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Yacht Engines and Cabins Get Installed

Updated: May 5, 2023

We have progress to report this week. Our Explorer Yacht, Vanguard, looks like Santa and his Merry Helpers have descended in hopeful anticipation of an imminent Christmas. Twenty-odd Turkish Tradesmen working in Naval Yachts are installing electrical cabins and drive trains. So here we go!

Yacht Engines

Let us start with the yacht engines. Vanguard carries two John Deere 4045 engines rated for continuous operation at 160hp each, EPA Tier III compliant. Pretty small by most measures BUT, we have a very slippery hull! That is 100% redundancy for propulsion with independent service and control systems. In a similar configuration as the FPB 70, each engine can run 24 hours a day at full load, so we have no fear of long ocean crossings. Attached to the flywheel is a mechanical clutch and a hybrid 1.4:1 step-down drive from EscoPower. The purpose of this drive is similar to a PTO (power take-off on a gearbox). It lets us operate our electric drive train at a higher speed than the engine, so we get a smaller motor and can operate at a decent torque well below the engine's idle speed. This drive outputs through a 2.46:1 Twin Disc reversing gearbox connected to the propeller drive shafts via a universal coupling from Bruntons. A mechanical shaft break also allows the Bruntons propellers to feather when unused. FPB 70 and 78 used ZF gearboxes; we selected a comparable Twin Disc as the down angle was more optimized for our needs allowing the engine installation at an angle nearer horizontal.

Below are photographs of how this fits into the engine room. The engines are painted white, and both gearboxes are dark grey.

Staying with the engine room, we also installed two 25 KVA (kilovolt amps or 20kW) dual-function transformers. Enclosures will be custom-made to save space. These filter the 3-phase line voltage output from two equally significant 25KVA High-Frequency Power Converters. These HF units take 600 VDC from the power storage batteries and drop the voltage to a more useable 415 VAC, 50 Hz 3 phase. The resultant sign wave is not very clean; a transformer cleans this noise. Their second task is acting as isolation transformers between shore power and our electric systems to prevent ground current circulation and protect our hull from galvanic corrosion when connected to the dock. With these, we can use commercial marine berths and their 3-phase power facilities to charge our primary batteries whenever needed. They are also typically a lot cheaper per day than the big fancy yacht berths, and we can hide amongst the commercial harbor craft and fishing boats away from the madding crowd.

Yacht Cabins - Yacht Saloon

Of more interest to my wife Sebrina is the progress with the saloon. The installation has begun on the galley and the remaining furniture. Our recent yard visit was timely as we needed significantly smaller window mullions. This was especially true around the helm station and an unapparent issue from the drawings. With some prompting, Naval Yachts came up with a viable solution, and the space now looks considerably more open with good visibility around the helm. Behind all this is not wasted space, whether HVAC units (Webasto), wiring, plumbing, or storage as necessary.

We also started to mock up the screen positions for the main helm but have yet to approve just how they will be finally mounted. Our inspiration was an exhibition display unit we saw during a recent visit to Praxis, and it retains an open feel to the setup.

Well, I expected a short Blog, but it is longer than intended and gave me a chance finally to "dweeb out" on the mechanical specification. More on this in the coming weeks as we approach our launch date.

Chris Leigh-Jones

Time is running short for me as I will leave the USA for Turkey in late May, with our family joining in mid-June. Tasks take forever when time is endless, but not now. We have rented out our home from June onwards. It presently sees a growing pile of US-sourced equipment and our belongings to ship to Turkey. Insurance and vessel registration (Jersey Registry) is in hand. I also upgraded my US Coast Guard 50T "6 Pack" qualification to Master 100T, Near Coastal.

Sebrina is worried it may make me insufferable; she can be annoyingly intuitive.

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