-A-Mole. Now THAT is a friend!
Some of you will recognize this “guest” who is really much more family as we have been friends and fellow sailors for a very long time and Christine and I have the great honour of being the godparents to all four of the children in this awemazing family.
Can you guess who this masked man is? Correct! John very generously left the rest of his family and flew all the way from Courtney British Columbia to be with us and as you can see from Captain Christine’s huge grin, we are both eXtremely eXcited to have our very first long term guest be such a very dear friend. Christine is particularly happy to have John join her in playing Whack-a-Mole with all the electronics systems such as navigation, Radar, AIS, Maretron and more. John is easily one of THE brightest people I have ever met and when it comes to resolving problems with computer networks and software he is an absolute genius so his plethora of skills has been put to VERY good use this past week.
This photo alone represents many hours of work and generated a LOT of grins onboard when John and Christine were able to get the TimeZero navigation software and the FLIR night vision camera up on both screens at the Main and Upper Helms.
As you can see it is daytime when this shot was taken but it is still fascinating to see how much the FLIR camera augments the reality that you are seeing up at the top looking out the front window at the Main Helm.
Here is a bit closer view for those interested and click to enlarge any photo to see more.
We will be maximizing John’s talents until he has to fly out at the end of this week on the 15th. Thanks SO much my friend, we literally could not have built this boat without you!
Rockin’ the Dock!
Christine and I have been sleeping aboard Möbius every night since she launched as a safety precaution just in case anything should go wrong with this newborn boat. And of course we have our two dock mates, these two Police boats which are about to head off to their new home in Oman, to help keep us safe as well. As you can see, Möbius and her two bow buddies are very close friends. We also have constant entertainment with the various “little” ships like this one that come and go on the other side of the harbour as they get loaded up with goods of all description and move on within two days or so. More ships all around us and each one quite unique and very fun to watch and learn.
Since launch we have been gradually moving out of our apartment here in Antalya and onto our new home aboard Möbius and we are now having all our meals onboard and now with John being our first Guest to sleep in the Guest Cabin. He gives the Guest Cabin two thumbs up and it has been a true treat for Christine and I to be answering all his questions and sharing our eXcitement of our new “baby” with him. As you can see in this and several of the other photos, the huge renovation of the Antalya Free Zone harbour continues all around us. And I do mean ALL around us!
Möbius can just be seen on the very far Right in this shot with the last of the major concrete pours about to go in for the huge superyacht haul out facility they are putting in here. And the Firsts that happened this week were not just onboard Möbius! We’ve been watching them build this tiny little 560 Tonne TraveLift for the past 2 months and this was her maiden voyage earlier today. We are now tied up this massive concrete dock that did not exist two weeks ago! Never a dull moment all day every day here as both construction and ship loading go on 24/7.
New eXtremely Solid Cleats!
You may recall that we had a very unusual wind situation when we were tied up next door at Setur Marina just after we launched which produced some very large swells coming directly into the harbour and marina causing all of us on the outer wall to surge back and forth for most of the day. All of the boats beside us suffered multiple snapped lines and ripped out cleats so we were fortunate enough to just have this one ripped off our our Swim Platform. Gives you an idea of the forces we were dealing with. The beauty of aluminium is that even these kinds of breakages are not very difficult to repair and we decided to “upgrade” our cleats from pipe to solid aluminium so we should be able to withstand such situations in the future. Uğur and Nihat machined the new solid AL parts and got to work inserting them into the existing pipes welded into the hull and then welded the new solid posts in place.
The new and improved cleats are done!
First Half Step Sea Trial
I gave you the best First we had this week right at the beginning with John’s arrival and saved the biggest First for the finale this week which is that we had our first Sea Trial on Tuesday!
Or first half at least. This was my first chance to bring Mr. Gee up to speed and load as we dialed in more and more pitch on the Nogva CPP prop.
We opened up the big hatch overtop of the Engine Room as the paint on Mr. Gee’s exhaust manifold burned in and produced some smoke.
Mr. Gee gave an eXcellent performance and soon had us slicing through the water at just under 10 knots barely breaking a sweat at about 1000 RPM and seemingly not much load.
However, a little bit later we had a sudden loss of oil pressure as it fell from its normal 40 PSI down to 20 so I shut him off to investigate. I wasn’t able to find any leaks or other evidence of the problem so we started back up and idled back to the dock. Hence my reference to this being a half step first sea trial.
I am now busy figuring out what caused the loss in oil pressure and will have more on that for your next week. We were super eXcited to have John be able to join us for our first Sea Trial and he was quite taken with the views and situational awareness that the 360 degrees of glass provides from the lower Main Helm in the SuperSalon. He shot this little video segment to show you .
The initial portion of the Sea Trial went eXtremely well as we brought Möbius up to just under 10 knots by slowly increasing the pitch on the Nogva CPP prop and Mr. Gee was still loafing along at about 1000 RPM. Here is a very rough video shot from the Aft Deck when we were doing about 9.6 knots. My apologies for not having time to edit this into a better quality video but hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride none the less.
** For those wondering, there is a lot of noise during this test run as we have the big overhead Engine Room hatch open as well as the ER door into the Workshop and the WT door into the interior all open.
For those of you who might care, we were also eXtremely happy with the wake we were generating at 9.6 knots and really look forward to the next sea trial when we can bring Möbius up to full speed and find out just what that speed is and what the wake is like at WOT or Wide Open Throttle. Stay tuned for that in the coming weeks.
As you can tell, Christine and I are both eXtremely eXcited to reach this new milestone of our first Sea Trial even if it was cut short for now.
Hope you enjoyed this short but sweet Progress Update and please come join us again next week. And please add any and all comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Unbelievably, yet another month zips into the past and we’re now sailing into the second quarter of 2021. Yikes! And it was another eXtremely busy week aboard the Good Ship Möbius but alas, not so much that is very visible and so not a lot of content for this week’s Show & Tell Progress Update. However we also had some eXtremely eXciting milestones and firsts to share with you so let’s jump right into that.
The Beast Gets Some Bling!
Regular readers know that I quite like having the contrasting combination of Beauty and Beastly and Mr. Gee, our Gardner 6LXB engine is perhaps my favorite example of this combination. His “Beastly” characteristics include the fact that he weighs a svelte 1400 Kg/3086 Lb that he puts out some monster torque of 736Nm / 542 ft-lb @ 1000 RPM. His Beauty characteristics include his simplicity with a minimum of moving parts, no turbo, completely mechanical fuel injection, no glow plugs, zero electrical requirements to run and he is happy to be started with his hand crank. Being such a class act, at least in my eyes, I figured that he deserved a wee bit of eXtra class to add the finishing visual touch by carefully polishing a few of his many aluminium parts to a gleaming mirrorlike shine and I think he is quite happy.
What do you think? To get this all done quickly, I turned to our “Turkish Fixer” Alaaddin and he was his typical resourceful self in finding all the polishing wheels, polishing compound and a local polishing machine and as you can see his was quite rightly happy with the results. Thanks Alaaddin!
Möbius Mini Maiden Voyage
The eXtremely eXciting milestone event we had this past week was that Möbius took her very first “voyage” under her own power and steering! The caveats are that we only moved the boat a few hundred meters from the dock wall we had been Med moored to at Setur Marina around the corner and back into the Free Zone harbour where we tied up to the same end wall we had been at two weeks ago. No big deal you might be saying but you’d be missing the point! This was still her and our first trip under her own power so we are taking the Win!
You can check it all out in this short little video I’ve put together from one video I shot onboard and then two from ashore thanks to Dincer and Baris taking these on their smartphones. My apologies for not having the time to do a better job of creating this video with sound and more info so this is a silent movie but I hope you will still enjoy it and get a sense of how exciting this milestone was for Christine and me.
Seemingly fitting, this happened on Thursday which was April Fool’s Day and then on Friday we had to move to a different wall in the Free Zone harbour because a large cargo ship was coming in and needed the whole end wall, so we got to take a second even “minier” voyage from the end wall around the corner to the side wall which was an eXtremely long ways away of almost 150 meters! But still …………..
There is still some jobs that need to be completed before we can head out to sea and do a “full size” Maiden Voyage and sea trials but we hope that Naval will be able to get those done in the next few days so do stay tuned for more videos of our first “real” Sea Trial.
Thanks for joining me on this equally “mini” weekly Progress Update and please be sure to add your questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
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!