For the success of the FPB 64 program, it is essential that we standardize nearly all of the details to ensure we can deliver the highest quality vessel for the best overall value. One of the items the owners do have free reign over is the choice of dinghy. In the photo above, the owner of hull #4, Osprey, chose a variation of the dinghy designed by Circa Marine specifically for the FPB 64. His focus is fishing. There is a functional cleaning station aft of the helm, with plenty of built-in rod holders along the gunwale and on the station itself. With its diesel-powered outboard, the owner is able to venture long distances – while utilizing the large diesel reserves aboard the main vessel.
The dinghy seen above for hull #3, Iron Lady, is a similar Circa Marine dinghy with a few variations that better fit her owners’ typical use. The main goal here is ease of use and safety for many passengers. There is a generous boarding step forward with grab rails. The owner often has family aboard and significant thought was given to those wanting to explore. To provide better security and safety, the red fabric rolled on her gunwales can be set over the forward grab rails to afford shelter from wind and waves. The red fabric also creates a more visible target if the dinghy is ever used as a lifeboat.
In this photo, I’m driving the tender to FPB 64 hull #2, Sarah-Sarah. This is the initial custom aluminum dinghy designed and built by Circa Marine. Note the tough but forgiving foam collar, held in place with an extruded piece of UHMW bolted to the hull. This adds buoyancy as well as eliminating the need to carry separate fenders for docking or coming alongside. The floors are just slightly above resting waterline and create integral tanks for further buoyancy. (This is the case on all the dinghies with the exception of Osprey’s, where a section is used to accommodate diesel fuel.) The transoms have self-draining “socks” to allow shipped water to drain quickly and effectively.
The latest Circa dinghy, launching along with her mother-ship Tiger (FPB 64-5), was designed for her very experienced Pacific Northwest owners. You can see that comfort in foul weather is paramount. With a zip-on curtain across the back of the bimini frame, the two forward seats are well protected from “liquid sunshine”.
Not all owners have opted for the Circa aluminum dinghy. FPB 64 hull #1, Avatar, chose a 13 foot aluminum RIB, better suited to the owners’ desire to spend time using it for diving. The photo below illustrates this well, with Brian Rickard giving it a test. The dinghy’s maiden dive was to retrieve a tool lost overboard during Avatar’s initial launching.