Welcome to SetSail!

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Why FPB?

After 135,000+ nautical miles, FPB owners answer the question.

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The Concept

Why FPB? FPB Owners Talk…


We’ve been chasing the holy grail of the perfect cruising vehicle for 40 years. The Deerfoot, Sundeer and Beowulf series of sailing yachts got us close. The FPB series brings our bow right up to the chalice.

[Read the rest »]

FPB: Cruising Speed, Range Under Power, And The Real World


Those of you familiar with our work will know that we consider being able to maintain comparatively fast cruising speeds the most important factor in safe, comfortable ocean crossing. Get this right and you enjoy making passages. Get it wrong and you will prefer sitting at the dock reading about the folks who are really out there cruising. [Read the rest »]

A New Paradigm for Cruising

Our design goal has always been to cross oceans in maximum comfort and safety [Read the rest »]

Time Machine

We have just had the most amazing four months of cruising. (This post was written in 2008, after voyaging from California to the UK.) [Read the rest »]

Living With 360 Degree Views

We’ve been trying to describe what it is like to have the majority of our day to day experience aboard in an area with 360-degree views. [Read the rest »]

FPB – A Woman’s Perspective

People are always asking how I like cruising on this new boat. (This post was written by Linda Dashew in 2007, after the first three seasons of cruising aboard FPB 83 Wind Horse.) [Read the rest »]

Weathering the Storm

The following was originally written in the fall of 2008 as the economic system appeared to be melting down. [Read the rest »]

The Black Swan Theory Of Cruising


We were having morning eggs and coffee at Serenity Cafe (our favorite breakfast spot in Whangarei) [Read the rest »]

Evaluating Stability and Capsize Risks For Yachts


Over the last couple of years we have had a number of discussions about the mechanics of stability and capsize risks. [Read the rest »]

Heavy Weather Issues

If you’re thinking about heading offshore at some point, the comments which follow may be of interest.

[Read the rest »]

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Boat By Boat

FPB 78: The Dream Machine (Updated February 13, 2014)

FPB 78 Dream Machine intro 14101

The FPB 78 is the newest member of the FPB squadron. With metal now being cut for the first two boats, and a third starting fourth quarter 2014 (FPB 78-2 and 78-3 are for current FPB 64 owners), this Dream Machine is off to the fastest start in FPB history.

[Read the rest »]

FPB 64 – Theory & Reality

When we wrote this introduction three years ago, during the depths of a marine industry depression, we had no idea that the summer of 2013 would have seven FPB 64s in the water cruising, and three more in the build cycle. For all the latest FPB 64 updates, click here. [Read the rest »]

FPB 64 Introduction – Basic Specs

“When the Dashews finally decided to resort to motive power, Steve Dashew designed a boat with the spirit of a yacht that could take on the roughest seas…”
–Boat International Magazine


Every now and then in yacht design, the thousands of details involved to produce a boat combine in a unique way, creating a vessel which performs substantially better than projected. [Read the rest »]

FPB Update: 64 Progress – Posted by Todd

“Against the Wind…With his new powerboat design, world cruiser Steve Dashew continues a lifelong pattern of challenging the status quo.”
–Soundings Magazine

I have just returned from a very productive week in New Zealand and wanted to share some of the photos taken while on the ground at our builder, Circa Marine. There was much covered during the trip – here are a few of the latest details surrounding the FPB 64 program. [Read the rest »]

FPB 83 – Wind Horse

“…One of the coolest boats I have had the pleasure to spend time on.
-Bill Parlatore, Passagemaker Magazine

Let us take you on a tour of the FPB prototype, Wind Horse.

[Read the rest »]

FPB 97 – Code Name “Wicked” – Updated

In Reference to FPB 83 Wind Horse:
“The 83ft-long (25m) wave-piercer…could easily be mistaken for the spawn of the Royal Navy with its unpainted battleship grey, all-aluminum body. But that day, in those conditions, it was the only boat that I would have wanted to climb aboard to face the English Channel.”

Motor Boat & Yachting

Slicing through the barriers of what can and cannot be done with a large yacht, the Wicked FPB 97 redefines the cruising paradigm.

  • Generator-free at anchor
  • Crew optional voyaging
  • 5000+ NM range at 11.7 knots
  • Extreme weather survival capability, including capsize recovery
  • Unprecedented interior design
  • Five foot draft, and the ability to dry out on tidal rivers
  • Toughest structure ever offered in a series built yacht
  • Designed and constructed for minimum maintenance

The first FPB 97 is well into its construction cycle, and will be sea trialling in the fourth quarter of 2014. In the interim, we’ve put together a detailed look at the thinking behind this Wicked new FPB. For up to date exterior renderings, click here. For the latest construction update, click here.

[Read the rest »]

FPB 115 – A New Paradigm

“…You’ll fall for this yacht the way a woodworker falls for his band saw.”
–Yachting Magazine

Our work flow on a new design goes through several phases the first of which we call the gestation period. [Read the rest »]

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Making It Happen

Bilge Pump Tests – Surprising Results
(April 21st, 2014)

IMG 0987

Cruising is said (by those in the know) to be going from one pump repair to another. We think we do a little better than this, but we are always looking to improve, and so recently conducted a series of tests with surprising results.

[Read the rest »]

Chasing A Stabilizer Problem Far From Home – A Primer On Teamwork
(April 18th, 2014)


Last week we worked with Peter Watson aboard the FPB 64 Grey Wolf to resolve a stabilizer system issue. We thought the communications regarding this might be of interest since these things do occasionally occur – typically somewhere far from home base.
[Read the rest »]

FPB 78-1 The Dream Machine Is Taking Shape
(April 3rd, 2014)

FPB 78 1 April 2 2014 2

After all those thousands of design and engineering hours, innumerable three dimensional images, and years of noodling on this ltest FPB series design, you would think we’d be tired of it. But these photos represent the high point in terms of buzz factor, and it won’t be equaled again until we see this latest FPB sitting on her lines, afloat in the waters of  New Zealand. [Read the rest »]

Weather Forecasting, Storm Tactics & Successful Cruising – Plus An Offer You Can’t Refuse
(March 31st, 2014)


If you are looking for a magic elixir to successful cruising, it will not be found in the marine hardware catalogs or boat shows. It will not come with state of the art electronics, or a different boat. It is much simpler than that. Of all the things you can do to enhance your cruising experience and safety, having a basic understanding of on board weather forecasting is the most important. [Read the rest »]

A Most Difficult Ocean Passage Coming Up – Playing The Weather Odds In Hurricane Season
(March 14th, 2014)

Friday March 14 2014 NZ FCast

The passage between New Zealand and French Polynesia is one of the more difficult ocean crossing endeavors. At 2200 miles along the great circle route, it can often be as long as 2600 or more nautical miles depending on weather routing. John and Amanda Neal bill this as a heavy weather passage in their sail training business, and for good reason. FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf is on standby, waiting for a weather scenario that offers decent odds. [Read the rest »]

FPB Build Decisions: Helm Layout – Posted by Todd
(March 12th, 2014)

97 MD Helm Study
Working on a large project like the FPB 97 means coordinating thousands of small details. Creating the best electronics layout at the helm is a detail that on the surface can appear cut and dry, but typically takes hours of pondering and back and forth. [Read the rest »]

Leaping Into The Future – FPB Progress In The Antipodes
(March 7th, 2014)

FPB 78 1 Feb 28 2014 100

Here in Arizona we’re excited, having received our weekly update of photos from New Zealand. Seeing progress starting to accelerate on the first of three FPB 78s now scheduled, we are leaping for joy. The assembly floor has been laid out, and the tank modules are being dropped into place.

[Read the rest »]

Six Years of FPBs
(February 12th, 2014)

It was six years ago (January 24th, 2008) that Steve and I first went to New Zealand to have meetings with Circa Marine in Whangarei, regarding the construction of the FPB 64. That trip, my first to New Zealand, seems like it occurred just yesterday.  Two weeks ago, as Steve and I touched down in New Zealand to finalize details on the new FPB 78 with the crew at Circa, the changes and milestones reached over these past six years loomed large. [Read the rest »]

Speed, Sex, Rules, & Dinghies: Size Does Matter
(January 31st, 2014)

FPB 78 111 2

We want to talk about a subject often avoided: Size. It is important for comfort, for aesthetics, and for speed. This has been much on our mind of late as we reach the “hard point” in the build cycle for the FPB 78, after which changes are not allowed. If you study the renderings in this post you will note the Dream Machine has a different look.

[Read the rest »]

FPB 78: Crew Quarters, The Laundry Room, And A Hallway
(January 24th, 2014)

FPB 781 196Crew quarters 100

We have had a ton of feedback on the subject of crew quarters – both via SetSail and e-mail – and we’ve worked up what we think is as close to crew Nirvana as one can get on a small yacht. The process has also lead to several other enhancements in the FPB 78 layout. Our own thoughts have come full circle and we will tell you our decision for FPB 78-1 at the end of the post.

[Read the rest »]

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Living The Dream

Cruising in the Olden Days: Crossing the Indian Ocean – The Easy Part
(April 24th, 2014)

Intermezzo Leaving Xmas Island100

The southern part of the Indian Ocean is one of the few places we have found where the trades blow as advertised… and then some. Intermezzo is shown here departing Christmas Island for Cocos Keeling at the start of a long haul across this boisterous bit of ocean.

[Read the rest »]

Is It Better In The Tropics Or High Latitudes?
(April 15th, 2014)

Leaving Wakaya 006

We are torn between a love for the tropics and the adrenaline that comes as you venture closer to the poles.

[Read the rest »]

Weather Forecasts And Routing In The Real World: Good But Not Perfect
(April 11th, 2014)

GW BArometric trace

We are looking at a barometric pressure trace from the FPB 64 Grey Wolf. This occurred at the edge of the tropics South of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. As you close with the equator slight pressure gradients create big winds. A change of as little as two mb can indicate the onset of a hurricane. The weather models – all the majors – missed this event.

[Read the rest »]

Hobie Alter – Surfer Dude, Marketing Whiz, Savvy Businessman, and All Around Good Guy – Gone at 80.
(April 5th, 2014)

We’ve just learned that Hobie Alter has caught the ultimate wave, and left his earthly friends and family behind. We were friends, competitors, and collaborators with this remarkable man, and thought a few anecdotes might be in order.

Hobie on the 14 early days

[Read the rest »]

Beowulf: The Ultimate Short-Handed Cruiser-Updated March 2014
(March 27th, 2014)

“The new Dashew passagemaker draws much of its heritage from the high-performance sailboats for which the Dashews are well known…” –Bill Parlatore, Passagemaker Magazine

78 foot KETCH BEOWULF200

Of all the sailboats we’ve done over the years, Beowulf is our favorite. She was our ultimate couple’s cruiser, and the benchmark, against which we measured everything when we started down the FPB path. In seven years of cruising part time, see saw 40,000 nautical miles slip under her keel with just two on board. [Read the rest »]

Get Ready To Rock-Making the Weather Work For Grey Wolf
(March 22nd, 2014)

It is cyclone season in the South Pacific, the weather is unstable, and Grey Wolf may win the weather lottery. The recent spate of tropical storms is creating the possibility of a very quick, relatively easy trip. [Read the rest »]

Spring Is In The Air
(March 17th, 2014)

Spring 2014 AZ216

Spring is in the air and our southwestern backyard is filled with color, love songs, nest building, and competition for the attention of the fairer sex. It is the one time of year when we’d rather be ashore than afloat. [Read the rest »]

Beowulf IV and the Early C-Cat Foil Development
(March 10th, 2014)

Beowulf IV YOOAK Chicago002

It is a gray, overcast, depressing afternoon – something for which residence in the US Southwest does not prepare its citizens. Since we have received a request for info on Beowulf IV from a journalist doing a book for the next “Little America’s Cup”, the scanner has been warmed up and we thought we’d share something different.

[Read the rest »]

Deerfoot ll – Time To Part With A Member Of The Family
(March 4th, 2014)

Deerfoot ll 2014100

Deerfoot II, a longtime member of our family, is ready for a new home. She was launched in 1985 in Denmark, sailed across the Atlantic, via the West Indies, and Panama, to Marina del Rey, where she has been based for these many years.

[Read the rest »]

Cruising In The Olden Days – A Marquesan Tale
(February 26th, 2014)

Tahuata Party 1977100

We’ve been talking for years about going through our boxes of photos and slides and scanning them before they disintegrate. Well, the process has started and we are having so much fun remembering that we thought we might share a few stories with SetSailors, starting with this crowded cockpit on our 50 foot yawl, Intermezzo, in early 1977.

[Read the rest »]

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