Todd and I have just returned stateside after a trek east to England, where we celebrated FPB 64 Grey Wolf‘s demi-circumnavigation with press, pubs, and parties. Read the rest »
When you design a yacht to deal with heavy weather, the process is made difficult by a lack of real world experience in truly dangerous conditions. But occasionally events transpire from which you can learn something. One of those is depicted above in the photo sent in by Peter Watson, the owner of FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf. Read the rest »
With the FPB 64 Grey Wolf covering an average of a thousand or more nautical miles per week on her voyage home, we have in effect an accelerated maintenance test to observe. Experienced cruisers and marine professionals will be surprised by the data accumulated since her departure from New Zealand the last week of March. Read the rest »
Life on the water is such a perfect metaphor for the uncertain adventure of opening ourselves up to what we yearn for…We have to navigate carefully, watch the changing weather patterns, think about where and how we want to go, and then, ultimately, at some point a few will untie themselves and sail off into the great unknown horizon. Read the rest »
Passaging season is upon us and the FPB fleet is on the move. While FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf nears the end of a quick 4000 NM hop, FPB 64-3 Iron Lady is on her way from Hawaii to British Columbia. The majority of the rest of the FPB feet is getting ready for or have recently completed their offshore passages.
Of all the passages you could dream up, the most difficult is the 4000NM eastbound run from the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia to Panama. Panama lies dead upwind, with a westerly setting current to make it more interesting. Read on to find out how FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf, Peter Watson, and crew have set out to do something no motor yacht has ever done.
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. Here Intermezzo is departing Christmas Island for Cocos Keeling at the start of a long haul across this boisterous bit of ocean. Read the rest »
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.
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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.
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.
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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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are just back from a week at ground zero in the FPB world. We had the chance to take a couple of boat rides, hang out with three owners who are presently moored in the town basin, and review hundreds of details with Kelly, Todd, and the Circa team. Read the rest »
We are in the process of designing crew quarters for our FPB 78. With no experience cruising and/or living with crew, we are working in a theoretical world rather than reality. If you are a professional crew, or an owner who has lived with crew, we’d love to hear from you. Read the rest »
We have been rethinking the ultimate dinghy concept and are looking at a big custom designed RIB for our new FPB 78. Not having experience with properly designed deep V RIBS, we have a few questions and are hopeful the SetSail community can provide real world answers.
Rudder control steering geometry is one of those things which looks simple, but is actually quite difficult to get right. Loads can be high, space tight, and when you are shooting for maximum rudder deflection, it can be a challenge.
Window coverings will play a more important role in the new FPB 78, given our goal of staying cool at anchor a majority of the time without a genset. This post is about the factors affecting the window covering decision, after which we’d love to have suggestions from SetSailors.
Tomorrow, Saturday September 7, marks the start of an amazing spectacle that you don’t want to miss. Whether on network TV or YouTube, we will be treated to heated competition between “yachts” traveling at 25 to 50 knots, with no love lost between the teams.
Crossing oceans often leads to compromise between weather, risk, comfort, and what might or mightn’t occur. An example of this was recently faced by the crew of FPB 64-3 Iron Lady. In this post we will look at issues involved, including hurricane avoidance tactics.
We hate to waste displacement on sloppy interior construction, poorly thought out systems, or excess structure up high, where it does nothing to help us. But from the deck edge down we want all the impact resistance and factors of safety we can get. Read the rest »
Our thought has always been that the best indicator of success in the marine business is not units sold, or boat show pizzazz, but rather how your boats are being used. Are they sitting in marinas or out there racking up the miles, treating their owners to the world of new experiences that lay beyond the horizon?
Calculating drag, fuel burn, and range for yachts under power is a complex process, one which often turns out wrong in the real world. We are not sure what other folks do, but we use a combination of science, model testing, real world results, and various software suites, mixed with a healthy dose of gut instinct. Read the rest »
A standard part of every hull construction sequence is a series of X-Ray checks, the location of which is dictated by the owner’s surveyor. Circa have just completed this process on FPB 97-1 and we thought this QC check process might be of interest.
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 »
We are excited to announce that we have joined the Social Media fray. SetSail can now be found happily anchored on Facebook and Twitter. Come find us, like us and follow us as we explore these new waters: Facebook.com and Twitter.com. We look forward to seeing you out there!
If we had to pick one system above all else that must be 100% reliable we’d say steering. Which is why we fit two complete auto pilots, two independent hydraulic systems, and use intensely muscular structural elements. Most of this is easy, but establishing the engineering scenario for the rudder itself takes a bit of work. As we are just wrapping this up for the FPB 78, we thought you might find the logic of interest.
We feel that the most dangerous operation on any motor yacht is dinghy launch and retrieval. This applies to our FPB as well, even though our approach, with the dink on the main deck, is much easier (and we think safer) to handle than most. The heavier the dink, the bigger the risk, and this new dink is considerably weightier than our old, trending towards 1200 pounds/550kg. So we have been fiddling away at a better handling system since the beginning of the design cycle. What follows has been adapted from the approach being considered for FPB 97-1, and represents what we think is a step forward from where we have been in the past.
The FPB 78 aft deck design has evolved from these renderings, but we expect the launching procedure logic to remain the same.
I had the distinct pleasure of spending some time with Valerie and Stan Creighton as they became acquainted with their new baby back in March. Fast forward to June and they’ve just completed an adventurous passage from New Zealand to Fiji. Read the rest »
Last year the new super yacht, Yogi, lost power while on passage, turned beam to the seas, capsized in moderate conditions, and eventually sank. There was all sorts of speculation at the time about causes. Now the official report is out. It makes interesting reading both for what it does and doesn’t say.
It is the season of renewal, for those afloat and others afflicted with landed status. In the South Pacific there are two FPB 64s about to depart for points north and a third already heading west, with a fourth now in the Islands. The SetSail contingent? Stuck in Arizona viewing from afar, and… Read the rest »
The Northern Hemisphere summer is nearly here, and with it the hurricane season. With the FPB fleet getting ready to depart New Zealand for points North, and one of the boats thinking about winding up in Hawaii or California, we have been looking at the long range weather forecasts.
A couple of weeks ago, we invited suggestions for an ultimate rugged cruising dinghy. We appreciate all of you who took time to shoot us your ideas, of which there were many. What you see here and following is our adaptation of some of those, plus a few of our own, into a concept dinghy.
We’ve been gradually reorganizing our offices, and in the process trying to figure out what to do with out hull models. This plating model was in hand yesterday, and we got to thinking it might be of interest for the secrets it reveals.
We have recently been asked our ideas for the ideal mix of design factors for a larger FPB dinghy. This got us to thinking about our own experiences, and what we would want in this category of gear, if we were starting from scratch. The comments that follow are based on the assumption that the dinghies will often be used in cruising areas off the beaten path. In this post we will share a few thoughts, and ask for yours.
You are looking at the original great room seating upholstery on Wind Horse at the end of 2011–that is six years after launching with more than 50,000 miles of intensive use. Aside from a little fabric fading, there is little to differentiate this from the original appearance. Read on to learn the secret to longevity. Read the rest »