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A Day in the Life of an Explorer Yacht Build

Explorer Yacht Engine Room
Engine room of Vanguard

Monday marked the start of our fifth week since returning to Turkey. Many projects in life go awry, so this one is not alone. However, after a focused effort from Yard staff, our owner rep, and the delivery crew, we now see an order coalesce out of chaos. We have remained in the accessible customs-free zone, a Godsend for convenience. However, that will end on 24th May, when we must finally leave.  

So, what does a typical day look like on our small Explorer Yacht construction planet, 7000 miles from home? A list of our team's typical activities would help the uninitiated understand what they may face in their project. 

Vanguard Tender
  • 03.00 - Can't sleep, so I'm calling my family in the Carolinas. With a 7-hour time difference, it's a good time to catch them. All seems good and under control, so I'll go back to sleep (happier). 

  • 08.00 - breakfast, enough tea to sink a battleship. Turkey likes its tea, and I have a British habit of putting milk in it to their eternal amusement. A big old enamel mug provides the vehicle. 

  • 09.00 arrive at the Notary Public to certify a letter of authority so that Mark, our delivery Captain, can act for the crew and vessel. Vanguard is within an LLC registered in Newport, RI; a local law firm is our representative. Turkish authorities require my name on the same page as a Government stamp and Vanguard's details. That does not exist, and the local Notorary rejected it. We reached out to a notary in South Carolina to do this remotely. Frustrating.

  • 10.00 arrive on Vanguard. Assist Huseyin, our full-time mechanical fitter, in launching the Highfield tender so that we may access partially completed chocks. It's now a 1 man launch but easier with two. We have fabricated rollers for the rear chock so that the tender can be maneuvered after shipping. We also fabricated grub screws to fill the remaining deck holes resulting from modifying the original chocks. (DeWalt cordless grinder - wonderful!)

Vanguard finishing
New roller chock supports
  • A new outboard engine cover was delivered and fitted with an identifying name. 

  •  11.00 Pressure-washed the aft deck. Mark asked if the detergent was environmentally safe? I have no clue other than it's purple (irrelevant). He had a point and we evaded the harbor authorities this time. 

  • Refitted exhaust elbows after modifying them to accept temperature transducers.  (silicone based waterproof grease, handy for forcing the elbows back in to the flexible pipes.)

  • At 12.00, I tidied orphaned junk on the aft deck and then removed the trash (this always makes me feel happier). 

  • Selected a location for an earth detection system, packed up our rather oversized John Deere wire harnesses, and hid them out of sight. 

  • Chased delivery of 6-way fuel change over valve hung up in the Free Zone customs (that happens quite often). 

  • Installed a new water transfer pump. We had specified a Grundfoss Scala pump, but it required a backflow valve in the suction line. Since a single hose line fills and empties the tank, it won't work (despite some colorful language), so we changed this to a self-priming Gianchi pump available from Istambul. Nordhavn also uses these pumps. (silicone based waterproof grease, handy for forcing the elbows back in to the flexible pipes.)

  • Oversaw the return of the hybrid E-Motors after fitting new drive couplings. The originals were poorly machined and fitted, contributing partly to excessive vibration under load. We also modified the coupling to allow for the specified 5mm end float. We had the subcontractor manufacture 12mm steel bracing plates to ensure the relative orientation of the E-Motors and Esco Power PHT drive gearboxes. I'll report back when we test these units next week. 

  • Our owner rep, Akan, continued working with the electricians to calibrate the tank gauges. Access to one black water tank is especially difficult, though luckily, it is identical to the adjacent grey water tank so that we can use the same calibration constants. 

  • Mark discussed the sea trial plan. He created working lists for tests dockside and then at sea, so we have a solid record of progress and consensus on success. He is also working on a crew and owner training manual.

  • The forward engine room door is also the aft cabin door. We added heavy viscose sound deadening to the cabin side interior before replacing the fire retarding rock wool fill. (Some things are just worth doing!)

Engine Room Doors
New Sound deadening fill
  • Ordered Time Zero's worldwide chart database and a weather routing package from OS in Palma de Majorca. The delivery will include an installation support package. Mark discussed with Praxis why the onboard computers are write-protected, preventing us from loading our charts effectively. (This oversight needs a software fix - it happens to the best of us). 

  • To conclude the day, we began to examine the Furuno DFF side-scanning sonar system but needed help with the setup and charts.

  • 17.00: I cycled back to our hotel and wrote this blog before dinner. Two beers and a family call followed. (I also bought a bottle of half-decent Whiskey and started on my future.) 

  • Our Praxis commissioning engineer, Marcus, returns on Sunday next, so we should be in sea trials in earnest next week. There will be plenty to report then! 

Lastly, this week, my thanks for another day at the grindstone to our Captain, Mark, and Rep, Akan. To tireless Huseyin from Naval and electrical subcontractor METS and mechanical Navantech for their effort on the installation, to the staff at local shipyard Allia for helping out in their free time, the management of Serenity Yachts for their resources (and to also to the power of the almighty US$$ for lubricating the wheels of local industry.)

Close now. 

Turkish Breakfast
Breakfast, Turkish style

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