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Explorer Yacht Nears a Launch Date

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

Time for a quick tour of our explorer yacht Vanguard with pictures taken during our recent visit to Naval Yachts.

The yacht launch date has slipped (again) and is now the end of June 2023. There is no profit in complaining at this stage, all parties have their eye on the goal of a successful build, and we look forward to starting our journey in the second half of this year.

An evening's lecture from Magnus Day sampling his voyages at High Latitudes. Present also was Joe Rowles our UK MCA Surveyor who attended to complete the tonnage survey so we can Flag Vanguard..

Preparing for the yacht launch

Yacht Paint

We are starting from the stem and working our way aft. Paint adorns the hull with the superstructure in primer — International Marine salmon orange over a hull fully faired with around 3 tonnes of epoxy. We were inclined to follow the crowd and keep her in bare marine-grade aluminum, but Sebrina intervened with her designer's eye. Some debates are not worth having, so we painted Vanguard. The final test is a scientific measurement of reflectivity, yes, pretty and shiny, but how will she fare after a season or two voyaging through brash ice?

"Orange is the new aluminum" so to speak. Good if we forget our mirror.

Making our way along the hull, we see the orange stopped at the rubbing strake, (currently masked off). This will be matt black, again, international marine paint. I have a perhaps forlorn hope that a spray can repair any damage. Time will tell.

Two-thirds of the way down the hull, we come to the DMS Magnus Effect stabilizers or their drives, which are now fitted and flared into the hull. The rotors (not yet fitted) are treated as sacrificial and will break off on impact. This prevents hull damage and negates the need for structural cofferdams. Stabilizers work on the Magnus principle providing righting force at speeds above 2 knots. Low power consumption, no hydraulic oil, and full stowing are advantages. They will fold parallel to the hull when not in use and do not extend below the bilge line, thus providing a margin for grounding. We fitted a small rope guard on the leading edge to protect from floating nets and sargassum. It is a simple 8mm aluminum plate, somewhat weaker than the 15mm hull plate, and easily bent without damaging the hull. The right hand illustration shows the stabilizer in folded position. It's higher on the hull side than the keg so protected from grounding.

Naval Yachts have yet to complete the twin skegs and rudders.

We did inspect the Bruntons shaft lines and rudder stock materials that have just arrived for machining. Rudder bearings are Jefa self-aligning units identical to those fitted on Hull No 1 - Mobius. This should limit jamming if a stock is damaged. Stocks are 100% oversized in diameter, making them considerably more substantial than is strictly necessary at first glance.

Shot from aft to forward showing. half completed keg. Props are smiling set in tunnels for protection and to allow larger diameter props on a shallow draft hull.

Work on the flybridge continues with the installation of the navigation console. The structure carries two 24" MFD screens from Praxis running Time Zero Professional, autopilot, engine controls, jog lever, VHF, and steering. At the insistence of Akan Dumrul, our owner's rep, a small heater is provided to limit condensation. (Akan is an absolute star, and I'd recommend him to anyone with a similar project.) A selector at the central helm station accomplishes handover between helms. We designed the console slightly taller than necessary to provide weather protection as the flybridge is open-sided. Two SHOX Helm chairs are height-adjustable, so Sebrina should still have a good view. The console is orientated towards the starboard side for docking, creating more usable space on the flybridge. We have to store toys somewhere, I guess. The flybridge ceiling stops short of the sides to create ventilation under the metal structure. This will help improve their efficiency. Solar panels are flexible and will follow the camber of the roof. They also have electrical connections on the underside for clean lines. Solar panels are grouped by size and location, feeding their output to one of 5 Victron MPPT charge controllers in the engine room. We have installed 7.5kW (peak), which should be plenty for our domestic needs, even by US standards!

Preparing for the yacht launch - yacht cabins fit

Cabin fit-out is also progressing, with panels returning after the final lacquer coating. The Fore and Main cabins are mostly complete, with the aft cabin being a work in progress. I find our visits are increasingly necessary at this stage. An example is the aft cabin ceiling that seemed acceptable for the yard installers (average 5'8 height) but needed further adjustment for my larger 6' frame. We found room in the deckhead, and up it will go! There were a few more examples, not evident from the drawings, but that would make the difference between functional and complete pain in practice. Headroom and handrail grips are probably the most common that we spotted, followed by access and unused storage.

During our visit, I counted some 20 men working on Vanguard in a last push to get her to the launch date.

Naval Yachts are trying hard. Our time is drawing near, and we have assembled a team to help start the journey and to keep it safe in the remote spots we intend to visit.

We took a good proportion our UK and USA based families along or the visit. Stayed at Casa Sur, an Ottoman era hotel in the old town of Kaleici, Antalya.

Knowing that two years of continuous effort is due to culminate, it's a strange feeling, and a new horizon will soon become visible. Life is like that, though, unexpected, indiscernible, and forever changing around us.

Chris Leigh-Jones

As a random aside, I received a picture this morning. In Greece, our son Jeff, up the mast of a 45-foot Hallsberg Rassy. Better phone reception, apparently.

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