Well, finally finding the time to put together this quick update we have ALL been waiting for and <spoiler alert> let me just start with what you really want to know; yes, the brand new Mr. Gee version 2.0 is now fully installed and Möbius is back up and running! This update will focus on the installation of the new Mr. Gee and then I’ll do a second one in a few days with outline of where Mr. Gee has powered Möbius to since we left Kalymnos last week on Oct. 30th.
Let me just say that since finally departing our four month home port in Kalymnos, we have now put about 600 nautical smiles under our keel and I am writing this to you from Marina di Ragusa down on the SE corner of Sicily. We are waiting for the next weather window to continue our travels West and out of the Med across the North coast of Africa, and hope to leave tomorrow (Monday 7 Oct) or Tuesday so it may take me a few days to get that second travel update written and get some internet to be able to post it but do stay tuned for that. Now, back to as quick a summary as I can do about the installation of the all new Mr. Gee.
It took almost two months for the original Mr. Gee to get from Kalymnos to the Gardner works in Canterbury England but fortunately the return trip was MUCH faster and “only” took about two weeks for this sight for sore eyes turned up on the dock beside us. All still fully sealed up and just as it had been when it left Gardner Marine Diesel GMD the day after I flew back from being there for the full dynamometer testing that I outlined in a previous post. Even Barney was wondering when this abyss in the Engine Room was going to be filled up again and he was on hand to supervise the whole installation. James and Michael at GMD had kindly included the remaining epoxy paint and put that in the box on the pallet. Manufactured September 2022 so can’t get too much newer than that! After SO much time and effort, it was sure a great feeling to unwrap this all new version of Mr. Gee and get busy preparing him for the installation. If you look closely at the brass plate on the fuel injection system you can see that it is currently set up for Continuous 100% use with 150 BHP @ 1650 RPM, and as some Gardner fans say these are “Draught Horses”! I spent a few hours reinstalling a few things such as the big Electrodyne alternator that is powered by the PTO (Power Take Off) as it was easier to do while sitting out on the dock. Then I protected the polished valve covers up top with some foam and set up the two chain blocks front and rear for adjusting the angle of the engine as we lowered it in place. The crane truck arrived right on time which was also a nice change as the first time for taking the engine out, it took over a week to arrange. Didn’t take long to lift the 1200kg engine off the dock ……… …… and onto Möbius. Kind compliments of brothers Michael and John Psarompas who own Argo Oil & Tug Boat, two of the crew from the Argo Tug Boat behind us kindly came over to lend some extra hands to help lower the engine into the Engine Room and set the motor mounts onto the anxiously awaiting engine beds. As many of you know this wasn’t my first rodeo wrestling Mr. Gee into place and with these four extra hands it all went quite quickly. And the all new Mr. Gee was finally settled into his new home and mated up with the Nogva CPP Controllable Pitch Propeller gear box. It took me about two days to remount all the systems such as exhaust,the second Electrodyne alternator (top left), fuel lines, engine guard bars and then do the engine/prop shaft alignment and torquing down the engine mounts to lock it all in place.
Apologies for this quick and dirty video of the first starting of the all new Mr. Gee v2.0 but hope it adds a bit to how this all went. I gave a bit of an overview before starting up the engine and then did a bit of a walk around of the engine to show things such as the oil pressure, exhaust water flow, etc. Hope you enjoy!
Out of both curiosity and safety I decided to pump the diesel Day Tank empty and open up the bottom inspection port to see how things had faired in the almost two years since the first fill during the build. Very happy to find what you see here, aka NOTHING. The sump you see in the lower Left had been doing its job of collecting some of the bits from construction and I had been able to drain these out previously as per the design. Silver cylinder in the top Left is the Maretron pressure sensor for measuring tank level and the pickup outlet is over on the Right.
Bolted the inspection cover back on (lower left) and refilled this 660 Liter Day Tank with fresh clean diesel out of the main tanks. New engine called for new filters so installed these and bled them to get rid of any air. Also took the time to put coloured zip ties on each of the valve handles on the three fuel manifolds to help me double check that I have the right ones open or closed for different operations such as transferring fuel between the main tanks, polishing the fuel (aka cleaning), filling the Day Tank and of course the supply and return for feeding Mr. Gee when he is running. Once I had Mr. Gee and the rest of the systems on Möbius back up and running there was quite a bit of bureaucratic steps we needed to go through before we were allowed to leave. The boat had been officially “detained” by the Greek Coast Guard and they required that we hire this engineer to prove that the engine and the boat was back up and running again. All of the various officials, offices and agencies all needed to collect their “pound of flesh” and ample Euros which took longer than the actual installation of the new engine! Last but not least, we completed a quick sea trial by doing a big loop outside the harbour with the engineer aboard and we finally had the green light from him and then went through another round of approvals and payments to all the agencies in town but by end of day on 29th of October, 2022, almost four months after we first arrived, we were cleared to depart Kalymnos! We treated ourselves to one last “date night” on this lovely island of Kalymnos that had come to feel like home and reminded ourselves of just how fortunate we had been to have had the opportunity to get to know this small Greek island and so many of her wonderful inhabitants who had become so familiar and were all so kind and generous to us.
Thanks for the memories and Bye Bye Kalymnos! We feel SO privileged to have had this extended time to get to know you.
For this week’s Situation Report, we’ll start off outside the door to our Airbnb, as I, Christine, tip-toed out on Monday morning past the Türkitty security system to catch a taxi from the village of Bitez where we were on day 17 of our forced exile from Greece and the EU.
I left behind my family who would be spending their forced internment doing hard labor, as usual.
I was on a mission to free them, no matter the cost.
That cost started out to be rather substantial as the taxi driver asked me in his broken English (better than my Turkish) which ferry I was taking, Castle or Cruiseport. I checked the ticket on my phone and it didn’t say anything about where to catch it. We hadn’t arrived at the castle several weeks ago, so I told him the Cruiseport. Turned out I was wrong, so I had to forego that 18 Euros and buy a new 26 Euro ticket. It wasn’t a good start to the day, and I still hadn’t found any coffee.
The high speed catamaran makes the trip across to the island of Kos in less than an hour, and I made it through immigration with no problem. I still had about 17 days left of 90 allowed in the EU, but I had been in and out many times, and it was clear that the young man who leafed through my passport did not really check all the stamps and do the math to calculate days. He just stamped it, and I was on my way. However, there were two of them working the window, and I had no trouble recognizing the woman sitting next to him. She had been on the job the day we left Greece, and she was a potential problem for us.
You see the day the mermaid waved us off as we left Möbius behind wedged between the tug and the tanker on the island of Kalymnos, Wayne got stopped by that immigration officer as we were exiting EU immigration on Kos. As she had flipped through Wayne’s passport, she came across a stamp from the TRNC, or Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. She refused to stamp his passport as exiting the EU, but rather stamped a white piece of paper and slipped it into his passport.
Way back in 2017, before we had even started building Möbius, we were on our friends’ Lagoon 50 catamaran in Cyprus, and Wayne visited Antalya to talk to builders and to move our vehicle from Rhodes to Antalya. It is not possible to fly from Türkiye directly to Southern Cyprus, so he just flew from Antalya to the north, then walked across the border and took a bus back to Limassol. Later, we learned that though the exact law is in dispute, many Greeks will not let you into their country if you have such a stamp in your passport.
That morning as I had purchased my (second) ferry ticket, I saw a big sign over the window that said, “Persons with a passport stamp from the TRNC will not be allowed to enter Greece when the ferry arrives.”
We had done so well clearing in at Rhodes, and I thought this whole thing was finished. The whole point of our coming to Türkiye was to prove to the Greek immigration authorities on Kos that we had done as they asked and left the country. But Wayne didn’t have the passport stamp to prove it. If we showed them the white piece of paper, the visa issuing authorities would know they had missed seeing that stamp in his passport, and they might never let him back in.
One step at a time. There was no printer in the Airbnb, so as soon as I landed in Kos, I pushed that problem to the back of my mind, got myself a coffee, and then I went in search of a copy shop that could print out the papers that showed that Mr. Gee 2.0 had actually arrived on the island of Kalymnos. The most difficult part of getting around in Greece is that you can’t even read the alphabet, and often the names of the places on Google maps are in the Greek alphabet. But after two or three false leads, I finally found a nice lady who printed out the three pages for 1 Euro. Bargain!
I made it to the police station where the immigration office is located by 10:15, only to be told to come back at 12:30. Okay, breakfast. There was a restaurant right next door.
I couldn’t resist sending a What’sApp message back to the prisoners with this photo and the caption, “Eggs Benny, Baby!” And the cappuccino wasn’t too bad either. (The land visible in the distance in the photo is the Bodrum peninsula in Türkiye)
When I returned to the office, the immigration officials looked over the documents I had brought. I explained that the engine was there at last, and we were simply asking for two weeks to get it installed and then we would leave the EU. They went upstairs to talk to the chief. The nice lady came down after a 30 minute wait and said my husband should come the next day with his passport and she gave me the list of documents needed. She also gave me a paper and told me to take it to the Post Office and pay the 30 Euros for the visa. I took care of all that, even went back to the copy shop and printed out copies of all the papers needed and took her the entire file. She approved it and told me to have him there by 10:00 the next morning.
I had planned to go over to Kalymnos and check on the boat, but I called Wayne and told him the good news first. Then I said, look, if we’re both going to be going to the boat tomorrow, I might as well go back to you tonight. It was difficult to even wrap our heads around the idea that after the weeks of making Plans A, B, C, and D, we were both going home the next day.
So I made my way back to wait for the 5:30 ferry, and took a taxi back to Bitez. We enjoyed a “clean out the fridge” dinner and set our alarms for another early morning.
I didn’t sleep well as Wayne’s passport stamp was not the only fly in the ointment. During our stay in Türkiye, I had done my homework on importing the dogs back into the EU. They have had EU pet passports for several years, and they needed to update their rabies shots and get new titer tests done. We did all that. They would also need to have proof of anti-parasite drugs administered and a health certificate from a vet both no longer than 10 days before entry. We had done all that when we entered Rhodes, and I had considered taking them to the vet while we were sitting around in Bitez, but we weren’t sure of dates or if we would even be allowed in before the end of the year. We discussed it that evening and we decided to just go for it with the old health certificate. If we got to Kos and they wouldn’t let the animals in, I would go back with them and take them to a vet and do what I could to get them legal while Wayne went on to the boat.
The next morning we were off with suitcases, backpacks, dogs in travel bags, and after yet another taxi ride to the ferry dock, we were on our way. I asked Wayne, “How many times is it now that we have said Good-bye to Türkiye? I don’t think I”ll say anything. I don’t want to jinx it.”
The plan was that when we got to the immigration window, if the man was available, Wayne would go first. If the woman became available, I would go. My heart was beating overtime, but we breezed through that and went around the corner to the Customs lady. She motioned for us to put the bags up on the table. Wayne set down the bag with Ruby in it and when the woman started to open it, Ruby let out a loud whine. The woman jumped back. We all laughed and explained that we had two dogs. She peered at the cases and asked if we had their pet passports. I handed them to her. Then she smiled and told us about her dog and asked our dog’s names. We lucked out. She was a dog lover and she waved us through.
Halfway around the marina basin en route to the police station, Wayne parked me and all the luggage at a cafe while he went on alone to immigration. Suffice it to say that our luck held and they somehow didn’t notice that he had no stamp out of the EU. Some four plus hours later after Wayne getting fingerprinted and lots of waiting, Wayne got his visa extension for two weeks. We took another taxi to Mastichari where we could catch the ferry from Kos to Kalymnos.
It was so great seeing that island on the horizon where our home had been docked all alone.
It was dusk by the time we got home to the boat. The dogs were almost as happy as we were. The boat was fine, no dead rodents in the traps we had left (that was another story), no signs that anyone had been aboard other than the local cat population that likes to sleep on the Skybridge, and all was well. We had left the boat unplugged, and we had been able to monitor the batteries and solar situation with the Victron VRM. Without us aboard, there wasn’t too much draw, but we did leave one fridge and one freezer working and all the inverters. The batteries were down a bit, but as you know if you’ve been reading this blog, we were happy that the firefly batteries did as well as they did.
Wayne wasted no time. We arrived Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon, this guy came barreling down the quay.
In case you haven’t guessed by now, I am writing this Sunday blog because he has had his hands full the last several days.
But that will be his story to tell. We just wanted to let you all know that we are back aboard Möbius and Mr. Gee 2.0 is getting lots of tender loving care.
This will just be a short SitRep on where we are and what’s been happening this past week. We continue to ride the roller coaster of life again this past week as our second attempt to get a temporary two week Schengen visa extension plays out.
Some important progress that won’t take long to report but we wanted to keep everyone updated so here you go.
We, along with the two dogs, have ended up in a cozy one bedroom AirBnB about 15km West of Bodrum which has provided us with a lovely sanctuary as we play out this seemingly endless waiting game going through the process with the officials over in Greece for our second visa extension application. Sunny weather continues with just a brief sprinkle of rain last night so we are very grateful for how well this has all turned out. Christine has particularly enjoyed being able to keep up her physio therapy after her knee surgery with long walks as she explores this new area and with views like this and the one above, you can see why.
Location wise, we remain as we left off in last week’s SitRep, “exiled” over in Bodrum Turkey which is less than 30 nautical miles West of the Greek island of Kalymnos where Möbius is docked as we work through the visa extension process so we can re-enter Greece and get back aboard Möbius.
If you’d like to know more about our Schengen situation and get a few chuckles, checkout Christine’s latest SubStack newsletter titled “Life in Exile” HERE. I think you’ll enjoy reading this and she is the real writer in the family so if you have not already done so you may also want to subscribe so you will automatically receive each newsletter as soon as she posts it.
The All New Mr. Gee has arrived!
Meanwhile, on the VERY good news part of the ride UP the rollercoaster, on Friday we received confirmation that the new Mr. Gee which you saw in this photo last week when James was getting him ready to ship out of the Gardner factory in the UK, had arrived in Kalymnos AND succe$$fully cleared customs. A huge relief and milestone for us to say the least. Right now Mr. Gee is on a truck in a warehouse in Kalymnos awaiting the final short trip over to Möbius.
Step one was getting the new Mr. Gee to the boat, the more challenging step two is to get us back to the boat!
First thing tomorrow morning (Monday Oct. 17th here) Christine is taking the 45 minute ferry ride over to Kos on the neighboring island where the Greek Immigration office is located to give them the official papers showing Mr. Gee is now in Kalymnos and ready to be installed. Christine is able to go in/out of Greece because she still has 17 days left on her Schengen visa from the time she was out and back in Florida last month whereas I only have two days left and need to hang onto those if we end up having to leave Möbius for several months. We are hopeful that with the engine now delivered to Kalymnos and ready to be installed they will approve a short two week extension to our Schengen visa to give me enough time to install the engine, get the boat fully seaworthy again and check out of Greece and the Schengen area.
IF they grant us this two week extension, we will pack up our things here in Bodrum and take the ferry to Kos and then one over to Kalymnos where we can move back aboard Möbius, install the engine and check out of Greece and Schengen. Depending on weather we will most likely head for Tunisia. Given that we are not allowed back into any Schengen countries until after the end of December, we will most likely travel West across the top of Africa through Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco and see when and where we can cross the Atlantic from there.
Plan B, C, D……..
If they reject our extension application again, we will need to continue to reside outside of Greece and any Schengen country until at least the end of December which is the soonest date we are eligible for a new 90 day Schengen visa. We would then move back onto Möbius, install the engine and see where the weather patterns will allow us to go from there.
Yet to be determined where we will go to wait until the end of December but right now most likely choice will be to stay in Turkey as we have long term visas good for here until end of 2023. We’ve spent many years in Turkey and seen a lot but far from all so this would be the opportunity to use this unexpected opportunity to explore more of this wonderful country before we return home to Möbius and get back to the sea.
Our longer term plan is to head West out of the Med and cross the Atlantic this winter if possible and if not then sometime in the Spring. Our route across the Atlantic will all be driven by weather at the time we are crossing and position of the Azores High at the time. Of the three routes shown on this map, we would most likely be crossing somewhere between the bottom two routes and most likely make landfall somewhere in the Caribbean. But that is all several months away at best so we will just wait and see what looks best as we exit the Med.
Right now though we are keeping our fingers crossed that we can go with Plan A and move back aboard Möbius later this week, get the engine installed and be on our way again by the first week of November. So wish us luck and stay tuned for the next episode of as Möbius.World turns.
NOTE: Sorry for the delay, the technical problems with our blog host came back again and delayed posting till now (Saturday Oct. 8th) and the formatting is off a bit so thanks for your understanding while we once again try to sort out the blog host problem.
Just to show that we will go to any lengths to keep you well entertained, I’ve typed up this second installment of the latest update from the Good Ship Möbius. As I noted in the previous Part 1 Update, this past week has been quite the ride up and down the twists and turns of the Good News/Bad News Rollercoaster of life. I decided to break this up into two Updates; in Part 1 I covered the ride up to new highs on the roller coaster ride with my trip up to Gardner in the UK to take part in the dynamometer testing of the new Mr. Gee 2.0. If you have not seen that Update Part 1 already, you can go read and watch that HERE.
This second part picks up as the roller coaster ride peaks after the very successful dyno testing and the ride started to plummet downwards when I flew back into our neighboring island of Kos from Gatwick airport in the UK. As you will soon understand, things have been a bit hectic since then and so I’m a bit late in getting these updates put together and posted but here you go and thanks for your patience.
Part II; the Rollercoaster ride down;
Everything that goes up most go down and so this second Update is about our most recent Rollercoaster ride down. Buckle your seat belts!
I’ll keep this one short as it is just a “SitRep” or Situation Report to update everyone on the latest challenge we have run into and that there may be some delay in bringing you the next updates about getting the all new Mr. Gee 2.0 installed so we can head back out to sea and continue our travels West and most likely out of the Med.
Short summary is that our 90 day Schengen visa time has run out, and when I flew back into Kos on Thursday was informed that our application for an extension was rejected at the last minute . We had been trying to get this extension for over a month when we saw how long it was taking to get Mr. Gee shipped up to England since the beginning of August. However in the brilliance of bureaucracy they won’t process an extension application until a few days before it expires. A lot of discussion ensued but in the end they said that I needed to leave Greece and the Schengen area …………………….. NOW!
Christine and Möbius were another ferry ride away over on on Kalymnos and so fortunately, after a good bit of persuasion, I was able to talk the Immigration officials into allowing me a day more to take the ferry over to Kalymnos so I could at least pack some clothes and make some kind of arrangements to leave Möbius docked there for some undetermined amount of time.
Christine has a bit more time left on her visa as the two weeks she was back in Florida don’t count towards her total Schengen time so she could stay in Greece longer but given that we had no idea of when we will be able to get back into Greece, we decided to both leave Greece for now while we figure out how to resolve this latest challenge. If need be, Christine can go back to Möbius using her remaining 17 days.
Fortunately and as you can see on these maps these Greek islands like the one we are on, are in some cases a stone’s throw away from the mainland of Turkey and it only took us a few hours on two ferries and some bus/taxis to take us, our hastily packed bags and two dogs to make the trek from Mobius on Kalymnos in Greece over to our AirBnB outside of Bodrum in Turkey.
And so, I find myself writing this update and SitRep to you from a lovely little AirBnB we were fortunately able to find on such short notice that is located just outside the Turkish town of Bodrum. Turkey is not a member country of the Schengen Agreement (more on that below) so we are allowed to be here while we sort out things for getting back into Greece.
For those of you shaking your heads wondering what the heck this is all about, a quick bit of background on how this Schengen Agreement works. The Schengen Agreement which was first signed on June 14, 1985, is a treaty that led most of the European countries towards the abolishment of their national borders, to build a Europe without borders known as the “Schengen Area”. It is a truly amazing agreement that allows for borderless travel by land, sea or air between all the current 29 member countries and the agreement remains one of the world’s biggest areas that have ended border control between member countries.
You will notice that Turkey is NOT a member of the Schengen Agreement and therefore we are able to be here on our resident permits which fortunately are still valid for another year.
For visitors such as ourselves from non Schengen countries, you need to have a visa which is very easy to get and is essentially granted upon entry into any Schengen country. This Schengen visa allows you to stay in any of the member countries for up to 90 days out of any 180 calendar days since you first arrive. For most people, three months is plenty of time but for Nauti Nomads such as us, and most other cruisers, three months can be very short. The tricky twist is that unlike visas in many other countries where you can reset the duration by simply leaving and then combing right back in again, the Schengen agreement rules are that you can stay for up to 90 days within any 180 day block of time on the calendar, starting when you first enter. What this means is that after you have used up your 90 days you have to leave the Schengen area for at least 90 days before you are allowed back in.
Not sure if it will help or just give you a bigger headache than you already have, but this illustration might help understand how this works.
We have been to Europe and the Schengen areas quite frequently over the past 10+ years and have previously been able to get an extension without much trouble, just a lot of paperwork. But not this time!
So What’s the Plan Stan?
At this moment, we don’t know.
I have provided the Greek Immigration authorities all the details on our rather unique situation where Möbius is our full time home and that we can’t leave, on Möbius at least, until the new engine arrives back from the UK and I can get it reinstalled and be able to leave. The tentative plan is that I am to provide them with proof that Mr. Gee has arrived in Kalymnos and is ready to be reinstalled and then I can submit a new application for an extension of 10 days or so to give me enough time to reinstall the engine and get Möbius sea worthy and then we will leave. IF this extension is approved then I can use it to re-enter Greece and travel back to Kalymnos, complete the installation and the sign ourselves and the boat out of Greece and the EU and head to either Turkey or Tunisia most likely.
As you can tell, a very tentative plan with no assurances or promises that they will approve the 10 day extension either, but best we can do is keep our fingers crossed and that some logic will prevail. If not then we’ll just need to regroup and figure out next best option.
I also want to be clear that the Immigration officials are simply doing their jobs and following the rules for Schengen visas. Greece is well known to be the most strict enforcers of the Schengen rules and we are but the latest of many we know who have been caught up with these kinds of situations. We all hope for some leniency and understanding when there are extenuating circumstances but just as with agents at any border crossing, you have to deal with the ones you get and whatever interpretations and decisions they make. None of this has or will affect our feelings about Greece and her wonderful people. This is just the most recent speed bump in our nomadic life.
Mr. Gee 2.0 Update:
As I type, Mr. Gee is being transported by truck and ferry, having left the UK last Friday 28th Sept. I received this photo from the logistics company on Tuesday 4th October that he had arrived in Piraeus the port in Athens and was awaiting clearance procedures into Greece. He needs to go through the Customs clearance procedures for entry into Greece and then put on another truck and ferry to get from Athens over to Kalymnos.
As your long history with it has proved, nothing ever goes smoothly or cheaply when it comes to shipping and so this past few days have been a flurry of Emails, WhatsApp texts, wire transfers and phone calls trying to get all the various people and companies involved with the whole process to have all the paperwork and fees they require. As of a few minutes ago (Friday afternoon here on Oct. 7th), I *think* things are finally all sorted, but I won’t believe it till I get the photo of Mr. Gee sitting on the dock beside Möbius.
As of now, I’m told that they have all the paperwork and the various clearance fees (don’t ask!) and so he should be fully cleared and ready to be picked up in the next few hours, end of day on Friday over here. IF that all goes well he is due to be on the ferry out of Piraeus/Athens tomorrow (Saturday) and due to arrive in Kalymnos on Sunday. (Oct. 9th) Once he makes it to Kalymnos he still has to go through the final customs clearance which is due to take place on Tuesday and
For now we are on hold and “in exile” in Turkey until the engine is on the dock beside Möbius and then I can submit the new paperwork for a 10 day extension and see what they say. Once Mr. Gee arrives and we know if they have approved the extension or not, I will be able to post a new SitRep for you and you can continue to follow along the adventures of the Nauti Grandparent Nomads.
Do stay tuned for the next installment of “As Möbius.World Turns” and we hope we are living up to your entertainment eXpectations?!!
This week has been quite the ride on the Good News/Bad News Rollercoaster of life and we have the two most recent examples to share of how we spare no expense of time and energy In our relentless quest to bring you non stop entertainment. I’m going to divide this up into two separate posts; this one for the ride up to all new highs with my trip up to Gardner Marine Diesel GMD on Monday to join them for the dynamometer testing of Mr. Gee 2.0 and then I’ll do the second post on the ride down to some new lows at the end of the week. Hang onto your hats boys and girls, it promises to be a wild ride!
Bonus! Captain Christine has kindly taken all the video I shot during the dynamometer testing and compiled a summary video that I will put down at the end of this posting so for those who can’t wait or just aren’t that interested in all the technical details you can jump to that at any time.
I won’t dwell on it too much but a quick review of the history of the Gardener company and the engines it produced does seem in order to provide a bit of context before we get into my most recent visit to Gardner Marine Diesel in England. Incredible as it may seem, the L. Gardner & Sons company began 127 years ago (not a typo), starting with the production of gasoline engines in 1895, moved into Barton Hall Engine Works, in Patricroft, Manchester seen in this photo, and began producing diesel engines in 1903. For any history buffs out there, you can find more details on the history of Gardner engines HERE and HERE
It is difficult to wrap your head around some of these historical dates but to put them into perspective Rudolph Diesel (1858-1913) first came up with the idea of a combustion ignition engine and applied for patents in 1893 and after years of different prototypes and attempts the first commercial diesel engine was produced in 1898 and the first diesel engine of the “trunk piston” type we know today was built in 1901. Gardner started producing diesel engines in 1903 and so it is not hyperbole on my part to say that Gardner was in the diesel engine production business quite literally from the VERY beginning.
Gardner & Sons were in business producing diesel engines for more than 100 years but the actual production of Gardner engines ended as did the company, in 1995. This meant that the large aluminium and cast iron castings of engine blocks, crank cases and heads were no longer being made but all other parts have continued to be manufactured by various companies, most notably Gardner Marine Diesel or GMD which have been my go to Gardner supplier of all parts and expertise since they first found Mr. Gee for us.
It is estimated that there are still several hundred thousand Gardner engines in service around the world on boat land and sea but most are marine.
Putting Mr. Gee 2.0 through his paces on the Dynamometer
Jumping from past to present, this week began reaching new heights on the Good News portion of the roller coaster ride when I flew up to Canterbury England on Monday to spend Tuesday and Wednesday at the Gardner “works” as Gardner Marine Diesel and my British friends refer to it.
It was an amazing eXperience for me and I’ll do my best to not go too far overboard and bore you with too much detail so please join me for the ride through my visit and all the dyno testing. If it gets a bit too much for you, they do make the scroll bar for a reason right? Like most commercial buildings the exterior doesn’t provide too many clues as to what’s inside but this was my fourth visit so I had a bit better idea of what to expect.
I’ve been in almost daily communications with Michael and James at GMD during the whole build of Mr. Gee 2.0 but you can imagine how delighted I was to have THIS mechanical masterpiece greet me as I walked in. I timed my visit to be there just as the new Mr. Gee 2.0 had been finished and was ready to be put through its paces on the dynamometer for the initial breaking in and full set of testing and measurements of the engine’s overall performance before it was shipped back to Möbius in Greece.
Here he is all chained up and ready to be transported into GMD’s dynamometer room in the building behind. Every engine GMD builds is thoroughly tested on this dyno so it didn’t take them long to get our Mr. Gee connected bolted onto the LXB cradle, connected to the dyno itself as well as cooling water, exhaust, start battery, etc.. A dynamometer is a relatively simple device which essentially allows you to connect an engine’s output shaft to a large turbine like wheel inside a housing filled with water such that you can put a load onto the engine when it is running. Similar to how a pedal type exercise bike works where you can change the resistance to your pedaling to get more or less of a workout.
The two directly measured values on a dyno are Toque measured in pounds feet and shaft RPM measured in Revolutions per Minute.
Here you can see how the dyno shaft is bolted onto the flywheel of the Mr. Gee with a drive shaft transferring the rotation back to the dyno. The other end of this shaft is connected to the input shaft of the dyno which in turn is connected to the water wheel inside the housing behind which allows you to adjust how much resistance or load is being applied to the input shaft.
There are two gauges on a dyno as seen here; the large round dial is the “weight” of the force aka Torque, being exerted on the torque arm you can see in the bottom Left and the smaller rectangular gauge is the shaft or engine RPM which we will need to convert torque to Horse Power that I will get to in a bit. Torque is simply a a force that tends to cause rotation such as the twisting force you apply to the lid of a jar or to the wrench you are using to tighten a bolt.
Note that there is no motion or speed involved in measuring Torque, just the Force in pounds X length of lever in feet = Torque in Lbs.Ft. often referred to as “Foot Pounds”
Just like the arm on old weight scales you might remember from your doctors office, the Torque arm attached to the dyno water wheel needs to be balanced out to zero the scale and so these old pistons are used to counteract the weight of the Torque arm to zero it out such that it “floats” in place and the gauge reads zero pounds. You can see how the torque arm is then connected up by these rods and joints to the scale itself. End result is that this large gauge shows how many pounds of force is being applied to the lever. At the time I took this photo, the force on the lever arm was 11.0 pounds.
This weight or torque on the lever arm is the one value that is directly measured on a dynamometer and this value can then be plugged into a simple formula to produce the calculated value of the Horse Power or HP that the engine is producing at that moment. Without getting into the details there are several different kinds of HP such as Brake HP and Shaft HP to name a few, but what makes these water wheel type dynamometers particularly well suited to measuring the HP of marine engines is that they measure what is known as Propeller Absorption HP. This tells us what we really want to know which is the power that will actually end up being transferred to the propeller and the water rather than the other more theoretical HP ratings.
For the final bit of the calculation puzzle then, this plaque on the dyno tells you that the factor that takes into account the Length of the Torque arm which you need to use to calculate the Propeller HP from the weight scale. For this dynamometer that factor is 400
Putting this all together, the formula for calculating the Propeller HP or PHP is:
Weight Scale readout in LBS x RPM
Therefore, in this example the PHP would be: (click to enlarge any photo)
22.8 LBS x 1220 RPM
= 69.54 PHP
With the maths all sorted out we can now run Mr. Gee through his paces on the dyno by measuring the Torque at different RPM, convert this to PHP as above and then plot these readings out on this original graph from the dyno at the Gardner Factory in 1989 for a 6LXB Marine Propulsion Continuous Duty rated 150HP @ 1650 RPM to see how the numbers compare.
For those interested in PHP to BHP comparisons you can check the intersections of any vertical RPM line to the upper Shaft HP curves #2 and then look down on PHP curve #3. At 1400 RPM Shaft HP is about 135 and Propeller or PHP is about 80HP. As you can see these curves come together at the upper RPM of 1650 where both are 150HP. Each fuel injection pump has this stamped plate affixed after the pump has been fully calibrated to show which rating this engine has. Mr. Gee has now been set up for a Continuous 100% rating of 150HP @ 1650 RPM. The 100% Continuous rating is what we need and care about on Möbius as this is the HP that the engine can run at 24/7 on our multi day/week passages. Of course we will normally run at a lower RPM, usually around 1200-1400 in order to have the Goldilocks Sweet Spot combination of load, fuel consumption and boat speed. Depending on the load applied, the HP at any given time on the dyno will be somewhere between Prop HP and the Shaft HP because Gardner engines control the amount fuel injected using a a governor rather than a direct connection to the throttle levers as with most engines. This governor is normally fully sealed inside an Al housing that was left off so that the throttle settings could be adjusted during testing.
This “set it and forget it” type of throttle is a particularly great feature when teamed with our CPP Controllable Pitch Propeller in that we can set the RPM to whatever speed we want and the governor will automatically adjust the fuel as the load changes due to wind and sea conditions and keep the RPM at that same amount.
All the HP in any combustion engine originates with the amount of fuel it has to burn and so more or less fuel means more or less HP.
First order of business before starting the dyno testing was to do the initial break in and get the engine thoroughly warmed up. Michael aka Mr. Gardner in White and James the Master Gardner builder in Black.
After an initial warmup run for about 45 minutes at 800 RPM with mid load of 12-13 Lbs until the thermostats opened, the speeds and loads were increased in stages. In this shot you can see there is 22.6 Lbs @ 1210 RPM so that would equate to an output of about 68 PHP (22.6 X 1210 / 400 = 68.37)
We started the engine for the first time at 12:15 and he started right up in less than one rotation of the crankshaft which was a great start to the testing. (sorry couldn’t resist)
Then it ran with this 800 RPM low load for about an hour until the thermostats had fully opened and the engine oil was getting nice and warm at about 42C / 108F. As you will see below, this oil temp will go up to the normal range of about 55-60C / 130-140F as more RPM and load is applied during the testing. Oil Pressure is 38 PSI which is a bit higher than the 35 PSI it will settle into.
For those familiar with most other diesel engines will note, the oil and water in these large volume slow speed Gardner engines run much cooler and lower pressures as they are under much less stress and load and this is part of why these engines are so much longer lasting.
Exhaust Gas Temperature EGT measured here on the outside of the exhaust manifold is also mid range at 297C / 566F at this mid load and RPM.
We also kept a close eye on the exhaust as it exited the dyno room. Even during the first startup and there was nary a hint of any smoke which is a great sign of a good rebuild with the rings seating quickly.
Readings from the dyno, water + oil temps and oil pressure were noted throughout the four hour dyno run. All that data was transcribed into this spreadsheet after the dyno testing was all done. Click to enlarge if you’d like to go through all the numbers.
Continuing to go up in stages, this is now a notch higher at about 25.5 Lbs @ 1350 RPM = 86 PHP and run at this stage for about an hour.
Up to the next stage of 1500 RPM at about 30.2 Lbs = 113 PHP
All the way up to max rated RPM of 1650 which netted about 35 lbs = 144 PHP and ran it here for about 30 minutes. EGT nice and toasty at 487C / 909F, about as high as we will go. Water temp at this top stage of testing reaching its designated maximum temp nicely of 66C / 150F Last run in the series was to go above max rated speed of 1650 to about 1700 RPM and hold it there for about 15 minutes just to make sure everything held its own when fully maxed out. James kept a close watch for any signs of leaks throughout the whole testing and we were all delighted to find none. Then the process was reversed bringing RPM and loads back down a notch at a time to gradually bring down the temperatures and check outputs throughout. Down to about 1350 RPM and 71 PHP here. Down to 1000 RPM for the final cool down before going to idle. Water cooled down to 64C at the lower speeds and loads now. And oil pressure pretty much spot on at 36 PSI, factory spec is 35 PSI @ 1000 RPM when fully warmed up.
Dropped it all the way down to set the idle speed to be the desired 480 RPM and shut down the engine off at 16:00 so total run time of the dyno testing was just short of 4 hours.
The all new Mr. Gee 2.0 passed all his tests with flying colours and we all left with very big smiles on our faces.
Next day, James soon had Mr. Gee out of the Dyno room, securely strapped onto his wood pallet ready to be shrink wrapped for shipping. The engine was picked up the next day and on Friday morning he was on the ferry out of the UK then down the continent by truck and onto another ferry to Piraeus/Athens. Then clears customs and with some luck *might* be on the final ferry from Athens to Kalymnos by next Friday.
Fingers crossed that the return trip will be MUCH shorter than the 8+ weeks it took to get him from Kalymnos to Gardner in the UK now that the crush of the summer tourist traffic is winding down.
Hurry home please Mr. Gee, can’t wait to put you back home in your engine beds on Möbius so we can head back out to sea again soon.
Bonus Video compilation:
As promised, Captain Christine took all the videos I shot during the dyno testing and put them together into the video below. Enjoy!
Thanks for tuning in here again and be sure to leave any and all comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Thanks to Christine and some tech support people at our web host provider, we now have all those technical problems worked out and I am able to post updates again. Yaaayyyyy!!!
My apologies for any annoyances you may have experienced with the test post and notification Email that went up here on the site instead of posting as a hidden draft only. I appreciate your patience and happy to be able to post this quick update on what’s been going on aboard the Good Ship Möbius the past two weeks.
Best thing that happened for me last week was that my Captain returned!
As you may recall, back on the 1st of the month, Christine flew over to Miami for some much needed Gramma time with our Grandson Liam, some visits with her family and friends and to look after a few medical appointments.
She had lots of fun outings with Liam, seen here goofing it up with a selfie of him and his Dad, Christine’s son, Tim. And timing was perfect for Liam’s first day in First Grade. Yayyyy Liam!
Meanwhile, over on the opposite coast near Los Angeles, our two Granddaughters Brynn (left) and Blair were also starting their first days of the new school year as well so school year 2022 is off and running!
Christine landed back here in Kalymnos on this ferry from Kos to Kalymnos on Monday (19th) evening after a two day marathon of travel. Being on this tiny Greek island adds several legs to the journey with three flights to get from Miami to Dulles to Athens to the neighboring island of Kos and then the ferry from Kos to Kalymnos. Oh, and did I mention that she was schlepping over 55 Kilos/120 Lbs of new bits and bobs for the boat and ourselves?! However, very happy to report that all went amazingly smoothly, checked bags went all the way from Miami to Kos without any intervention or loss, but it still requires lots of energy and time with not much sleep in between. She has slept VERY well the first two nights without any real sense of jet lag and we are both very happy to be back together and home.
One of the many bits of kit for the boat Christine lugged back with her, and one of the heaviest, was this Super Hole Hawg as Milwaukee calls their monster HD right angle 18V drill. Weighs in at 8 Kg/17.6 Lbs, has two reversable speeds and over 1000 FtLbs of torque. It is quite the beast and I was able to get a very good deal buying it through Home Depot with three of these super sized High Output 6Amp 18V lithium batteries which enables long continuous use between charges.
This is part of our style of doing prototypes of systems on Möbius that allow us to try out different ways of doing things and allow us to find out what is the Goldilocks just right way for us. In this case we are trying out this way of converting several of our manual winches to electric. I ordered this SS adaptor that fits into all our winches. Almost all winches no matter the brand, use this same star pattern for their manual winch handles so this adaptor enables us to try out this powered winch handle on any winch we have so we can see which ones would make sense to convert to full built in electric systems. As an added benefit, this power winch handle will also give us an emergency back up for any failure of our already 24V powered electric winches such as this hefty Lewmar 65 on the Aft Deck. Two of the currently manual winches we are most interested in trying this out on are these horizontally mounted winches on the Tender Davit which we use to raise/lower the Tender in the Davit Arch. Up to now we have been using the manual winch handles for this job which works well but we like to bring the Tender onboard every evening so this makes it much more convenient and faster. I will let you know how it all works out once we have tried it out a few times.
Much lighter and put to immediate use unfortunately, were six of these classic Victor rat traps which I was able to get delivered to Christine hours before she flew out of Florida. A few days earlier I discovered that I had a new and uninvited guest aboard and these traps are the best way I know of to get them to leave. Ruby and Barney donated a piece of their kibble for bait which I upgraded with a bit of peanut butter and had had several set out a few hours after we were back onboard Monday night. A few hours later we heard the distinctive and loud SNAP! of the trap under the sink and I escorted dead Rat #1 off the boat. Turned out he had two other buddies which were shown the same exit the next night and the traps have all remained undisturbed ever since. Whew!
Super Synthetics on Sale
For most of the lines we have onboard we use synthetic braided line such as Amsteel or Dyneema as they have SO many advantages such as higher strength that same size SS wire rope, very light weight, easy to handle and they float. As you might know or guess they are also quite expensive, especially when you buy them from Marine suppliers. But a tip I can share with you is that the same synthetic line is also now being used extensively in applications such as power winches for off road vehicles, emergency response teams and the like and buying these lines through those outlets is a fraction of the inflated marine cost.
So these two 30 meter/100ft lengths of 13mm/ 1/2” Dyneema also found their way into Christine’s checked luggage. These two are made for electric winches on the fronts of 4×4 and Overland vehicles so they come with a SS thimble on one end and a crimped on fitting for the end that bolts to the winch drum but it is easy to cut these off so I can tie my own eyes, loops or whatever ends I need. These two are going to be used for some of the rigging on our Paravanes which I now have everything I need and we can start testing out when we get underway again.
One of the other heavier items Christine brought back with her was this new stator coil for one of our 24V @ 250Ah Electrodyne alternators. Due to a manufacturing error, there was a short in the external rectifier and as you can see every third one of the copper coils was burned out. There are two of these coils in each alternator which produce the high AC current which then runs through the thick cables out of the Engine Room over to the external rectifier where it is converted into 24V DC current. Electrodyne quickly sent a new replacement coil several months ago and this was our first chance to get it brought over to Möbius. Fairly straightforward process to remove the old coil by first removing the aluminium Rotor that holds the permanent magnets for the alternator at this end. The holes in this Rotor provide good air flow to keep the alternator cool. These Electrodyne units actually have two individual alternators, one at each end of the Red housing but only the one on this end needed replacing. Once the old Stator windings are removed the trickiest part is fishing these three large gauge solid copper wires through the hole in the body of the alternator but just takes some time and holding your tongue just the right way.
Then I could bolt the new Stator windings onto the body. Rotor is bolted back on next and then all the wires inside the junction box up top can be attached to their respective studs.
This upper alternator is driven by a cogged belt system I installed, driven by the crankshaft and also powering the bronze sea water pump you see on the far Left. Further down, the second alternator is driven directly by the PTO shaft from the front Left of the engine.
Each of our Electrodyne alternators can provide up to 6kW of power and so with the pair mounted on Mr. Gee we effectively have a 12kW generator whenever he is running. Each external rectifier is connected to a WakeSpeed 500 Smart Regulator which automatically look after balancing the two alternators and keeping the 1800 Ah House Bank fully charged.
Speaking of Mr. Gee, I am eXtremely pleased to let you know that I am flying up to the Gardner works on Tuesday to be there when the new engine is put through its paces on the dynamometer for the initial breaking in and to create a full data sheet and graphs of torque, horsepower, fuel consumption, etc. I will be sure to take lots of photos while I’m there and be able to share those with you in next week’s update.
The new engine is due to start its return voyage back to us here in Kalymnos next Friday and hopefully will take “only” 3 weeks or so to get here. Given that the shipping up to Gardner took over six weeks, that will actually be quite fast! Everything is relative right? Once the new Mr. Gee arrives here I will be able to provide you with more details of the installation and most excitingly the results of the initial sea trials so do stay tuned for that.
Thanks for all your patience with the change of pace the past few months and please do keep your questions and comments coming in the Join the Discussion box below.