Finally catching up with some of the backlog after my 3 week trip back to Florida, BC and California and able to bring you up to date as of Nov. 22nd, 2019 on the continued progress in building our XPM78-01 eXtreme eXpedition Passage Maker aka Möbius at Naval Yachts here in the Antalya Free Zone in south central Turkey.
Lots to show you find a comfy seat and a good beverage and let’s take a tour through all the work Team Möbius accomplished during the week of Nov. 18-22, 2019
By far the most exciting work this past week has been the test fitting of the Rudder and the CPP or Controllable Pitch Propeller system.
Contrary to the popular saying “Go Big or go home” we’ve decided to do both with this beautiful big prop that will take us to wherever we want home to be that day. Four blades as you can see with an OD of 1m/40”.
Show is always better than tell so check out this quick little video with Uğur showing how the pitch changes as the four blades rotate in unison.
I will cover the CPP system in much more detail in the coming weeks but it is a very simple system and one that is used in workboats worldwide for decades although not something that is too well known in the North American and recreational boating markets for some reason. As you see in the video the blades can pivot on their bases inside the hub and this rotation is caused by a simple small diameter 12mm/ 1/2” push/pull rod that moves fore and aft sliding inside the prop shaft. This push/pull rod extends out of the prop shaft inside the boat and is threaded into the center of the flange on the CPP servo gear box which uses hydraulic pressure to push/pull the rod as you move a simple lever in the Helm station.
Why you might ask? Well, simple explanation for now, from your equally simple author, is that a fixed pitch prop which is what most of us would be most familiar with, is pitched to be just right at one RPM and one set of conditions. At this point the prop is at maximum efficiency and is probably a little bit more efficient than an equivalent CPP system. BUT, at any other speed of the boat or the prop and in any other conditions, the CPP can change the pitch to be just right all the time. This allows us to dial in the perfect pitch and hence perfect engine loading and fuel burn at any speed we want to maintain in most any conditions. Maximum efficiency translates directly into maximum fuel economy and maximum engine life so you can start to understand the appeal and why we went this route. And without getting into the details, contrary to what most would think and I did too initially, if you are building a new boat the cost of a CPP vs a fixed pitch prop is about the same.
One last fun fact for you about our CPP system is that the gearbox is also simplified because it is only providing the 3:1 gear reduction and there is no need for any forward/reverse gearing or shifting. Huh??? Say what???
Simple really, while there is a clutch that we can switch on/off to engage/disengage the engine from the prop shaft, most of the time we don’t bother. Instead, the prop is spinning pretty much anytime the engine is running and neutral is established by setting the pitch to zero. Think a knife on edge cutting through the water. When you want to move forward you move the CPP Pitch lever in the Helm forward and the pitch now changes as the lever moves the push/pull rod and the boat moves forward. The further you push the Pitch lever the faster the boat moves as the thrust builds with the increased pitch. Pull the lever back to the straight up and down (typical) position just as you would do on a traditional throttle lever and you are back at neutral. Continue to pull the lever back and the boat moves aft.
This gentle feathering of moving forward and aft rather than the “clunk” of shifting between Neutral/Fwd/Reverse on a traditional transmission and fixed prop adds to both the ease of close quarter maneuvering and the life of the propulsion system. As you can tell we are REALLY looking forward to trying out CPP system out once we launch and we’ll bring you along for those rides too. Now, back to work
Appropriately pleased with himself Uğur now has the partly finished rudder slid into place inside the hull and set into its position so we can double check all the many dimensions that are part of getting the overall propulsion and steering systems just right.
This is the first CPP system Nihat or Uğur have installed, (mine too!) so it was a very fun experience getting all these components test fitted in place.
This is what things look like On the other end of the prop shaft inside the Engine Room. You can now clearly see that threaded push/pull rod as it exits the 65mm/ 2.6” diameter prop shaft. Changing the pitch is as simple as moving this rod forward and aft.
Once we had assured ourselves that all the dimensions and clearances were spot on, the CPP prop and shaft assembly were slid out and set aside for the next big operation which is affixing the CPP prop log perfectly centered within the prop shaft tube of the hull.
It might look like a crime scene but the tape is just there to prevent anyone from walking into or disturbing the lines and lasers used to set and align these two tubes concentric with each other.
The large machined cylindrical end with the holes in it is the aft end of the Nogva supplied prop log tube which then extends about 2m/7ft up inside the outer prop tube welded into the hull. The goal now is to get these two tubes perfectly aligned with each other and then a special epoxy liquid will be pumped into that vertical pipe you see here and fill up all the space between the two tubes.
Once hardened the two tubes become one and we only get one chance at this so we are taking time to check everything multiple times and get everything lined up before pumping the ChockFast into the void inside.
At the other end inside the Engine Room, Uğur has tacked in place this aluminium ring and using four short bolts, similar as to what you see in the photo above, these screws are turned to bear against the inside prop log tube and move it up/down/left/right to position it just right.
The clear tube taped to the bulkhead is where the ChockFast will exit the inner void as it is pumped all the way up and we’ll know that the whole space is filled and can be left to harden.
This close up shot lets you see all the way through the machined Nogva prop log tube to the Engine Room.
There are a lot of interrelated dimensions and measurements we need to take to ensure that not only is the prop shaft properly aligned within the tubes but that it is also alighted with the center of the Rudder Shaft and that the CPP prop is also aligned with and spaced away from the leading edge of the Rudder blade and the trailing edge of the of the Skeg plate.
Here, Yusef is double checking the line marking the center of the prop shaft with the vertical centerline of the Rudder shaft, both of which have been set and checked using the ubiquitous laser level.
Be sure to stay tuned to this channel for next week’s episode of “As the Prop Turns”.
I covered much of Cihan’s work on the plumbing in the previous weekly update but here we find him installing all the valves on the diesel Day Tank. The Day Tank is on its side here with the bottom facing us and you can see the round sump that has been welded in to provide an out of the way spot for any water or dirt to accumulate and then be easily checked and drawn off into a small container by opening the ball valve.
The other ball valve near the middle here is the main take off for both our two diesel consumers; Mr. Gee our might Gardner 6LXB main engine and our Kabola diesel fired water heater.
The elbow at the top will feed a sight tube that goes up this outside corner of the tank and gives us an always accurate, always there fuel gauge.
Cihan is attaching the bottom access port for annual inspections and cleanouts if needed.
Completing out Day Tank tour today up on top we find three valves controlling the input and outputs to the tank and the bosses on the far right for fuel gauges, one a submersible Maretron pressure sender and the other a mechanical Tank Tender type gauge.
I was particularly delighted this week to see more progress on “my” Office and “Clean Workbench” space.
For orientation, this cutaway rendering shows the layout of the Aft Cabin on the right, Head & Shower to the Left and then my workbench and office space on the far Left up against the Port hull.
The Corridor connects the stairs coming down from the SuperSalon and takes you to either the Guest Cabin on the left or straight through the WT door into the Workshop and Engine Room.
This more realistic rendering, with the Guest Shower removed for clarity, shows what a great little office this will be for me or others to take advantage of.
And here is what the real thing is looking like so far. Overhead storage cupboards, plenty of drawers under the workbench and a large opening in the center for the swivel out chair. WT door into the Workshop/Engine Room is on the left.
Swiveling to the right to show the forward end of this Corridor area, the wall for the Head is not yet in place so you can see the large cupboards flanking the stairs as they wind up to the SuperSalon level. These two cabinets alongside the stairs will be primarily AC and DC electrical distribution panels with switches, circuit breakers and such for the aft area of the boat.
Stepping just inside the WT Door into the Workshop/ER area and looking forward gives a good sense of just how large the Port side Office area is going to be.
Not that I am at all excited about this.
On my way up those stairs to the SuperSalon as I came to the new cabinet for the 2 Fridges, I just had to try out these super cool, not that I’m biased, hand holds that run throughout the whole interior and will have an illuminated “Blue Horizon Line” on the inside surface.
Standing in the Galley looking across to the Port/Left side you can see how this Fridge cabinet begins where the stairs end and then transform nicely into the two drawer Freezers that are tucked into the big space under the side decks of the hull.
This was partly inspired by one of our dear friends, Sue, when she commented a while back that she really liked the whole SuperSalon layout but wanted to know where she would be able to put her Martini glass when in the lounge chairs that sit on the far right area in this photo???
The top of the Freezer cabinet is your answer Sue and we can’t wait for you to come try it out in person.
I haven’t hand time to do any video tours lately so until I do, I’ll spin around the SuperSalon with some still shots to give you a better sense of the overall layout and relative sizes.
Standing in the forward Starboard/Right corner of the SS looking aft and to Port provides this view of the Freezers on the right, Fridges and under drawers on the left and then the stairs up to the Aft Deck or down to the Guest Cabin. Corner of the Dining Settee in the bottom left.
Moving over to the middle of the SS about where the Helm chair will be lets us look directly aft and see how the whole Dinning area, Galley and Fridge/Freezer cabinets look. Now imagine this with sparkling blue tropical waters and some palm trees on the nearby uninhabited island visible out all that 360 degrees of glass.
Standing in the same spot but looking over to the Stbd/Right side a bit gives a sense of how spacious the Dining Settee will be. Stairs leading down to the Master Cabin on the far left.
Continuing to swivel left and now looking forward this is an early mock-up of the Main Helm area and you can see through to the Master Cabin below. The blue is rigid foam insulation ready to be routed for the PEX heated flooring tubing to go in.
Moving Aft and climbing up the stairs to the Aft Deck lets me give you this slightly aerial view of the whole SuperSalon. As I hope you may be starting to see, calling this the Super Salon was an obvious call.
Now let’s take a walk over to the Cabinetry Shop to catch up with the team over there and see what they’ve been working on this week.
Yeşim and Ömer are discussing details of this latest example of the gorgeous grain of the Rosewood. Can you guess where this panel will go?
Full marks to all of you who guessed this wall on the inside of the Corridor we were looking at earlier opposite my Office/Workbench. Entrance into the Guest Cabin in the center with the Head on the left and Shower on the right and then the WT door leading into the Workshop/ER on the far right.
Here is that wall panel now right side up as Ömer shows us how he proposes to create the corner door frame for one of our “Swiss Doors” which close into a door jamb on both sides. In this case this one door can close in the Head or the whole entrance into the Guest Cabin.
Close up of two parts of the glued up door jambs ready for machining and laminating.
Over on the other side of the shop, we stop to discuss the above countertop storage which we refer to as the “Galley Garages”, with Ömür on the left, Yeşim middle and Selim.
This render of the Galley in the upper left area will give you a better visual idea of what these Galley Garages will look like and how much storage space they will provide. With 360 degree glass we don’t have any cupboards above countertop height so this was a way to have both lots of storage in the Galley and maintain those great views all around.
This is the prototype that Ömür has whipped up and we are going over with him. The doors to the Galley Garages are a single piece made by joining the top surface and the angled surface you see here together into one piece. The hinges go on the back side and there are small gas assist cylinders inside so as soon as you press the latch the doors swim up out of your way letting you see and reach all the way to the back without bending over.
You will soon see how this all works next week as Omur and team build these cabinets so stay tuned.
I’ll finish for this week with one last bit of Ömür’s craftsmanship, these beautifully executed grills which will be all around the SuperSalon directing the ventilation air, both hot and cold, into the room along the windows. This is a quick prototype Omur put together for us to test out with air flow and looks. We think we will make the final ones a bit wider and narrow the slats to increase the air flow and reduce the noise of the air flowing through them.
What do you think?
OK, that gets you up to date as of Nov. 22nd, 2019 with where we are at on the Good Ship Möbius. Thanks for your patience in me getting these last two updates posted. I don’t have any travel plans other than traveling off on Möbius early in the new year so I should be able to get back to timely weekly updates.
Great to have you along for the ride and please send in any and all questions, comments or suggestions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Amazing as always. Love the CPP overview.
Thanks Elton. It is a really great bit of kit alright. I’ll try to do a better overview of CPP props with more details of the innards and how they work. But as I noted in this post it really is a very simple mechanical arrangement with that push/pull rod causing the blades to rotate in synch. Look forward to having you aboard to try it out for yourself when we get over to your part of the world, which could be as soon as next summer.
The prop looks goooooood!
Thanks Dennis. You know so much more about these CPP setups from having run Koti for several years now with yours so I’ll be tapping your expertise once we get in the water for some tips and tricks. Or better yet, hope you will make it over this way to show us in person?!!
Love to see your updates.
An issue that is perhaps a bit sensitive. But ask for self-interest.
Today, there are a bunch of semi-custom manufacturers, which build boats on the same philosophy as your XPM 78. Narrow to be able to penetrate the waves. Low to reduce wind drag. And of course self-righting.
Manufacturers such as Kooldjak, Circa, Arksen and of course Artnautica, etc.
So my question is. How much does the actual R&D of a full custom boat cost?
Not the total price. That R&D is otherwise “share” with those who buy a boat with a fully developed platform. But where you can change the interior room size etc.
No problem with the question at all Alex, just my apologies for taking so long to get back to you. Hard to answer your question “How much does the actual R&D of a full custom boat cost?” or at least not with just “it depends” as there is such a range of how much R&D you can do. I think that a new factor that is helping to reduce the R&D costs is that there are now some more builders making boats of the XPM type which share very similar use cases and owners and that most of us involved with their design and build are of the “share it forward” mindset. This is creating a growing pool of data and information, especially now more and more real world performance data from the owners of many of these types of boats which is SO valuable and trumps any theoretical calculations and ideas. One of my favorite people and mentors is Richard Feynman and one of my favorite many quotes is “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” and so with the growing amount of real world “experiments” that are out there cruising the world, we are gaining a huge benefit of knowing what works and what doesn’t and can use this to adjust and modify our designs and builds.
I think many of us involved in designing and building this relatively new type of passage maker are taking advantage of the “standing on the shoulders of giants”, those who have gone before us or beside us and have shared their lessons learned, ideas, techniques, etc. and this all serves to reduce the amount and cost of R&D each of us needs to do.
In our case of the total coast for all the R&D we did for Möbius my best guess would be around $100k in terms of what we actually spent. Of course there is many times more than that amount in terms of the thousands of hours all the people involved with getting us to this point from Christine and myself, through Dennis our NA at Artnautica, Dincer here at Naval and then the untold numbers of people who have given me their time to discuss, Email, call and otherwise learn from.
Hope that answers your question a bit better and gives you some idea of the situation.
Thanks for the thoughtful question and do keep them coming.
Hi. I had the pleasure of visiting the Nogva factory in 2017, when I was working at the neighbouring VARD shipyard. I have many photos of the various engines, shafts, bosses, props, keel coolers, etc. It was an absolutely fantastic afternoon. Good luck with the running gear, but I’m sure you will not need it. One question, is the shaft Aquamet 22?
Hi Andy, we too are very impressed with the quality of the Nogva CPP equipment we have now for Möbius and I think the next owners of XPM’s are going to go with the same. Regarding the shaft material I’m not sure to be honest, Nogva never specified what if it is Aquamet or not and I didn’t think to question them. My confidence in Nogva comes more from the thousands of CPP systems they have built and my conversations with some of their owners. We are on the very small end of their scale, a place I tend to like to be for most of our equipment as we tend to benefit from the experiences of these larger installations and now having my literal hands on experience with the Nogva gear we are installing now, my confidence is higher than ever.
“I don’t have any travel plans other than traveling off on Möbius early in the new year so I should be able to get back to timely weekly updates.”
Well, “early in the new year” is indeed our current goal but as with all good sailors we don’t have plans so much as we have intentions and even those are usually written in the sand below the high tide mark so we learn to live with change and the unexpected. With this being the first build of these XPM boats there is a LOT of learning as we go even though there have been thousands of hours preceding the build and developing a very complete 3D model before we began. As the build continues into its later stages now the intensity has picked up as we all push ourselves harder and harder to get through the seemingly ever increasing list of things to do, things to research, orders, shipping and all the “little things” that crop up as you build a project of this size. Christine and I have the attitude that we will work as hard and as long as we possibly can to get this baby launched and out at sea as soon as possible, but NOT by rushing things or taking shortcuts, however tempting they may be, and so she will launch when she launches and we’ll be happy in the knowledge that it was as soon as possible.
You will all have a front row seat as this plays out so stay tuned to find out when the launch date actually occurs!