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.
We don’t use SCEM as filters per se, we use them to keep us on track, keep our priorities straight, by reminding us of what our fundamental values are for this boat. When doing our due diligence and research on some potential piece of equipment It is all too easy to get attracted or distracted by things like cool features or just the sheer number of choices and so as we go through our decision making we are constantly circling back through SCEM to make sure these fundamental requirements are being met.
This week in this Part 2 of our decision making process, I will do my best to summarize the more specific criteria we use to ultimately make our final decisions upon. I will cover this as a series of the following questions that we ask and answer to our satisfaction at least, as we evaluate each bit of kit and then use these to make our call.
What problem is this item attempting to solve?
Is the problem/item a want or a need?
Consequences of adding this item? Domino effect?
Does it pass the Goldilocks test?
New vs Tried & True?
What problem is this item attempting to solve?
Might sound like a silly question at first but it is surprising how often answering this question provides the most help in in our evaluation of a design decision or of a given piece of equipment. Let me use our decision of what battery type to use for our House Battery Bank to illustrate but one example of how valuable this question was.
To put this question into context, keep in mind that Möbius is a completely Battery Based Boat, meaning that ALL of our onboard electrical power comes from our House Battery Bank and therefore this is one of THE most critical systems on the boat and one that in some cases our lives can depend upon. For an XPM or any true eXpedition boat that is going to be able to carry us safely and comfortably to locations across the full spectrum of eXtremes of climate and remoteness, we need to be as self sufficient as possible and so our onboard electrical power rates right up there alongside diesel fuel and fresh (potable) water as a critical requirement. An XPM type boat is designed to spend the majority of its time at anchor or at sea, in our case often for months at a time, so in all our design and equipment decisions, we assume that we will have no shore based resources such as shore power, stores, shipping, airports, etc..
Finally, for a bit more context, let me add that we have also chosen to not have an independent generator onboard so ALL of our four voltages, 12 & 24 Volt DC and 120 & 230 Volt AC, come from our House Battery Bank. Most of the time we keep our batteries charged via our 4.48kW array of 14 320W Solar Panels and when underway we have 12-14kW available from the two eXtremely robust 250A @ 28V Electrodyne alternators which Mr. Gee keeps spinning. One of the very first decisions we needed to make to chose our batteries was what type or chemistry of batteries would be the Goldilocks just right, just for us House Batteries? I’m not going to go over this in any detail here but these are the five battery types we had to chose from:
FLA; Flooded Lead Acid
AGM: Absorbed Glass Matt
Many of you and others we talked to, thought for sure that the choice was obvious; go with Lithium and we did consider them, and all the other types, very thoroughly. But it was that question of “What problem is this trying to solve” that made it clear that Lithium was not the best choice for us and that’s the story I’d like to elaborate on here a bit.
Our battery decision making started at the very beginning of our design process, around 2016, and in some ways we designed and built the boat around the House Batteries. For the first few years, we thought we would go with GEL based OPzV batteries such as this one.
These OPxV type batteries are eXtremely robust and often referred to as “traction batteries” as they are used in things like all electric forklifts in warehouses so they had good cycle life and good resistance to sulfation and other features that wold make them a good choice for Möbius.
During this time we were reading more and more about Lithium batteries and we were seeing more and more people who were choosing to go with them so we also spent a good bit of time researching the various types and makes of Lithium, primarily LiFePO4 or Lithium Iron. This relatively new type of battery was said to have a lot of amazing features with the top ones being longer lasting (more cycle life), ability to accept much higher charging rates thus take less time to charge, but perhaps the biggest feature was their much higher energy density. This means that you get much more usable Watts from the same amount of space and weight compared to what you would get from other battery types. Said another way, you could get the same amount of energy out of a much smaller size and lighter battery bank.
As the months and years went by, these claims were validated more and more and we saw the steady increase of Lithium Iron being the batteries of choice for more and more boats so it seemed like the choice was clear right? However when we applied our criteria and use case and asked the “What problem is Lithium trying to solve?” question, we realized that we didn’t have the same “problems” as most of these other boats such as size and weight of our House Batteries.
My earlier comment that we had designed the boat around our House Battery Bank is not that far off as we had designed the hull to take maximum advantage of the characteristics of our original consideration of OPzV batteries which were very large and very heavy. Each OPzV 2/4V cell measured 215mm/8.5” Wide x 277mm/10.9” Deep x 855mm/33.6” High and weighed 110kg/242lbs each, and we needed 24 of these! As we often do, we turned this “bug” into a feature and built four large battery compartments into the framing of the bottom of the hull such that each compartment straddled the 25mm thick x 350mm high keel bar running down the centerline of the hull. By positioning these battery compartments on the very bottom and center of the hull, we effectively turned the lead in our batteries into a proxy for some of the lead ballast we needed. This is a photo from last year of one of our four battery compartments.
The point here if you are following along with me is that for the use case and design of an XPM, the “problem” that Lithium batteries would solve with their high energy density for a given weight and size just wasn’t a problem we had; we had the room and we wanted the weight. So the search for our Goldilocks batteries continued.
For awhile we continued to think that OPzV Gel batteries were the best fit for us, however, just as we had been following the developments of Lithium batteries we had also been tracking the growing use of Carbon Foam type batteries from FireFly. They ticked all the boxes on our list of criteria, most notably these were proving to be eXtremely robust and several attempts by test labs trying to purposely destroy these batteries failed and they proved to be almost indestructible which is a huge factor for us and our use case. These Carbon Foam batteries are also able to work and charge in much lower temperatures such as those we expect to have when we are in polar regions of the world and they are one of the only battery types that don’t suffer from sulfation. and are happy, even recommended, to stay at Partial State of Charge for long periods of time which would normally be the death of most other batteries.
Near the end I found real world installations of these batteries, some of which had been in place for more than ten years and so just before placing this large order of batterie we changed and ordered 24 of these 4V L15+ size Micro Carbon Foam batteries which now make up our 43.2kW House Bank (1800Ah @ 24V) made by FireFly and they have been working flawlessly for the past six months.
Let me be clear that I am NOT saying that Lithium batteries are not a great choice for many boats, nor am I saying that Carbon Foam batteries are “the best”, I am just hoping to explain how and why we made our decision to go with Carbon Foam and why they are the Goldilocks just right, just for us choice. All thanks in part to the question we regularly ask near the beginning of our decision making process; What problem is this trying to solve?
Is the problem/item a want or a need?
We often put each item we are trying to decide on into either the Need to Have or Wish/Want to Have category. Pretty self explanatory I think, Need to Have are items that we feel are mandatory must haves in order for us to feel confident in going to sea and living full time aboard Möbius. Examples for us include things like;
our high output watermaker,
Furuno Radar and other navigation equipment,
eXtremely high amounts of acoustic & audio insulation,
comfortable Helm Chairs,
that little FLIR One thermal camera I used to find the overheated wiring a few weeks ago,
great HVAC systems
Global communication capability (right now via our Iridium GO)
and items like this.
The Want/Wish to Have category can be subdivided into groups such as;
buy as soon as the budget allows
later when it is ready for real world use (ours)
nice to have, perhaps a gift to ourselves or each other
Current examples on our Wish/Want list includes things like:
second Furuno Radar with NXT technology,
forward facing sonar when it is has been in more mainstream use and is robust enough for our use case
active stabilization, most likely Magnus Effect type
kite sail with autopilot to add to our propulsion and reduce fuel usage
Portland Pudgy, Christine’s long time wish for a small, light sailing dingy
affordable high speed internet such as that being promised by 5G and satellite based systems being developed.
We also have a third category worth mentioning which is the Don’t Want Onboard category which is sometimes the best choice. Items on this list would include things like;
anything that requires propane (too much of a pain to fill around the world)
anything that requires gasoline (too short a shelf life these days)
Consequences of adding this item?
As a good friend and fellow world sailor likes to say “Everything needs” and so we spend time trying to imagine what the needs and other consequences will be if we add this bit of kit to Möbius. Our primary prioritization of Maintenance, lack thereof, would factor into this for example and hence decisions such as;
no paint/wood/SS on the exterior,
being single fuel boat with no propane or gasoline,
but it could also be other consequences of adding this item to our boat. An XPM is complex by virtue of needing to be so self contained and as we often say Möbius is like a floating village in that we have to look after making all our own water, all our own energy, dealing with all our own waste and so on, but we do strive to apply the KISS or Keep It Simple & Safe philosophy to all our decisions by finding the simplest solution possible. Examples of this would include:
manual roll attenuation with our fully mechanical/manual Paravane A-Frames
manual Tender Davit system vs hydraulic
Gardner engine (no turbo, no electrics, low revs, etc.)
The Domino Effect is perhaps a branch of the consideration of the Consequences of any decision as I just outlined above and is when the result of a decision has follow on effects to other systems on that boat. This can work both ways; sometimes these dominos are positive ones and in other cases they are negative or undesirable consequences. For example, installing the eXtreme amount of EPDM and acoustic insulation throughout the boat has a domino effect;
stabilizes the interior temperatures and makes them more temperate in both very hot and very cold climates
this reduces the energy required to cool/heat the boat
this allows us to install smaller capacity and less expensive HVAC systems such as Air Conditioning and heating
this lowers the demand on our House Batteries and HVAC systems so they run with less loads and last longer
An example of when the Domino Effect can work the opposite direction might be the option we considered of installing fin type active stabilizers. These work extremely well to reduce the roll in many conditions when on passages but they would also introduce a Domino Effect of consequences that took them out of the running for us, such as;
their protrusion from the side of the hull reduces the safety factor when in areas with uncharted rocks, coral heads and the inevitable groundings on these.
not suitable when ice is present in polar waters
unlikely but possible if a fin is hit hard enough to create an underwater breach of the hull
are extremely complex and often top the lists of most maintenance problems we read from other global passage makers.
most require a significant hydraulic system to operate which adds yet another whole system onboard to maintain and repair.
I might add that having gone through this Domino Effect as we considered active fin stabilization, it also helped us see that we could find a different type of active stabilization if we should ever want that, and one that eliminates most of the dominos I listed above. This would be stabilizers that use the Magnus Effect which is offered by several different manufacturers now.
Does it pass the Goldilocks test?
We essentially answer this question by virtue of having gone through all the questions and priorities I’ve already listed. Because we have highly personalized our overarching principles of SCEM and articulated much more detailed specifics of our use case, our decision making helps us ensure that we are making choices and decisions that are by definition, Goldilocks, just right, just for us.
However, this is such an important factor for us that we do keep coming back to to this “Goldilocks Test” to make sure we are avoiding the tendency to “go with the flow” of following what others are doing or “the way its always been done” and are staying true to ourselves and our preferences. I will site a more “meta” example here which is our decision in the design phase to “upsize” the length of the boat from the 18-20m / 60-65 ft that we initially imagined and then at the same time “downsize” the interior to have just 2 cabins and 2 heads.
Our decision to extend the length to 24m/78ft was driven two factors; simple physics that hull speed is a factor of Length on the Waterline and our discovery that contrary to popular opinion there is not very many restrictions on boats that are over 20 meters whereas there are some very significant changes to the rules governing ships that are over 24 meters. With our prioritization of efficiency, we pushed the length to just under 24 meters. With our infrequent use of marinas the increased docking fees do not affect us very much. Furthermore, with more and more catamarans being purchased, many marinas are changing their dock rates to be calculated based on overall area of each boat, LOA x Beam and so our slender 5m Beam reduces our overall area and we are often cheaper or about the same as much shorter but wider boats.
Our decisions to “downsize” the interior and thus reduce maintenance and costs was based on the fact that 99% of the time Christine and I are the only two people living onboard so we wanted to make the interior fit us and our needs. Our Master Cabin is very spacious and luxurious for us. Our Guest Cabin works very well when we do have guests onboard but most of the time it is a very purposefully designed Office for Christine Kling, the Captain’s nom de plume when she is working on her next book and running her growing book business. Our SuperSalon is indeed living up to that name the more we live in it. And my very full size Workshop and Engine Room is that of my dreams.
There are many other examples of how the Goldilocks Test has driven our decisions such as;
Manual Paravane system and Tender Davit that is KISS and as former sailors handling lines, winches and clutches is second hand.
Though we designed and built the cabinets, electrical and plumbing for them, we chose not to install either a Dryer or a Dishwasher as we are just not fans of either one and prefer washing and drying by hand.
I could give countless more examples of how we have applied the Goldilocks Test to almost every decision we have made during the design and the building process but I think you get the idea. We have now been living aboard Möbius since she first launched in February and we are finding that our continuous use of this Goldilocks Test has worked eXtremely well for us in designing and building Möbius and we can and do recommend it highly for almost all decisions and choices you make.
New vs Tried & True?
Christine and I are self described nerds and geeks so we have a great fondness for technology that is on that well named “bleeding edge” and we have a full compliment of devices to show for it. However, when it comes to equipment for Möbius, and especially all of it that is on that Must Have list, it must be remembered all those decisions must be made within the context that Möbius is an XPM type boat that is designed and built to live up to that acronym for eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker. So when it comes to deciding on equipment, materials, construction and design of these items, they must, all be Tried & True. To us this means equipment that has been in regular use on boats, ideally with similar use cases as ours, for several years and has stood that test of time.
Some examples of this for us include:
we delayed our decision to go with FireFly Carbon Foam batteries until after we had been able to find enough examples of these batteries being installed in other people’s boats in large numbers for many years.
We chose to go with all Furuno for navigation because it is so widely used by commercial boats in fishing fleets, government agencies and the like and hence this equipment is designed and built for continuous 24/7 use in some eXtremely harsh conditions. They also have an excellent reputation for their continued support of even their oldest equipment.
Our decision to go with a Gardner 6LXB engine that is still one of the most efficient diesel engines ever produced and is still in use in thousands of commercial boats worldwide. It is also perhaps one of the best examples of the KISS approach to design and engineering which adds to how well it passes the Tried & True test.
individual MPPT controllers for each of our 14 solar panels as this has been well proven to be the most efficient combination for both overall efficiency, least affected by shading and highest redundancy.
Let me end with a final example of the value of taking this Tried & True test for mission critical ships and equipment from no less than the US Navy! A recent article caught my eye a few weeks ago where even the us Navy has learned the folly of installing untested equipment on their ships. This link to the article USS Gerald R. Ford Problems: The Navy Admits Its Big Mistake (popularmechanics.com) provides a brief but telling story. as outlined in that article the Chief of Naval Operations, Mike Gilday, says the U.S. Navy built the aircraft carrier USS Ford with too many new technologies. such that now, the Ford is several years behind in its life cycle because of problems with many of those new technologies.
The last of the Ford’s four advanced weapon elevators, the most glaring example of the ship’s tech gone wrong, should enter service later this year.
When the Navy first built the Ford, it incorporated nearly two dozen new technologies, some of which are still giving the service headaches 4 years after the ship entered the fleet. Those delays meant the Navy only commissioned the Ford in 2017, despite laying it down in 2009. Even then, problems lingered, especially with the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) and the advanced weapon elevators (AWEs).
The ship’s first full deployment, originally scheduled for 2018, is now set for 2022.
I think this unfortunate real world example does help to make the point that for XPM types of boats with use cases to match, all the “mission critical” equipment onboard MUST have passed the Tried & True test.
Bubble Bubble, Toil & Trouble!
Leaving you with the latest bit of kit that Captain Christine just approved and installed onboard, a fully manual sparkling water maker! Especially in these hot summer months, Christine particularly enjoys her cold sparkling water and I do too but we don’t like having to buy it in cases of plastic bottles. We have our watermaker for similar reasons for our regular drinking water. Initial tests have elicited the same smile you see here so this item has now passed the all important Captain’s Test and has been welcomed aboard. Thanks so much for making it this far if you have and I do hope that this slightly different format and content is of interest and value to most of you. Let me know either way with your comments in the “Join the Discussion” box below and I’ll be back with more for you same time next week.
I’m going to depart from the usual Show & Tell weekly update posting here today and do something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time and continue to get requests for. It will be less Show/photo based and more Tell/text based than usual so it may not be your cup of tea and please feel free to skim and speed read accordingly.
Over the 5+ years of designing and building what is now XPM78-01 Möbius, I have very gratefully received a lot of recommendations for our followers and others we meet, for equipment and bits of kit they think we should install. This always leads Christine and I to researching and learning as much about each item as we can and that in itself has been eXtremely valuable and helpful. Many people have been surprised at our decisions as to what bits of kit we do decide to use and those that we don’t and have been curious as to our reasons and our process for making these decisions which by now, likely run into the thousands.
I have done my best to answer these questions when they appear here as comments on the blog or ones I receive via Email or text messages and these have often led to valuable exchanges in the discussion section. However, I’ve been meaning to write a better response that outlines our decision making process for a long time and that is what I’m going to do my best at today.
For more details than you probably want with the background and context of our thinking around these topics you can refer to THIS blog post from back in April 2018. In that post you will find two summative points I made that will provide some context to this article;
the byline of our purpose to be “Wandering, Wondering and Pondering the world one nautical smile at a time”
and that we were setting out to; “ design and build an exceptional long range Passage Maker that is strong, safe, fast, fun and efficient, serving as our full time home along with the infrequent guests who join us on expeditions exploring the most remote locations of the world in exceptional safety and comfort.”
Lastly, let me be sure to be clear that ALL of what you will read below is framed within the context of two primary points:
1. Our only application here is for an XPM type of boat that is going to be used as intended to live up to that moniker of eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker.
2. This is all about our pursuit of what we called “Project Goldilocks”, wherein we set out to design and build the just right boat, just for us to live and learn on for the indefinite future.
All our decisions are made within this Goldilocks concept of just right, just for us and while we hope and hear that the sharing our our thinking and our experiences is of some use and value to other cruisers, please don’t misconstrue any of this to be what is “best” for any other boat or sailors.
Decision Making Process:
As with most decision making I think, ours is not a linear step by step process and is more of an ongoing series of discussion, mostly between Christine and myself, which cycle and loop through many different categories but for the sake of this explanation, let me outline the basic categories that we cycle through.
Over the combined years and nautical smiles that we’ve both logged while sailing the world, a set of “first principles” emerged and during the very early days of designing Möbius, after a LOT of discussions between us, we synthesized these down to four: Safety Comfort Efficiency Maintenance or SCEM for short.
Oxford defines First Principles as;
“the fundamental concepts or assumptions on which a theory, system, or method is based”
It was a long and winding but very fun and rewarding effort to boil the results of our discussions down to a “reduction sauce” of SCEM and then articulate what each of these meant to us, but these first principles proved to be invaluable throughout the entire design and build of Möbius and has been generating growing dividends ever since as we continue to use them almost every day.
I don’t think it makes sense to try to put SCEM in any order as they are all important but it would also be true to say that Safety ranks up at the top of our decision making. Safety is also somewhat synonymous with confidence which is a value that we MUST have before we will ever head out to sea or even “just” be on anchor in our floating home.
Safety in this context is primarily the safety of ourselves and our passengers as well as those around us. Whenever we find ourselves in some kind of severe unexpected situation at sea one of us literally asks the other “Is anyone going to die?” and that bifurcates the discussion and our decision making from there. Given our use case of having Möbius take us to some of the most remote locations in the world where we often find ourselves quite totally alone and in some very eXtreme environments, it is not any exaggeration to say that our lives do quite literally depend upon our boat and our ability to use her and it is within this context that safety factors into every decision we make and every bit of kit we install.
It isn’t a “bit of kit” but this first principle of Safety also influenced our very purposeful design of Möbius to be easily mistaken for a military, coast guard, police type boat with a “don’t mess with me” vibe. This all relates back to our use case of being in eXtremely remote locations and locations where conditions ashore are unknown and possibly have people who might be motivated to approach us with mal intent if they see a bright and shiny “superyacht” off their shore.
Two other very quick and different examples, out of hundreds at least, to illustrate our safety based decisions;
1. Anchoring and ground tackle. We prefer to anchor rather than use mooring fields or marinas and SWAN or Sleep Well At Night becomes of paramount concern every night, and day we stay anchored. Our basic tenants for choosing anchor and ground tackle might be summed up as “go big or go home” in that we go with the largest and most bulletproof anchor, chain, windlass, etc. that we can carry. We only want one main anchor on the boat such that EVERY time we put the anchor down we know our best bit of kit is holding us in place be that for an hour’s lunch stop or for weeks or more through storms and all that Mother Nature can test us with. In keeping with another theme in our decision making of only going with “Tried & True”, for our anchor we went with a Rocna, the same brand of anchor that had served us flawlessly through over 12 years of sailing our 52’ steel cutter “Learnativity” and just upsized it to about the largest one they make at 110kg/242lbs. This is attached to 120m/400’ of 13mm / 1/2” G4 galvanized chain and a Maxwell VWC 4000 windlass.
2. FLIR One thermal camera. In last week’s post, you saw a vivid example of the value of this small bit of kit that I used to identify the faulty wiring that had severely overheated and could have easily resulted in a fire and further damage. An odd item that you won’t find included on too many other boat’s list of Safety Equipment but I think last week’s use alone will explain why this is on our list of Safety Equipment.
Comfort in this context is somewhat synonymous with Safety because if we don’t have a boat that allows us to do what we do without being beat up when conditions get rough, or there is equipment that is not comfortable and convenient to use, then we won’t be as likely to use it.
Comfort takes on an eXtremely important role as it encompasses what keeps us wanting to sail further, go to more places, stay longer in those we enjoy and so on. You will often hear those of us who are full time live aboards or spend most of the year living on our boats say that “we are not camping”! For us, this is our home and our life and most of our days so designing and building a boat that will “… take uson expeditions exploring the most remote locations of the world in exceptional safety and comfort.” as I noted in the old April 2018 post I linked to above.
Examples here would include some of the obvious such as eXtremely comfortable Helm Chairs as one of us usually needs to spend most of our waking time on passages sitting in them and when conditions get rough these seats need to keep us comfortably in place and able to fully control the boat while seated.
Less obvious Comfort related items would include things like our paravane stabilisers which dramatically reduce roll both while at sea and on anchor and make life aboard both much more comfortable and safer.
Lack of comfort on an global passage maker such as Möbius would also result in fatigue, aches and pains which would lead to poor and possibly dangerous decisions at sea.
We use Efficiency in an all encompassing way here as it applies to everything from fuel efficiency to cost efficiency to time efficiency. These are often very interrelated to themselves as well as to the other three First Principles of SCEM. Fuel efficiency is obviously related to cost efficiency but less obvious perhaps is the efficiency of things like insulation of the hull and all our bulkheads. This high degree of insulation adds to our overall efficiency in multiple ways such as reducing the energy requirements of our HVAC systems (Heating Ventilation And Cooling) to keep the interior of the boat as cool or warm as we wish. Better insulation also makes the whole boat much quieter, keeping each cabin sonically isolated from both the sounds of others in or on the boat as well as some of the sounds of the sea in big storms which can add to the stress of the situation and which in turn can compromise safety.
Less obvious perhaps are things such as electrical efficiency with sizing everything from wires and cables to batteries, inverters, chargers, refrigeration, HVAC and indeed almost all of our electrical equipment. We have to produce all our own electricity and therefore efficiency in producing every watt and then using every watt most efficiently allows us such “luxuries” as being able to be at anchor indefinitely.
We must also produce all our own Potable water for drinking, cooking, bathing, etc. as this is critical to our self sufficiency and health. Therefore being able to produce all our own fresh water most efficiently in terms of the energy our watermaker requires and the time it takes to do so, factors into our decision making and thus another example of the key role efficiency plays in our decision making and equipment selections.
Actually this should probably be LM as it is all about LACK of Maintenance, but this First Principle also drives a lot of our decisions in the design and building of Möbius. Pretty much everything on a boat, no different than a house or a car, requires maintenance to keep all their bits and pieces working properly, looking good and lasting as long as possible. On a boat, and especially on an XPM boat, the conditions we operate in are much more severe and harsh. Imagine if your home was constantly being shaken, sometimes quite gently as in a swaying tree house, but sometimes shaken quite violently as if it were perched atop the Disneyland Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Add to this being immersed within salt water and humid salty air and you can begin to appreciate why cruisers often joke that their life is spent moving from one exotic repair destination to the next!
What raises Lack of Maintenance to being a First Principle for us though is what we call the “two hand rule” which we illustrate by holding up our two hands and saying “See these? If something breaks or stops working, these are the only two things that can fix it”. For most of us, doing our own maintenance is the only way we can afford to life this life and for the less sane of us, we actually enjoy working on our boats. Up to a point at least. On a more serious note, in our use case we NEED to be able to fix our boats ourselves by having the neccessary tools, materials, parts and skills because we are often in places or out at sea where we are the ONLY people present. There is no one else to call for parts, tools or expertise and even if there was they couldn’t get to you. In this context then, being able to do your own maintenance and fixing can become something your life depends upon.
In our case examples of decisions we have made that are highly influenced by the Maintenance or lack thereof principle, are things such as deciding to build an aluminium boat and to leave it all raw and unpainted. Aluminium naturally forms a thin almost invisible layer of Aluminium Oxide on the surfaces exposed to air which therefore creates an eXtremely hard inert protective coating that requires zero maintenance on our part.
Lack of Maintenance also drove other exterior decisions such as having no paint, no stainless, and no wood. In addition to the significant reduction in Maintenance, these decisions also go towards cost efficiency as repainting a boat, keeping it all clean and shiny and varnished, is also eXtremely eXpen$ive so the benefits start to multiply.
Another good example of this decision making process and how our first principles often multiply each other is our choosing to go with Carbon Foam FireFly batteries. We literally live off our batteries as we have no generator (also less maintenance and more comfort) and these Carbon Foam batteries are about as bullet proof as batteries get, require almost no maintenance, have extremely long cycle life and are eXtremely cost effective.
Whew! As usual, your brevity challenged author has yet again applied his mastery of neverasentencewhenaparagraphwilldo to make this go much longer than originally intended and so I’m going to stop here and follow the lead of the truly talented author onboard, Captain Christine Kling, and turn this book aka article, into a multi part series.
Here are some examples of topics I will cover in the next parts of this series about how and why we make the decisions and chose the equipment that we install on Möbius:
What problem is this item attempting to solve?
Is the problem/item a want or a need?
Consequences of adding this item? Domino effect?
Does it pass the Goldilocks test?
New Tech or Tried & True?
Valuation? Is it the best value?
Perhaps the most important reason for stopping here and turning this into a series of articles is to pause to ask YOU if this is the kind of content you want and find useful???
I’m not suggesting that this will become the new form for all my future articles as I think it only fits a few topics and I will continue to produce the Show & Tell articles as the work on finishing and then cruising on Möbius continues. However I would be eXtremely appreciative if you would add a short comment in the “Join the Discussion” box below to let me know your thoughts on this type of content, and the Show & Tell ones as well so I can get a better feel for what’s working best for you and what’s not? What would you like more of/less of? What topics would you like me to address that I have not so far?
I can’t promise that I can or will do all that you ask but I do promise to take your suggestions into account as I continue to write and post here on the Mobius.World blog. My thanks in advance to all your feedback and assistance in improving my writing. As you’ve clearly seen I can use ALL the help I can get!!
A VERY busy week here onboard the Good Ship Möbius as everyone on Team Möbius moves into the final stage of the build completing all the installations of equipment and beginning the commissioning of all these systems by their factory representatives and others. Due to a major reconstruction project of the harbour inside the Free Zone * which removed all the previous launching facilities, Naval needed to launch us quite a bit sooner than expected by transporting Möbius overland to the nearby Setur Marina. So in addition to the usual post launch commissioning of systems, we all continue to work our way through the Punch List of jobs needing to be completed in order to get Möbius into seaworthy condition to begin taking her out for sea trials. To say that we are all eXtremely busy would be the understatement of the year! But. for Christine and me, we are even more eXtremely eXcited to be back where we belong, home onboard a boat that floats.
* You can learn all about this huge and fascinating project by watching THIS VIDEO ANIMATION which does a great job of showing how the whole new harbour facility will work.
I hope you will accept my apologies in advance for another hurried weekly Möbius Update as I blast through as much of all the different jobs that we have all worked on this past week. So grab your favorite beverage and chair and join me for this week’s Show & Tell.
Let me start with a quick snapshot leading up to this adventure that began over 5 years ago.
After two years of intense collaborative design work with our AbFab Naval Architect Dennis at Artnautica Yacht Design, the building of XPM78-01 Möbius began at Naval Yachts on April 6, 2018. 1053 days of build time later, as most of you have likely seen in last week’s posting HERE, she finally left that temporary womb last Friday for a watery delivery into her permanent home with Mother Ocean last Saturday. As I write this blog post from the SkyBridge of our beloved Möbius, we have just finished our first week afloat tied up to the concrete dock wall inside the Antalya Free Zone Harbour.
And I am VERY happy, though not surprised, to report that ALL the sea water has remained where it belongs OUTSIDE of Möbius and our bilges only hold the remnants of construction dust and debris.
Looking all the world to me like two tugs that escaped from a children’s animation story, these two almost new tugs are our most immediate neighbors. Tied up less than a meter in front of Möbius’ Bow.
These two tugs have crew aboard 24/7 as they are responsible for bringing every cargo ship into and out of the commercial side of the Harbour such as this recent little visitor, the 180m 36k Ton Argo B, who left about 04:30 this morning after loading up with several thousand “Big Bags” of industrial dry goods. These two tugs are also the Fire Boats for the Harbour. And last night, they surprised and delighted us by bringing over a home made pizza just out of their oven! Can’t think of a better example of why we LOVE living with these awemazing people of Turkey. Tied up almost as closely to our Stern is this first of four Police boats which are being built by Ares Yachts here in the Free Zone for the government of Oman. These are a bit longer than us at about 26m but share many of the same basic attributes as our XPM-78 with all aluminum construction and built like the proverbial tank. We even have the same jet propulsion system though in our case just with our Tender and a single not these massive twin jet drives driven by two equally massive MAN diesel engines. One item that we do not share, YET! with these boats is that mount for a 50 cal machine gun. But rest assured that once I get my 3D printer setup one of my first projects will be to create a realistic enough looking plastic replica to produce a silhouette that will add to our “don’t mess with me!” look to any onlookers thinking of approaching us with mal intent! I took this shot of our neighborhood early this morning after the Argo B had left and the tugs were back in front of us. The weather has been truly spectacular for the past two weeks with daytime highs reaching 24C/77F and gloriously sunny clear blue skies with very little wind. Not a bad place to spend our first week afloat.
For safety of such a new and incomplete boat, Christine and I are sleeping aboard each night and then going back to our apartment for breakfast and dinner and then we will move aboard full time once all the sea trials are done.
One of the projects I did not have enough time to show you last week was the completion of our rather unique “Sidewinder” anchor roller assembly that Dennis and I came up with so let me show that to you now. I decided to make the two anchor rollers out of solid aluminium and didn’t take me long to design a 3D model of this in Autodesk Fusion 360 and create the 2D dimensioned drawings to machine them from. Aluminium is a dream to work with and the in house machine shop has a very good sized lathe that was easily able to machine the two anchor rollers out of a single blank of 200mm/8” OD aluminium round stock. I wanted to keep the anchor and the chain electrically isolated from the hull to reduce any corrosion problems and was able to do so with two details. One is this Black Delrin bushing which we press fit into each roller with a nice rolling fit for the 40mm/1.6” SS pin that each roller spins on. The second isolating detail was to machine these Teflon discs that get separate the sides of the rollers from the inside cheeks of the anchor roller assembly welded into the hull. Then a large SS end cap bolts on either end of the SS pin on the outside. Here is what that all looks like when assembled. For safety and quiet when pounding into big seas we very specifically designed the whole roller assembly to exactly match the shape of this 125kg/275lb Rocna anchor by obtaining a 3D model from Rocna to design with. The way our design works is that those flared out bottom edges you see in the photo above have been designed such that they exactly match up with the inside of the flukes of the Rocna when pulled aboard and thus the Rocna becomes one with the hull and will not budge no matter what Mother Nature throws at us. This creates not only a very tough and strong anchor mounting setup but also one that does not make any noise due to movement between the anchor and the roller assembly which is so common on many other boats we have run. So Nihat, Uğur and I spent quite a few hours with the anchor raised on a chain block that allowed us to get the position of the anchor just right and then layout the centers for each SS roller pin. Front pin and roller have been mounted here and we are laying out the location for the 2nd Aft roller. Uğur and I came up with this idea of building an extended 40mm carbide hole saw so that he could drill both cheeks in one go and keep the two holes for the SS roller pin on the same centerline. We lucked out finding the head of a 40mm carbide hole saw with its shank broken off and Uğur TIG welded a 200mm/8” long piece of 13mm/ 1/2” OD rod to it that we could chuck in my Milwaukee drill. Worked like a charm! With the rollers both installed we tested it all out with the 13mm / 1/2” chain and the Maxwell VWC4000 Windlass and did a bit of tweaking of the rollers final shape to capture the chain nicely so it stays aligned as the chain goes Out/In and doesn’t twist. Did not take us long to get to the Goldilocks Just Right point and “Rocky” was in his new home as solid as his name. Uğur and Nihat both gave it their thumbs up and so we knew it was good to go!
Another job and details I did not have time to post last week prior to the launch was the finishing of the silicone based International InterSleek 1100SR Foul Release bottom paint and the zinc anodes so let me go back and show you that.
Once the super slick, slippery and shiny silicone InterSleek was fully dry the last few underwater details could be attended to such as mounting the Red plastic prop on the Vetus 220kgf 300mm/12” Extended Run Time Bow Thruster. Which is capped off with its own Zinc to reduce any problems with corrosion due to the mix of dissimilar metals involved with its construction of Bronze, SS and AL. In keeping with our Darth Vader, lean & mean look, we decided to make the 100mm/4” Boot Stripe that makes the transition between the top of the Black InterSleek and the bare AL hull, be gloss Black as well and we are eXtremely happy with the result that emerged as the masking tape came off to reveal the final look. The final detail for the underwater portion of the hull was mounting the ten 125mm / 5” diameter Zinc anodes which keeps all the metal bits that are in contact with seawater all at the same potential voltage and eliminates the battery effect that would eat away at our precious Stainless Steel, AL and Bronze components. Being near the bottom of the Noble scale of metals, Zinc is what will erode instead and makes it easy to replace the zincs every few years when they get too worn away. We designed a very simple mounting system for the Zincs and Uğur had previously welded 80mm discs of 20mm / 3/4” thick AL to the hull with an M16 thread in the center for the SS M16 bolt that he is fastening this Zinc on the Rudder with. To ensure a good electrical connection for many years between the Zinc and the AL mounting disc, we coated those surfaces and the bolt with dielectric grease and then I followed along after Uğur and covered the SS bolt heads with some clear silicone to make it all the easier to remove and replace these zincs in a couple of years. I usually do this while the boat is in the water using my Hookah or Snuba system so these little details all help to make that job go quick and easy. With all these preparations of the below the waterline areas of the hull and everything removed from underneath, Möbius was ready for the arrival of “Big Bird” the yellow 72 wheel boat mover to arrive the next morning and carry her overland to the marina for launching.
TILLER ARM DETAILS:
Another few details that we needed to look after before Launch Day were for the all important steering system and the Tiller Arm in particular. Similar to the Bow Rollers, last year I had designed this typically over engineered Tiller Arm in Fusion 360 and had it CNC milled out of a single block of aluminum. Here is a shot from almost a year ago when we first mounted the finished Tiller Arm to the 127mm / 5” OD solid AL Rudder Post. And here is a more recent shot of what it looks like with the two double acting Kobelt hydraulic steering cylinders in place. Such a massive Tiller Arm being powered by equally as beefy twin hydraulic cylinders, produces a LOT of force and so there needs to be some eXtremely strong and solid Tiller Arm Stops built in to stop the Tiller Arm when it goes hard over to each side. Fusion 360 to the rescue yet again to help me quickly design these Stops which Uğur and Nihat quickly fabricated and were ready to mount. After carefully testing out the Just Right position for each stop, they were able to drill the four holes in the AL Rudder Shelf and bolt down one Stop in either side of the Tiller Arm body. The SS bolt and lock nut allow us to adjust the final Stop position of the Tiller Arm once we are in the water and have the steering all working. I like to practice and live well by what I call “Readiness for the UneXpected” and in the case of our steering system that meant having multiple layers of fault tolerance for the Steering System. This starts with twin independent Kobelt 7080 hydraulic steering cylinders sized so that either one can fully steer the boat in the most adverse sea conditions.
Then two independent Kobelt Accu-Steer HPU400 24V hydraulic Power Pack pumps, two independent Furuno 711C AutoPilots plus two independent Furuno Jog Levers. This gives us eight levels of fault tolerance to go through.
And if ALL of that should uneXpectedly fail, then we have this Kobelt manual hydraulic Steering Pump …………… ……….. that we can slide this Emergency Steering wheel onto and steer the boat the “old fashioned” way. And if ALL of that should somehow uneXpectedly fail we have THIS final layer of fault tolerance for our steering system; a completely independent and manual Emergency Tiller Arm. Can’t get too much more KISSS or Keep It Simple Smart & Safe than this; a 2m/6.5ft length of 80mm thick walled AL pipe that slides through the 20mm/ 3/4” thick plate we see Uğur bolting to the Tiller Arm body and then the pipe slides through a matching hole bored through the top of the Rudder Post. We attach a block and tackle setup on each side of the end of the Emergency Tiller which fasten to shackles mounted on stringers on the adjacent hull sides which allows us to move and lock the Rudder in any position we want.
Yes, I do know that it works and Yes, you can ask me how I know that!
Miscellaneous Work on Deck
Finishing up this blog post is between me and another very late dinner so I’m going to speed through a series of other jobs that got done this first week in the water. Turkish Turquoise Marble countertops got installed atop both Vent Boxes on the Aft Deck to create our Outdoor Galley. SS sink plumbed. And installed in the Starboard/Right side Vent Box. Plumbing connections all ready to connect to the sink; Red & Blue PEX lines with shut off valves for the Hot/Cold water to the sink faucet, Brass elbow for the sink’s drain and small Blue tube with the Black elbow to drain the water extracted by the Mist Eliminator grills in the Engine Room supply air duct. Orhan with his home made adaptor for his pneumatic caulking gun …….. ……. to get into some hard to reach spots around the Pilot House windows like these. Uğur prepping the nylon insert mounts for the Passarella on the Swim Platform and another on the Port side gate. Ever the ingenious one on Team ,Uğur came up with this brilliant DIY solution for mounting our Fire Hose in the HazMat Locker; an empty plastic spool of MIG welder wire!
Which will rotate on this pipe mounted on the side of the HazMat Locker. With the Black Fire Nozzle mounted alongside. Any wonder why I just love working with this guy who has been with us from the very first day of the build?!!! More Uğur Goodness, on Saturday no less, as we designed and built this simple setup for propping the front 3 Solar Panels mounted on this hinged frame up in the horizontal position when we are on anchor.
This horizontal position not only helps out with solar power production but you can see the demister grill across the far end of what now becomes a giant wind tunnel to capture all the fresh breezes blowing over our bow at anchor and funnel them down into the SuperSalon. Two SS pipes that are hinged to the bottom of the Solar Panel frame and will fit into these Black Delrin collars Uğur machined which were then glued down to the aluminium floor with a SS set screw to lock them in place.
When we are ready to convert to passage making mode and head out to sea, you simply lift the panels up a few inches and the two support rods slide aft as the panel is lowered down and locked into place.
Our Sparkie Hilmi always has a long list of electrical jobs that need his attention and this past week was certainly no exception. With almost 150 circuit breakers on XPM78-01 Möbius to safely look after all our 12 & 24 Volt DC circuits and our all our 120V & 240V AC circuits, it was quite the design challenge to figure out where and how to place all these.
We ended up with two primary circuit breaker panels; this one on the angled short wall on the Stbd/Right side of the Main Helm Station. And this larger one in the Corridor at the bottom of the stairs leading down from the SuperSalon to the Guest Cabin, Ships Office and Workshop/Engine Room. After months and months of preparation, Hilmi was finally able to bring it all together this past week by attaching these Black AL panel fronts with all the engraved labels onto the hinged access doors into each of these Circuit Breaker panels.
Next week the hinged glass doors are due to arrive which will finish off these critical component of the electrical system on Möbius.
The double paned 16mm thick glass window finally got installed in the Engine Room door this week which is a critical component to completely closing in the Engine Room in the case of a fire. And the gas lift cylinders have now all been installed on the Glass Deck Hatches which I designed and Naval built in house. Now just need to finish installing the rubber edge seals and the AL hatch handles and the deck is totally watertight!
I can’t possibly do justice to explain the amount of work that Christine has done this past week alone on getting all our navigation and electronics in both Helm Stations all setup and working.
Nor can I articulate how much I LOVE my Captain! What I can do though is to leave you with this shot from early this morning that does capture for me just how well we have succeeded in designing and building our new home with all of Team Möbius to meet the goal we set out over 5 years ago to blend in perfectly when in a commercial dock as apposed to a ‘yachty’ marina. And with that I am going to hit the “Publish” button on this latest Möbius Weekly Progress Update and look forward to bringing you more Show & Tell of this coming week’s progress that begins first thing tomorrow morning.
One year ago, Christine and I returned from a brief trip over to the UK for her Birthday (March 15th) just as the whole Corona 19 pandemic was ramping up and caught us squarely in the vortex. Given our ages, let’s just say rapidly approaching 70, every day since we have been playing a kind of Russian Roulette by going into the shipyard to work on Möbius and so we are eXtremely eXcited that tomorrow morning at 11am we are going to get our Covid 19 vaccine shots!
Of course, this doesn’t put an end to anything really but sure will help with our upcoming travel plans, for which we shall be eternally grateful to this country we have called home for almost four years now and that love a wee bit more every day. Thank you Turkey for allowing these two salt water turkies to enjoy your beautiful country and people!
As Launch Date looms larger and sooner the theme of checking off all the “little Big” jobs on the punch list continues although we still have a few “Big” jobs such as painting the bottom with foul release paint which continued as well this past week so without any further ado let’s jump right in to see all those jobs both little and BIG that Team Möbius looked after this week of January 25-30, 2021.
One of the “little Big” jobs that we completed this past week is getting the propeller shaft fully aligned with the output flange on the Nogva Gearbox and hence this week’s title.
In this photo the dark Burgundy is the Aft Output end of the Nogva Gearbox and the bright Red is the flange on the propeller shaft which continues through the Tides Marine shaft seal system and out of the boat through the large AL prop shaft tube which is hidden here by the Blue Tides Marine silicone bellows hose. This dimensioned drawing of the complete Nogva CPP or controlled Pitch Propeller, shaft, seal and flange will help orient things a bit.
Here I have gone below the boat rotate the CPP prop back and forth while pushing it hard forward so that the two flanges meet. A few months back we had spent quite a bit of time getting this alignment close as we installed the anti-vibration mounts on the Gardner and the Nogva and you read about that HERE, so now it was time for the fine and final adjustment to get these two flanges perfectly aligned. As you may recall from previous posts the two flanges need to be eXtremely closely aligned both concentrically as per the illustration on the Left and also laterally as shown on the Right. Maximum deviation we are allowed is up to 0.005mm / 0.002in (human hair is about 0.05mm diameter) and ideally we are going for zero. Needing such perfection I called on my Perfect Partner, aka Captain Christine to assist and although she is prone to laying down on the job (sorry, couldn’t resist) she was a huge help and made this task go much faster. We check the alignment by inserting a thin feeler gauge, which is the silver strip you see here, that is a tight sliding fit into the space between the faces of these two flanges and see what the gap is at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Any difference in size of the gap at these locations tells us how far it is out either horizontally at 3 & 6 o’clock or vertically at 12 and 6. Adding to the challenge the prop shaft needs to be supported in its perfectly centered position which my red hydraulic bottle jack is looking after. Mr. Gee, our Gardner 6LXB is solidly bolted up to the Nogva Gearbox so they are essentially an eXtremely solid single unit that is supported by six anti-vibration mounts such as the Silver one you can see on the Stbd. side of the Nogva Gearbox on the far Right in this photo. You can see the large vertical threaded part of these mounts with the large supporting hex nut on the bottom and smaller locking nut on the top. To align the flanges vertically I need to turn the large nuts at the very front of Mr. Gee or these back two on the Nogva, Up/Down to move the Nogva flange until the gap is zero all the way around.
The process then is for me to go around the four Front/Rear mounts and turn those big nuts Up/Down while Christine moved the feeler gauges around the circumference of the flanges and called out the differences in the gap to me.
With Christine laying down in the space behind the Aft end of the ER Enclosure overtop of the Tides Marine seal at the bottom, there wasn’t enough room to take a photo but this previous shot shows what she was doing as she reached in with the feeler gauges to check the gap and call out the differences to me. Doing this all by myself was very time consuming so now you see what I called in the Big Boss to help out!
It still took us almost 2 hours but in the end we got the gap down to zero such that both flanges were touching all the way around. With these two flanges now fully aligned we could insert the 8 hardened Grade 8 bolts through both flanges and torque them down to 120NM and the alignment was done!
White grease is TefGel 45 to prevent any corrosion and ensure that these nuts are just as easy to undo after many years on the job when we need to remove the prop shaft or the Nogva/Gardner for some reason in the distant future. Many of these “little Big” jobs are like dominos in that as getting one done lets you do the next. So with the flanges aligned and mounts all torqued down I could now finish installing the Tides Marine SureSeal system. This is an eXtremely critical bit of kit as this is responsible for keeping the prop shaft cutlass bearing lubricated with a flow of fresh sea water AND keeping that sea water OUT of the boat! Here is what the real deal looks like now fully installed. The Blue silicone “Articulating hose” in the illustration above, is double clamped onto the Stern or Prop Shaft Tube at the bottom and onto the Black SureSeal housing at the top.
The way this works is that inside the SureSeal are two stationary rubber lip seals with the 65mm OD Prop Shaft rotating inside them that keeps the water sea water inside the Prop Shaft Tube from being able to get past and into the boat.
We keep a VERY close eye on that Blue silicone hose over the years as if it were to ever rupture we would have an eXtremely large volume of water flooding into the boat!
FYI, The Black ring at the top is the very handy holder for a second set of replacement lip seals which you can change out with the boat still in the water as you don’t have to remove the Prop Shaft to replace them; just pry the old ones forward, cut them off and slide the new ones into place.
Last part of installing the SureSeal system is to provide a pressurized flow of fresh sea water into the Prop Shaft Tube which travels down the tube and lubricates the Cutlass bearing which supports the Prop Shaft as it exits the boat.
One of the reasons I chose to locate the Silver Heat Exchanger you see in the Upper Right was to be able to tap into its drain plug on the salt water side and use this as the source of pressurized salt water for the SureSeal. Nice short hose run and Cihan had that all hooked up in no time. The second Red hose on the Left goes up along the Aft wall of the ER with a ball valve on the end of it so that I can check the salt water flow rate when we first start up and from time to time afterwards and ensure that there is at least 4L/min / 1USG/min when the engine is idling. Both those little Big jobs checked off the list and this is what the finished result looks like when peering down into the space Christine has now vacated on the outside of the Aft wall of the ER. Silver Gardner Coolant Heat Exchanger bottom right, Tides Marine SureSeal middle Left and Red Prop Flange middle Right and the Red Nogva Gearbox Oil Heat Exchanger at the top.
To keep the ER air tight a 6mm AL plate is bolted with a gasket over top and covered wtih the same composite grid floor plates as the rest of the Workshop and ER. Cihan checked off another Big little job by plumbing the Sea Water and Engine Coolant water lines up at the forward Starboard/Right corner of Mr. Gee and the ER. It is pretty busy up there so I’ve labelled some of this plumbing to help you make sense of it. Can be a bit confusing as there are three fluids running around here; Sea Water that comes in via the Sea Chest just visible on the far middle Right here and through the Strainer and Manifold on its way to the Jabsco Impeller Pump and then out of that Pump and into the Engine Oil Heat Exchanger where it runs Aft exiting out and into that Silver Sea Water Heat Exchanger you saw up above in the SureSeal installation sequence.
Hope you got all that because YES children that WILL be on the Test on Friday!
Driving Big Red #2
Over on the opposite Port/Left side of Mr. Gee I finally have the drive system for our second Electrodyne 250Ah @ 24V alternator all designed and the adapters all machined so time to get them all installed. You may recall this photo from THIS previous blog post about installing what I call Big Red #2 and how I intended to drive it from the PTO or Power Take Off on the Gardner using a Jack Shaft I had from a previous job. This is a quick screen shot from my Fusion 360 design for the adapters at either end of the Red JackShaft. Green cylinder on the far Left is the Output shaft from the Gardner PTO, Purple is the AL adaptor to couple the Jackshaft to the PTO and at the far Right in Gold is the steel multi V-belt drive pulley that came with the Electrodyne which I will machine with four threaded holes to bolt the other end of the Red Jackshaft to.
Note: Jackshaft simplified here to just a rod with flanges at either end.
This is the PTO from the Gardner with that Purple aluminium adaptor in the rendering above now pushed onto the Green PTO Output shaft and secured with four round hex head through bolts.
The Red Flange on the front U-joint end of the JackShaft barely visible on the Right will bolt to that AL adaptor with four more M6 SS bolts. This is the Aft end of the JackShaft where this U-joint will be similarly bolted to that steel 8V pulley on Big Red #2. The day came to an end at this point yesterday so not quite finished but this shot will show you how the whole JackShaft will connect the power from the PTO back to Big Red #2. This monster Electrodyne alternator could absorb as much as 10HP at full 250 amps of output which the gear driven PTO can put out easily and this Cardan or Jack Shaft should be more than up to the task.
Stay tuned for more though folks on the final installation of Big Red #2 next week AND just wait till you see the sweet setup I’ve come up with to drive Big Red #1 using a cogged timing belt setup that is now almost done.
Well Sand My Bottom!
Also not quite done but work continued this past week on getting the bottom underwater portion of the hull all primed and filled in preparation for applying the silicone based Foul Release paint, International InterSleek 1100SR.
You can see some of the filled welds around the Prop Tunnel above and ….. the filleted edges around the AL threaded mounting disk for the Zinc on the Rudder. The circle on the Right is the filled in through hole we put in the Rudder to make it possible to remove the Prop Shaft without having to drop the Rudder. Because we hope to not need to remove the Prop Shaft for many years this hole is filled in to provide a fully flush curved surface on the Rudder sides to maximize a smooth laminar flow of water over the Rudder. Sanding the first coat of epoxy filler on the Keel and Prop Tunnel into smooth large radius coves. ….. and the Aft Depth Sounder transducer. …. and one of the 5 Sea Chests. By end of the week they had the last of the 5 coats of International epoxy primer rolled as you can see around the Bow Thruster Tunnel, another smaller Sea Chest intake and Zinc mounting disk up near the bow. Final coat of epoxy primer being rolled on Aft and we’ll see the application of the InterSleek 1100SR next week.
Grand Dame of Dyneema!
Lest you should think that The Captain only lays down on the job, this will prove that she sometimes sits! But Christine has become and expert Dyneema splicer after doing so many as she installs all the Lifelines around the Main Deck. This are the AL Stanchions with their Lifelines now in place on the Aft end of the Port/Left side. The Tender will come On/Off this side so these 3 LifeLines have Pelican Hooks that are easy to release so we can then pull up the Stanchions and roll up the whole setup and stow when the Tender is aboard. Closer view of how these Pelican Hooks and Thimbles work. You start to appreciate how Christine’s Dyneema splicing expertise has developed so quickly when you start to count up all the splices required for each LifeLine in the system we’ve come up with. On the far Right is an endless loop that wraps around the AL Stanchion through a small AL D-ring to keep it in place and a SS Thimble captured on the end. Last step of this will be to lash the loop around the SS Thimble closed so that when it is undone the Thimble can’t come out.
Looking down the LifeLines to the Left you can see another splice at the Left end of the Pelican Hook and then further Aft/Left two more around these Black anodized Donuts or Rings you can see further to the Left. Christine leaves a gap of about 80-100mm / 3-4” between these two rings and then wraps multiple lashings between them to tension the life lines. And of course each of these Rings require yet another splice!
Hilmi and Ramazan continued their work inside Möbius this past week and we also find more of Captain Christine’s fingerprints up here at the Main Helm where she and Hilmi have been working to install and connect Boat Computer #1 you see here on the Port/Left side of the Main Helm Chair. Its ultimate home will be inside this space behind the 50” Monitor on the outside and this AC/Heating Air Handler inside. This space is normally covered by this hinged Rosewood back with a recess for the adjustable mounting system for the 50” monitor that doubles as both our movie watching entertainment screen when on anchor and then one of 4 screens for boat data and navigation when underway. Down in the Guest Cabin Ramazan is completing the last of the Ado LVT vinyl plank flooring. While the smallest by surface area it has ELEVEN removeable sections above the bolt on tank access hatches below so this area is taking the most time.
Pull out Bed in the Upper Left and Christine’s Office desk on the Right. Six of those removable floor sections all weighted down while the adhesive dries. Removable floor sections?
What removable floor sections? Ramzan then stepped up his game (sorry) by moving up to install the vinyl flooring on the steps leading up from the SuperSalon to the Aft Deck.
Another tricky and time consuming bit of detail as each step has one of these handrail posts he needs to go around. Which, as you can see, he had no trouble doing eXtremely well! And that’s a wrap for the week that was January 25-30, 2021. Yikes! The first month of 2021 gone already???
Well at least it puts us another week closer to LAUNCH so as with “being shafted” that is all a very good thing.
Thanks for joining us for yet another episode here at Möbius.World. REALLY appreciate and value you doing so and please feel encouraged to add your comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
And 2021 is off to rapid start as the first week of the year has already whipped by me in a flash. Very busy times here as we all push to finish XPM78-01 Möbius and get her in the water by the new target Launch Date of February 12th! Which BTW, is now only 33 calendar days and 25 working days from now. Yikes!!
However, as we all learn over time, deadlines are good things to help us keep our eyes on the prize and get things done so as to ensure that there is no “Slip-Sliding Away” of our Launch Date! Therefore, I am going to stick with using this fixed Launch Date to help keep the positive pressure on all of us on Team Möbius to “get ‘er done” and as my 4 year old granddaughter Blair says (with gusto!) “Let’s DO this!”
I’ll take that advise to heart with my introduction to this Weekly Progress Update and jump right into this week’s Show & Tell of what all happened aboard the Good Ship Möbius this past week of Jan 4-8, 2021
Non-Stick on the Bottom:
Continuing the very rewarding trend of late of hitting lots of different milestones of this build, work began this week on preparing the bottom of the hull for its foul release bottom paint. First step was to clear out all the equipment and materials which had been accumulating underneath the hull on the shop floor. It helps to have a forklift of course so it didn’t take too long to move everything elsewhere at Naval Yachts and have a clear floor space under Möbius to work on. Next up was to get rid of the short little hull support posts and replace them with these longer steel tubes that connect just under the Rub Rails and slope down to the floor where they are secured into the concrete with long lag bolts.
You’ll note too that the upper part of the hull sides have now been covered in plastic to keep their freshly sanded surfaces clean. The two newest members of Team Möbius, Ali kneeling on the Right and Mehmet standing on the Left, get to work grinding down the welds below the waterline and removing the layer of Aluminium Oxide Al2O3that has formed since these hull plates were first welded in place over two years ago. The automatic and rapid formation of Al2O3 is one of the big benefits of building hulls from Aluminium as it is a very had and durable protective layer that prevents any further oxidization or corrosion. However Al2O3 is equally good at “protecting” the hull from paint, which is part of the reason why we are leaving all the exposed aluminium on Möbius unpainted. The one exception is below the waterline where we need to prevent marine growth from forming as this creates a lot of drag on the hull as it slides through the water. So you need to remove all the Al2O3 before the first coat of epoxy primer goes on. This is the first round of removing the Al2O3 and then just before the first coat of primer is sprayed on, they will give it a light sanding with orbital sanders and a wipe down with Acetone to make sure the AL surfaces are completely clean and oxide free so the primer will bond well
The only item below the waterline that does not get painted is the big 1m OD beautiful Bronze Nogva CPP propeller, though later on, it too will get some special treatment to prevent fouling as even the slightest bit of grown or roughness on a propeller blade causes severe reduction in transferring power from the prop to the water. The special tube we cut through the Rudder can now be be filled in so Uğur tacked this elliptical AL plate to block off the hole for now. Whenever we might need to pull out the prop shaft, this hole allows me to do so without having to remove the Rudder which can add a lot of time to the prop shaft Re & Re. This will get covered with some epoxy filler and sanded flush with the surface of the Rudder plates as a super slippery Rudder also helps a lot to increase the efficiency of the Rudder and Steering overall. Another important part of the preparation for the bottom paint is taking off the upper edge of the “Boot Stripe” at the very top to make the transition from the bottom paint to the unpainted aluminium above. This is made SO much easier now that we have laser levels to use rather than the laborious process of measuring every few feet as I’ve had to do in the past to establish what you hope is a level straight line. In keeping with the “lean & mean” exterior esthetic, the Boot Stripe and the bottom paint will both be Black but the Boot Stripe will be glossy Black Polyurethane whereas the Bottom Paint will be the matt finish of the silicone based International InterSleek 1100SR
For those not so familiar with bottom paints, most boats use an Anti-Fouling type of paint which prevents micro organisms from growing on it by having various biocide chemicals such as copper, tin and now more modern toxins which try to prevent growth from forming. This has been done for centuries with many old wooden boats having their bottoms sheathed with sheets of thin copper. Looking nice and straight to me!
Anti-Foul type bottom paint doesn’t last too long, 6 months to 2 years max, before it either wears off or looses all its anti fouling chemicals and you have to haul out, remove all the old and paint on new coats which is neither quick nor inexpensive, to say nothing of the environmental concerns. Instead of “Anti” foul we are going to use international InterSleek 1100SR which is a Foul RELEASE type of solution which in the simplest terms is a coating of silicone fluoropolymer which is akin to the non-stick coating such as Teflon on frying pans. When I was a young boy I was struck by the idea of “Better Living Through Chemistry” and my daughter Lia is an Organic Chemist so this more modern and much more effective different kind of chemistry that creates Foul Release paint was a no-brainer for me. A little kick up at the stern end of the bottom paint to add a bit of flair!
When moving, nothing sticks to the hull but when we sit at anchor for weeks or months at a time, grown will still form on our InterSleek bottom BUT it all comes off with a simple wipe with a cloth or sponge so the amount of time and effort it will take us to “dive the bottom” and clean the hull will be drastically reduced from our previous boats even though Möbius has a much larger bottom surface. Uğur looked after one more bit of preparation for the bottom painting by sculpting the Exhaust Exit pipe which is not far above the waterline and below the top of the Black Boot Stripe so it too will be painted.
I will talk more about the Foul Release and InterSleek1100 paint as we start applying it in the coming weeks, so to finish up for now let me just add that Foul Release type bottom paints and InterSleek are not well known by most boat owners but it has been the norm for large commercial and military ships since the 90’s. Based on their experience the InterSleek1100 should last for around 5 to 7+ years, so we are eXtremely anxious to see how it performs for us on Möbius. Stay tuned for the next couple of years to find out!
Non-Slip up on Top:
Just as important as keeping our bottom Non-Stick to prevent growth, we need to keep all our decks and floors up on top to be very Non-Skid to prevent us from slipping when walking around, often in bare wet feet and a energetically moving boat.
For all our decks and other exterior AL surfaces we are using what we think is the ultimate Non-Slip material called TreadMaster which has the tag line “The Original Anti Slip Deck Covering” which has lasted for more than 20 years for many of our friends.
In previous weekly updates you’ve seen the Team covering all the Main Decks and stairs with Treadmaster and this week the finished off the last remaining items such as these AL stairs from the Aft Deck down into the Workshop. We will leave all the “Slip Sliding Away” to Simon & Garfunkel while we stay put safe with our feel solidly in place on our TreadMaster and that composite grid flooring down in the Workshop and ER thanks very much! We left what could be the most dangerous or at least slip-prone deck for last; these narrow slopped Side Decks that flank the SkyBridge. Orkan was able to use all the left over TreadMaster from doing the Main Decks to cut out all these smaller “tiles” of TreadMaster to cover these Side Decks and here he has them all cut out and flipped over upside down ready for the AL Side Decks to be sanded and cleaned. Faruk and Ali could now get busy mixing up the West Systems epoxy adhesive and gluing each piece of TreadMaster into its final positions on the Side Deck surfaces and squeezing out the epoxy to every edge with the HD roller you see here in the foreground.
TreadMaster is now all done and one more milestone achieved. Well done Team Möbius!!
Much ADO about Non-Slip Inside Too!
Last week you may recall seeing Ramazan finish installing the ADO vinyl LVT flooring in the Master Cabin and he has that now all finished. Keeping ourselves safe at sea requires that ALL our floors are very Non-Slippery and as you can perhaps make out in this photo, we chose these Ado LVT vinyl floor planks in large part due to the highly textured nature they have that is similar to old well worn woodgrain on patio or pool decks. His final job to finish the Master Cabin was the two stairs leading up to the Port/Left side of the bed and the removable access lid beside the Shower. These are the only vinyl flooring that is glued down, the rest is all “floating” so it can expand and contract in different temperatures. Here is is using some very heavy weights to keep these pieces flat and squished onto the underlying marine plywood while the adhesive dries overnight. Master Cabin flooring all finished, Ramazan moved onward and upward to the SuperSalon and moved everything off the floors in there and gave all the plywood base a thorough vacuuming and cleanup. First task for the SuperSalon floor was to install the wood framing and rigid insulation on the large hinged hatch that provides access down into the cavernous Basement that lies below the AL floor of the whole SuperSalon. After checking that each plywood floor panel was solidly screwed down, Ramazan stared to do his layout for the floor planks. Starting with this reference line for laying down each row of planks perfectly parallel to the centerline of the boat. Click – Click, assemble one row of planks.
Click – Click, lock that row into the previous one laid down.
Rinse and Repeat, with lots of careful scribing and fitting around all the radiused Rosewood toe kicks surrounding all the cabinetry.
Screens, Screens and more Screens!
Winding back the clock by a few days, another eXtremely big milestone for Christine and I happened this week and this photo should give plenty of clues as to what this was.
Can you guess what we are up to here? Hint.
It has something to do with these two unfilled spaces front and center at the Main Helm. That’s right! Time to unbox and install all our beautiful big, sunlight readable, touch screen LiteMax helm monitors; two 19” here in the Main Helm and then two more 24” up on the SkyBridge Helm and then on each side of the Main Helm will be another 43” monitor on the Right and a 50” TV/Monitor on the Left.
After a LOT of research and some help from a fellow passage maker, Peter Hayden over on “Adventures of Tanglewood” we finally tracked down the OEM manufacturer of most marine MFD’s and monitors and bought all five Helm monitors from LiteMax in New Taipei City, Taiwan. The two 19” Main Helm monitors are LiteMax NavPixel Marine model NPD1968 and this link will give you all the technical details for those wishing to know more. The specs that mattered most to us are that these are fully sunlight readable with 1600 nits (a good phone screen is about 300 nits), AOT touch, high shock & vibration resistance, IP65 waterproof and can be powered from 9-36V DC. Both monitors slide into this hinged plate above the Main Helm dashboard and allow us to tilt these monitors however we wish to have the best line of sight and least reflection. Captain Christine is peeling off the protective plastic layer to check out the non-reflective screens below. Another feature we value highly is that these monitors have physical and easy to reach control knobs and buttons. Always frustrating to try to figure out how to increase the brightness as daylight arrives and you’ve had the screens turned down close to black for night time viewing. Didn’t take us long to get the two 19” monitors mounted into the Main Helm and so we moved up to the SkyBridge where these two openings on the Upper Helm Station were begging to be filled. First we removed the rear AL panel to give us access to the inside so we could tighten down the very well done mounting screw setup on these monitors.
We also put in a layer of thin EPDM foam rubber to fully seal each monitor into the AL Helm Station. They fit into their openings like a glove and as you can see the big opening we had designed into this AL Helm Station provided easy access all around each monitor to secure them tightly against each frame. These 24” monitors are LiteMax NavPixel model NPD2425 with similar specs as the one’s down below. Plenty of connection port choices on the back including the power terminals on the far Left which will be connected to our 24V DC system and then via DVI-D to our onboard boat computers. As you might see reflected in the plastic protective covers, I took this shot with my camera at eye height when you are sitting in the SkyBridge Helm Chair so this will give you a good sense of the perspective you’ll have when conning the boat from up here with great visibility of the entire Bow and Anchor Deck up front. When I wasn’t looking Captain Christine snapped this shot of me finishing up the installation under her watchful eye.
We are eXtremely excited to get these bad boys all powered up and connected to our boat computers but that will have to wait until next week so stay tuned for that.
Speaking of powering things up, whenever Mr. Gee is running we have up to 24kW of power from the two Electrodyne 250A @28V alternators he is spinning down in the Engine Room. Here is a peek at the cabling that Hilmi completed this week which takes the AC output from the stator windings directly to the externally mounted Electrodyne Rectifiers over on the far Right side of the Workshop. Each of these Electrodyne beautiful brutes has two individual alternators inside and so there are six cables coming out of each alternator to carry the 3 phase AC current. So Hilmi put his hydraulic lug press to good use crimping all 12 lugs onto each cable. That shot up above is of Big Red #2 which is driven by the PTO off the bottom Left of Mr. Gee which you can see a wee bit of in the very bottom Right of this photo.
On the Upper Left here, this is Big Red #1 which is mounted up above on this 40mm/ 1 5/8” AL plate I fabricated and bolted onto the pad on Mr. Gee’s cast aluminium crankcase just for this purpose. This will be driven by a cogged “timing belt” setup which I am busy fabricating right now and I will show you more of next week.
Here though you can see the other six cables coming out of the Junction Box atop Big Red #1 on their way over and out of the ER to connect to the Rectifiers that are staying nice and cool out in the Workshop.
Mr. Gee Gets Cagey
Those with eXtremely sharp eyes and memory might notice a new addition to Mr. Gee this week?
Keeping with our KISS or Keep It Simple Safe & Smart approach, I designed a dual purpose AL pipe “cage” to wrap around Mr. Gee to provide solid hand holds whenever you are near him while he’s running. This then also creates the perfect base for the four support rods that go from the pipes of this cage up to the exhaust dry stack system up above which I will show you more of next week.
I pulled off the 2D drawings from my Fusion 360 3D mode above, sent them over to Uğur on WhatsApp and he and Nihat got busy transforming these 2D drawings into 40mm AL pipe reality down on the shop floor. Same technique you’ve seen us use before, Uğur and Nihat create these large radius bends by cutting a series of slots on the inside of the curve in the 40mm thick wall AL pipe, bends them and then tacks them in place. We then test fit them in place on Mr. Gee and once tweaked into just the right fit Uğur welds the slots closed. As you might notice on the model rendering above, each “staple” shaped rail will be bolted to AL plates that span the motor mounts we fabricated here at Naval.
Uğur could now weld on the 20mm / 3/4” thick base plates and weld all the bend slots closed. Nihat picks up with his angle grinder and quickly cleans up all the welds to create smooth soft curves. That gives Uğur time to go back into the ER and drill and tap all the threaded holes in the Engine Mount plates so the finished staples can be bolted in place.
Uğur and Nihat were only available Monday and Tuesday this week so this is where they left off and will pick up again tomorrow (Monday) morning to bolt in the longitudinal pipes and start fabricating the support rods that attach to the four AL tabs you can see they have now welded to the tops of each stable rails and will connect to the SS dry stack exhaust pipes you can see here.
We’ve Been Hosed!
Our eXtremely productive plumber Cihan was also with us for Monday and Tuesday and he made great progress plumbing in a lot of hoses and other items so let’s check that out. This is outside the Aft Stbd/Right corner of the Engine Room Enclosure with the plate removed that covers the far end where the prop shaft enters the ER and connects to the Nogva CPP Servo Reduction Gearbox via the Blue (purple looking here) dripless Tides Marine shaft seal. Up above and off to the far Right side of the prop shaft, you can just see the silver coloured AL heat exchanger with the bronze elbow which is what Cihan is now plumbing with this white hose.
This is the heat exchanger that cools down the fresh water/antifreeze mix that circulates through the inside of Mr. Gee and that is what this white hose carries to/from Mr. Gee and the heat exchanger.
If you look at the black composite end plate on this heat exchanger you can see that Cihan has already connected the hose that carries the cool sea water from the Sea Chest in the ER. Inside the ER on the Right side of Mr. Gee you can now see where two of the white sea hoses connect to Mr. Gee. The top hose in this photo will carry fresh water coolant from the integrated water pump on Mr. Gee and the bottom hose carries sea water out of the long Bronze Engine Oil Heat Exchanger back to the Coolant Heat exchanger we saw in the photos above. My apologies for not having time to draw up some better illustrations to explain how these heat exchangers all interconnect but for now this photo will show you two of the pumps in this system. The round aluminium pump in the center of the photo above is the integral Garner centrifugal water pump which pumps fresh water/antifreeze coolant back from that silver AL heat exchanger we saw earlier.
The Bronze Jabsco pump on the Right is one that I am in the process of mounting and it is the impeller pump that pulls sea water from the ER Supply Sea Chest into the “IN” labelled port and then out of this pump into that bronze elbow with the Blue painters tape up above. This sea water then runs the length of that Bronze Engine Oil Heat Exchanger bolted to the side of Mr. Gee and exits via the white hose you can see two photos up from here and goes down to that silver AL heat exchanger we saw at the beginning.
The longer white hose in this photo carries Mr. Gee’s fresh coolant back to that silver AL Heat Exchanger.
Clear as mud to most of you and a pathetic job by this former mechanics teacher but best I can do for now folks. The other new addition this past week was Cihan’s installation of this Blue Beauty which is the big “sand” filter which removes most of the sea critters and debris from the salt water supply for the Delfin 200L/min watermaker.
This is not found in most boats and are normally used in large swimming pool installations, but I long ago discovered that these are the “secret” to extending the life of the other two sea water filters on the watermaker last for months rather than weeks. This filter is filled with a special kind of sand known as Zeolite and it is the first line of defense to filter out the sea water being pumped out of the Sea Chest into the watermaker. There is a six way valve on top which you use to change between running the seat water through the filter and back flushing it in reverse once in a while to fully clean out all the debris that has been collected by the Zeolite sand. Simple, easy and eXtremely effective. Super simple in design and to use and plumb with just three ports: Top Right SS hose barb is where sea water is pumped into the filter by the low pressure high volume 24V pump connected to the Sea Chest. Bottom Right is where the cleaned sea water exits and is pumped over to the two standard filters behind the watermaker. Far Left with the SS elbow is where the dirty back flushed water exits and goes out the exiting sea chest in the ER. In the background on the wall behind the white watermaker housing on the bottom Right, you can see the three other WM filters; the pair on the Left are the Primary/Secondary sea water filters and the one off to the Right is a carbon filter to remove any harmful chemicals in the fresh water you use for back flushing the WM at the end of a run. As usual of late I’ve got more photos to show you than I have time and dinner is once again waiting with my eXtremely patient and beautiful Bride on this Sunday evening so I’m going to call this a wrap for now and do my best to cover more next week.
Thanks for joining me on this first posting of 2021 and I hope it helps in some small way to get your new year off to a good start. How about if YOU start your New Year off by adding your comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below? They are all true gifts to me and much appreciated!