When we left off in the last update, we had arrived in SXM aka Saint Martin (France) or Sint Marteen (Netherlands) on Valentine’s Day. We anchored for the night on the south side in Simpson Bay (Red on map) and then headed inside to the large “Great Pond” lagoon through the Bridge on the Dutch side, then over through the Causeway Bridge to where we have been anchored ever since.
We are anchored about equidistant from the dinghy docks on the French side to the North and the Dutch side to the south so our location has worked out well and we’ve spent time eXploring SXM by foot and pretty much circumnavigating this fascinating island by rental car.
SXM is home to many super yachts as well as being a popular tourist destination so we have been enjoying the largest supply of groceries, marine supplies, postal services we’ve had since arriving on this side of the Atlantic. There is even a Costco-like Cost U Less which was a bit overwhelming for us but we recovered long enough to stock up on wine, meat and groceries.
And as if that wasn’t enough, next door was a very large French based Carrefour store as well so Möbius is now very well stocked up.
On our drive around the island we eXplored some of the smaller town that dot most of the coastal roads.
Up on the North side we found this spot right on the water and
enjoyed a good BBQ lunch in the soft trade wind breezes while watching the boats anchored out in front.
Starlink Internet has arrived on Möbius!
As you can see from the smile, the BIG news aboard Möbius is that we have now joined the Starlink community! Christine spent a LOT of time figuring out the rather complex logistics of just how and where to get this satellite based internet solution registered and sent to us and SXM was her choice and it arrived without too much complication on Friday.
For those who may not know, Starlink is a relatively new way of getting a pretty fast internet connection via a constellation of Low Earth Orbit LEO satellites launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company. This enables us to now have a solid internet connection from pretty much anywhere we wander and anchor in this awemazing world of ours. For nomadic people like us, this is an eXtremely BIG deal!
You might think that such an advanced new solution would be very complex, but you’d be wrong. There are really just two parts, the dish itself, apparently officially called “Dishy”, that goes outside on the supplied mounting stand and then a wireless router which goes inside.
Only two wires required to complete the setup, one being the power to the router which for now we are using 240V AC but will change to 24V DC in the future. And then a second cable to connect Dishy to the router.
Dishy has a set of motors which automatically move the rectangular dish for the best direction to capture the most satellites streaming in the sky above which is mostly North in our current location. The aluminium stand nicely jammed itself between the handrail and the triangular walls of the front of the Salon roof so I have set Dishy up there for now.
We will bring him inside when we are on passages until I decide how and where to mount him more permanently. Given that Möbius will sometimes be at all 360 degrees of the compass, I will be doing a “hack” that will remove or disconnect the alignment motors and allow me to mount the dish flat and solid most likely up on the front of the SkyBridge roof. This solid flat mount should be much more robust mount and long lasting.
It turns out that with more and more satellites being launched and with so many nomads like us in RV’s and boats, some bright minds have figured out that because the phase array antennae inside Dishy can pick up satellites in about a 100 degree wide cone above, the dish will work very well when permanently mounted flat. Seems too good to be true but there are enough other nomadic Starlink users who have done this and kindly shared their setup on blogs and YouTube videos, I’m quite sure this will work fine for us.
Starlink has also done an eXcellent job of creating an app that allows you to setup your system in a matter of minutes which was also very impressive. Once I had Dishy mounted and temporarily ran the cable back inside the boat to the router, it took less than 5 minutes to have it all working and record this quick speed test that is built into the app. We’ve now been using this new internet connection for the past three days and so far we are both very pleased. The app also has a full set of stats that it records and we can see that there have been some brief outages but so far nothing that we have notices performance wise when using the connection for streaming, Email, web searching, etc. I will track and update our performance, use and modifications to our new Starlink setup and share them in future posts so stay tuned for more.
Meanwhile, back in Wayne’s World….
Much less exciting update is that I continue to make progress on getting Möbius more and more seaworthy and working my way through the always growing job list. Our Bosch washing machine stopped working part way through its latest cycle and I spent several hours trying to figure out why without much success so far. Unfortunately and like most modern washing machines it seems, they are all now “smart appliances” with everything run by LED touch screens and automated sensors that shut things down as soon as they detect a problem.
All well and good except that once they turn off they won’t turn on again until the problem has been corrected so you can’t do anymore diagnosis. Real smart! Grrrrrrrrrrrr
I’ll take another run at it by removing it from the cabinet which takes time but I suspect this will need to wait till we get to a larger country where I can have better choices and options for assistance.
I spent time this past two weeks working on getting our Maretron N2K View monitoring system reporting more and more info on our main monitors at each helm as well as on our phones and tablets.
This past week I was finally able to get some of the key engine data from Mr. Gee converted and sent to our N2K View Maretron system so that we can have things like engine RPM, loads, EGT, oil & water temperature, oil pressure, etc. now configured as new virtual gauges on any screen on the boat. This screen is from another boat but will give you an idea of the kinds of gauges I am creating with the N2K View program.
It is slow and tedious work, in part because I’m needing to figure out how this process all works and getting all the senders and gauges in synch and talking nicely to each other so I spend a LOT of time staring at fun screens like this, but I am making progress however slowly and should have all of Mr. Gee’s data on these screens by next week.
Solar Panel Roof Update
As many of you know we mounted 8 of our 14 320Wh solar panels on top of the aluminium frame of the SkyBridge roof which has worked out very well. This shot a few minutes ago in the late afternoon so there is some shading on the rear panels from the overhead arch with the Radar and other antennae on it which reduces the output, but we have much more solar power production than we need so very happy with the overall performance.
Here is the graph of solar performance for the past 7 days. The solar output is regulated by the MPPT charge controllers as the batteries charge and tapers off till they are fully charged and then stops charging so there is much more solar capacity than we use each 24 hour day and typically our batteries are back to 100% by noon.
Looking up from inside the SkyBridge you can see how the solar panels have been attached directly to the AL frames using adhesive/sealant to form the roof itself. The white undersides with a bit of light coming through keeps things very bright but shaded.
Unfortunately the sealant/adhesive that was used was not the correct UV resistant required along the ridge line which is fully exposed to the sun and was starting to break down and we had two small leaks inside the SkyBridge in heavy rains. The ridge is the only point of attachment that is exposed to UV as all the other surfaces are between the bottom of the AL frames of each solar panel and the 200mm wide AL roof frames underneath so the majority of the seal was fine.
Using a putty knife and box cutter blade I was able to remove all the old sealant along the ridge line joints, clean them all with acetone and then mask them off.
I purchased some 3M 5200 which has eXcellent UV resistance in my past experience with it and was able to inject it deep into the crevice running along the ridge where the two solar panel frames butted at a slight angle. Just for added insurance, I masked off the glass about 5mm past the AL frames to add an extra layer of sealant so I think this should now be fully sealed for many years to come.
St. Thomas here we come!
My Weather Wonderwoman aka Captain Christine tells me that there is an eXcellent weather window on Tuesday March 7th and so if the forecasts hold we will pull up the anchor and head out through the French side bridge to the north of us, Green on the map here.
This should be a relatively short passage of about 110 nautical miles, 200km/125 miles, and we’ll make this a night passage so that we arrive in St. Thomas with good light the next morning for navigating and anchoring.
As you can see from this larger scale map of the whole Caribbean, we will now be turning Westward for the next few passages as we make our way over to the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and then likely continue NW to eXplore the Bahama islands.
Kling a ling a ling
Most excitingly though, we are heading for St. Thomas because our 7 year old Grandson Liam is flying there along with his Mom & Dad aka Tim & Ashley on March 22nd for their first time aboard Möbius!
We will have a few weeks to get well setup probably around the East end of St. Thomas and figure out how everything works there so we can maximize the precious time we have with our family.
I will bring you the details of our passage over to St. Thomas in the next update and thanks so much for taking the time to join us once again here as our adventures continue.
Fascinating watching the evolution of the boat. Everything from caulking to roll motion control to engine health monitoring. Be careful of “living with”. Moved into a house and unhinged the folding door on my bedroom closet. 15 years later I fixed the door to get the house ready to sell!!!
By the by, IMO, the rolling motion of a power boat is radically different than that of a sail boat in relationship to everything including the angle of the deck and all wind and sea conditions. I’ll be curious to see where that resolution ends.
It’s all part of the journey.
Hi John, great points as always. I too have had far too many of those “living with” situations in boats, vehicles and homes, and continue to keep them in mind to help me avoid adding too many new ones to the list. For me it is more a matter of time allocation and “triage”, knowing how to best prioritize the jobs on the list with the time available each day to work on them. The ToDo lists are also in constant competition with the ToLearn lists for the always scarce amount of time each day but that’s a long standing problem for me as well so I’ll just keep trying for continuous improvement along these lines. People like you help “keep me honest” with your comments and observations which I very much appreciate, even if I often don’t always heed them as much as you’d like I’m sure. 😉
Rolling motion on boats is a fascinating topic isn’t it! It has been particularly educational for Christine and I to observe how all the boats around us in anchorages and underway behave compared to us as we try to understand what accounts for the differences and similarities. My sense is that sail vs power is not directly responsible for the differences as I think it is more so due to hull shapes. Based on my observations over the years, sailboat hulls tend to have more similarities amongst them or at least the differences are less significant with most being quite rounded in general and a matter of how smoothly so vs chines and harder transitions. Power boat hulls seem to have a much greater degree of differences with some being very flat bottomed for example with high degrees of initial stability which tends to fall of rapidly when that initial stability gives way as the boat rolls more. In the case of power boats such as Möbius with their very low length to beam ratios our hulls are very similar to sailboat hulls and the greater differences in roll characteristics on sailboats are due to the effects of their keel ballast below the water and rigging above.
For the most part we are quite happy with the roll characteristics of Möbius as they have pretty much matched our expectations based on all our conversations with Dennis our designer and other boats with similar hull shapes. The quick summary would be that we roll easily but also stop rolling quite quickly and easily. That’s been one of the more interesting observations of our rolling vs other boats we can see near us in the same conditions. Similarly, as it requires less force to cause us to roll it also requires less force to reduce or counteract the roll and so our paravanes have exceeded our expectations so far and especially for version 1 of these DIY paravanes I built. When time allows I will build a second set with a larger surface area as I think this would provide more roll reduction with very little added drag. And I will also try lengthening the fixed length lines holding the booms out at a 45 degree angle right now and see how angles like 50 or 55 degrees which will increase the distance away from the hull they are and thus increase their lever arm, affect the roll reduction. For now they are a great option to have whenever we want and we’ve been very pleased with how well they reduce the roll in the sea and wind states we have been in so far.
One thing I’ve been surprised by of late is the degree of roll reduction on boats with fin type active stabilizers. Hard to do very accurate comparisons because the hulls are all so different but I’ve been seeing some graphs of roll on several powerboats with fin stabilizers and they are showing regular rolling well above 10-15 degrees which I would not have expected. Of course I have zero experience on boats with active stabilizers so don’t really have anything to base my expectations upon, but I’m now wondering if the difference in terms of roll attenuation between passive paravanes and active fins is as large as I once thought? I’ ve been having some particularly great Email discussions with a fellow follower here who has extensive experience with both paravanes and active fin stabilizers on two of his boats and his thoughts are the same, that active is great to have but the actual roll reduction is not that much. No denying the convenience of being able to turn active stabilizers On/Off at a flip of a switch or adjust their rate of action from zero to 100% with the turn of a knob, and I can fully appreciate how nice that would be. On the other hand, we get to not only turn our paravanes “off” we get to remove them and their drag and extension from the hull completely by just pulling them out of the water and back onboard. Definitely with more time and effort than a flick of a switch to be sure, but retrieval is becoming easier and faster as I tweak the PV rigging and get more practice so no complaints so far.
I’ll continue to evolve our paravane setup and report on that here as well as our observations on how the roll attenuation works in different scenarios out on the water as we venture forward.
Thanks for your continued interest and great commentary John, look forward to more.
There is a new Starlink FLAT HIGH PERFORMANCE
Hi Chris, thanks for commenting. Yes, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the rapidly evolving Starlink offerings of both hardware and service plans and the high performance flat version certainly caught our attention. For now though we didn’t see the value add for our use case to be there and this was more so as you intended I think, an added vote of confidence as to how well a flat mounted Starlink dish can work. As I noted in the blog post, there are now so many enterprising Starling users who are in similary nomadic situations as we are, who have been rapidly experimenting with different “hacks” to their Starlink dishes and routers, that I have high confidence that I can modify our first dish to a flatmount that I’ll start building soon as well as converting our Starlink setup over to a 24V DC to reduce consumption and likely eliminate the Starlink router entirely and just have the dish directly connected to our Peplink router.
Sounds like you are also very well tuned in to the ever evolving Starlink community and please do let me know as you spot new things that you think I should be aware of and trying.
Congratulations on the Starlink upgrade! It certainly is a game changer…
I’m in the process of converting ours to a 12 VDC system as running the inverter to service the Starlink is a significant waste of energy.
This guy (another Canadian eh!) does an excellent job of explaining how he converted his Starlink to a flat mount running off DC power.
Maybe you have all this totally figured out already but I found this very useful.
Yes, the new Starlink addition to the Möbius family has been a most welcome one alright Evan. Not only for the increased speed often available but also for the reduced hassle of sorting out logistics for new SIM cards and data plans as we move from country to country.
And yes, we have been following my fellow Canadian adventurer and his great “Everlander” YouTube channel for many years now. He is a wealth of learning and information, particularly with electronic DIY things which I am severely lacking so I’m an avid follower and have already watched his Starlink mods several times. Not sure that I ever have anything “totally figured out” but with the incredible supply of diverse resources likes of YouTube provides I’m usually able to figure it all out eventually.
Let me know how you make out with your DC conversion and I will provide updates as I do ours as well.
Your Bosch dishwasher has a problem with the door (sensor).
The solution for those error codes are easyly found
Here is the german version. And videos are one youtube.
Bedeutung des Fehlercodes:
Der Bosch Spülmaschine Fehlercode E06 weist auf ein Problem mit dem Türsensor des Geschirrspülers oder einen elektronischen Fehler hin. Der Reedkontakt in der Türverriegelung funktioniert nicht ordnungsgemäß.
Bosch Geschirrspülmaschine Fehlercode E06 – Ersatzteilshop
You should still be under warranty thought.
You rebuild a gardner engine, so this should be easy for you.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments and part numbers TC.
Unfortunately, the error code I’m getting on our Bosch Series 6 washing machine is E:05 and -10 and there seems to be multiple causes for this according to the lists of error codes I’ve been able to get from Bosch and from some calls with them. The current theory is that it is a problem with either the drain or the water supply and perhaps the water pump. What’s frustrating is that there does not seem to be any way to determine which one is the actual problem other than by taking the machine apart and removing and testing each one. Warrantee has expired unfortunately so no help there and for now I’m going to wait till we are in a larger population area and also stopped for awhile so I can remove the machine and the parts and do more testing.
If you know of any other details or ideas for resolving an E:05 -10 error code in a Bosch Series 6 WAT246H0TR/57 washing machine please do let me know.
Türsensor 00611312 611312 Bosch, Siemens, Neff
Türsensor 00611312 611312 Bosch, Siemens, Neff
OT: OriginalTeil BSH-Gruppe/Bosch/Siemens.. 00611312.
Erkennt , ob die Tür offen oder geschlossen ist.
Here are the sparepart numbers….
You are both remarkable,the updates on Mobius are never ending and so interesting ..
I remember your location well and our racing at Heinekin !in 2018.
.Have a good holiday with the family hopefully one day I will see you all again on water !
Hi there Marj! Hope things are warming up for you although from what we hear the whole PNE has been getting some very cold and nasty weather of late.
The Heineken Rally just ended yesterday and Christine remembers it equally as well from when she was a journalist covering this years ago for one of the sailing magazines.
Hope our wakes will cross again sometime soon and in the interim, thanks for joining us this way.
Don’t leave St. Martin without having one of the best meals of your life at Moulin Fou https://moulinfou.com. Food is absolutely amazing!
Of course we get this recommendation just as we get back onboard this afternoon and are leaving tomorrow! However, we’ve been here in SXM several times before and I’m sure we’ll be back so we’ll keep this recommendation for Moulin Fou in mind.
Appreciate you thinking of us and our tummies Chris!