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.
Well, finally finding the time to put together this quick update we have ALL been waiting for and <spoiler alert> let me just start with what you really want to know; yes, the brand new Mr. Gee version 2.0 is now fully installed and Möbius is back up and running! This update will focus on the installation of the new Mr. Gee and then I’ll do a second one in a few days with outline of where Mr. Gee has powered Möbius to since we left Kalymnos last week on Oct. 30th.
Let me just say that since finally departing our four month home port in Kalymnos, we have now put about 600 nautical smiles under our keel and I am writing this to you from Marina di Ragusa down on the SE corner of Sicily. We are waiting for the next weather window to continue our travels West and out of the Med across the North coast of Africa, and hope to leave tomorrow (Monday 7 Oct) or Tuesday so it may take me a few days to get that second travel update written and get some internet to be able to post it but do stay tuned for that. Now, back to as quick a summary as I can do about the installation of the all new Mr. Gee.
It took almost two months for the original Mr. Gee to get from Kalymnos to the Gardner works in Canterbury England but fortunately the return trip was MUCH faster and “only” took about two weeks for this sight for sore eyes turned up on the dock beside us. All still fully sealed up and just as it had been when it left Gardner Marine Diesel GMD the day after I flew back from being there for the full dynamometer testing that I outlined in a previous post. Even Barney was wondering when this abyss in the Engine Room was going to be filled up again and he was on hand to supervise the whole installation. James and Michael at GMD had kindly included the remaining epoxy paint and put that in the box on the pallet. Manufactured September 2022 so can’t get too much newer than that! After SO much time and effort, it was sure a great feeling to unwrap this all new version of Mr. Gee and get busy preparing him for the installation. If you look closely at the brass plate on the fuel injection system you can see that it is currently set up for Continuous 100% use with 150 BHP @ 1650 RPM, and as some Gardner fans say these are “Draught Horses”! I spent a few hours reinstalling a few things such as the big Electrodyne alternator that is powered by the PTO (Power Take Off) as it was easier to do while sitting out on the dock. Then I protected the polished valve covers up top with some foam and set up the two chain blocks front and rear for adjusting the angle of the engine as we lowered it in place. The crane truck arrived right on time which was also a nice change as the first time for taking the engine out, it took over a week to arrange. Didn’t take long to lift the 1200kg engine off the dock ……… …… and onto Möbius. Kind compliments of brothers Michael and John Psarompas who own Argo Oil & Tug Boat, two of the crew from the Argo Tug Boat behind us kindly came over to lend some extra hands to help lower the engine into the Engine Room and set the motor mounts onto the anxiously awaiting engine beds. As many of you know this wasn’t my first rodeo wrestling Mr. Gee into place and with these four extra hands it all went quite quickly. And the all new Mr. Gee was finally settled into his new home and mated up with the Nogva CPP Controllable Pitch Propeller gear box. It took me about two days to remount all the systems such as exhaust,the second Electrodyne alternator (top left), fuel lines, engine guard bars and then do the engine/prop shaft alignment and torquing down the engine mounts to lock it all in place.
Apologies for this quick and dirty video of the first starting of the all new Mr. Gee v2.0 but hope it adds a bit to how this all went. I gave a bit of an overview before starting up the engine and then did a bit of a walk around of the engine to show things such as the oil pressure, exhaust water flow, etc. Hope you enjoy!
Out of both curiosity and safety I decided to pump the diesel Day Tank empty and open up the bottom inspection port to see how things had faired in the almost two years since the first fill during the build. Very happy to find what you see here, aka NOTHING. The sump you see in the lower Left had been doing its job of collecting some of the bits from construction and I had been able to drain these out previously as per the design. Silver cylinder in the top Left is the Maretron pressure sensor for measuring tank level and the pickup outlet is over on the Right.
Bolted the inspection cover back on (lower left) and refilled this 660 Liter Day Tank with fresh clean diesel out of the main tanks. New engine called for new filters so installed these and bled them to get rid of any air. Also took the time to put coloured zip ties on each of the valve handles on the three fuel manifolds to help me double check that I have the right ones open or closed for different operations such as transferring fuel between the main tanks, polishing the fuel (aka cleaning), filling the Day Tank and of course the supply and return for feeding Mr. Gee when he is running. Once I had Mr. Gee and the rest of the systems on Möbius back up and running there was quite a bit of bureaucratic steps we needed to go through before we were allowed to leave. The boat had been officially “detained” by the Greek Coast Guard and they required that we hire this engineer to prove that the engine and the boat was back up and running again. All of the various officials, offices and agencies all needed to collect their “pound of flesh” and ample Euros which took longer than the actual installation of the new engine! Last but not least, we completed a quick sea trial by doing a big loop outside the harbour with the engineer aboard and we finally had the green light from him and then went through another round of approvals and payments to all the agencies in town but by end of day on 29th of October, 2022, almost four months after we first arrived, we were cleared to depart Kalymnos! We treated ourselves to one last “date night” on this lovely island of Kalymnos that had come to feel like home and reminded ourselves of just how fortunate we had been to have had the opportunity to get to know this small Greek island and so many of her wonderful inhabitants who had become so familiar and were all so kind and generous to us.
Thanks for the memories and Bye Bye Kalymnos! We feel SO privileged to have had this extended time to get to know you.
As many of you may have seen in your various news feeds, Friday August 26th is/was International Dog Day. Based on my observations of our dogs, it seems to me that EVERY day is pretty much Dog Day, but apparently the 26th makes it official. Ruby is our 14 year old “Spoodle”, a mix of Cocker Spaniel + Poodle and Barney is our 10 year old Yorkshire “Terror” as Christine affectionately calls him. They have been with us from the very beginning of their respective lives as well as ours as a couple.
As you can see, they have become quite the couple themselves. Happy International Dog Day to all the dogs in our lives!
Going to the Dogs is a bad thing?
I’ve always been curious about the origin of all the various sayings we have in our language and years ago I was quite surprised when I looked up “it’s a dog’s life” and found it defined as “a difficult, boring, and unhappy life” and that “going to the dogs apparently means “: to become ruined : to change to a much worse condition,The economy is going to the dogs.” All my experiences with dogs had been quite the opposite and as you can see in the photos above, Ruby and Barney certainly seem to have a life that many would envy.
However, I must admit that of late things aboard Möbius do seem to fit the dictionary definition of “going to the dogs” with the various problems that have cropped up with our FireFly batteries, Kabola diesel water heater and the list goes on. Latest addition this week was finding that the Bow Thruster was not working and I’ll use that example to highlight my contrarian perspective wherein I regard all these as challenges to be taken on and resolved and that in the end they turn out to be good things.
That’s not a Bug! That’s a Feature!!
Another common phrase we often hear is that when life deals you lemons, make lemonade. Along similar lines, one of the more profound and transformative concepts I synthesized during my decades working with software and technology, was that rather than “problems”, such challenges present me with the opportunity “to transform bugs into features”. I have come to realise that it is largely a matter of perspective. If you look at things differently, things look different. In addition to the new understanding and skills I learn by fixing things and resolving these challenges, they also present me with the opportunity to improve and make things better after they are fixed than they were originally. The problem with the Bow Thruster “challenge” this week is the most recent example I can use to illustrate how I apply this “bugs into features” approach.
After spending time with my multimeter tracing all the wiring for the Bow Thruster, the issue turned out to be caused by very poor electrical design by the manufacturer, in my opinion, for the way the fuse and wires from the controller joy sticks at both helm stations, are placed and connected to the Bow Thruster motor in the Forepeak. The four wire connector on the Left and the 5Amp ATC fuse on the Right are located on the outside of the 24V motor of the Bow Thruster and thus completely exposed to the damp and often salty air in the Forepeak.
Not surprisingly then, these exposed copper connections had suffered from severe corrosion.
This is the four wire connector with the 24V positive connection being completely corroded and making no connection to the Red wire it joins. The ATC fuse holder and the 5A fuse itself were in even worse condition. Compared to the new Orange fuse on the far Left, you can see that both of the spade terminals on the factory fuse have completely corroded into dust.
Not much surprise then that the Bow Thruster wasn’t working. Quite surprising and disappointing to me to find such an obvious design fault in what is otherwise a very high quality bit of kit, and it made no sense to just clean up the fuse holder and redo the four wire connectors as the same thing would just repeat itself, presenting me with the “opportunity” to not just fix the problem but to improve the whole wiring setup.
My apologies that I forgot to take photos as I was working and hope these generic images will still help you understand what I did to transform these bugs into features.
I carry a good supply of these sealed ATC in-line fuse holders for just these kinds of situations and so I replaced the original factory Black plastic built in fuse holder on the Bow Thruster with one of these. I also extended the wire length so that the fuse holder was located up higher in a more protected spot which also provides better access if/when this fuse ever blows and needs to be replaced.
√ Fuse now fixed and working
√ Sealed fuse holder
√ Better protected location
√ Easier to access for future fuse replacements
For the four wire connector, I replaced it entirely with new wires that I spliced directly to the wires on the Bow Thruster using these crimped butt splice connectors that have adhesive lined heat shrink coating that completely seals the connection.
√ No more exposed connections
√ No more corrosion
Hope this helps illustrate my perspective on how to transform bugs into features.
With the above as context, I have a much bigger and much better example of my latest transformation; Mr. Gee 2.0! Here is a brief (consider the source) overview of what’s been happening with Mr. Gee lately.
Several months ago, after Mr. Gee had about fifty hours of run time, I began to hear a metallic “ticking” noise when he was running. It wasn’t very loud and sounded very similar to when there is too much clearance between the end of an exhaust or intake valve and the rocker arm. I had previously done the recommended valve adjustment after about the first five hours of running and all the metal parts have been through multiple heating and cooling cycles. Shortly after hearing this new ticking sound I checked the valve clearances again and found them all to be spot on but the ticking noise continued.
After that I kept my ear attuned to the ticking and it seemed to stay the same, not changing or getting any louder so I thought it was perhaps just a normal Gardner sound and just kept listening closely on every engine room inspection while we were underway. I do one of these ER inspections every hour or two when we are underway and record all other engine data such as RPM, fuel consumption, SOG (boat speed over ground), oil temperature and pressure, coolant temperature, Exhaust Gas Temperature EGT and temperatures at various parts of the engine and the air in the Engine Room. Reviewing this spreadsheet allows me to see what all these readings should be and makes it easy to spot any changes.
Everything stayed the same until we about ten hours into making our way from the Greek island of Rhodes to Athens on the mainland. I began to notice some increased temperatures in the area of the cylinder heads by cylinder #3. All the other temperatures of oil and water and metal parts elsewhere remained the same but I also noticed that the ticking noise was getting louder. More like a slight metal on metal knocking sound. Always hard to tell with sounds inside an Engine Room if this is just your imagination or if the sound really is changing but I shut the engine down and did a much closer inspection of every part of the engine but found no visible signs of any leaks or other changes. So I restarted Mr. Gee and we continued.
You know where this is going! Sure enough the heat around the exhaust and intake ports of cylinder #3 continued to rise, the ticking noise got louder and the engine ran more unevenly. Not a condition that could be allowed to continue and so we rerouted ourselves to the closest island of Kalymnos where I would be able to take on this latest challenge and figure out how to transform this bug into a feature. This would have to wait for a month or so because we now had our granddaughters and family onboard followed by some other dear friends so not much time to work on Mr. Gee.
Eventually though, I was able to do some deeper testing and dismantled the engine enough to find that the exhaust and intake valves on cylinder #3 were defective and no longer sealing on their valve seats and hence not getting cooled down. Valves, the exhaust in particular, live in a very nasty high heat environment and they mostly are cooled when they are tightly closed and can transfer their heat through the valve seat. If they don’t seal tight they don’t work as a valve bringing the air/fuel mix into the cylinder, sealing it completely on the compression and then power strokes and then letting all the burned mixture out the exhaust port. And without the contact to the valve seat, they rapidly start to overheat and would eventually likely crack. I am very fortunate to have some of the best experts there are when it comes to diesel engines and Gardner’s in particular. I have the Mr. Gardner himself, Michael at Gardner Marine Diesel GMD, the home of Mr. Gee and all Gardner engines and my long time friend Greg who I’ve known since we were in University and trade school together and who is the best expert on diesel engines I know. I spent a LOT of time texting and talking with Greg and Michael and they were both eXtremely generous with their time and patience. After going through all the possible scenarios and reviewing all the data and photos of what I was able to see, the problem and the solution became quite clear.
I had begun the restoration of Mr. Gee when Christine and I were house/pet sitting for some dear friends in Portugal and had a machine shop there do all the machining of the cylinder heads and block and install the new valve seats, valve guides and cylinder liners. Michael at GMD remembered this and he noted that installing new valve seats in these LXB engines is quite particular and he has seen problems in the past when other machine shops have installed new valve seats and valve guides, so this cast some doubt on whether these had all been installed correctly by the machine shop in Portugal. While we won’t know for sure until a more detailed examination of the valves, seats and heads improperly installed valve seats became the most likely suspects as to what was causing the problems with Mr. Gee and making that ticking noise.
It was possible I could remove the cylinder heads, order in new valves and seats and find a machine ship in Athens or somewhere to properly install all new valve seats and guides, but this would not be easy to arrange and would not be a shop that had experience working on Gardner engines so we quickly ruled out this option. To be completely sure that all the valves, seats and guides on Mr. Gee were 100% correctly installed, this work needed to be done at the Gardner works at GMD. Our attention thus turned to how best to do this?
30 Horses Gallop into the Scene…..
I should also note at this point, that I have been having a completely separate conversation with Michael all this year about converting Mr. Gee from the 150HP @1650 RPM he is currently at, to the 180HP @ 1800 RPM option which the 6LXB can be configured for. The 150HP setup is a Continuous or 100% duty cycle which means the engine can be run at this speed and HP 24/7 which many 6LXB’s are. The 180HP version has a lower duty cycle which means that you can run them safely at full power and RPM for shorter periods of time and then continue at lower RPM. Almost all diesel engines have this range of RPM/HP they can be configured for and on mechanical fuel injection engines such as the Gardner LXB, this involves physically changing the fuel injection pump setup to inject a higher volume of diesel fuel on each intake stroke and adjusting timing of the injectors and valve advance. Not that difficult but requires specialized tools, equipment and expertise from Gardner than what I am comfortable doing.
In our trips this year, about 80 hours total run time, we have been finding that the Goldilocks or sweet spot for the best combination of loads, EGT, speed and fuel economy is about 1400-1500 RPM so why am I interested running Mr. Gee at up to 1800 RPM? Simply put, I would like to have the option to call on those additional 30 HP, a 20% increase, in an emergency situation when that extra power could mean the difference between getting out of a situation vs loosing the boat. One example of such a situation is when you are at anchor and find yourself on a lee shore when the conditions change unexpectedly such that there are high winds and seas trying to push the boat onto the shore. Of course this always seems to happen at O’dark thirty and you are in the dark with every second counting, so being able to start your engine and call on every pony the engine has can make all the difference.
Lest this should sound a bit farfetched to some of you, just this past week we were vividly reminded of how fast and unexpected this type of lee shore situation can develop when a very high wind storm swept over the island of Corsica in France. You may have seen this in video on the news you watched and seen these winds gusting up to 224 km/h (140mph) pushing hundreds of boats onto the shore.
I had therefore wanted to do this conversion to the 180HP setup before we start venturing out on our longer passages and later in the season and was going to remove the fuel injection system from Mr. Gee and ship to GMD to do the conversion and then ship back so I could install it and we could continue our travels. The trick was going to be when and where to do this as Möbius would need to stay in one place while the fuel injection was off being reconfigured. Now that we found ourselves with such a rare and ideal side tie dock arrangement we serendipitously stumbled upon here in Kalymnos, this latest challenge with Mr. Gee’s valves and the repowering all seemed to converge into a perfect storm kind of situation and here is how this all came together.
Go BIG or Don’t Go!
As long time sailors, we have come to understand how critical it is that you have complete confidence in your boat before you go to sea. When you find yourself in those rare but inevitable situations where things have become very nasty and every decision is critical, having ANY doubts about your boat, or yourself, can be crippling and life threatening. Mother Nature can be an eXtremely effective teacher and you soon learn the hard truth about how critical such confidences is and that if you don’t have full confidence, then you don’t go to sea.
Given the high dependency we have on Mr. Gee for our propulsion and the fundamental requirement to have eXtreme confidence in all the critical systems on Möbius, it was not difficult for Christine and I to decide that we needed to go “all in” on this situation and transform all these “bugs” into features resulting from us doing everything possible to ensure that Möbius is the most seaworthy boat we could create.
I’m sure you can see where this is all headed. Rather than send just the fuel injection system to GMD to convert it to the 180HP version, go Big and send all of Mr. Gee to GMD. Michael made this decision even easier by kindly offering to do a full exchange of Mr. Gee for a new 6LXB that they would put together at the Gardner Works there at GMD. We send them Mr. Gee, they send us a new 6LXB we will now refer to as “Mr. Gee two point O” or Mr. Gee 2.0 They will transfer over a few of the external bits such as the items I have already polished such as the rocker covers, GMD side covers and the custom brackets I’ve designed and built for things like the sea water pump and hand crank system but these can all be done right after Mr. Gee 1.0 arrives at GMD and after the new Mr. Gee 2.0 has been built.
Michael will also put the new engine on the Gardner dynamometer where they can run it through its paces, do the initial break in and create a full HP/Torque/Fuel graph directly from the readings on the dyno. I don’t have a photo of their dyno yet but this one will give you a rough idea. The engine is mounted to the dyno with flywheel connected to the measuring devices that read horsepower, torque, fuel consumption, etc. and plot this out onto a graph. This will add to our confidence that we know for sure what these outputs are and will make it a relatively straight forward process for me to lower the new Mr. Gee 2.0 into the ER, connect him to all the mounts, Nogva CPP, hoses for coolant and exhaust and electrical and we will be able to get back out to sea and set our sights on destinations West. I hope that all of the above does not come across as me being flippant or suggesting this was all easy or without a good share of sadness and frustration along the way. It was all of those things and I do have thoughts about “Why me?” from time to time. But as I’ve often found with the big decisions in life, these were also very clearly Goldilocks decisions being just right, just for us and in that sense they were easy to make. The harder part has been dealing with all the time and logistics it has taken to do all this from a small remote island in the middle of one of the busiest and most disrupted summers in the EU and now waiting for the new Mr. Gee to get back here.
Out with the Old
As you might imagine it was rather hectic here going through all this testing, making the arrangements with the local crane truck to remove Mr. Gee 1.0, securing him to the pallet and arranging to get him trucked from Kalymnos to Athens and then onto two more ferries to get him all the way to the GMD in Canterbury in England, so I don’t have too many photos but here is a quick summary of all that.
Gee, I wonder why it doesn’t take me too long to disconnect everything and get Mr. Gee ready to be lifted up? Oh yeah, lots of practice! I enlisted the help of two local men to help extract Mr. Gee from the Engine Room and ….. ….. then over to the concreted dock we are side tied to. All the openings sealed and taped off and engine strapped onto the shipping pallet. Shipping labels attached under Shrink wrap to keep him clean and protected for his long journey home to GMD. And just a few hours ago, I received this photo of Mr. Gee in the storage warehouse of the trucking company outside of London waiting to be make the final leg of his journey over to GMD in Canterbury on Tuesday as Monday is a national “Summer Bank Holiday” in the UK.
Don’t even think about asking me how long this whole journey has taken! Let’s just say that all you’ve been hearing about disruptions to supply chains and shipping, record high tourist traffic this summer in Europe and how the whole EU tends to take their holidays in the month of August, is so very very true. Leaving me with a very sadly empty Engine Room and a lot of greasy hand prints to clean off the walls.
She continues to be very self disciplined with her daily physio routines after her knee operation and been taking full advantage of her “Freedom Machine” aka her eBike, to explore this fascinating island we have been living on since July and finding new beaches for her in the water exercises. Click the link above to see all her photos and explanation of how this island is literally a dynamite place to be!
Back to where I started this posting, I will let Barney send us off into a new week as he wistfully enjoys another sundowner and contemplates what it truly means to live a dog’s life Thanks for joining me again this week and hope you’ll be back for more next week. I will!
A day late in getting out this weekly update and I will keep it short but it has been both a very busy and successful week as we get closer and closer to our “throw off the dock lines” day. Lots and lots of jobs on the “Must be done before departure” list have been getting checked off and if all goes well today we hope to leave tomorrow!
Christine has been busy with electronics and computer related jobs onboard getting all six of our monitors working properly with the Upper and Lower Helm computers, getting internet connectivity sorted out for when we are underway and going up the coast of Turkey towards Marmaris and just playing that always fun version of Whack-a-Mole as each new “Mole” pops up. I’ve been busy getting the Tender and the Davit system ready to launch and yesterday we both worked on bringing 500kg/1100lbs of lead pellets aboard that are now safely ensconced inside the watertight coffer dams on either side which are there for the potential future addition of active stabilizers. But I’m getting ahead of myself so let’s jump in with a quick Show & Tell of what all we’ve been working on this past week.
Our workload has been reduced a bit with the addition of a new member of Möbius’ Crew, this little turtle who is one of many we regularly see around Möbius and inside the Finike marina. Turns out he just LOVES eating the green grassy growth that is already starting to appear along our black boot stripe and is a real pain to scrub off. As you may recall we hauled out a few weeks ago and gave our InterSleek “Foul Release” silicone based bottom paint a close inspection and found it to be just fabulous with almost no growth at all after almost a full year in the water with very little movement. However the black boot stripe above the bottom paint and waterline is a different story and this area which is kept constantly wet as the water moves up and down the hull a bit and is getting lots of sunshine all day long is the perfect garden for the “green slime” and grass like plants that grow here. No big deal for the boat really, just annoying and so we were delighted to find that we now had this new crewmember who likes nothing more than to munch away on the grass. Thanks buddy, we can use all the help we can get. Not sure about getting his visa for leaving Finike and Turkey but we’ll see.
As I mentioned earlier I got a good workout yesterday carrying 500 kg of these tiny lead pellets which we had purchased last year and have been sitting in a Bulk Bag on the dock behind Möbius. Christine worked on the dock to transfer about 40kg/88lbs of pellets into thick plastic bags that were then double bagged inside some heavy duty bulk bags which I then carried onto Möbius and down into the Basement under the SuperSalon. I had previously unbolted and removed the watertight cover plates over the two coffer dams on either side about midship on the hull which we had built just in case we decide in the future to add active stabilizers, most likely Magnus Effect type to help reduce roll more than our paravanes do. For now though, these watertight compartments made the ideal spot to put these lead pellets and improve the comfort of the ride by slowing down our otherwise “snappy” roll resistance. Working with Dennis our NA, we set up one of the design criteria for the hull to have a roll period that would have slightly less than the theoretically ideal roll period which is the time a ship takes from upright position to going to a particular angle on port side and then going to a angle on starboard side and then again returning back to upright position (zero list position) during natural rolling. We did this way so that we could dial in the Goldilocks roll period after the boat was built and fully loaded up to our actual weight/displacement. A shorter or faster roll rate provides more safety of returning the boat to upright but this faster or “snappier” motion can induce some nausea for some people and make crossings in rolly conditions less comfortable for the crew. Slowing down the roll is relatively easy to do by adding some weight/ballast that is further outboard and higher up than the centerline ballast, whereas speeding it up is very difficult once the boat is built. Hence we purposely went for a slightly faster roll period in the hull design knowing that we can then add some lead in the best locations once we have the boat in the water and in her natural trim and weight. So we will now operate Möbius with this additional 500kg of lead in the coffer dams which puts it well outboard of center and a bit higher up at just below the waterline, and se how this slightly slower roll rate feels and works for us. If we want to make further adjustments either way we can either remove or add more lead.
Being in small pellet form makes it easy to fill any size and shape spot we want and we are keeping them in these double bags for now so we can change if needed. Once we think we have the ballast and roll period at the just right, just for us Goldilocks point, then I will remove remove the bags of lead pellets, coat the aluminium with epoxy resin and then pour the lead pellets back into these spaces. Then I will pour some thickened epoxy over the top surface to fully encase the lead with the hull and keep it fully sealed to prevent any water from mixing with it which could set up some dissimilar metal corrosion.
As you might imagine this was a job that we were both very happy to check off the list and while we were certainly pooped at the end of the day we had big smiles on our faces and treated ourself to a “date night” of sorts and went out for dinner at the little café here in the marina.
Finishing the Tender Console
The other much larger job that got checked off the ToDo list this week was getting our tender we’ve named Möbli launched off the Aft Deck and into the water for the first time.
I spent the first few days of last week finishing up the last of the wiring that connects the Yanmar 4JH4 HTE 110HP engine to the Castoldi 224DD jet drive and the control panel and gauges for both in the center console. This Yanmar/Castoldi combination is a purposely matched pair and the two companies created a very complete kit package that provided all the custom wiring harnesses to plug into both the engine and the jet drive and connect these into the supplied instrument panel that is now mounted in the console. Most of these connections were done with very high quality quick connect watertight fittings but there were a few wires that I needed to look after to connect to the 12V AGM battery. A bit time consuming but not too difficult and this is how it looks so far. I’m very happy with how this has turned out so far and will work on getting the Standard Horizon VHF and Vesper AIS wired up after we launch and test Möbli out.
One more detail was to install the fuel filler cap in the cover of the 80 liter fuel tank up in the bow. I had previously installed the rubber fuel lines that run under the floor and back to the Yanmar so now I just needed to remove the cover plate, drill the hole for the filler cap and bolt that back down. Put in 15 liters of diesel for now and she should now be ready to start up for the first time.
First though, we need to get Möbli into the water so there is sea water supply for the engine’s heat exchangers for engine oil and fresh water coolant and for the wet exhaust system.
Most of you will have seen in some previous updates a few weeks ago that I had all the rigging for raising and lowering the Tender inside the Davit Arch as well as rotating the Arch itself to launch the Tender over the Port side. A pair of triple blocks provide a 6:1 mechanical advantage for the Tender Lifting lines that go to the winch you see here on the vertical leg of the Davit Arch. Inside the Tender at each corner there is a welded in attachment point where the Lift Line snaps into. Then there is a separate set of rigging that controls the pivoting of the Arch itself so that it moves the Tender sideways off the deck clear of the rub rails and then the Lift Lines are let out to lower the Tender down into the water. This Pivot Control Line of PCL leads through 3 blocks and then over to the bit Lewmar 65 electric winch which allows you to rotate the Arch out and back in. With that all hooked up it was launch time and little Möbli was soon testing out the waters beside Möbius. She sits pretty much right on the waterline predicted in the 3D model which was good to confirm and put the exhaust pipe a bit more than 150mm above the water. I could then hop in and start it up and was delighted when the Yanmar fired up at the first touch of the start button. Must have been taking lessons from Mr. Gee!
So an eXtremely big milestone for us and puts us in position to head out to sea in the next few days. Of course these are boats and so there are always those pesky little Moles that pop up and need to be whacked down. Two popped up with the Tender; there is a small pinhole leak where the Castoldi bolts up to the bottom of the hull and then the larger issue is some problems with the Davit Arch setup that will take more time to “whack” down. The leak is very minor and slow but to be safe I didn’t want to take it out for a test run but I was able to run the engine for about 20 minutes and test out the steering and bucket controls on the jet drive while Möbli was tied up to Möbius and get the oil and coolant up to operating temperature. All of that checked out perfectly; ran well, oil pressure and temperature were right one, steering and bucket control which is how a jet drive directs the thrust of the jet to move the boat forward, reverse and sideways. So VERY pleased with how the Tender turned out and can’t wait for that first test drive which will hopefully be in a few weeks.
For now though, the Tender is back in the chocks on the Aft Deck and all lashed down and covered ready for us to head out to sea.
Christine is working on a video collage of building and launching the Tender so watch for that to go live here in the next few days.
We still have a few small jobs to get done but right now it is looking good that we will be able to finally throw off those dock lines some time tomorrow and leave Finike in our wake as we start working our way up the Turquoise coast towards Marmaris. As usual we are on The No Plan Plan so we will take our time and enjoy stopping wherever calls our name as we motor up this beautiful coastline. We think we will use Marmaris as our jumping off point to check out of Turkey and head over the explore some of the Greek islands in June. Then we have our two granddaughters, with their pesky parents who seem to insist on coming along (just kidding Lia & Brian!) flying in to spend most of the month of July with us so that’s the ultimate prize that is driving us forward from here and a BIG part of what we have build Möbius for so we can’t wait for their return to join us aboard and make more memories together as we explore Greece and perhaps Italy.
As always, thanks for taking time to join us here and please keep those comments and questions coming by typing them into the “Join the Discussion” box below and with luck I’ll be sending the next update from some beautiful anchorage between here and Marmaris.
First and foremost my best and biggest wishes to all the Moms out there! Every day should be Mother’s Day in my opinion so I hope this is just an extra special day for all of you extra special people.
The past week has been filled with a litany of little jobs for the most part and nothing too visual to show you so I’ll keep this short so as not to take up much time on Mother’s Day or better yet, don’t bother reading till later this week.
Christine and I are inching closer and closer to the day when we finally throw off the dock lines here at Setur Marina in Finike and begin our adventures making our way up the Turkish coast a bit and then start making our way West across the Med this summer. If all goes well we hope to take off in about two weeks as we whittle the To List down more each day. Thanks to the help of the great people at Electrodyne and WakeSpeed I think we have found the causes of the one alternator and regulator that are not working properly and have the new parts being put together to be shipped out next week. With us about to become “moving targets” with no fixed address I will need to figure out how and where best to get these parts delivered to us but after so many years out sailing the world this is a very common problem for us and we always manage to find a way to get boat parts and boat united.
One of the big things I need to get done before we take off is getting our Tender “Mobli” finished and running and also be able to test out launching and retrieving him with our Davit Arch system. So in addition to working on some of the remaining To Do items such as tracking down some new gremlins in our Shore Power setup, I have been trying to stay focused on getting Mobli finished. Last week you saw me finish installing the wet exhaust system and I’m waiting the arrival of two more hose clamps to finish that completely and that leaves just the electrical wiring to be fully completed. So as per the title, wiring was the focus this week. Christine has been my trusted parts finder and delivery person tracking down the parts and supplies I need to complete the work on the Tender. She has taking taking full advantage of her fabulous new eBike to pick up parts available here in our little town of Finike or take the 2 hour bus ride down to the big city of Antalya to bring back parts from there. One of those items was a 12 volt AGM battery and battery box which I now have solidly mounted on this shelf I created using some leftover composite grid that we used for the flooring in the ER, Workshop and Forepeak.
I had several of these large Red Battery Switches from Blue Sea left over from building Möbius and so I installed two of these. that This under seat area is easy to access, fully protected, easy to lock up and keeps the weight well centered so this seemed like the best location for the battery. I installed the second battery switch in the Engine Bay on the opposite side of the AL bulkhead under the seat. This isn’t really necessary but provides a very secure anti-theft device when turned off and the Engine Bed lid is locked. We would not likely need to use it very often so it will just be left on most of the time but will be good to have if we ever need to leave the Tender ashore for long periods of times or we are unsure of the security ashore. The primary 12V positive 1/0 size Red cable goes from this switch under the Yanmar engine and connects directly to …. … this stud on the starter solenoid. A bit tight to get to but it is now on and well tightened. The other smaller Red AWG 8 gauge cable comes off the same switch and goes back to the jet drive along with the other wiring for the jet drive and the two Black hydraulic hoses for steering the jet drive. The steering is also hydraulic but is manually powered by turning the steering wheel. The hydraulic pump that raises and lowers the jet drive’s bucket is electric so that Red cable goes to this 50 Amp breaker which feeds power to the pump behind it. There is also the same size Black negative cable that runs from the engine ground to the bronze stud you can see in the center of this shot. Some nylon zip ties help keep all the wiring and hydraulic hoses in place and well protected and with that the wiring inside the Engine Bay is now pretty much complete. Just need to add engine oil, coolant and hydraulic fluid and this should be ready to fire up as soon as we launch the Tender and have it in the water needed for the wet exhaust and heat exchangers. Next week I will move back to the console to finish connecting the Castoldi jet drive wire harness to the Yanmar harness. That leaves me with these 8 wires that connect to the ignition and starter switches and the bucket position gauge which I hope to get done next week. Depending on if I get the remaining parts in time and finish all the wiring, we may be able to launch Mobli over the side next week and fire him up so be sure to tune in again next week to see all that. Thanks as always for joining us again this week and be sure to leave your questions and comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below. They are all VERY much appreciated!
Now, let’s all get back to reminding all the Moms in our lives how awemazing they are!
Another week and another month fly by in a flash it seems but we are making good progress and cutting the dock lines from here in beautiful sunny Finike Marina is getting closer with each passing day. This week also felt like summer is definately on its way with day time temp yesterday getting up to a new high of 29C/84F so we tropical birds are loving this change.
Nothing too visually exciting for this week’s Show & Tell update unfortunately but I’ll do my best to get you caught up on what all we did get done this past week of April 25-30, 2022.
Decks are Done!
One of the larger jobs that we are very thankful to have finished is that the team from Naval finished redoing all the TreadMaster on all our decks.
Despite being very high quality, the West Systems epoxy that was used to affix all the sheets of TreadMaster to the AL decks had not adhered to the AL very well so it has become both an eyesore and a tripping danger. They carefully removed each panel of TM, sanded the AL down, applied Bostik Primer and then Bostik adhesive and glued them all back down with rollers.
Apologies for not having any photos of the completed decks but you get the idea.
When my friend John was here two weeks ago we finished setting up and configuring the two WakeSpeed 500 regulators which control the two Electrodyne 250 Amp @ 24V alternators.
This upper Electrodyne is powered off of Mr. Gee’s crankshaft with a toothed “timing” belt.
The six large red cables carry the AC current from each alternator over to the Electrodyne Rectifiers which are mounted outside of the ER. Difficult to photograph this drive system I designed so this rendering of my CAD models will show it much better. Crankshaft pulley is at the bottom, sea water pump on the left and Electrodyne in the upper right. Works out eXtremely well as there is zero chance of any slippage of these toothed belts and I put in a spring loaded idler pulley (not shown in this render) which keeps the tension just right all the time. Also difficult to photograph now all the floors are in the Engine Room, the lower Electrodyne is powered directly off of the PTO or Power Take Off that is on the lower left side of Mr. Gee. An eXtremely robust and almost maintenance free setup as well. This older photo when Mr. Gee was up in the air shows how this PTO drive works. I went with these massively large and strong Electrodyne alternators in large part because they use an external Rectifier which is what you see here. The diodes in the rectifier are where the majority of the heat comes from in an alternator and heat is the enemy of electrical efficiency so keeping them out of the alternator and out of the ER really helps to increase the lifespan and efficiency of the whole charging system. Each Rectifier is then connected to one of the WakeSpeed 500 Smart Regulators and each WS500 is interconnected with the white Ethernet cable you see here.
Connecting these two WS500’s is a big part of what makes them deservedly called “smart” because they then automatically figure out how to perfectly balance the charging from each alternator which can otherwise be quite difficult and prone to errors. However, the biggest reason these WS500’s are the first truly ‘Smart’ regulators is because they use both Voltage AND Amperage do monitor the batteries and adjust the alternators to produce the just right amount of charging. With everything all wired up we started up Mr. Gee and after the initial ramp up time we were soon seeing about 220 Amps going into the 1800 Ah House Battery which was a joy to see.
Having two of these Electrodyne 250Ah alternators give us the potential for up to 12kW of electrical charging so in a way we actually do have a “generator” onboard. Unfortunately we soon noticed that some of the 24V circuit breakers were tripping when these alternators were running and I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to figure out what was causing that. Thanks to exemplary help from both Dale at Electrodyne and Neil at WakeSpeed, both of whom have been fabulous to work with from the very beginning, I was eventually able to track down the problem to an incorrectly installed aluminium bar that was used to fasten the two halves of the Electrodyne Rectifiers. One end of this AL flat bar was touching one of the AL L-brackets that hold the studs and diode in the Rectifier. Once found the fix was pretty quick and easy.
However somewhere along the way one of the WS500’s stopped working so I am now working with Neil to sort that out. In the meantime we have up to 250Ah charging capacity from the one working Electrodyne/WS500 combo and with all the solar power we have coming out of our 14 solar panels, we have no need for any of it most of the time.
Exhausting work on Tender Mobli
Most of my time this week was spent finishing off the installation of the Yanmar 4JH4 HTE 110HP engine and Castoldi 224DD jet drive in our Tender that we have named “Mobli”.
Similar to Mr. Gee and most marine engines, the Yanmar uses a wet exhaust where sea water is injected into the exhaust gas after it exits the turbocharger. This water dramatically drops the temperature of the exhaust gasses so you can use rubber and fiberglass exhaust hoses to carry the gases and water out of the boat. You can see the primary components I’m using to build the exhaust system in the photo below; water injection elbow on the Yanmar on the far Left with the Black rubber exhaust hose with the yellow stripe to carry the exhaust gas and water down to the cylindrical water muffler in the upper left. I will use the two white RFP 90 degree elbows to carry the water/gas up and out of the boat through the 76mm/3” AL pipe on the right. Like this. I am waiting for more of the SS hose clamps to arrive but this is what the finished setup will look like. Will need to fabricate and install a bracket to hold the muffler in place as well and that will complete the exhaust system.
Hard to see (click to expand any photo) but I was also able to install the black rubber hose that you see running parallel to the left of the exhaust hose and muffler. This carries the cooling sea water from the housing of the Castoldi Jet drive up to the intake on the sea water pump on the left side of the Yanmar.
Last major job to complete the installation of the Yanmar/Castoldi propulsion system is the mounting of the battery and its cables to both the jet drive and the engine and I hope to get that done this coming week. That’s how I spent my last week of April 2022 and hope yours was equally productive.
Thanks for taking the time to follow along, always encouraging to know you are all out there and along for the ride with Christine and me. Thanks in advance for typing any and all comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below and hope you will join us again next week as we get May off to a good start.