Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays

Enjoy the Holidays!
Ours is going to be pretty tropical in Panama city - we're setting up the pool in the backyard - but not as exotic as Santa here.
Apparently he's spending the holidays at San Blas or Kuna Yala, home of the Kuna Indians.
A beautiful group of picture-perfect islands that we plan to visit many timen when our vessel's conversion is finished.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Entertainment systems - an update

Well, back to reality. I finally got to speak with a Crestron dealer about the system I had in mind and well, no way we're going to spend that kind of $$$.
So, we'll stick to individual home entertainment systems for each stateroom and a library of DVD's our guests can borrow whenever they like.
There are nice compact systems out there like Denon's S-301 that plays DVDs, CD's, will deliver great sound, even iPod connectivity and for a fraction of the price.
And for $ 65 we can buy a multi system, multi zone DVD player and hook it up in case our European guests bring their own DVD's. Approximate savings: $ 70 K :-).

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Sanitary system

Toilets on board of ships have some special requirements. Depending on the state of the sea, the discharge will be, let's say "the wrong way" unless special equipment is used. The modern solution is a vacuum system just like they use on airliners.
Everything is collected in a waste treatment plant and then discharged overboard or put in a holding tank when in port.

The company Jets of Norway makes the most commonly used vacuum system on ships. Vacuum systems have a lot of installation advantages as well AND they save huge amounts of water. Instead of 2-4 gallons per flush (8-16 liters) we'll only need 1/3/of a gallon (1.2 liters) because the vacuum is doing the work, not the water.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

An expedition vessel without a sub?

Right. Impossible! So, we plan to make this vessel sub ready in order to accommodate it once we can afford one. We already have a model in mind. The 3-person Triumph from SeaMagine.

This is without doubt the ultimate toy to have. But it's actually not a toy! It's a fully ABS classed submarine, capable to go down to 457 m (1500 ft). Yep. Serious stuff. With a serious price tag too.

The photo below shows the sub placed on a platform at the stern but we would place it on the main deck in front so we don't increase the length of our vessel with would affect us in our Panama Canal transits.

We'll be ready for it but for the time being, this $ub will have to wait.

Need an appraisal for you vessel?

Some time ago I realized I might need some extra $$ to do the conversion. Talking with my local bank they asked me for a appraisal of the vessel. I looked at different companies and through the recommendation of Marijke Bot I found Van Duyvendijk & Zonen . They did a speedy job and came up with a fair value and a good report that helped me arrange more financing.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Building to class?

Peter Watson of Watson Trawlers in Whangarei, has a design philosophy I totally share. His company makes a very fine line of steel trawlers and he wrote a very clear article on the matter of classification. To learn more about truly oceangoing trawlers yachts, visit his website

by Peter Watson
At this point we should touch on Classification, because from here on many points of design and construction come within the Rules of Survey if the vessel is intended to be “classed”.
The classification societies are curious institutions. They are non-profit non-governmental incorporated societies who publish rules, standards, guides and other criteria for the design and construction of marine vessels of all kinds. They review designs and carry out surveys during construction to verify compliance with such rules. They issue certificates of survey on completion if the vessel has been built in accordance with their Rules and Regulations. Governments also grant them powers to issue Loadline, Tonnage and Safety Certificates for Merchant Shipping of all kinds operating in their Registry.

The principal Classification Societies that issue rules for Motor Yachts are:

  • ABS – American Bureau of Shipping
  • L.R. – Lloyds Register of Shipping
  • BV – Bureau Veritas

Each of these societies publishes Motor Yacht Rules for construction in steel, aluminum, GRP and wood. These Rules and Regulations have been developed over more than 100 years of trial and error, research and statistical analysis. They provide a good guide to designers and builders for design and construction even though it may not be intended to be “class” the vessel. It is from these Rules that we shall base our comments on Subdivision and Watertightness. Structural Strength, Machinery and Electrical Installation, Steering Gear and Equipment Installation.

The decision to build to class should be made at the design stage because, from our experience, obtaining a class certificate after construction (CAC) is a very difficult proposition and at best the certificate will be a slightly inferior class.

What are the advantages of classification?

For the owner classification has great benefits.

  • He can be certain that the vessel has been built to a recognized standard by properly certified personel after plan approval.
  • The hull materials will be of an approved and certified type.
  • The Classification certificate will be recognized by insurance companies and will result in lower premiums.
  • The resale value of the vessel will be enhanced.

What are the disadvantages of classification?

  • The build cost is higher.
  • Annual fees are payable.
  • The vessel is required to have annual surveys.
  • The vessel has to be dry-docked every 2 1/2 years for a full underwater survey.

What class notations are available?

The Classification Societies are reluctant to grant full Class notations to private motor yachts under about 78ft mainly because it is not economic for them to do so. They will however undertake plan approvals, survey the vessel during construction and issue a letter of attestation on completion stating that the vessel has been built according to their Rules and Regulations. There are no further surveys or fees payable after this time. If subsequent to this the owner converts the vessel to “ply for hire” or for other commercial purposes a classification certificate can be applied for based on the original letter of attestation. . It should also be borne in mind that if owners have future intentions of chartering their vessels many Government regulations are also applicable which are outside of the scope of degree of class mentioned. All these need to be considered at the design stage.

For vessels over 78ft we recommend that a full Classification Certificate be obtained. For example our W79 Trawler Yacht is delivered with the following class notation:

Bureau Veritas - I 3/3E YACHT-/s ·MACH STB

  • I 3/3E: indicates the hull is designed and built to the highest BV standards applicable.

  • E: means the equipment (anchors and cable) meets the applicable requirements of the rules.

  • YACHT-/s: indicates the service notation and hull material (steel).

  • MACH: means the vessel machinery has type approval and is installed to BV satisfaction.

  • STB: an inclining experiment has been carried out on the completed vessel and stability file prepared and approved.

In addition to the above it is well worth considering for vessels over 78ft, obtaining M.C.A certification. This certificate will allow the vessel to be chartered from Red Ensign States and thereby greatly enhance eventual saleabililty.

In conclusion it can be seen that some degree of class approval is beneficial for an owner of a trawler yacht and should be seriously considered. Beware of vessels advertised as “built to Lloyds Rules” or similar statement as this is a misleading and meaningless term. Few vessels built without plan approval and inspection during construction would be able to pass the rigorous classification process.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Picture - anchor winch

the anchorwinch is below deck
Every two weeks I'll publish a picture with related comment on the subject.

I'll start with the anchor on this vessel. North Sea fishermen hardly ever anchored so ours needs some cleaning up.

We may add a 2nd anchor in the stern. Especially if we are going to cruise in tight spaces like the San Blas Islands or at anchor at the Balboa Yacht Club, at the entrance of the Panama Canal, this will give us total control about the area we need for safe anchoring.

Recommended websites

This page has a catagorized list of links to informative websites of vendors related to the effort of converting our trawler to an expedition yacht. You won't believe the stuff that's out there!

Expedition yachts

Passagemaker Magazine

Buy Explorer Yachts

Electronics/power management/generator sets

Panel/wall systems & doors

  • Isolamin floating floors and wall systems

Ceiling systems

  • Dampa - Denmark
    Many more to come.


whale watchingHow do we finance this conversion to a go-anywhere expedition trawler yacht with space to comfortably care up to 20 guests + crew?

We are still able to accommodate additional investors to finance the conversion and operation of this vessel. The estimated value after the completed conversion is $ 3 million. Fifty five percent of shared have already been placed and up to three 15%-share plans (or six 7.5% plans) remain available.

For more information, write

Friday, December 1, 2006

Auxiliary systems

In this section I'll cover equipment like:

First draft of plans by designer

Just got this in from the designer at Herman Jansen in The Netherlands who's turning my sketches into a real drawing. I can't wait to see more.

It shows a front mast we're going to change. Not sure yet what the future one will look like but definitely something smaller. Not that it looks bad, just expensive :-).

The bridge

Our first draft of the new bridge.
Ample space to walk around during operation in port, a nice settee for about 8 guests and room for all the gear.
We also create a little work area, mini-office if you want.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why a (steel) trawler?

Nordhavn's and other tupperware, get out of the way ! bad weather, no problemSeveral reasons. As John deCaro states on his very informative website

"Steel, aluminum, fiberglass and all of its derivatives all have advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, a steel hull offers the best all-round qualities. Low cost of construction, excellent abrasion resistance, ease of repair (newly developed coatings greatly decrease maintenance), durability, and high resistance to impact damage are only a few of these qualities."
I agree.

of course, true comfort is another matter in these kind of seas
And I wanted a full displacement vessel. Quoting John again:

"Why is this important, what is the difference from a semi displacement vessel and is one better then the other? Both types of vessels are equally GOOD for their intended use. If you intend to travel only in protected and semi protected waters “coastwise” and want to go faster then what the water line length will allow, semi displacement is for you. If, however you want a long-range offshore vessel designed to handle demanding conditions then full displacement is the only choice. "

North Sea trawlers are some of most seaworthy vessels around, designed to be at sea even if the weather is not for cruising! These pictures show what you cannot do with 'tupperware' :-).
And, with proper maintaince and professionally done paint job, steel ships will outlast fiberglass.

Getting to the front deck

very spacious front deck - above crew cuarters

The front deck as shown here still has the cable guides installed (used during trawling. They of course will be removed.

To get on the front deck, one has to climb a ladder (next picture). That will change too.

Something like shown on the 3rd picture.

notice the ladder to the front deck

planned improvement to make front deck more accessible

Exhaust stag

Below a few pictures of the current situation. We looked into a wet exhaust system but that would be too costly and bulky for our size of main engine. Our new generator sets will have a wet exhausts so while at anchor or in port, no exhaust gas will come out of the exhaust on the upper deck.
We're also considering moving the mast about 4 ft. backward. This would eliminate the horizontal part in the exhaust and give us a larger deck space in front of the mast (the roof of the bridge).
Both bridge and mast are made from aluminium.

The hull

A very solid steel hull and here are a few pictures. This is not our vessel but almost an exact copy.

Fuel system

fuel tank monitoring panel & valves to fuel tanks
Alfa Laval fuel oil separator which we plan to replace by a CJC filter systemRight now, we can carry 126 tons -just over 33 thousand gallons - of diesel oil.

That's a little more than we anticipate we'll need even for really extended passage making. We'd probably run out of beer before we run out of fuel! With the anticpated economy cruising speed, we'd have a range of over ten thousand nautical miles. Even if we take eliminate the stern fuel tanks and keep our 4 bottom tanks (total capacity 90 tons), we could cruise non-stop from Rotterdam to Tahiti at 9 knots, making a side stop at Easter Island!. Check the route on Google Earth :-).

Fuel is currently cleaned with an Alfa Laval purifier.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My advisors

looking towards bridge from front
To make this all happen I rely on several people. And I'm sure this list will grow.

Right now, Willem Kramer, at Herman Jansen BV, the original design bureau of this and many other beautiful and very seaworthy trawlers are helping me put my ideas on paper or better, AutoCAD or similar.

I've also had a lot of help from Leun van Koppen of Maaskant shipyards, the ship's builder. This gentleman knows the ship inside out. I've thrown so many questions at him, he's still digesting them. And, I'm eternally greatful to him helping me find this ship (my wife clearly has a different opinion :-) ) and closing the deal.

On the engine front I've received a lot of help and 'education' from Richard Cuperus at Wartsila/Deutz, the engine manufacturer. He help me refresh what I had learned once about prop demand. They will take back the current 9 cyl. engine and get me a smaller 6 cylinder version.

I've also spend a great day and will surely be more in touch with Wim van Rij of Freetechnics. They make great stuff to keep an eye on anything on board. Check them out!

standing in front of main engine, looking astern - on the left, the entrance to the workshopJan Klumpenaar at Victron Energy, makers of the very versatle MultiPlus system, thanks for answering my many e-mails and helping me find my way to Asea Power frequency converters, helping me save lots of $$ so I can still built a power system that we want.

Lars Bo Anderson from CJC filters in Denmark, thanks for answering my many questions, sending me lots of info and setting up a great, very informative website; an example for other manufacturers.

I also want to mention Eric Vonk and Karin Schippers, proud owners of another, 44 m. Maaskant trawler. They living near Tampa, Florida and are traveling up and down to see the progress on their Scintilla Maris. They should start a blog too!

Crew cuarters

We're not quite sure how much professional crew - if ever - we need. Basically, we plan to have this vessel manageable by 2 or 3 people. I mean, it's a little bit bigger but hey, the safety is in the size !!

But not everybody operates a vessel this size like that so, to ensure the maximum resale value, we're going to create more crew space. And being a former merchant mariner myself, we're not going to put them into a close like most multi-million $$ megayachts do. Of course, these staterooms make also great cuarters for kids.

We plan 3 staterooms, each with 2 berths forward (one small queen size), under the current 'buiskap' (see picture at the bottom of this page).

One with have a private bathroom; the other will share one. There also will be a crew mess and small crew galley. The 'camera room' is for the diving folks to put their gear when they come out of the water. In this area, we also provide access to the storage below the main staterooms (the 'onder ruim').

In the rear of the vessel, we'll create a small stateroom for the captain and engineer. They will share a bathroom. This way, they'll be very close to both bridge and engineroom. Of course, they will be able to monitor their relevant systems from their stateroom.




Storage below staterooms

This is an area which we still have to work out. Right now, there's no decent standing space (only about 5 ft/150 cm). But there would be standing space (partly), if we remove some ballast from below.
It would be a great space to but the laundry equipment and provide extra storage, especially if we create shaft to access the deck.
We'll figure out something, together with our friends at Herman Jansen, the original designers in The Netherlands.

Guest Cabins

The biggest modification of all will take place in what are now the fish and net holds.

In the net hold (the area forward of the engineroom) and fish hold, forward of the net hold, we plan to build 6 staterooms as shown.

We are considering to allow the installation of a Pullman-berth in the forward 4 staterooms (picture left) so these rooms allow up to 3 guests or 2 guests in separate berths.

Access will be from the main decks living room.
Below these staterooms there's still standing room (well, almost) and space for supplies and equipment like laundry and maybe some spare berths for crew. Or kids. Access will be from the main deck through the area indicated as 'naar onderruim'.

Forward of the fishhold is the forward engineroom. It has a gen set that was used during its days as a fishing trawler in port but now it will make space for 2 more staterooms so we'll have a total of 8 in this area. Enough for 8 couples with their friends and kids. All staterooms will have queen sized beds and some will have a 3rd berth pullman-style.

All walls, doors and floors will meet SOLAS convention passengership standards and regulations related to fire safety and noise cancelling.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Diving equipment - from Bauer

Bauer Mariner 320 portable SCUBA air compressor
We plan to install two portable Bauer Mariner compressors, a nitrox blending station and a few tanks for storage. We're still working on the details and trying to figure out the best location in the engine room.

To learn more about Bauer, check out there their (European) products at Bauer Kompressoren .

The American site is at Bauer Compressors.

and that's the other side of this Bauer Marine 320 Our Bauer rep. in The Netherlands is CST Schiphorst. Harry Schiphorst gave us some really good advice on equipment selection and setup saving us big $$. So, the business is his.

Entertainment systems

TV programming, audio systems, Internet access, another area that's more comprehensive I had originally thought. I guess that's the fun part: learning about things I didn't even know existed. Thank you Al Gore for inventing the Internet :-)

We're looking into systems of AMX, Crestron, and Visiomatic (German). And also just learned about video servers of Kaleidescape and an audio solution from Sonos. That's all I can say at this point really. Still trying to figure out and how all those systems work together and what I need, but learning fast.

It's obvious that with enough $$ you can do anything but the idea is to find a reasonable balance between comfort, convenience and cost.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dining & living area

The winch room, shown on the right (and below from the outside) is located below the bridge. We will remove the winches (anybody needs 20 tons of scrap??) will be extended forward.
In here, we will create a dining area and living + bar. Of course, we can also have breakfast on the aft deck which will be partially covered. And what about the roof of the bridge? We'll add some cover there too. And possibly a jacuzzi....

The current winch room will be widened (to allow the bridge walk-around.

Bridge deck

The bridge deck will be modified to include a walk-around the bridge. The steps currently leading to the aft deck will be move forward just in front of the bridge.
A huge sun deck above the extended winch room (containing dining and living area) will be created forward of the bridge. We plan to add seating to the bridge, a bar in what is now the captain's stateroom and a covered terrace on aft deck on top of which we plan to store the tenders.

Lower (tank) deck

This drawing mainly shows the tank location. The engine room is located just after mid ships. The fish hold before the main fuel tanks.

We can currently take about 130+ tons in fuel oil (over 34.000 gallons). Filling it up is well beyond my VISA card limit!
We plan to bring this down to about 90 tons, which would still give us an economy range of about 10.000 miles, enought to make it back to Cook's bay (Tahiti) and back again without refueling.
The fuel tanks in the back will be partly converted to storage space and put in use as fuel oil day tank and and lubrication oil storage.