I know all of Mr. Gee’s loyal fan base will be disappointed but this is likely the second to last episode in the Low Oil Pressure Season of As Mr. Gee Turns. Have no fear however as I am already cueing up the next Season where Mr. Gee will be living up to the series title as he turns his crankshaft round and round with ease to similarly powers Möbius’ CPP propeller to spin as we go round and round this awemazing world of ours.
Those of you who are waiting on the edge of your seats for the final outcome of this season’s mystery thriller to find out who it is that is finally found guilty of murdering poor Mr. Gee will be glad to know that the jury is finally back with its definitive verdict! The title of this week’s update will give you a clue but you’ll have to read on to find out who turned out to be the dastardly killer on that ill fated maiden sea trial.
With that baited opening, let’s jump right in and pick up where we left off last week.
Circumstantial Evidence is Suspect for Good Reason!
In typical TV Series fashion, here is a quick summary of “as seen in previous episodes” …………
All of you who have been following along so closely (thanks!) will recall that from the very beginning the prime suspect in this murder mystery has been “Nick”, this mysterious dent in the steel oil pipe inside the crankshaft that carries the vital pressurized oil from the main bearings up to the connecting rod bearings.
It will likely remain a mystery as to what/how/who could have inflicted this dent in the oil pipe to begin with but the suspicion has been that Nick created a hole or a thin crack in the oil pipe at cylinder #1 and when Mr. Gee got up to operating temperature and loads, the oil sprayed out of the oil tube causing the deadly loss of oil pressure and the subsequent destruction of the main and connecting rod bearings. When I did the first full factory level rebuild of Mr. Gee las year and found Nick hiding in the recess of the lightening hole at Cylinder #1 my conclusion after doing some preliminary testing was that it was “just” a nick and that the walls of the oil pipe had not been breached and did not leak. However, after the sudden loss of oil pressure during the first sea trial and the subsequent discovery upon tearing down Mr. Gee of this catastrophic failure of the main and connecting rod bearings you can see here, all the evidence pointed to me having been wrong about the oil tube and I immediately gave myself a good kick in the a$$ and pleaded guilty of letting Mr. Gee and the whole Gardner engine family down by not living up to the highest level of Gardner standards for 100% confidence inspiring quality of workmanship.
In that first rebuild, I took what I thought at the time was more than enough of a “belt & suspenders” approach when I silver soldered Nick for an extra measure of security just in case there was a hole or a crack in the oil tube. However, as the evidence accumulated as I stripped poor Mr. Gee naked, it all pointed to ME having screwed up by not replacing the crankshaft of at least replacing the oil tube with a new one.
Circumstantial Evidence Just Won’t Do
When I removed the crankshaft and was able to inspect it even more carefully, it still did not appear that there was any hole or crack in the oil tube BUT this time I was going to leave nothing to chance and so I had a whole new crankshaft along with a lot of other parts, gaskets, filters, etc. shipped from Gardner Marine Diesel in Canterbury England and they all arrived just in time last week.
However, I was just not going to be able to SWAN or Sleep Well At Night just putting Humpty Dumpty aka Mr. Gee back together again with just all this circumstantial evidence. I had to know for sure what had caused the oil pressure to drop and the bearings to fail.
So I came up with a way to test the suspected oil tube and prove once and for all if it was the guilty party or not?
First, I threaded one end of the oil tube and screwed in a SS set screw coated with sealing compound. Next, I taped the other end of the oil tube where it exited out of the main bearing journal with an M6 thread. This kind of rigorous laboratory testing does not come cheap and unfortunately two innocent bicycle tubes paid the ultimate price and gave their lives to the cause. They contributed these two valve stems, which were the key to this test by allowing me to pressurize the oil tube to a known level and keep it there. I carry a full set of Imperial, Metric, British Standard and Whitworth taps and dies (the tools that cut male/female threads in metal) and so I quickly cut some M6 threads on the valve stem I liked the most. And screwed it into the open end of the oil tube which I had previously tapped above with matching M6 threads.
I removed the valve from the stem and poured 10W40 engine oil to fill up the oil tube and put the valve back in. Out came my trusty hand pump which also has a gauge at its base and I pumped it up to about 120PSI, which is more than three times the normal 38 PSI oil pressure of a Gardner 6LXB. I had my hands full so didn’t get any photos, but I then used my industrial heat gun to heat up the oil tube and the surrounding area of the crankshaft to about 70C / 160F which is higher than the normal operating temperature of oil in a 6LXB which is about 60C. Having replicated all the conditions the oil tube would have been under when Mr. Gee was spinning away on that fateful day, this test would tell me once and for all if there was the least bit of leakage of oil from this oil tube.
Prior to testing, I had scrubbed the whole area around the oil tube surgically clean so even a drop of oil would be easy to see. It was with very mixed emotions that after repeated tests, not a single drop or dribble of oil emerged!
Nice to be vindicated and have proved that either the dent or Nick had not penetrated the walls of the tube and/or my silver solder patch had done the job.
Nick was immediately released from custody with the sincere apologies of this kangaroo court, but I was now left back where I started, not knowing what the source of the problem was!
So I did what you do in such situations, you“go to the mattresses” and call in the experts. In this case I reached out to my two best experts in such areas; Michael Harrison who is “Mr. Gardner” and owns/runs Gardner Marine in Canterbury and Greg, one of my longest running best friends from back in the days when we were both working nights and weekends as heavy duty mechanics at a large lumber trucking company in Vancouver BC while we were both going to a combination of UBC the University of British Columbia and BCIT the British Columbia Institute of Technology, to become Industrial Education teachers aka “Shop Teachers”.
I had been in touch with Michael and Greg since the low oil pressure fiasco had begun and was sharing lots of photos online and daily updates as I worked on Mr. Gee. Michael, who has worked on hundreds of Gardner powered boats all over the world, came up with the key when he posited that we/me were thinking about this backwards. It was not that the wear on the bearings was caused by low oil pressure, it was the other way around! The low oil pressure was CAUSED BY the wearing of the bearing material which allowed more and more oil to escape out the growing space as the bearing material wore away.
OK you might ask, but then what caused the wear in the fist place?!?!?!
If you really want to know the answer to this question, please keep reading but there are no photos to go with this so it will just be my text based explanation to walk you through it. You will be fully forgiven if you want to skip down to where we resume our normal photo based programming!
After walking through the events more thoroughly and with Michael’s vast experience with Gardner engines and Greg’s decades of experience with diesel truck engines of all kinds and then my notes and recollection of the events leading up to the failure, we were able to figure out the TWO contributing factors that caused to the rapid wearing of the bearings and the subsequent loss of oil pressure.
Factor #1 is that I had reused Mr. Gee’s original crankshaft “as is”. That is to say I did not replace it or send it out to have all the journal surfaces reground.
I have rebuilt a LOT of engines over the past 50 years and what you/I normally do is completely inspect the crankshaft of the engine you are rebuilding. You use very accurate micrometers to measure the diameter and concentricity of all the journals and compare these to the factory specifications to determine what amount of wear had taken place over the life of that engine/crankshaft. Then you also carefully inspect all the surfaces of the old bearings and the crankshaft journals with a magnifying glass for any wear, grooves, scratches, etc. If the crankshaft is within specs, not worn and all the journal surfaces are still like new, then you can reuse that crankshaft. If not you most often send it out to have all the journals ground down smooth and use oversize bearings to make up for the material that has been ground off.
Factor #2, is that one of the two captains who had been hired to take Möbius out on sea trials prior to Christine and I accepting the boat from the builder and taking full possession and responsibility of the boat, did not have any experience or knowledge of CPP or Controllable Pitch Propellers. It did not seem like a major issue at the time as I explained how they worked and showed him how to slowly move the Pitch lever at the Helm forward to increase the Pitch angle and cause the CPP prop to “bite” or grab the water more and more to pick up boat speed through the water. I showed him the Pitch gauge and explained that he needed to increase the pitch very slowly and not to take it past half way during this first test while we were “breaking” everything in.
With the engine being brand new and coming up to temperature for the fist time, there was some smoke coming off the engine from all the new paint and left over bits of grease and oil from working on the engine so I had left the Helm and gone back to keep a close eye on Mr. Gee as he went through his paces. While I was there I tell from the sound that the engine was under a lot of load and I saw that the oil pressure gauge had dropped to just below 20 PSI and I immediately pulled Mr. Gee’s shutoff lever and shut him down. But it was too late, the damage as it turns out had already been done!
What had happened was that the Pitch lever had been pushed all the way forward which dialed in the maximum pitch angle on the four massive prop blades and with Mr. Gee running at lower RPM of about 1100 this massive sustained load had caused the brand new bearing surfaces to rapidly wear under the load as the original crankshaft journal surfaces labored over them. For those of you who have driven a standard shift car or truck, this would be like trying to climb a steep hill in high gear with the “pedal to the metal”. You get the idea!
Now the puzzle pieces all fell into place; the huge loads on the new bearing surfaces had worn rapidly which increased the microscopic space where the oil normally keeps the two surfaces from touching and so as this space increased with the ongoing wear, more and more oil was able to escape or “leak” out the sides and fall back into the oil sump. A vicious cycle then repeats itself with more wear leading to lower oil pressure which leads to more wear which leads to ………… where we are today!
While disappointing to say the least, at least I was now confident that we had found the true cause of the wear and the low oil pressure and Michael added that he had seen this exact same scenario play out on several Gardner powered boats over the past 20+ years so I can at least SWAN and get on with putting Mr. Gee back together again with his all new crankshaft, bearings and even more TLC than I already lavish upon him.
OK, back to our regular Show & Tell programming!
In Go the Pistons
When I left off last week, I had installed the new crankshaft and main bearings so now it was time to install the pistons and their con rod bearings which you see here as they come out of the Gardner factory box. Here are two of the six pistons as I prep them to be installed. Yes they are massive, each piston displaces a volume of 1750cc on each power stroke. NO! that is not a typo, that means that the volume of each one of these six cylinders is larger than most 4 cylinder engines in the cars you drive! Each cylinder has been freshly honed to create the Goldilocks surface finish for the new rings to all seat in just right. This original Gardner illustration out of one of the manuals I have will help show the relationship between the pistons, crankshaft, connecting rods, etc.. Each piston is liberally coated with clean engine oil and then very gently lowered into its cylinder.
Each of the three rings are then compressed so that they fit inside the cylinder and when the last ring is in the piston slides down the last bit to where the top con rod bearing rests on the awaiting con rod journal. Next I rotate the crankshaft 90 degrees to put the con rod at its lowest position so I can install the bearing caps. The coloured plastic tubes are there to make sure that the four con rod bolts can never Nick (remember him??) the journal surfaces as it is lowered in place. Now I can slide each con rod bearing cap in place over those four bolts and cinch down the nuts in stages to the Gardner specified torque. Here is the last Piston/Con Rod on Cylinder #6 with the protective cardboard wrapper still on the journal which I now remove, turn the crank 90 degrees to put the journal up at Top Dead Center or TDC and lower Piston #6 in place.
A classic example of just how and why Gardner engines are so robust and long lasting is this added feature that creates one of the most solid “bottom ends” of any engine I know. In addition to the massive aluminium caps that hold the main bearings in place, these two cross rods run through each of those caps and create a super solid main bearing system to keep that crankshaft rotating merrily for many many years. Once all 12 of those cross rods are torqued down and all the pistons have been installed and their caps fully torqued down the “Bottom End” as it is called is now all assembled and the last remaining item is to install the external pipework assembly that takes the pressurized oil to those holes you see in the flat oval bosses with 2 bolts in them here.
Main Bearing Lube Oil Pipework Assembly
Here is that lubricating oil pipework’s all disassembled ready for final cleaning and then installation of the sealing O rings that go inside each of the cast iron junctions that bolt to the main bearing caps you see in the photo above. Five of the seven main bearing fittings are assembled here and then ……. …… they slide into this T junction where the oil comes in from the oil pump and filter and get distributed fore and aft to all 7 of the main bearings.
BTW, for those wondering why the wear on the bearings #1 and 2 up at the front was the most and then became a bit less as you went aft, you can now see why as bearing on Cylinder #1 is at “the end of the line” or furthest away from the source of the oil pressure. So as the wear began and the oil leaked out, the pressure drop became progressively greater as it worked its way back from this T joint.
Piston Head Clearance
I won’t bore you with the full installation but there are lots of critical dimensions that need to be measured as you assemble a new engine and one of these you see here which is measuring the exact distance from the top of the piston to the top freshly ground surface of the surrounding cylinder block. I set up my dial indicator on top of the piston and move the piston to exactly Top Dead Center TDC and set the dial to Zero at this position. Then I rotate the dial indicator so that the pointer now rests on the cylinder block surface and check how much higher this is.
If you look at the photo above you can see that the difference is 0.015 or 15 thousandths of an inch and the factory specification is that it must be between 0.012 and 0.020 so this is Goldilocks “just right”.
Heads Go On
With the Bottom End all now fully assembled it is time to move up top and put the two heads back on. Freshly cleaned studs are all installed with Loctite to keep them properly torqued for the next 50 years.
Wondering what all the black “donut holes” surrounding each cylinder are?? These allow the coolant (water + antifreeze) to circulate between the lower cylinder block and the upper heads to keep everything at just the right operating temperature which in the case of a 6LXB is quite low at about 60C / 140F whereas modern engines run at about 80 – 95C. Obviously that coolant needs to say where it belongs and not lead out into the cylinders so this is the smart simple way Gardner seals each connection. The silver ferrules slide through the fat O-ring and them you press fit this assembly into each hole in the cylinder block. When the head is bolted down it squishes each rubber O-ring to form a permanent watertight seal. Thin steel head gaskets go on next to create the extremely critical seal that keeps all the huge pressures created when each cylinder fires to stay inside and provide the massive “push” of each piston as it travels downward creating all the HP and especially so the massive torque or “twisting power” that Gardner engines are so renowned for. Everything all done in the Engine Room and now time to prep the cylinder heads to be installed. I’d estimate that Mr. Gee had a total run time so far of less than 5 hours so it was pretty quick and easy to clean up each head and the valves of the carbon deposits from that run time. My best guesstimate is that each head weighs about 70kg/155lb so hoisting the off my workbench and up on top of all those studs and lining them all up so the head slides down onto the cylinder block is some eXtremely good eXercise! Front head goes on first as I have to slide in the ground shafts that each valve rocker arm rotates on so I install all the rocker arms, push rods and decompression levers first and then hoist the aft cylinder head into place and do the same valve assembly to it.
One of the last steps before I can lower Mr. Gee back in place and attach him to his buddy “Normy”, the Nogva CPP gear box, is to lift that humungous flywheel back up and slide it onto those 6 big studs you can see sticking out of the aft end of the crankshaft in the bottom Right.
I’m in fairly good shape and so is Christine but this flywheel is about 125mm/5” thick solid steel and weighs in at a svelte 120Kg / 265lbs so I used my brains instead of my “brawn” and rigged up some of our triple blocks that we will use to hoist our Tender Davit up and down and rigged them with some stronger than steel Dyneema line to make it eXtremely easy to lift the flywheel back up in place and line it up with all those bolts. Once I had torqued down the six bolts that hold the flywheel solidly onto the end of the crankshaft I could lift the other half of the flywheel housing in place and bolt those two halves together. This solid pair of housing create the big flat surface for the two rear engine mounting brackets to bolt to so they go on next. I custom designed these last year and we fabricated them out of 25mm / 1” thick AL plate that is TIG welded together and then each of these have the vibration dampening engine “feet” or mounts bolted to them and these feet are then bolted to the 25mm thick engine beds below. This is where I left Mr. Gee hanging a few hours ago and while it was Fathers Day today, it felt appropriate that as Mr. Gee’s “Dad” I should be giving him all this TLC and attention today.
I hope all you Dads out there had a fabulous Father’s Day that was just right, just for you!
So this is where I will also leave all of you “hanging” for this episode of As Mr. Gee Turns and I hope to have him fully mounted and possibly running again in time to bring you perhaps the final episode of the season!
Thanks for your time to join me here today for this latest Möbius Show & Tell, and please come join me again next week to find out how this season ends and I do hope you will add your comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Last week’s title teased you with “Mr. Gee The Whole Story of the Hole” but turns out there is more to the story so that will be the focus of this week’s update with Part II of the story of the hole in Mr. Gee’s crankshaft. This whole saga has become a bit of murder mystery story as I try to find who/what/how of the “murder” of Mr. Gee when he lost most of his oil pressure while out on his first sea trial run and there may well be a Part III next week! Being a single engine boat, it is imperative that Christine and I can have 100% confidence in Mr. Gee so I need to make sure that I have tracked down the murderer as well as any accomplices and know that I have fully solved the case for certain and can get Mr. Gee back to better than new condition. We need him to be in tip top condition so he can power us through all our upcoming eXtreme eXploration Passages as we get back to sailing the world’s seas.
But enough intro, grab a comfy seat and beverage and join me on this Week’s episode of As Mr. Gee Turns
A Whole New Ocean to eXplore!
Getting Mr. Gee back to better than new condition became all the more important now that there is a whole new ocean for us to eXplore with our XPM!
In case you missed it, this week National Geographic officially announced that in addition to the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic oceans, our awemazing world now has a new Fifth ocean: the icy waters surrounding Antarctica below the Earth’s southern 60th parallel which is officially being named the Southern Ocean.
This newest ocean is also quite unique in that it is not defined the same way the other four are, by the land masses that surround them. Instead he Southern Ocean is defined by the rapid currents in the oceans to the north which circles the Earth from west to east around Antarctica in a band centered around a latitude of 60 degrees south.
I like to live life practicing what I call “Readiness for the Unexpected” and so this is a perfect example which helps explain some of the reasons why XPM78-01 Möbius has been so overbuilt which such thick hull plates, massive keel bar and better insulated than a Thermos bottle! Look for lots more stories and photos in upcoming blog posts when we are out eXploring this “new” Southern Ocean in the coming years.
Telling the Whole Hole Story
Picking up where I left off in last week’s Möbius Update posting, this colored illustration of the internal and external pathways of the engine oil in a Gardner 6LXB engine. Look at the Brown colored path at the bottom where the oil pump in the bottom right corner pumps oil directly to a series of external pipework’s that supply pressurized oil to each of the seven crankshaft main bearings.
This is what the crankshaft itself looks like.
Zooming in on the crankshaft the dotted lines in this illustration shows the suspected oil tubes which provide the pathway for the pressurized oil to go from the main bearing journal at #2 over to the connecting rod journal. Thanks to “Mr. Gardner” aka Michael Harrison who runs Gardner Marine Diesel in Canterbury England, he was even able to get me this original drawing from the Gardner factory where his father worked for most of his working life.
* I have circled the suspect oil tubes in red and ask the court to record these for evidence please.
With Mr. Gee’s crankshaft now removed I can do a much better job of showing you this mug shot of the prime suspect in this Whodunit mystery. Hiding inside the bored out “lightening holes” inside the chrome molly crankshaft, you can now clearly see one of these oil tubes. Each oil tube exits either the Main Bearing journal or the Con Rod journal like this. The oil tubes are centered on the journal so that the pressurized oil can circulate through the grooves you see in each bearing shell. While only a micron thick, the oil between the surface of the journals and the surface of the bearings is just enough to ensure that these surfaces never touch so there is never any physical contact of these two metal surfaces.
However, as you can see by all the copper that has been exposed when the two upper layers of these bearings has been worn away, there has been some serious “touching” going on inside Mr. Gee when that crucial oil pressure dropped. OK, we have lots of evidence and we’re getting closer to solving this crime, but where’s the smoking gun or other explanation for WHAT caused the drop in oil pressure in the first place?
When I was first rebuilding Mr. Gee and I was cleaning the crankshaft prior to installing it over a year ago, I happened to notice that there was a strange and nasty “nick” hiding in the dark recess of the oil tube going out to the journal for Piston #1.
Again, I have circled the suspect oil tube “nick” in red and ask the court to record these for evidence please. I discussed this at length with Michael @ GMD and we both poured over lots of photos and did a LOT of head scratching. In the end, Michael had never seen anything like this in the hundreds of Gardner engines he has worked on and so to this day, it remains an unsolved mystery as to what or how anything heavy enough could get in here and cause this nick, but there it was, plain as day.
And now for my full disclosure and mea culpa!
With the clarity that hindsight always provides, I can clearly see that I screwed up!
I tested the oil tube as best I could and the nick seemed to have just dented the tube not cracked or penetrated it. So rather than fixing this fully by machining a new oil tube, (which I now have this original Garner factory dimensioned drawing of thanks to again to Michael) and then pressing out the old and in the new, I decided to repair the existing oil tube by silver soldering the nick. Here is what that repaired area looks like today and if you click to enlarge you can see the silver solder filling the nick. I have taken more than 50 photos of this nick using all sorts of different lighting and camera positions and this is one of the best close ups that is in reasonable focus. Is there a hole or a crack in there? Perhaps and I have again tried to pressure test this tube but can’t do so with much more than a few PSI and it does not leak at this pressure. BUT I submit to the court, that the circumstantial evidence supports the charge that when the engine and the oil heats up and the pressure is running around 40 PSI, then oil could be forced through a pinhole or hairline crack sufficient to cause the drop in oil pressure and all the subsequent wear seen here on the Main bearings getting progressively less from Cylinder #1 back. However, I still plead GUILTY as charged of screwing up and I offer my sincere apologies to Mr. Gee and the entire Gardner family! I can only assure you that such non Gardner like behavior shall never happen again!
Reinforcements have Arrived!
Having suspected that this nick was the source of the problem as soon as it happened almost two months ago, I made the call shortly afterwards to “go big or go home” and ordered a whole new crankshaft, bearings, gaskets, valves, pistons, etc. from GMD. Shipping things into Turkey is usually fraught with problems and lots of “extra” charges so I decided to order all these 2 months ago and after “only” $2k in “extra” fees, Alaaddin arrived in this truck last week. Inside was this beautiful box which the good lads at GMD had made up to safely carry the little 240kg crankshaft and all the other parts from Canterbury to Setur Marina in Antalya. Everything was well packed and all parts arrived in perfect condition. Most importantly including this freshly machined original marine version Gardner 6LXB crankshaft!
Did I have to go this route? Could I not have machined a new oil tube now that I have the drawings and pressed it in place? Sure, but I also needed to find a machine shop capable of re-machining the Main and Con Rod journals on Mr. Gee’s now damaged crankshaft and given my recent mea culpa experience and promise to Mr. Gee AND Captain Christine, this was a no brainer decision and just one of those expensive lessons in life.
About four years ago, while Christine and I were living in Portugal for six months, I had Michael ship Mr. Gee to me shortly after he found this completely original marine 6LXB and I took every single nut, bolt and part off to thoroughly clean, inspect, replace as needed and then start a full rebuild with all new factory parts including pistons, cylinder liners, bearings, valves, and pretty much every part other than the large aluminium and cast iron castings.
At that time I removed the crankshaft the hard way, without the benefit of any of the specialty tools that one should really have to fully rebuild a Gardner. One of these is this special tool for removing the pressed in solid AL caps that hold the Main Bearings in place. Here is an illustration from one of my original Gardner manuals showing the crankcase upside down with one of those “saddle” style Main Bearing caps removed. The challenge is that these are a very tight press fit into the machined surfaces of the crankcase so it takes a LOT of force to get them out. James at GMD was kind enough to take some photos with a ruler for reference dimensions of the Main Bearing Cap removal tool that they use. I had to guess at a few of the dimensions but those photos were enough for me to be able to use Fusion 360 to create this 3D model of a Gardner Main Bearing Cap removal tool.
I sent a copy of these files to Michael and James at GMD and got them to check the critical dimensions which required a bit of tweaking of my model. But I was quickly able to generate these 2D dimensioned drawings and get started making one. Alaaddin was his usual helpful “fixer” self and brought my drawings to a local machine shop for them to fabricate all the parts and he was soon back at Möbius with this for me to test out. I made a few modifications to get it just right and soon had this new tool mounted on the Rear Main Bearing cap #7 for the first test run. Worked like a charm by allowing me to tighten that big hex nut on the tool which pulls the AL bearing cap by pushing on the two big 16mm / 5/8” bearing studs. and out comes the cap!
One down, six more to go…….. And I soon had all seven Main Bearing caps added to the growing collection of parts on my workbench center table.
Let the jury please note again the evidence consistent with the murder charge against Mr. Nick as you can clearly see now the wear is most at Main Bearing #1 and gets less and less as you move aft to #7. All this after less than 5 hours run time total and less than one hour with the lower oil pressure.
Out with the Old!
Replacing a crankshaft pretty much requires an entire tear down of an engine and so that’s what I’ve been working at non stop for the past month as evidenced by the growing pile of bits and bobs I’ve been removing from Mr. Gee. Now, with all the Main Bearing caps removed I was able to rig up some more block and tackles with Dyneema line and use these to carefully lower the lightweight (best guestimate 230 kg / 507 lbs) crankshaft.
I set up a series of thick wood planks and huffed and puffed better than the Big Bad Wolf, to inch the crankshaft out of the Engine Room and into the Workshop. But soon enough Mr. Gee’s crankshaft joined all his other buddies on my workbench. Final step in the full dismantling was to press off this anti-vibration damper and the triple roller chain timing sprocket from the front of the crankshaft.
In with the New
To make it a bit easier on my aching body, I dragged the new crankshaft part way into the Engine Room and propped it up on some sturdy wood blocks for mounting the Damper and chainwheel to the front as these weighed about 35 kg themselves. Then like an inchworm, I was able to carefully push and shove the crankshaft up alongside of Mr. Gee I attached the Dyneema lines to the front and aft end of the crank and lift it up in place with the 6:1 block and tackles.
Worked like a charm to allow me to slowly raise the crankshaft up into the upper main bearings which I had now greased up and pressed in place in the Crankcase. Carefully raising each end of the crank with the blocks and tackle the new crank was soon resting in its new home and Mr. Gee was already feeling MUCH better! Clean up all seven Main Bearing caps to make sure they are squeaky clean. Grab the box of new 0.010” oversize 6LXB Main Bearing set. A beautiful sight to my eyes!
And Mr. Gee! Unboxed and unpacked, cleaned, inspected and now a light coast of lithium grease to help with their initial assembly into Mr. Gee. Same process for the two sets of Thrust Bearings that look after any pressures fore/aft on Mr. Gee’s crankshaft. Now all that remained to do was install all 7 of the Main Bearing Caps with their new bearing shells inside and start bolting the crankshaft into place.
I got #1, 3 and 7 done this afternoon (Sunday 13, June 2021) before I had to quit to write up this blog before dinner and so I’ll have to leave you here and pick up again in next week’s episode of “As Mr. Gee Turns”.
Beauty and the Beast
I use this “Beauty & the Beast” reference quite often and certainly seemed to be just right after you’ve endured being with beastly me and Mr. Gee, and leave you with one last update with the arrival of THIS beauty of a Turkish Wine Decanter.
But wait! There’s more beauty!
This was a very unexpected but thoroughly appreciated gift from a lovely Turkish gentleman “Cem” who has become eXtremely interested in the XPM boats had asked if he could come onboard for a tour. Unfortunately for Cem he first stepped into the Workshop when he got onboard so he was stuck wtih me give him the tour, and you can guess how that went with “brevity challenged” Wayne!
Thanks Cem! Apparently I was not too brutal and Cem brought this beautiful “house/boat warming” gift for us a few days later.
Once again I get to surround myself in beauty with not only such a special decanter but one held by my smiling Beautiful Bride!
Could I be any more fortunate? Methinks NOT! That’s a wrap for this week’s XPM78-01 Möbius progress update and I hope it was enjoyable and entertaining.
As always PLEASE add your comments and questions in the “join the discussion” box below and I hope to see you here again same time, same place, next week for the next installment of As Mr. Gee Turns.
Another eXtremely busy week for Christine and I as we continue to work our way through all the rigors of getting Möbius ship shape and ready to head out to sea.
I’m sure some of you must be wondering why such a seemingly simple step is taking so long? But many of you who have ever moved into a brand new home or new RV or new boat, especially custom built ones, will be able to relate to the seemingly endless list of jobs big and small that need to be looked after before your new “home” feels like it is yours and that you have worked through all the “little” things that don’t work right and all the improvements or installation of additional things be that putting in the new lawn in your newly built home.
I’ve read that many others who have gone through this process say that to get to the point where you can simply enjoy your new home and not be constantly working on it, takes about a year. From what experience I have had so far with both boats and homes that sounds about right to me. Hence Christine and I remind each other that this is a marathon not a sprint AND we enjoy* the whole process of making Möbius our full time super comfy home.
* Well most of the time anyway!
While we are seemingly busy non-stop, there isn’t much to see during this process that suits a Show & Tell so this will be a relatively short blog update (lucky you!) but let’s jump right on and catch you up on what’s been happening aboard the Good Ship Möbius this past week of May 24-30, 2021.
Wonderful Days in the Neighborhood
We continue to have stellar “Spring” weather here in Antalya though it is really more like an early arrival of summer.
Daily highs are typically in the low 30’s C / 90-95F and usually with a nice breeze to make it all very pleasant. Almost always clear blue skies, complete with the exclamation point of jet trails. This is our immediate neighborhood here at Antalya Setur Marina.
Things have changed a bit here as our big Blue powerboat neighbor to the right in this photo finished all their jobs, launched and headed out for sea on Wednesday.
So we now have a lovely large empty space next to us and our views of the Med and the Coast Guard station are much improved when we are out having our nightly sundowner wine on the Foredeck each evening.
And we continue to enjoy our life here propped up “on the hard” though we would of course much prefer to be floating on the water and hope to be doing so by end of June at the latest.
As you will soon see, Mr. Gee is not the only one “moving up in the world” as we have had some significant new neighbors move in next door in the form of these three little guys from the Turkish Navy. As you may have noticed in some of the aerial and satellite photos I’ve put in some recent posts, the area behind the big beautiful breakwater here on the far Western end of the Antalya coastline, contains four very different harbours within and I’ve marked up this satellite photo to help visualize.
Not the most pleasant terminology but this is an all too apt description of what commonly happens during the initial few months after moving into a new home/boat/RV etc. which is when brand new equipment fails to work. We have had our share of these already and likely more to follow in the coming months.
This is one of the latest “infants” to be DOA, our fabulous new Bosch washing machine. After going for many years without any washing machine Christine had been really looking forward to testing out this fancy (to us) new washing machine that she had so thoroughly researched and chosen. Alas, it made it part way through the first wash cycle and stopped working. As the saying goes “the lights were on but no one was home” as the big LCD panel lit up with all the controls, but none of them or the selection dial responded to her input.
Of course everything is under warrantee and Bosh is a very popular brand here in Turkey but it still took them three different calls and over three weeks to end up replacing all 3 internal circuit boards! Even though this was MUCH sooner than expected, we know that it is always when not if equipment and appliances will need to be serviced so we have designed the boat with accessibility as a key component and so it was a relatively quick task to help these two Bosch servicemen to remove the washing machine from its cabinet, set it on the floor and allow them to open it all up and replace those 3 circuit boards.
Good news is that IT WORKED! and Christine has already put it to the test with multiple different loads of laundry and is just beaming at the “upgrade” in her onboard chores.
Electrical System Update
Many of you have been asking about how some of the various systems are performing in their early days as we start to gather more real world data and while still early, here is a preliminary update for you on how our overall electrical system has been working.
This is a very high level graphic I’ve put together to show the overall Electrical System on Möbius. Given our use case of being in very remote locations and on anchor over 95% of the time, we are a fully “battery based boat” which in short means that we have no generator or other source of external electrical power input and so ALL our electrical power comes from our 1800Ah @ 24V 43.2kW House Battery Bank as you can see in the illustration above.
To be clear, we DO have the option of connecting to Shore Power with plug ins for these at both the Bow and Stern, however we are so rarely have access to Shore Power we consider this just an emergency backup if we were to need to go to a marina to work on components within the battery based system.
Even when we DO have ready access to Shore Power, such as we do now up on the hard here in Setur Marina, we chose to still NOT connect to the Marina’s Shore Power grid. This is partly because electricity here at this marina is very pricey, but more so because we simply don’t need it and also want to be more fully testing out our overall electrical system in its normal state of running entirely off the House Battery Bank and charging those with “just” our large 4.5kW solar array consisting of fourteen 320 Watt panels, each with their own Victron 100/20 MPPT controller.
This is a screenshot of the Victron Connect app on my phone a few minutes ago (10:30 am Sunday 30 May, 2021) and as you can see the solar panels are having no problem at all bring the House Bank back up to 100% SoC (State of Charge) after running everything on the boat while the sun was down.
Because we are in “test mode” for the first few months we have been maxing out all systems and in the case of our electrical system this means running EVERY electrical device onboard as fully as possible. For example, after we had fully tested the Kabola KB45 diesel boiler for about a week we shut it down and turned on the 230V 1500W electrical heating element in the Calorifier (water heater tank) which is a very big consumer. Other electrical equipment on all four voltages (12V + 24V DC and 120V + 230V AC) we are using daily and as frequently as possible to build up the data set for maximum use includes such electrical consumers as:
Bosh 4 burner induction “hob” cooktop with extraction fan running throughout
Bosch Smart Oven that combines convection/grill/microwave
Kenyon 230V BBQ grill
250L/hr watermaker run about ever 4-6 days
two 130L 24V refrigerators
two 70L 24V freezers
230V electric kettle & 230V espresso machine
Bosh washing machine (now that it is working)
At least 4 computers and at least four large monitors which are rarely turned off
50” TV for nightly “dinner and a movie” onboard streaming content from YouTube, Netflix, Apple TV, etc..
a long list of internet based equipment such as routers, bridges, cellular & WiFi extenders, etc..
VacuFlush toilets w/ Bidets
an eXtremely extensive Maretron monitoring and control system and an equally extensive NMEA 2000/N2K network
the usual compliment you would expect from two nautical nerds of 3 smartphones, 4 smart home (Amazon/Google/Apple) devices all of which need to be regularly charged or plugged in.
and the usual assortment of regular living items such as lights, music, TV, sound systems, fans, etc.
With so many other systems needing our attention, the only two significant systems we have not yet tested and run extensively are the 3 zone in-floor heating system and the AC/heating system via the Webasto V50 Chiller and the four Webasto Air Handlers (5400 BTU overall) in the three cabins. We will get to those as soon as we can and all the more so as the daily temperatures start to rise up for summer into the mid 30 to 40C range typical of Antalya summers.
For the more technically minded, here is a bit larger history view of what’s been happening since we launched back on 20 Feb. 2021.
We have had a LOT of different scenarios onboard since launch and during the commissioning of all the electrical components so we have twice run the batteries down below 20% SoC and also had no battery connections several times and hence some of the very eXtreme numbers you see here. In total we have used 21,808 Amp hours with an average 24hr discharge of 417Ah and yet only required 5 total charge cycles.
During the past 3+ months since launching, we have had 230V shore power connected for about 3-4 days to test out the chargers in our 5 Victron MultiPlus Inverter/Chargers but otherwise our only source of “external” power is from the 14 solar panels. We are therefore eXtremely happy with these preliminary results and I will publish more and more such real world data as we collect it and once we are underway and back to our more typical use cases.
Mr. Gee Gets High!
Interestingly, the one bit of kit that seems to get the most attention from so many of you is our beloved Gardner 6LXB engine, which as most of you know by now, we affectionately refer to as Mr. Gee.
Unfortunately and uncharacteristically of any Gardner, Mr. Gee has a problem. He suddenly lost oil pressure on the first sea trial last month, falling from his usual 38 PSI down to about 20 PSI which is definately NOT a good thing! While I have a pretty good idea of the source of this problem, I won’t know for sure until I can do an eXtensive tear down that involves removing the huge cast AL oil pan so I can inspect the crankshaft, oil pump and bottom end bearings.
All a very straightforward BUT to get at these bottom end components I have to lift Mr. Gee about 1 meter up out of his normal home resting solidly on his 25mm thick engine beds and that is taking some time. I also need to remove both of the heads so I can check out the pistons and valves and this will also put Mr. Gee on a serious weight reduction program making the job of raising him up one meter a bit easier. As I remove these various bits and bobs I put them out on one of my workbenches in the Workshop right outside of the ER, which now has the appropriate dual meaning of Engine Room and Emergency Room! Running through the dismantling process quickly for you, off come the valve rockers, pushrods and cylinder head bolts. Off comes one of the cast iron cylinder heads which weigh in at a svelte 65kg/145lb. (ask me how I know?!) This is what Mr. Gee looks like when he goes “topless”!
All looks good so far as I confirm that there has not been any contact between the valves and the piston tops. Whew! Workbench continues to fill up even though I’ve already moved all the intake and exhaust manifolds elsewhere. Down to a mere shadow of his former self, Mr. Gee is all ready to move UP in life. Or at least 1 meter up inside the ER.
I carry a 2 ton hydraulic hoist as quite reasonably I would argue EVERY serious XPM or eXpedition/eXploration boat should and in particular mine is a modular hoist which then also gives me these eXtremely strong cross members to span the overhead ER hatch (previously removed) frame and provide the overhead “sky hooks” aka attachment points for the two chain hoists that I also carry. (of course!) I’m a big fan of synthetic rope, Dyneema or AmSteel in particular as it is much stronger than the SS wire of the same size and MUCH easier to handle. In addition to using Dyneema for all our Lifelines, Davit and Paravane rigging, etc. I also us this for lifting and hoisting eXtreme loads and have used this throughout the entire rebuilding of Mr. Gee. (he likes that the Dyneema is very gentle on his “skin”)
In this situation I am using multiple loops of Dyneema to hang the chain hoist in the foreground as well as wraps around the front and rear ends of Mr. Gee where the hoist hooks will attach to him. My plan is to leave the Nogva CPP gearbox in place and then take the weight of Mr. Gee every so slightly so I can then slide him forward with his feet still resting on the AL Engine Beds. To do so I’ve removed all the bolts fastening the four engine mounts to the beds and then positioned the two chain hoists forward of where they would be vertically centered so that as I lift him up, Mr. Gee will be pulled forward and come away from the Nogva case.
At least that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it! Worked just as planned and if you look closely you can see that Mr. Gee’s silver AL flywheel housing has slid about 50mm/2” forward and now separated from the Burgundy Nogva gearbox. Now it was a simple matter of alternating between lifting with the front and the rear chain hoists to until I had Mr. Gee up about 1 meter above the engine beds and with plenty of space for me to get underneath and remove the oil pan, crankshaft and piston/connecting rod assemblies. With Mr. Gee now floating right where I need him, I built a super solid cross member using more of the rectangular steel components from my hydraulic hoist and then built up a support platform out of solid wood blocks so I could lower him down for stability and safety while I did the first part of the disassembly which involves removing the two halves of the flywheel housing, rear motor mounts, and the massive flywheel itself.
And YES! I have also put four more sets of Dyneema loops, one at each of Mr. Gee’s corners, to add a backup safety system in the unlikely event that any of the main supports should break or fail. Here is the view as of today looking down from on deck through the ER hatch opening. Blue lighting is due to the large blue plastic tarp I have setup on deck in the unlikely event we should get any rain and to keep the marina dust out.
Sadly, I must leave many of you with your questions, and mine too, still unanswered as to just what has caused that drop in oil pressure and just what I’m going to need to get Mr. Gee back to thrumming away endlessly and effortlessly in his comfy ER home.
You can rest assured that NO ONE is more anxious to get to the bottom of this than I am and I’m pretty confident that I will be able to share all of that with you in next week progress update Show & Tell.
Sorry to keep you hanging like this and thanks very much for continuing to join us in this latest leg of Project Goldilocks as we get XPM78-01 Möbius ready to head out to sea.
I would also be most appreciative if you could help me feel a bit less like I’m talking in an empty room by adding your questions, comments and suggestions in the “Join the Discussion” box below. I don’t always manage to answer your questions as quickly as I would like but I will continue to do my very best and please do know that I definately read and benefit from every one.
This past week has been a roller coaster ride of emotions for both Christine and myself and the whole thing is difficult to articulate and yet not something that can be captured by cameras either but I’ll do my best to use my standard Show & Tell technique to bring you up to date on the latest leg of the journey of Project Goldilocks aka the design and building of XPM78-01 Möbius.
I’ll start with the ending which is that Möbius is now ALL OURS and we are back on the hard, aka land, having hauled Möbius out to complete some of the jobs remaining to make her fully sea worthy.
BUT, this time the land Möbius is on is OUTSIDE of the Free Zone where she has been for over 3 years during the build and now she is resting inside Setur Marina in Antalya.
I’ve marked up the sat photo above and the photo from Setur here, to show you our big move to Freedom.
It may only be a few hundred meters in reality but it is worlds apart for us. We are quite used to living aboard a boat that is “on the hard” as it is called when you haul your boat out of the water and put her on “hard stands” to hold her up, as we have probably spent several years all together in this situation from times we were working on our previous boats. NOTE: Back in February, when we were last here in Setur Marina for the first launching of Möbius, we met Emily & Matt who have their catamaran “Sea Odyssey” out on the hard just behind that big silver sailboat on the far Right in the photo above, so we already know some of our new neighbors.
Mountains off our Starboard/Right side and the Med on our Port so as you can see from all these photos, while not in the water where we would prefer, this isn’t too bad a place to call home for the next 1-2 months.
But wait!! I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s go back to the beginning of this latest leg in the adventures of mv Möbius.
FREE’d at LAST!
We are always so gobsmacked, as our British friends might say, at how many of you have been following us from near the beginning of this building of XPM78-01 Möbius at Naval Yachts here in Antalya Turkey that began back with the first aluminium hull work on April 6th, 2018 which as the counter at the bottom of this blog notes was 1144 days ago! Over THREE years ago? Yikes!
The actual beginning of Project Goldilocks as we originally called this whole adventure once the crazy idea of switching from sail to power and designing and building our own boat to do it with, took hold back in 2016 and we spent the first two years working closely every day with our awemazing designer Dennis Harjamaa at Artnautica Yacht Design in Auckland New Zealand which was where we delivered our last boat Learnativity to her new owners in Whangarei NZ. Rob Westermann runs Artnautica Europe where you can check out his notes on Möbius HERE. Rob and Dennis are also now busy designing an all new LRC65 that Rob and his wife will use as their next magic floating carpet ride.
Once we had the design of XPM78-01 Möbius pretty much set in 3D models and 2D drawings, we began searching the world quite literally for the Goldilocks just right location and builder and ended up partnering with Naval Yachts who are locating within the Free Zone here in Antalya Turkey and we now have them to thank for working quite literally cheek to jowl with us to build this first iteration and our new home, Möbius.
As most of you from following these weekly updates, Möbius first “splashed” on February 20th here at Setur Marina when the Free Zone had no launching capabilities for several months during their massive rebuild of their harbour and all their launching equipment. Since then we have been working through the process of commissioning every system where you get them all up and running, adjusted and dialed in. I’ve described these past few months as being a version of Zeno’s Paradox of the Tortoise and Achilles, where you make forward progress in steps that are each one half the remaining distance. The reason this is a paradox is that as odd as it might seem, it takes an infinite number of those half steps and you never arrive at your goal because there is always one more half step to go!
The other dimension to all this is that when building a new boat, while the Owners are technically just that and they “own” the boat, they don’t take possession of the boat until it has been fully finished by the Builders and the Owners make all the final payments and accept the boat. The feelings surrounding this gradual transfer from Builders to Owners are part of what I referenced in the beginning of this post that are so difficult to articulate. We’ve been living aboard since we splashed in February and it felt great and almost unbelievable to have our visions from years previous be transformed into this very solid reality. And yet, as the commissioning process extended into more and more days, then weeks and then months, the Free Zone felt a bit like living inside the line in the Eagle’s class Hotel California“Such a lovely place. You can check out any time you like. But you can never leave!”
The Free Zone was a lovely place, Möbius is an incredible boat, but she still wasn’t ours and we couldn’t help wondering if we would indeed ever leave so we could start finally restart our new lives in our new home and get back to our old habits of traveling the world’s seas.
And then, mid afternoon on Tuesday, May 18th, we received a text from our Builders that said “Prepare to leave, you are fully cleared for export and need to leave the Free Zone this afternoon!
What ensued next was like a scene out of the Keystone Cops and perhaps video will help capture this best so Christine has quickly pulled together this video montage of being “Freed from the Free Zone” on Tuesday afternoon.
That whole scene remains a blur but by late Tuesday afternoon, we ended up here, tied alongside the TraveLift bay where Möbius would get plucked out of the water by the 200Ton TraveLift and set down inside the hard stand area at Setur Marina! I sent off a quick text to Matt & Emily to say “You won’t believe it but ….” and they met us at the dock and helped us tie Möbius to the dock.
That was all 5 days ago now and It still has not quite sunk in for me that this has all happened and is real. But that is an eXcellent problem to have and I’m working on it!
Moving Möbius into her New Home
This is the same TraveLift that first launched us back in February so the operators quickly had us plucked out of the water and wheeled her over to ……. … this freshly vacated spot just a few meters away from the TraveLift bay and just a few boats over from Matt & Emily on Sea Odyssey. With all four sets of wheels on the TraveLift able to turn it makes it easy for them to move Möbius into this spot …….. …… and set her down on her keel. You can see another reason we designed the Rub Rails the way we did as they make for the perfect spot for the hard stands to be wedged underneath. This obviates the need for the more traditional stands which go down much lower up against the bottom paint and create a whole new set of problems.
KISS at its finest; Keep It Smart & Simple. So this is Möbius’ new Home Base for the next month or two.
Very Slick Bottom you have there Miss Möbius!
One of the good things about hauling out again is that we got the chance to check out how well the new Foul Release paint was doing its job. The hull had been in the water for three months without moving so this was a good test, and as you can see in this photo (click to enlarge any photo)the InterSleek 1100SR silicone based bottom paint had worked even better than I had hoped.
This will give you a bit of a Before & After shot where I had gently wiped the corner spot in the foreground here with a sponge and every bit of the algae and growth wiped clean. A few minutes with my sponge and I had the CPP prop blades, the Skeg and the Rudder wiped spotlessly clean. Even what growth there was you can see on the sides of the hull in the upper Left were minimal and came off with a gentle wipe of the sponge. And looked like this a few minutes later. There is a lot of surface area on a 24m/78 ft long hull so it did take us a couple of hours to do it all but this was the result and I’ve gotta say that I wouldn’t have believed it if I had not seen it for myself. * For those of you interested in this Foul Release as opposed to Anti-Foul bottom paint, I wrote about this in more detail HERE in this Weekly Progress Update from Feb 8-13, 2021
It is still early in its life of course, which we expect to be 5-10 years before needing to be recoated, but based on this initial experience I am just blown away by how well this silicone based bottom paint works and can not say enough good things about it at this point. Stay tuned for “Bottoms Up (dates)” over the next few years.
Open Sesame Mr. Gee!
Many of you have been asking for more details about Mr. Gee and his sudden loss of oil pressure on the last sea trial. Now that we are out of the Free Zone and very solidly setup, that is my #1 priority and so yesterday I started to dismantling Mr. Gee to track down the culprit and fully fix the problem.
I’ve oft been asked why the hatch overtop of the Engine Room is so big and now you know the answer. To make it easy to access the entire engine and CPP gearbox and be able to lift it all out as one assembly if/whenever needed over the lifespan of the boat which is measured in decades.
At this point I am still hoping that it won’t be neccessary to completely remove Mr. Gee and the Nogva CPP but with the hatch removed it makes working in the ER very well lit and ventilated even in the mid 30C/95F weather we are already having here. You can also see why I designed the ER to be as wide as it is which makes accessing everything a piece of cake compared to most other boats I have ever worked on.
While I don’t know if I will need to remove the engine, I do need to remove the large cast AL oil pan and to do that I need to lift Mr. Gee about 1m/40” up from where he sits here. So I first need to remove many of the parts up on the front such as the cast AL water reservoir and the whole cogged belt system I made to drive the upper Electrodyne alternator on one side and the sea water pump on the other. I also need to remove both heads to check out the valves and pistons and to do that I need to remove everything attached to the heads such as all the valve train, exhaust and intake manifolds, fuel lines, etc. So my next few days are a process of removing all these parts and here are the ones I removed yesterday. Cast AL water holding tank on the middle Left, Fuel filter and valves in the lower Left and water manifolds on the Right.
That workbench will soon be filled with a lot more parts as I get to the bottom of the problem and fix it properly so stay tuned for more episodes of “As Mr. Gee Turns” As I rest my weary little body each evening of this process, I’m going to be dreaming of the day when Möbius is back in this spot with Mr. Gee thrumming away as we back out of the slip and head off into the blue horizons that await us. Thanks as always for taking the time to join Christine and I on this grand adventure and don’t forget to add your questions and comments 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.