The weather heated up nicely this week here in Antalya and so did the temperature inside the GreeNaval Shipyard with all the welding and progress this week. As per the title and photos below the most visible change is that the first two rows of hull plates are now all tacked in place and Ms. Möbius is feeling much less naked.
What you can’t see quite so well is the thousands of welds on the inside as Sezgin continues his non-stop welding trying to keep up with the rest of the crew who are tacking on more parts and plate by the minute. And there were a few other fun new things that happened this week but I’ll leave you to find out what those were as you read through this week’s update.
Thanks for joining us and don’t be shy about adding your questions and suggestions in the Comments section at the very bottom of this page.
And of course your video “reward” is at the very bottom of the post for those who are in a hurry and want to jump to the time lapse quick summary but let’s jump right in starting up at the bow now.
This is what the Bow looked like when we left of last Friday and now Uğur and our newest crew member are getting the bow framing all finished up in preparation for putting on the front 6m/20ft hull plates.
You may recall from last week’s post the two sides of the “crash” bulkhead area are different because when the 2nd side goes on there is no way to access to the inside any longer so there needs to be the flat bars on each of the triangular stringers you see here which line up with the elongated slots cut into the hull plate on this side which allow the plate and the flat bars/stringers to be all welded up. You’ll see that next week in progress.
Might take you a bit of mental gymnastics to figure out where this shot is taken and what all those holes are for??
We are inside the crash bulkhead looking “down” when the boat is right way up, through all of those triangular stringers which you can see are welded to the front side of Frame/Bulkhead #1.
Those holes are for the Samson Post which you can see better here in this earlier rendering when there were a pair of them but we’ve decided to go with just one. A Samson Post needs to be able to take several times the force of the entire boat as this is where we tie the snubber line to when anchored and where we could attach a tow rope in the highly unlikely event of needing to be towed by another ship somewhere. Our Samson Post will be a solid aluminium round bar 100mm/4” in diameter and so all those holes you see in the photo above are where the Samson Post will slide down about 1.4m and be welded to each of the stringers it passes through. We could probably lift the whole boat up on a crane from this post but I don’t think we’ll test that out.
All hands on deck and the boys quickly had this first hull plate wrestled into position overtop of the anchor roller cheeks and clamped in place.
Uğur checks to make sure the hull plate fits properly around the anchor assembly and clamps it snugly against the frame and stringers before tacking it in place.
This continues for the whole plate with one man outside and …….
….. one outside as the plate is pulled tight against the frames and stringers and then tacked in place.
Peeking in from the open Starboard side of the crash bulkhead you can see how the bow hull plate is tight up against the stringers and how all the areas to be welded were cleaned up with a light wire wheeling just prior to being put in place here.
Once they had the first plate in place they quickly maneuvered the next one into position and repeated the same procedure of clamping and tacking.
As you may recall from seeing other hull plates being tacked in place last week the same technique is used for keeping these large plates all lined up and true by tacking a long length of flat bar on edge just below where the first plate ends while the 2nd plate is tacked on. This keeps everything lined up such that the two outer surfaces are perfectly flush.
The lower plate you see here extends about one meter up/down from the deck is 6mm/ 1/4” thick and the 2nd plate above is 10mm thick.
Here is a quick screen grab of the model with each hull plate thickness a different colour so you can see how the hull plating gets thicker and thicker as it moves from the deck down and around to the 25mm thick Keel Bar running down the center.
The maroon colour at the deck is 6mm/ 1/4”, Purple = 10mm/ 13/32”, Green = 12mm/ 1/2” and Cyan at the bow is 15mm/ 5/8” (think ice).
The inside/outside tag team continues as the plates are tack welded to the stringers on the inside.
Team Möbius is awemazing and they no sooner have that first 10mm plate at the bow all fitted when they hoist up the next one and set it alongside the mid section of the Port side resting on some brackets they have tacked to the jig to hold it here while they get the chain hoists ready to lift it up into position.
Same technique with the flat bar and this plate is soon all pulled into position and the work continues aft.
Over on the other side standing aft looking forward you can see that the Starboard side team with Enver and Umit have been equally as busy putting the hull plates on this side and working their way from the aft end forward.
Moving forward to get a shot looking back at them you can see how the hull is very quickly taking shape now.
and before you turn around they soon have that whole side plated with the first 2 rows.
Not to be outdone the Port side Team soon has their side all plated aft as well.
Peeking inside we find the always busy Sezgin welding ……….
And lest you think all the action was on the inside of the building, here is what I saw when I looked out my office window around lunchtime on Friday.
The yard next door was moving this little fella outside so they could put on some of the upper deck gear which was too high to clear the ceiling inside.
Look closely and you can see how they had to cut out part of the top of the doorway to get it out to begin with
She is now on stands outside in this spot while they mount propellers and finish other jobs to get her ready to launch. Those two big doors you see up on deck are for the massive storage area up there which extends all the way forward under that round helipad at the bow. In case you were wondering we decided to forego that option on Möbius, sorry to disappoint some of you.
And that’s the week that was June 25-29, 2018. Hard to believe another month has zipped by in a flash but if you look back at some of the previous posts you’ll see just how much work has taken place in this short period of time. Here for example is what it looked like a mere 6 weeks ago on May 15th when the jig was being built.
Team Möbius and Naval Yachts is AWEMAZING!! Thank you all.
Here as promised is your weekly fast forwarded video synopsis of the week.
See you next week!
The elevated temps may have added a strain on the welders but may have a positive impact on being able to fit up the hull plates (bending) and the weld quality.
Which I suppose brings up the question of the impact on weld quality of welding in an uncontrolled environment?
There isn’t much effect that I know of from air temp here on the aluminium or welding. Very little forced bending of the plates either as the upper surfaces are very close to flat or relatively mild 2D curvatures only. The larger and undevelopable curves (3D) are all done with a wheeling type machine which is currently being done up in Istanbul and we expect them to arrive in the next week or two. If you look at that screen grab I put in the last post showing all the plate thicknesses you can see pretty easily where these more severe curves and undevelopable surfaces lie and where those plates go. We chose not to go with a hull design that is made up of all developable or 2D curves where you can force flat plate onto the framework and get the shape this way. Quite common and definately a bit cheaper but not as efficient a hull shape for sea kindliness nor as pleasing to our eyes so we are having these hull plates all wheeled to the final shape which can then be laid onto the framework and tacked in place same as the flat plates.
Not quite sure what you mean by “quality of welding in an uncontrolled environment” so would need your help to understand that better in order to answer. I’m not aware of any metal boats which are welded in a “controlled environment” and to the best of my knowledge the only environment that matters to the weld is the immediate area around the weld which in the case of MIG and TIG is an envelope of Argon gas so in that sense it is a controlled environment. Perhaps you are referring to the metallurgical lab based environment that could be used for more controlled testing? Let me know and I’ll see if I can provide a better answer.
I’m having computer problems so if this doesn’t work I’ll try again later.
Your first paragraph. A plain case on my part of not “seeing” what I was looking at. I understand 2D and 3D curve development as you described. I was so hung up on what looked to me like 2D curves I didn’t “see” what was in front of my eyes. Great choices on your part for your hull shape. All too frequent “seeing” error on mine.
Second paragraph. I’m driving myself crazy on a project which has some conceptual similarities to yours. The only answer I can see for my problem is to continually test as we go. When I look at your hull, I ask, how are you going to be able to test every continuous weld at this or a later state of construction due to access problems, if nothing else? I suspect that if you have access to continuously weld after tacking you have assess to test? Are you going to test every continuous weld?
On the controlled environment, I also know of no hull construction, including a nuke boat, where the environment is controlled as I said. Nor am I happy with knowing what are reasonable environmental conditions for welding beyond extermes that would probably inhibit construction for other reasons. So chalk that up to frustration. I need to do more research on that subject.
Sounds like you have lots of challenges with your project too John and not worry we all have our up and down days. It would only be expecting otherwise that would truly drive us crazy. In my experience progress is usually a “3 steps forward, one back” kind of samba but that still nets us 2 steps forward and progress is made.
As to testing the hull, as I outlined earlier there is no intent to test every weld, rather to do a few tests in locations selected by the testing people to confirm that the welds are being well done. As you suspected the access that has been built into the design and cutting of the parts to allow room for the MIG welder to lay down a continuous weld also provide us with access after the build with a few exceptions such as in that crash chamber up front which once welded up remains fully sealed and there will be no access after that which is by design to keep this chamber fully separated from the rest of the boat. Elsewhere access will remain quite high as I go out of my way to not enclose any areas I don’t have to with cover panels and the like. In most of the living areas there are very large open areas between the cabinetry and the hull where all the electrical and plumbing runs will go and in the non living areas such as the Forepeak and the ER and Workshop these runs will all remain open and very easy to access.
Eye of the beholder to a large extent but I quite like this very functional look of having the working parts of the boat all exposed. And over the years have come to really appreciate the value of having very easy access for both the initial installation and future maintenance as well as the very high value of being able to do visual inspections every time you are in that area and spot problems or changes right away. With the large “basement” under the whole SuperSalon floor there are only the walls of the two cabins which will not have things like wiring and plumbing runs exposed and in those cases we have built in dedicated areas for these runs which are easy to access and inspect.
Thanks as always for the time you take to look over my posts and provide your thoughts and questions. Hope all goes well with your project.
Many thanks for your patience and good wishes. Pressure vessels aren’t the only things that need to “vent” once in a while.
I too like the functional look and the reassurance that I can “see” that everything is working.
In addition, there are times when being a “neat geek” is a good thing and plumbing and wiring runs are among them. Even the best of boats can begin to take on a cluttered look if you don’t stay on top of things. Not good for the mind to get that kind of visual input, espically when response to a tough situation is needed immediately.
I’ve been known to use cardboard boxes, rope and a black magic marker to create mock ups of wiring and plumbing runs among other things. That was in the days before 3D modeling. Still usefull to be able to put yourself “into” the environment once in a while. That is a very good use for AR (augmented reality) but that’s a bit expensive yet. Saw some very interesting beta testing for repair manuals using the AR technique.
Again my thanks
I truly appreciate all the time and work you put into sharing your project. The pictures and narrative help me to visualize my own aluminum build project that is still a couple of years out.
One question about the fully enclosed crash zone at the bow. I will have several areas that will also be fully sealed. Are you concerned about the expansion and contraction forces as the air in this area is heated and cooled? I was anticipating filling these dead zones with a closed cell foam. If there was ever a breach, that would minimize the flooding. If use of foam was considered, I’d be interested to hear why you chose to leave this area empty.
Hi David, thanks for joining us on this adventure and appreciate knowing that you are finding this information to be helpful. Seemed only right to me to do my part in sharing what I know and what we are doing with the design and building of Möbius as I have learned and continue to do so from all the others out there sharing what they are doing on their blogs, YouTube channels and web sites. It is always a challenge to get feedback to know if what you publish is helpful so I particularly appreciate your comments in that regard.
As for the “crash” bulkhead on Möbius, no we will weld it up to stay fully enclosed and sealed with no foam or anything else inside. We briefly looked at the expansion question you asked about but it is so small and so weak that our conclusion is that this is of no consequence in terms of expansion forces on the hull in this area. Compared to the external pressures this area of the bow will endure from the seas and in the event of any strike, the forces of internal thermal expansion of the entrapped air is inconsequential and the benefits of having it completely sealed far outweigh any such concerns for us.
Our previous steel boat used all spray in place foam on all the internal hull and deck surfaces and it worked great in terms of thermal and sound insulation. We used to joke/brag that we were “living in a thermos bottle” and came to really appreciate all the benefits of an extremely well insulated boat. However we also learned all the down sides of spray in place foam which are primarily the difficulty of knowing if the seal between the foam and the metal is completely waterproof, knowing if this ever changes and the challenge of removing foam when repairs or access is needed.
Steel and Aluminium are a bit different but basically the same nasty result of any entrapment of water between the foam and the hull, so we are going with very thick EPDM sheets glued in place on the internal hull and deck surfaces for Möbius. In the case of the enclosed collision bulkhead area we will not put anything on these surfaces and they will stay as with all external surfaces, all raw aluminium. In my experience and most others I know with AL boats, coatings of ANY kind are a high potential problem area as they are always prone to entrapping water between the coating and the AL and setting up the perfect environment for corrosion
Especially for fully enclosed areas like this, I think that foam or any other application on the AL surfaces is not a good idea because if there ever was an intrusion, let’s say a small crack anywhere in the hull plating or welding which allowed even a wee bit of water in over time, you would never be aware of this and there is no way I know of to check. If there was ever any breakdown between the foam and the AL or voids were there from the initial spray on application, where water could be entrapped you would never know until one day it bubbled through from the inside and you would have quite a serious repair on your hands.
Based on a reasonable amount of experience with applying spray on foam, I think it would also be very difficult to get into this area with a complete filling and coating of every surface. If you tried to do this before it was all welded up then there would be damage caused to the foam from the welding afterwards, and if you welded it all up and left access holes for the foam, you would have to have quite a few of them and these would then need to be welded up afterwards as well. So the chances of having voids in the foam and some AL surfaces which were not fully coated would be relatively high. If this area were to ever be breached by something then the volume of water it could hold would be extremely small compared to the overall boat’s displacement so the benefits of having foam in this space would seem to be quite low in my estimation.
With the exception of the need to have bottom paint below the waterline, we have a “no coatings rule” on Möbius due to the challenges we know all too well of keeping paint or any material completely adhered to aluminium. It is one of the few negative features of aluminium hulls but in our case this is not a problem as having no external paint and few other coated surfaces gives us a much lower maintenance boat and much less worries to interfere with our SWAN Sleep Well At Night factor. For similar reasons as I’ve mentioned in answer to some previous questions we are not putting on any coatings inside our all aluminium integral tanks for fuel and water. Same basic logic of not enough benefit for the risks this imposes and there are other ways we will mitigate the chances of there being a problem from the fuel or the water interacting with the AL.
As always this is the logic and the choices that WE are making because they are “just right, just for us” and so please don’t infer from my responses that this is the only way to go or that these are the best choices for you or others. As I hope I have outlined above we take the concerns you raise most seriously and have thought them through extensively and come up with the choices that work best for us.
Hope that helps to answer your questions and don’t hesitate to counter or ask more at any time.
You present a very solid argument against foam in these type of dead spaces within an AL hull. I will likely follow suit.
You did spark my next question with your discussion of insulation. When you indicated a “very thick” sheet of EPDM on interior surfaces, just how thick are you planning? Have you used this type of insulation before?
Would you also be using this in the engine room or do you have another plan for sound insulation?
Thanks again for your courteous reply.
I tend to approach most things from a logic/engineering perspective, just the way my little brain works and seems have worked out well for me so far. Good thing as it is not something I think I could change if I wanted to. Just keep in mind that this is my version of the logic behind the decision re foam and coatings on an aluminium boat and happy to know that this is helping you make the best decisions for yours.
Regarding the insulation as I said the current plan, unchanged from the beginning really, is to use sheets of self adhesive EPDM. This is a relatively old produce in the sense of well used and tested, mostly in industrial settings and primarily for piping and ducting. So I like that it is well proven and evolved so we can put some trust in using it on Möbius.
I don’t have extensive experience with EPDM but some. On our previous all steel sailboat it has spray in foam for insulation but on the last major renovation/refit I did on it back in 2015/16 in Fiji I used EPDM to redo the insulation in several areas of the boat and most notably the engine room and workshop that was underneath the raised salon. It worked out very well and the only real drawback I can cite is that it is quite time consuming to do all the cutting and gluing in place given the myriad of different sizes and shapes between stringers, ribs, etc. and with lots of wiring and plumbing penetrating and needing to be fit. However once you get it glued in place it is relatively easy to do the final taping of all the seams and creates a very nice continuous look that is also very well sealed. Given that this was in the engine room I used fire rated EPDM with an aluminium scrim on the outer surface and then aluminium tape for the seams and edges. EPDM also seems to do a good job of insulating both thermally and acoustically so that’s a plus and it is very fire safe and long lasting The other major attribute of EPDM for our application is that it is close to 100% non absorbing of odors of water vapor so it can deal well with being wet.
The most extensive experience with EPDM on boats that I’m aware of is that of the FPB series where they have been using EPDM from the beginning of this extensive series of all aluminium long and skinny expedition passage makers. I suspect you are quite well aware of them and the gold mine of information about their design and construction going back to about 2008 or so on the Setsail.com web site. If you do a search on Setsail on “insulation” you will find quite a few posts that Steve Dashew did on insulation and you can also see how they evolved to using thicker and thicker sheets with each boat they built. There is a good summary post called “FPB78-1 The Insulation Story” https://www.setsail.com/fpb-78-1-the-insulation-story/ which Steve wrote up that you would find most informative if you’ve not already read it.
We have learned a lot from their experiences with EPDM and will do something similar on Möbius. Thickness will vary quite a bit depending on where it is going and what level of insulation we need. AeroFlex and Armacell which are two of the major manufacturers of EPDM make sheets that range in thickness from 3-50mm. Places like the hull sides and deck where thermal loads are the highest we’ll likely use 50mm, areas like the sole of the SuperSalon that forms the ceiling of the basement we will likely use 25mm and on ribs and stringers that form thermal bridges we’ll likely use 10-15mm. Engine room and workshop will use the same fire rated foil type and other surfaces will be left with the black EPDM surfaces showing.
We will be doing additional acoustic insulation treatments in areas that require it, most notably the bulkheads between the forepeak storage and the Master Cabin and the one between the Engine Room and the Guest Cabin/Christine’s Office. For those we will create a custom combination of sound deadening plywood, EPDM and air gaps.
Going back to the logical thinking, in our use case and design there are not too many scenarios where these areas need such extra insulation but we both value quiet very highly as well as “living in a thermos” thermal load reduction so this is “smart money” in the budget for us. Design wise we have done things such as put our Master Cabin way up front to purposefully be distanced from noise sources such as the ER. It does adjoin the Forepeak where there could be a scenario of one of us being down there off watch and the anchor being taken in/out so we will put in extra insulation treatments on that wall as I mentioned. However, up to a point, noise from the chain is actually a “feature” for us rather than a “bug” in that when we are at anchor, which is by far the majority of our total time, we like to be able to hear the noise of the chain/snubber when we are sleeping to alert us to any unexpected change. In the Guest Cabin which is much more often Christine’s Office there is also not many scenarios when she would be working down there when the engine is running as that would mean we are underway and she would be working up in the Salon or SkyBridge or Aft Deck. We rarely have guests and when we do they prefer to be with us when we are on anchor and so they wouldn’t be aboard when we are underway. But again, investing in great insulation throughout the boat is a high priority for us and trapping the noise in the rooms that generate the noise will keep the noise on the boat overall way down which is what we want.
Day to day though, and overall costs wise, it is the thermal insulation which pays the big dividends. Our previously super well insulated boat taught us this as she was able to maintain a very constant temperature inside whether we were in the heat of the tropics along the equator of up in the cold of high latitudes. Having a super well insulated boat means your loads on cooling and heating drop way down so you can size those systems much smaller to be much more efficient and cost effective. In addition to the insulation we are also investing in other means of reducing thermal loads such as very large overhangs over windows, additional awnings to extend these overhangs even further, special films on all windows and hatch glass.
Finally, while not insulation per se but something that will help us keep the interior of the boat “just right” temperatures is that we are also looking at putting in hydronic heated floors in all the living spaces. The method we are currently designing will not only work to put heat into the rooms in cold climates but also extract some of the heat in hot climates. But that is a topic all its own and I’ll do posts in the future to talk much more about this when we are installing it.
Check the Aug/Sept issue of Professional Boatbuilder (174) article on Repairing Aluminum Boats Right. Good stuff on welding.
How did you know that this issue of PBB is already queued up on my tablet for this weekends reading time? PBB has been a fabulous source of learning for us for many years and I have an archive of every issue and find myself referring to them often. It seems to be more rare than ever that you can find such “long form journalism” in most topics and certainly in marine fields so PBB with its very in depth articles by some stellar experts like Steve D’Antonio, Nigel Caulder and many more is a joy to have found. I read all the other marine magazines of course and do find some value there too but so often they just skim over the topic and never drill down for a deep dive into the subject where you can really learn and understand.
When I received my notice earlier this week of the new issue, my eyes lit up with that cover and the article on Repairing AL boats Right which you mentioned so I can’t wait to have some time this weekend to dive into that and the other articles and see what more I can learn.
Thanks for the reference and hope you got lots out of this issue as well.
Always keep an electronice version for reference. My comment to you was a bit of a tease – sort of – “Hey, here’s a repair manual you need to keep near by when you’re out crusing, should you need to do a bit of welding.”
I appreciate the humour John and I actually have a whole archive of such articles and books to reference when the need arises. All part of my “readiness for the unexpected” approach to boating and life. There are still quite a few such books which are older and have never been converted to digital form so we also carry a good print library onboard though that does seem to keep reducing in size over the years fortunately. It isn’t so much the size/weight of print material as its fragility and its lack of search so digital is always preferred whenever we can get it. So it was a no brainer for me to order the whole back issue set of every PBB issue back to #1 which they make available on a USB stick so just required catching up to this physical stick in the mail and avoided what would have been a pretty humongous download. I’m not sure if we will do it for Möbius but on Learnativity I did get some good friends at Universities with extremely good network connections to download the offline version of Wikipedia at the time many years ago and that proved very helpful on occasion with more esoteric searches and curiosities. However keeping that updated would be quite the task and fortunately our online connectivity has increased exponentially over the years which makes such efforts less and less necessary.
Christine and I are both former teachers and Christine is now a full time and best selling author (pen name Christine Kling) so we have a very high love of learning and hence books in all forms. So your recommendation to “Always keep an electronic version for reference” is something we very much take to heart and practice. Don’t even ask me how many digital devices and hard drive space we have aboard! Which helps explain our eXtreme amount of battery and solar capacity, but that’s for a future post.
Thanks for the jest and the recommendation John, please keep them coming.
On another subject, I went back and reread some of the FPB crusing stories at the Dashew site. One which caught my eye was about an owner who got hung up on a coral reef and had to undergo an EXTENDED peroid of pounding before he was able to get off. Safely I might add.
When you were designing your boat, how did you feed info like that into your design process? I’m guessing it formed part of your initial design requirements?
Hi John. Yes, we have spent many years cruising in the beautiful but “bombie” strewn waters of the South Pacific isles and know the perils they have for boat hulls all too well. Let’s just say we’ve had a few “up close and personal” experiences. For me this was all aboard my all steel 52′ sailboat and steel has about as high an abrasion resistance as you can get so damage even from some prolonged poundings was mostly scraped bottom paint and a few dents for souvenirs. My largest “hull test” was when I happened to be in Pango Pango harbor for the 2009 tsunami and was tied to the big new government concrete dock the morning it hit. The sudden 26′ drop as the water all evacuated the bay was quite the ride down to the bottom and then hard over on my Stbd side but the real problem came when the water returned and as Learnativity started to float a bit it slid the keel underneath the dock and trapped me on my side. Thought I was going to loose her but as the water continued to rise we popped out and upright and then the real fun began. But that is a much longer story and one I’ve told just after the incident in a three part blog you can read that HERE if you’re interested in the details.
That tough steel hull came through in spades even in this extreme test and the only damage as a good meter and a half long dent about 50mm at its deepest and no internal damage to the frames or other equipment.
I bring this up simply to provide some context to your question that we take such tangos with the hard bits in the worlds’ waters very seriously and put a lot of thought into both our hull material selection and the design. This extremely high abrasion resistance of steel caused me to consider this as the best material for us but aluminium is not too far below steel in these regards and has some extremely significant differences when it comes to puncture resistance and especially the MUCH lower maintenance. I became pretty good at maintaining a steel boat and its rust factor and you can do a lot to prevent this with good design and especially high quality and super well applied interior coatings but as Neil says “Rust never sleeps” and we were game for trying out a whole new material so aluminium won out quite easily in the end and our confidence in this choice has grown every day since we made that call.
So you are spot on when you say that these run ins with coral and the like “formed part of your initial design requirements”. As you been seeing in the posts and construction so far the primary things we have done with the design to ensure an eXtreme degree of protection for such events include:
* increasing the hull plate thicknesses several times over the recommended dimensions for the most stringent Class certifications
* closely spaced stringer and frames which are also several times over recommended thickness and width.
* almost all of the hull below the waterline is tankage
* eXtremely robust one piece stem to stern Stem Bar and Keel made of very wide/high 25mm thick AL
* fully sealed “crash” bulkhead at the bow
* even more oversized hull plating (15mm) for the first 4.5m aft of the bow
We’ve been out there sailing long enough to understand very clearly that it is a matter of when not if you will have such incidents and we appreciate that you can never reduce the risk to zero, nor would we want to quite frankly. But as with so many other decisions the ones we’ve made for the overall strength and durability of the hull creates a boat that instills our confidence in this boat and encourages us to Go! whenever a new destination calls our names louder than where we are.
I’m going to chase a rabbit here, so please stick with me. A couple or so posts back there were a some thoughts on “similar boats” and “standing on the shoulders of giants.” I’m beginnig to form the idea that the commonness among these boats is best expressed by Taleb’s new book “Skin in the Game”. These boats are all the products of owner/operators that cruise, whose skin is literally in the game. There’s no captain/crew between these owner/operators and the boat, the cruise, the weather, and the sea. Nor is there anyone else present when “push comes to shove.” Note I said owner/operators in the plural as crusing couples is very common.
These owner/operators have a widely common set of experiences and expectations. Given the present state of technology, the resulting boats have a common core design ethos and at the same time express the variations in the individual owner/operators personality, character, and apporach to risk management/problem solving.
Boats that don’t fit this catagory lack that essence. They are “pretenders” not “the real thing”.
Got to think about that some more.
Always looking for good reads so thanks much for this new Taleb book recommendation John. As I mentioned in one of our previous discussions Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness which remains my favorite of his, is one of the many books which really helped shape some of my thinking and understanding of the world. I’ve read several but not all of his subsequent books and this new one Skin In the Game certainly piques my curiosity so I’ve downloaded it now and have it on my always long reading list. I’m afraid with the rigors of the boat building right now while I read as much or more than ever, for the past few years my reading time has been dominated by boat related equipment, techniques and the like trying to work though the design and now more and more the execution of that design and systems planning details such as the specific materials and equipment we will be ordering. But this book you’ve pointed me at certainly calls my name.
I like the “rabbit hole” you are going down here and I’d be delighted to try to “stick with you” and follow your lead gladly, or at least a version of my rabbit’s hole. You pick up on a very significant aspect of these “similar boats” with their shared characteristic of having very passionate and hands on owner/operators. I think most of these boats are indeed being run by a cruising couple and as you noted there is no “buffer” of a crew between them and their boat. Not a requirement of course and we met one FPB64 owner in Fiji who was mostly single handing his boat and was very gracious in letting us spend several hours onboard and answering all the questions we peppered him with. I think you are also spot on with your observation of the duality of being simultaneously “similar boats” with as you put it a “common core design ethos” and yet at the same time very much reflecting their unique owners.
There are enough of these kinds of people in the world which cause me to believe that this niche will evolve into a whole new lineage of boats and hence no surprise to me that we are starting to see, very early days yet, more and more boats popping up all over the place which in my mind’s eye have that “common core design ethos”. It is still very early in this evolution and so it is not too surprising that a common name for this type of boat has not yet emerged but I think it will over the next few years. Doesn’t really matter what name ends up sticking as the utility to me is in having a term to refer to when talking about these boats collectively.
The term “Trawler” has emerged as the name for that style of boat which has its own common core design ethos and while there is some overlap in the types of owners and generic boat characteristics the kinds of boats we are talking about here like the FPB’s, LRC’s and others I highlighted earlier just don’t fit that term at all. I suspect that their owners would not fit in too well either, not in an antagonistic kind of way, at least for most, but just in a more limited set of shared interests and passions. Not unlike perhaps sailors fitting with power boaters or “blue water cruisers” fitting in with marina based day cruisers.
I tend to think of design as a solution to a given problem set and there are an infinite number of examples of how a common problem set will evoke very independent and unconnected designers or engineers or problem solvers to come up with a very similar solution in spite of having had limited to no connection between them. Not unlike how there is usually great disagreement over who first invented something or came up with a given design and it usually turns out that there are multiple answers or individuals who came up with a solution because they were working at a time when the driving conditions of the world were the same.
I’ve long been involved with and intrigued by pattern recognition and I think there is a version of that going on here in that when you connect what was previously a set of random “dots” you end up with a similar pattern. Hence our mutual interest in Taleb and randomness I suspect. The “dots” in the case of these boats we are discussing are the shared requirements and use case scenarios they have and therefore it should come as no surprise that when independent designers/problem solvers/engineers go after “solving this equation” or connecting this largely same set of dots, there is a very clear pattern and similarity that emerges.
Of course this is a very universal scenario that covers a plethora of other examples. In the automotive world for instance we have terms such as Minivan, SUV, pick up truck, etc. and indeed they seem to be blending together into more and more similar vehicles that are challenging for even a car buff such as myself to differentiate between the various makes and models.
A fun thing I’ve done in the past when discussing this with others is to suggest that this notion of a common pattern for solutions to the same problem set can be readily seen by using image search in Google or Bing. Type “Trawlers for example into Google and click on “Image” and you’ll instantly have screen after screen filled with what to most people would be “the same kind of boat”. Unless you were really into trawlers these would all “look the same” to you whereas those who are familiar with these boats they would say “Oh my gosh no, those are all different! That’s a Selene, that’s a Flemming, that’s a Nordhaven” and likely be able to rattle of additional letters and numbers to differentiate amongst them all.
Type in “Pilot Boat” and you will get a screen filled with boats that bear a good deal of similarity to the boats we have been talking about here and yet are discernably different and “not quite it”. Indeed Christine and I had a great appreciation for these pilot boats from all our time around them in various parts of the world and many years before the “silly” notion of going from sailing to voyaging under power and designing and building our own new boat so it comes as no surprise to us that Möbius and these kinds of boats share a lot of similar designs, features and functions.
This fun image search technique perhaps illustrates my point about the lack of a term for the new boats we are interested in because there isn’t a search term I can type in that will filter out these kinds of boats with no name as of yet. Not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things, when commonly asked “So what kind of boat is it that you are building” we have learned to have some renderings an d images handy on our phones to show them and that works very well, even though the reaction is often “Wow, what kind of boat is THAT??? I have no sense of urgency for a common term to evolve and it will be fun to see how this takes place over time.
OK, my quick response and “rabbit chase” to take your lead and thanks for the invite. Looking forward to your additional thoughts as you think on this more and happy trails to both of us chasing this fun rabbit.