Christine and I are in Italy for a combined anniversary celebration in Napoli last weekend and now a chance to catch up with dear friends on their catamaran as we sail around the island of Sardinia. While I may be MIA the rest of Team Möbius, the ones who really matter, were hard at work back in Antalya and they made great progress in all the various facets of work from cabinetry to electrical, plumbing and aluminium. When the cat’s away the mice really do play!
So with great thanks to our Möbius Project Manager Yiğit for taking on extra duties as photographer while I’m away I am delighted to bring you this week’s progress update and so let’s jump right in.
Nihat on the left and Uğur continue to work their way through the diminishing list of aluminium jobs to complete and those of you with sharp eyes and memory you can see evidence of one of those jobs in this photo.
Can you see it? How about if I take you up on the foredeck and move in a bit closer?
Correct! They are building and fitting the aluminium stanchion posts.
Further back on the Port/Left side deck where the Pilot House ends, you can see how the stanchion posts join together with the pipe railings for the side gates to provide eXtremely safe and sturdy protection along all parts of the deck to make sure we always stay onboard.
Moving forward along that Port side deck you can see how the stanchion posts continue forward and then tie into the pulpit railings on either side of the bow.
All the pipe for the stanchions, pulpit, pushpit and gates are made from 40mm / 1.6” OD pipe with 6mm thick walls which are a snug fit into the socket pipes which are welded all the way through the 10mm thick Rub Rails down each side. To eliminate any wobbly and prevent any corrosion between the stanchion and socket pipes, black Delrin bushings you can see at the base of each stanchion have been machined and press fit in place.
There will be domed aluminium caps atop each stanchion which are now being machined along with the short aluminium bushings that will soon be welded into those three holes in each stanchion to provide a smooth surface for the Dyneema lifelines to run through without chafing.
Dyneema is a synthetic fibre line which is stronger than the typical stainless steel stranded wire used for most lifelines and it is lighter and much easier to see evidence of weakening over the years whereas SS wire usually hides cracks or faults until it lets go. Also much nicer on the hands and no chance of any “meat hooks” as we refer to an individual strand of SS wire when they crack and break off leaving a nasty hook to catch and cut your hands.
The stanchions and railings are 1m / 39” above the deck which is much higher than most boats but very much by design for the XPM boats for added safety. If you were to be thrown into lifelines at this height they would catch you well above the waist whereas the more typically shorter lifelines are below the waist and can result in flipping you overtop the lifeline and overboard.
Our primary Person Overboard strategy is simple; don’t! High lifelines are one of the best ways to ensure we stay onboard at all times. If you do go over the side it would most likely be Ciao for you because it will happen at O’dark Thirty in very nasty weather. The scenario doesn’t play out much better and often much worse if you are clipped onto the boat with a tether as you end up trapped on the end of your tether partially submerged and nigh on impossible to be brought onboard. Hence very high and very strong lifelines and railings.
Dropping down to check out the Basement we find more evidence of Uğur and Nihat’s handiwork where they are fitting the watertight AL plates which seal off the coffer dams for the active stabilisers on each side of the hull. This coffer dam with the Basement exiting Sea Chest is on the Starboard/Right side and the Port side is shown below.
Coffer dams are as the name implies, there to increase the safety factor in the rare event that an active stabilizer fin strikes something solid at speed and tears out or through the thick hull plates. While the protruding fins do introduce this possibility of being struck it is quite low, Safety is top priority for XPM boats so we design and build accordingly, hence these coffer dams.
With the eXtreme plating thickness on all parts of the hull and all the welded in support frames for the stabilizer hardware the probability of breaching this area and creating a significant leak is eXtremely low but never zero so these strong cover plates are bolted and sealed in place with gaskets. Inside each coffer dam there is a sensor connected to an alarm system that would let us know if any water did collect in the bottom.
As you will see a bit later in this blog, Christine and I have chosen to use passive rather than active stabilizers so these coffer dams will be empty but still very well sealed. Throughout the design of this first XPM we have done our best to “future proof” these boats as much as possible by allowing for choices such as active/passive stabilizers by including everything needed for the installation of any of them within the initial design and build. In this case, if/when we or future XPM owners chose to install active stabilizers the hull and coffer dams are all ready for a relatively fast and cost effective installation.
Looking up overtop of the Basement Sea Chest Cihan and his plumbing team continue running more of the various pipes and hoses White hose against the aft Basement WT Bulkhead is sanitation hose carrying Black Water from the heads to the holding tank.
The black lines in the foreground on the ceiling are part of the AirCon system with 20mm/ 3/4” PPR pipes (similar to PVC) wrapped in thick black EPDM insulation which carry the cold water from the chiller system to the individual air handlers in each cabin and the SuperSalon.
Above the Basement ceiling/SuperSalon floor we find more white sanitation hoses being installed. Left is the Vent box with the white being the vent for the Black Water tank in the Basement and the black hoses being vents for the fuel tanks.
On the right is the Fuel Fill box which also has the two white sanitation hoses for pumping out the Black Water and Gray Water tanks though most of the time we pump out our Black Water through the Sea Chests when far enough out at sea.
Up forward on the Port side of the Master Cabin Head/Shower we find more plumbing progress with the installation of the Hot and Cold domestic water manifolds with all these red handled PVC ball valves.
These ball valves also make the transition from 20mm/ 3/4” PPR pipe which are the primary supply lines bringing hot and cold water from their sources to the 15mm/ 5/8” PEX tubing which connect to each of the hot and cold water consumers; sinks, shower, toilet, bidet.
We also use the cold water manifold for the fresh water washdown pump in the Forepeak on the other side of this WT Bulkhead wall.
The black EPDM insulated line above the manifolds is the Domestic Hot Water DHW loop which runs the length of the boat to deliver hot water to every hot water consumer as soon as you turn on the tap eliminating the usual need to wait for the water coming out of the sink/shower tap to get hot and wasting a considerable amount of water in the process. Efficiency is one of our four primary design principles so we seek out every possible way to increase the efficiency of all systems on board these XPM boats.
Not always as visibly evident rest assured that Hilmi and his electrical team continue to install more wire trays and fill them with more and more nautical miles of gray AC and black DC wiring.
The black flex hose on his right is conduit for the wires which run up through the window frame mullions in the SuperSalon with other wiring in the horizontal white perforated trays just above the floor.
Looking up in front of where Hilmi is sitting you can see how he has also installed trays on the underside of these frames where the outer side decks run. Vent Box above.
More trays at the aft Starboard/Right side end of the Guest Cabin are starting to fill up with wires and clear water hoses at the bottom.
Moving aft to the Starboard/Right side “wing” of the Workshop alongside the Engine Room Enclosure wall Nihat and Uğur have wrestled the Day Tank aboard sporting its mounting tabs and ready to be test mounted to the WT Bulkhead at the far end.
Matching mounting tabs have been welded to the ER Enclosure wall and threaded bosses welded to the vertical T frames on the WT Bulkhead.
With the mounts installed and Day Tank successfully test mounted, Mummy and his insulation team can apply the thick AL foil overtop of the black EPDM insulation prior to installing the Day Tank and the AlucoBond panels.
One of the most eXciting projects this week is THIS! Uğur and Nihat started to fabricate the paravane A-Frames. As you might guess, the pipe on the right is the main “boom” and the two on the left will be the angled tension pipe that attaches to the tabs just below the end of the main boom.
Hopefully this rendering from our Paravane design testing phase will help more than confuse and give you a better sense of the components of the overall Paravane system.
** Important to note that this rendering shows the hinged A-Frames in both their “up” vertical stowed position and their “down” or deployed position. Similarly there are multiple images the one paravane, sometimes called “fish” or “birds” as we were analyzing different positions, depths and angles.
If these Paravane A-Frames look familiar to you it is likely because many commercial fishing boats use the same system and use them daily in truly eXtreme conditions to help keep their boat decks as stable as possible to enable them to work safely and at all in such conditions.
We went through many, many iterations of the whole system, particularly the rigging and the final design is considerably different than this early design with the green boom lift now going out to the end of the booms and the booms being extended to be over 7m/24’ long.
To the uninitiated the rigging may look a bit intimidating and complex but for us two sailors, and really to anyone after a few uses, it is a very simple and straightforward setup and we have simplified is MUCH more in the final design. I’ll go into those details in future posts as we install the Paravane rigging.
When deployed in the water, each paravane runs about 5m/16’ below the surface of the water and their shape is such that they “fly” through the water with a slight downward pull. When the boat rolls towards one of these “fish” they dive down lower and provide resistance when the boat tries to pull them back up.
Here is a close up of the outer end of the A-Frame boom with thick aluminium tabs and gussets let into the equally thick walled 10mm / 3/8” pipe which provide all the attachment points for lines and the angled pole of the A-Frame which you can see in the upper background. Once everything is all test fit to be just right every joint will be welded through.
Paravanes are somewhat similar to the pole a tightrope walker uses. Having one of these paravanes on each side provides two opposed points to help us remain “balanced” and goes a long ways towards countering any forces trying to roll the hull along her lengthwise axis when conditions warrant. While the forces within this system can be very high at times, one of the relationships you come to understand is that if a hull has lower initial stability, takes less force to cause it to roll, it takes equally less force to cancel out or resist this roll. As counterintuitive as it first sounds, lower initial stability is also a positive factor in terms of safety at sea and greater overall stability of a boat so these paravanes take advantage of this relationship to help keep the boat more level when Mother Nature is trying to cause her to roll.
At the other end of the A-Frames these bits of 25mm / 1” thick AL create the hinged attachment points connected to their matching 50mm / 2” thick other halves welded through the Rub Rails which transfer all the loads directly to the inner framework of the hull.
To be clear, active stabilizers reduce the roll to a greater degree when underway but they come at a “cost” in both complexity, drag, maintenance, fault tolerance and expense so for us former long distance sailors we think that passive paravanes will be a better fit for us and our use cases.
All yet to be confirmed by real world experience of course so stay tuned for that after we launch and start putting all these systems to the real test out at sea. We will extend these real world sea trials gathering data and experience once we start heading West across the Med and then crossing the Atlantic next summer. Such in person testing on multiple ocean crossings and other situations which will enable us to make much more informed decisions on the changes and improvements we want to make in the future including whether we would like to add active stabilization in the future. Stay tuned for much more of that.
Finishing up this Weekly Progress Update with the Cabinetry team they have been busy installing the grids for the walls in the Guest Cabin. You’ve seen the technique used in previous posts which is to glue solid wood spacer blocks through cut outs in the multi layered acoustic insulation to the underlying 5mm AL plate.
The lattice style wall grids are then glued and screwed to the ends of these wood spacer blocks. All the wood is thoroughly sealed with multiple coats of white epoxy paint and provide nice smooth non porous surfaces which are easy to keep clean and help with one of our other fundamental principles of low maintenance.
If you look closely on the inside of second horizontal grid off the floor you can see how the grid is also used to mount perforated trays to carry hoses, pipes and wires across the Cabins.
Omer continues this way working his way across the aft WT Bulkhead which isolates the Guest Cabin from the Workshop and ER.
He soon has the grid completed surrounding the WT door at the end of the corridor outside the Guest Cabin where you can enter the Port/Left wing of the Workshop.
Spinning around to look forward and diagonally across the Guest Cabin to the Starboard side Omer has picked up where he left off last week by mounting the grids where the Cabin transforms into the Galley cupboards with the stove and oven.
As we covered in last week’s update this transition and grid has aluminium stepped frames to span the offset area between where the Galley floor ends and the massive aft frame begins.
Zooming in on the far end to better see how the stepped grid as it clears the fuel hoses. The blue clamp is clamping the grid to the stepped aluminium frame hidden behind. If you look closely (click to enlarge any photo) at the upper right corner of the photo above, you can make out this outer 50mm/ 2” L bar.
That’s it for the week that was August 19 to 23, 2019 and all thanks to everyone on Team Möbius with an extra shout out to Yiğit for taking all these photos for your intrepid reporter who is now sailing past several of the worlds largest and most impressive “GigaYachts” (Super no longer applies) here in Sardinia including the Maltese Falcon, A and Dilbar. I’ll create a bit of a photo summary of these boats for you next week.
Ciao for now,