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.


distribution plan of new galleyThe vessel had a small galley to serve up to 8 crew members when fishing. We plan to unite galley and mess to create a bigger galley like shown here. It won't be huge but with some careful planning we should be able to come up with something to serve up to 20-24 people.

Since this is going to be an expedition vessel with a 10.000 nm range, we need to add some storage and we plan to use the two fuel tanks below the galley for this purposes. In here we planned cool storage below galleywant o create a cold room and freezer area. Access would be though a staircase which comes from the workshop behind the engine room. This staircase will also serve as the emergency exit from the engine room but be a lot more comfortable then the current one.

We will be working with Hakvoort Horeca in Rotterdam to get a professional marine galley on our vessel.

They carry the Giga Marina 700 line from Italy which will serve us fine and our 'chef' is working on the design right now. For a look at the equipment and aid planning, see these catalogs:

General data

Yes, that's me, the author of this blog

Here's some general data:

l.o.a.: 40.19 m / 131.86 ft

l.w.l.: 37.04 m / 121.52 ft

beam: 9 m / 29.53 ft

draft: 4.75 m / 15.6 ft
D/L ratio: 0.13

estimated max. cruise speed: 11.5 kn

economical cruise speed: 9 kn

range: 10.000 nm (economy speed, no reserve)

part of the controls on the bridge

berths: 28

current prop. diameter: 3.6 m

current main engine: 2000 hp

A/B ratio: low !

Displacemet (yacht load): 720 tons

Engine room - starboard generator

This is an only 5 year old Deutz 1015 (370 hp) driven gen set (A/C and DC) which we plan to move to the port site to replace the much older port gen. set.
In its place we're looking at 2 35-40 KW gen. sets. This way, at night , we run only one generator. During day time or with more equipment running, we start the second one. If we are going to do maneuvring using the bow and stern thrusters, we put the big Deutz on line too.
We're looking at Onan and Westerbeke.

Main deck

The main deck. Going from bow to stern, here we'll have crew quarters and/or staterooms for kids, our dive deck, a living and dining area, the galley and more crew quarters + a room for maintainance on fine gear. Above you can see some more up-to-date drawings and I soon hope to receive the work of the designers at Herman Jansen BV

We also want to create some kind of stern platform, 'foldable' and detachable from the stern. This would be with future sub marine operations in mind. More about that in the 'sub' section. But meanwhile, it will be a great swim platform and a place to tie up our kayaks!

Side view of the vessel

Built in 1987, there are no AutoCAD drawings avaible for this vessel. As I write this, the original designer, Herman Jansen BV in The Netherlands, is converting the original paper drawings into electronic versions.

I've scanned deck plans and make crude drawings myself to explain to the designer what I want so he can put my ideas into AutoCAD or similar software. The current design draft aft is 5.1 meters (16.4 ft). This will be reduced to about 4.5 meters (2 ft. less) so we can have port holes in the side of the ship high enough above the waterline as required by the classification rules.
As you can see, lots of space.

Deck replacement

state of current main deck
The current main deck is covered with 2 inch thick wooden planks. Not quite sure which wood they've used but it's pretty beaten up and may not be the most suitable for the tropics and/or barefoot walking.

Other surfaces are just plain steel.

I'm been looking into several imitation teak options. Flexiteek, Marinedeck 2000 and Solvolan teak.

Flexiteek is nice for new construction when you have a nice clean deck. Same with MarineDeck, an innovative cork-based product, my favorite until I discovered Solovan. In my case, a conversion, deck preparation would jack-up the cost of an already expensive product even more. So Solovan, an expoxy based material is probably going to win: less aintainance, better suited to apply on rough surfaces or places where different thicknesses are needed and, the most affordable solution. It looks pretty good too as you can see.Solovan expoxy based imitation teak by Smits-Neuchatel


Right now, my vessel is in The Netherlands at
Maaskant Shipyard, Stellendam.
For address, contact info and route description, click here.
Our contact at the yard: Mr. Leun van Koppen.


picture taken summer 06

I'll soon be adding some pictures to this blog. For now, here you see the vessel at its location in Stellendam, The Netherlands and me, next to similar ship in a dry dock. Notice how fishing vessels have a nozzle around their prop to improve their prop efficiency, particularly at low speeds.

It may be removed, depending on the outcome ofthat's me at the prop of a sister ship.  Big props have a higher efficiency the what the prop engineers will say . At higher speed (over 8 knots), depending on the design, they may make the prop more efficient.

we also have a 150 hp bow truster and plan to also get a stern truster

Safety first

One reason I bought a steel trawler is peace of mind. Nothing beats a steel vessel in terms of strength and when properly maintained, it's not the maintenance horror some people suggest.

When my ship hits a floating container, we may have some repair work to do but compare that with a fiberglass hull (called 'tupperware' by North Sea trawler makers). Anyway, I have a hard time understanding why people spend millions on a plastic yacht. OK, it may look cleaner and fancier but that won't help you when you encounter that container.

Another goal we have is to meet classification standards in regards to design and equipment we plan to use. Whether it's Lloyds, Det Norske Veritas, the American Bureau of Shipping or MCA LY2, compliance means the vessel meets safety standards that are established based on years of experience. Issues like fire safety, structural integrity and stability requirements are just too important when you plan to create an all-weather yacht capable of crossing oceans.

We may not bring our ship under class - a pretty expensive proposition - but at least we know we'll be built to class.

Environmental issues

We're putting a lot of thought in making sure this an environmentally friendly vessel to operate. Some examples are using vacuum toilet systems like those of Jets in Norway, which uses less than 1 liter of normal water to flush.

All waste water will go through a biological sewage treatment plant, the BioCompact, developed in the Netherlands.

Our gen set configuration will be such that their engines will run between 70-100% of their maximum power, avoiding air pollution. Oily bilge waters will also be cleaned by a centrifugal separator system. By using modern materials to isolate the ship, our energy needs will be lower.

Air conditioning system

Originally, the ship only has a central heating system. That's just fine for fishing in the North Sea but won't do in the tropics.

We plan to settle for a chiller system like those of Webasto Marine Airconditioning, a traditional chiller system (using chilled water and air handlers in each room). A diagram is shown below, courtesy of a French Webasto dealer website.

Their Dutch site is

We're looking at a 3-compresor 180.000 btu unit.

Main engine - some data and considerations

a 3.6 meter like I have; we call it a 'coffee grinder' in DutchI started investigating the replacement options for our main engine even before I took delivery of the vessel.

The current 2.000 HP Deutz 628, 9 cylinder is a 'little oversized'. When trawling, a fishing vessel needs those 2.000 HP. When cruising as yacht, I can 10 knots using a 1/3 of that.

You can basically go to ways: keep the same mid-speed engine (750-900 rpm) or go to a high-speed engine (1800 rpm and up).

There's a lot of choice in the latter market but one big problem: you need a new reduction gear and your engine mounting frame doesn't fit anymore.

In our case this issue become even more of a problem because the reduction gear recommended for the MTU engine we had in mind (8V MTU 4000) would require lowering the engine mount. That was going to be very expen$ive ! Add the new prop shaft, prop shaft seal and bearings, cooling water systems..... Ohh, and did I mention they have a delivery time of at least 18 months?

And a new reduction gear would also be around $ 40+ K.

So, we looked into a putting in a remanufactured 6 cylinder version of the current engine. But running the numbers on this, considering our typical use as an expedition yacht and the number of miles we'd actually be under way, we realized it would take us between 10 and 20 years before this investment would pay itself back, even if it would require running the current engine at a higher RPM (more HP) to keep the engine from getting really dirty.
Spending a few $$ on fuel filters like those of CJC should keep this problem under control.
The blades of the 3.6 meter (11.6 ft) 4 blade van Voorden prop will be adjusted to provide higher speed with the same amount of required power (or equivalent fuel savings) . This is a relatively cheap adjustment that will mean at least 10% higher speed. We expect to cruise at 10.5 to 11.5 knots.


Van Vossen Twister 6.8 meter tender (22 ft.)We plan to have two aluminium custom-made tenders. After looking around we found they end up costing about the same or less as RIBs like Novurania yet last forever.

We'll equip them with diesel engines and traditional shaft driven props. Gasoline fumes tend to ignite very easily so we prefer not to keep it on board for safety reasons. Besides, diesel engines require less maintenance and are more reliable.

The design is in the hands of Van Vossen engineering in The Netherlands and based on their Twister 680 model.

Air conditioning

With the ship operating in the North Sea most of its life, air conditiong was not necessary. Only heating was provided.

We plan to

Power generation

Power on board is currently provided by two Deutz 350 HP gen sets (2x 140 KVA), providing both 380V/3-phase AC as well as DC for the bow thruster. There's also a 190 HP "port" generator.

Victron Multiplus is a mustWe plan to remove one gen. set and replace them by 2 smaller ONAN (Cummings) or Westerbeke's silent gen. sets (probably 40 KVA each) and get rid of the port generator. We'll also add a 18 KVA ASEA Power converter to supply power to a 110V/50 Hz power grid. This way, we can buy local appliances that work on 60 Hz and guests will be able to bring their gear from home and plug in without having to mess with converters.

ASEA Power makes affordable convertersAdd to this the MultiPlus system from Victron Energy - more on this later and we getting a very flexible and efficient power management system.

Why this blog

Being a marine mechanical engineer by education and having worked few years in the merchant marine, I've always been drawn to the sea. Through one of those odd things in life, I became an entrepeneur in Costa Rica but after moving to Panama just over a year ago, the 'itch' came back.
I've been subscribed to Passage Maker Magazine for years. I never thought about buying 'plastic'. I wanted a very seaworthy vessel, built to withstand a beating by nature, total piece of mind and well, I didn't have $ 2 million in the bank either. So I was always on the lookout for a steel trawler and this year I got my hands on one.

This blog is about the process of converting it into a private expedition vessel. The deliberations, the related technical issues, the equipment and eventually - how it's behaving at sea!

Maybe it will help you if you plan a similar conversion project. And if just like to read about trawlers and related technical issues, enjoy! I will for sure.

Thorwald Westmaas