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Turkey or Bust! - Our Unforgettable Yacht Build with an Expert Expedition Yacht Builder

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

Early June has seen us pack and set off for a new temporary home in Turkey. This is a stage of the build where we want to be here and be part of the final decisions before all becomes frozen physically and in time. We are witnessing this final stage of our explorer yacht build. This stage is not for the faint-hearted. You will be witness to chaos, sometimes more controlled than others. I steel myself with the belief that this is not their first or last hull, so all will be good. A kind of trust but verify approach.

So what are we witnessing since the last visit here two months ago?


Rudders, these are now completed and ready for installation. Two massively oversized rudder stocks drive around 1 m^2 of rudder blade area. Our biggest concern is broaching in a steep following sea. A good rudder area, limited in angle so as not to stall the flow and linked to a fast-acting steering system, should provide the protection we need. The lower 30% of, each rudder is weaker than the rest and so sacrificial in the event of grounding or impact. Stocks will fit in two self-aligning Jeffra bearings providing insurance from jamming should we manage to bend anything. Driving these rudders are independent hydraulic rams and steering systems from Wills Ridley (discussed elsewhere). We can control in unison, toe in or out as the water stream dictates, and control independently for close-quarters maneuvering and dynamic positioning. I hope it works as designed!


The dry fit of the internal furniture is complete, and most is removed for final finishing. The hull has been picked clean, although the assembly will return quickly.

Edges of the flybridge are kept open to provide air flow cooling to the solar panels above.

Support systems

Behind it goes all the internal systems and support cabling. We have also flushed out a few access issues we can remedy before completion. I do not have a comprehensive wire schedule but suffice it to say that we have now installed more than 15kM of marine-grade cables. Simple ideas tend to become more complicated than initially envisaged. Additional support systems for Victron hotel electrical systems and Webasto HVAC are now substantially complete.

Navigation mast

On completion of fabrication, the navigation mast was faired, primed then installed onto the flybridge roof. I had initially assumed it was bolted in place but discovered welding. I suppose we still have access to cutting discs at some point!

We changed the specification on our Khalenberg air horn from pneumatic to electric. Not quite so resonant, but it saves installing a dedicated compressor and still fulfills the 130dB requirement for vessels over 20m LWL. Hull sensors are also now installed. It will hang under the lower radar bracket.

It would be easy to parachute into the yard, see the chaos underway and practice a form of management best described as "seagull," with lots of action and noise. I don't think this will produce a good result, so we have taken a different approach. From now on, we will hold weekly client meetings to discuss progress and issues. Ongoing in parallel, we run an ever-growing list of tasks we have seen ourselves as overlooked and additional requests. We are the curator of this list, so nothing gets forgotten, but the yard has the scope to address each in good order, and we do not contribute to an already slightly fraught process.

Chris Leigh-Jones

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