Archive for 2009

Favorite Photos From Around the Cruising World.

We’ve got six slide shows (with more to come) from our favorite cruising areas. Check back often as we will be adding additional slide shows in the future.

Svalbard, at the top of the world between Arctic Norway and Greenland, is a magical island group. Glaciers, polar bears, walrus, and the Arctic ice pack at 80 degrees north can be experienced by clicking here .

On the other hand there the Bahama Islands. Friendly locals, warm water, and beautiful beaches are the norm here .

Which country has the longest coastline on the planet, wonderful cruising infrastructure, and breathtaking scenery? Click here to cruise Norway with us .

The west coast of Mexico’s Baja California and the Sea of Cortez offer spectacular cruising, great whale watching, and birding. To find out for yourself what these areas are like click here .

Canada’s east coast starting with Nova Scotia offers a unique blend of friendly locals, isolated anchorages, and lovely surroundings. Spend time with us in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador by clicking here .

Interested  in the tropical Pacific? Check out the lovely islands of Fiji and Fanning here.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 30, 2009)    |    Comments (0)


Hi Steve & Linda,

I have been going through old blog posts and came across the series you did on SONAR. This reminded me of the recent update showing the install of a Furuno unit in a new 64. I just wanted to direct you to another manufacturer that you may not be aware of. They’re just across the sound from the folks who make your auto-pilot. (I don’t work for them in any way, just thought the product looked interesting.) I particularly found the testimony of a sailor who sails the Antarctic for a living compelling. It could prove to be a decent alternative to Furuno.

Happy Holidays,


Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 28, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

Year End Recap On The FPB 64 Program

4 FPB 64s at once

If you look closely into the three open bays at Circa in the photo above you will count four FPB 64s under construction. Hull four is well along in its framing while hull three has its metalwork almost completed. Hull two has the bulkheads installed, systems work is coming along, and a good start has been made on the furniture. As detailed last week in report 23, the first of the FPB 64s is starting to go through systems testing, a sure sign that sea trials are not far off.

If you are behind on your visits to SetSail on the sidebar to the right you will find 50 posts under FPB Series notes, with another 28 reports under FPB Updates. The Dashew Offshore website has 65 articles detailing the FPB concept along with information on the Deerfoot, Sundeer, and Beowulf design series.

We look forward to bringing you the latest information in the New Year as hull number one of the FPB 64 Series nears it date with the Pacific Ocean.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 22, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Seasons Greetings From SetSail

Magdelena Fjord-Svalbard-202

We wish you a peaceful, healthy, and prosperous New Year – The Crew at SetSail & Dashew Offshore.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 22, 2009)    |    Comments (3)

Guaranteed Cure For Winter Blues – ll

Battle Harbor Labrador

The holiday mood is upon the land and as Circa is taking a well earned (but short) vacation break we will follow suit. Assuming that at some point holiday cheer and endless football will leave you in need of a change, we’ve added to our collection of slide shows. You can view the most recent, on Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador by clicking here .


For a sampling of what you will find on a cruise through Norway click here .

Or, if you are behind on your visits to SetSail continue reading this blog for links to lots of other streaming videos and slide shows.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 22, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Surviving the Storm


My edition of “Surviving the Storm” is from the year 1999.

1) There is a chapter about the Jordan Series Drogue (p 433 f). Are your conclusions today the same as 10 years ago?

2) Are there any updates available? Price?

Kind regards
Dr. Lampalzer

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 21, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

Alternator Cooling


Big alternators require substantial air flow to keep them cool.This requirement is often at odds with the need to protect the drive belts.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 21, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Suggestions for Boat Improvement

Hi Linda and Steve,
My name is Gilles Philippin and I’m reading since the first issues you posted about WindHorse, I love the technical stuff. I’ve spent much of the time I was not working on my “Backyard Project” checking out yours, and it helped alot. Now that my boat has splashed, I would like to hear some real comments, handling predictions, what you would not do with her, etc ,since you are at the very top of my list of designer/builders,your opinion would make my day, especially if you find something that would need modifications or something else that could be improved.
Carlotte.C. is 32feet LOA, 31 feet at waterline, 8,5 feet of beam, draft of 41inches, air draft of 17′ (8feet from the wheelhouse down)and weight 12000 LBS (she’s all cold roll steel). She has a VW 1.9 TD engine, so we have 50 horses. Thank you for your generosity, and please forgive any misspelling for I’m a “Canadian frog”(from cold Quebec).

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 21, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Multihull History – How Cruising Started For Us




There has been a lot of dialog recently on SetSail about cruising multihulls. Since we were working on some old photos for the kids on this very subject we thought a blog on our early days of cruising might be in order. The photo above was taken 40 years ago. That’s Elyse in Steve’s arms. Two of us are standing on the 32′ D class cat Beowulf V. This was our first “family cruiser” as evidenced by the guest aboard (Linda is considered crew).

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 19, 2009)    |    Comments (16)

FPB 64 Update 24 – Seeing the Light


One of the more difficult design areas on the FPBs has been the forward “mast”. It does a number of jobs, some of which conflict with each other and/or different requirements. We’ve been fiddling with this on the FPB prototype Wind Horse since launching. What you see here is the result of that thinking and experience.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 18, 2009)    |    Comments (9)

Dinghy Safety Gear

dinghy-safety gear

We think that most of the activities to do with cruising are very safe, especially compared to urban life. Of the risks we do face, we consider setting off in the dinghy to be the highest. This was brought home seven years ago at Nantucket Island, on the East Coast of the US.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 17, 2009)    |    Comments (3)

FPB 64 Electrical Panels


We have a few photos of the electrical panels on the first FPB 64 to share. We’ll start with the AC panel shown above.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 16, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Bow Thruster Follow Up

Hello Again,

Just following up re a thruster. I see on the web that the FPB64 has a thruster. We are leaning twds. a retractable version.

p.s. We bought Hull #3, originally purchased by John Sabol who named her Tucan. He modified the steering config. to accommodate two wheels and moved the rudder back, extended the mast by 12′, swapped out the motor for a 140 hp more. Only put 450 hrs.on her before selling her to Peter Huttemeier, from Long Island, NY. Peter renamed her Bess and sailed her 35,000 miles before we bought her. We are thinking of a name change now as we are set to register her with the Feds shortly.

Russ & Gwen Hobbs
Vancouver (Tsawwassen), BC

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 15, 2009)    |    Comments (1)



If you live in the Southwestern U.S. odds are you are going to have to deal with Pack Rats. These destructive critters love to chew on wiring, and when we returned this fall we found an electronic mess. No phones, computer cables chomped (a predilection for USB was noted), even lamp plugs were missing. There’s a maritime connection here.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 15, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Zinc Anodes On Aluminum Hulls

zinc anode on FPB 64

This is one of three sacrificial zinc anodes on the first FPB 64. They work in conjunction with the paint system to protect the aluminum hull. Over time they wear away. Wind Horse has her original anode after five years. They have two or three more years of service left.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 14, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Prop Shaft Line Cutters

Spurs line cutter on FPB 64

You are looking at the business end of a Spurs propeller shaft line cutter. These are a part of the standard specification on the FPB64. In 45,000 miles of cruising on the FPB 83 Wind Horse we have yet to permanently wrap a line around the props (and being outboard they are at more risk than the centerline prop on the FPB 64) so the combination of full protection from the skegs and the Spurs line cutters is working.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 12, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

FPB 64 Progress Report 23 – Another Milestone


The first FPB 64 reached a significant milestone this week, indicated by the photo above. The red Murphy sight gauge with level alarms provides an important clue. There is now oil in the engine. But wait, there’s more.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 11, 2009)    |    Comments (6)

Engine Cooling

Steve, I read with marvel at the thought that you put into your systems. I also spend far too much time thinking about systems and I know of nobody in the industry that has it to your level. I’m just surprised about one thing…engine cooling. You go to great lengths to cool your AC and
refrig. using the “internal keel coolers” in order to eliminate all of the saltwater usually associated with it, but what about the engine? Why not
keel cool that? I have always felt that the weak point of these engines is
the belt driven rubber impeller pump and all of the intakes, strainers etc.
associated with it. I know that you are going to say that it adds heat to
the engine room, but my Nordhavn 40 was really quite cool with a keel
cooled dry exhaust engine. With an aluminum boat, you could even cool
through the skin.

An even better solution comes from the late Phil Bolger. He once drew a
unique boat that used an oil/air cooled Deutz engine. If you are not
familiar with it, these engines don’t have antifreeze as their coolant.
They curculate their lubricating oil and air cool it in order to cool the
engine. To me, it would be the ultimate…get rid of all of the usual
things associated with heat exchanger cooling and even eliminate the
complexity of a keel cooler….heck, they even eliminate an entire
fluid…antifreeze. Are you familiar with these?

One other unique engine that could be nice for the new 64 is these Steyr
engines that have an integrally mounted electic motor/generator. During
normal operation that generator could supply all of your DC needs without
needing an additional belt to drive it. In an emergency, it could be
driven as an electric “get home” motor powered off of the generator. I
think this could be a nice solution for a single engine boat.

Allan Salzman

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 10, 2009)    |    Comments (3)

Picking The Right Prop

There is no more complex subject in yacht and ship design than propeller engineering. It is hard enough that the US Navy has spent billions of dollars on the subject. Yachts are even more difficult as they have to operate in a wider range of conditions relative to their size.

We have extensive experience with sailing designs and feathering, folding, and controllable pitch props used thereon. We’ve also been able to do real world testing with several of our sailing designs to establish baseline data. All of this is covered in detail in Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia , so we won’t elaborate here.

Powerboat props are easier to dial in – at least in theory – than those for sailboats. Where the loads vary substantially with a sailboat, from motoring in light air, to motorsailing, power boats have only the extra drag of waves and wind with which to contend.

Still, there are a host of issues to consider. As we are presently reevaluating the props on Wind Horse (FPB 83), we thought you might like to share in the reasoning.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 10, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Bow Thruster Detailing


We want to chat about thruster tunnels. We’ve mentioned these before, but this series of photos will help us to elaborate.

This straight on the bow photo allows the eye to follow the lines of the hull. You can just make out the aft edges of the bow thruster tunnels. The intersection of thruster tunnel and hull are faired to reduce turbulence.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 9, 2009)    |    Comments (9)

Catamarans vs Monohauls

What would be better for cruising. I keep reading about how catamarans are so great because of speed and comfort. I also have been told that they are extremely safe, even in extreme storms. Is this true. What about monohauls, are they that much slower, I realize weight become less of issue with them but is the trade off worth it for cruising. What do you this of the Atlantic 57 vs the Oyster 655? Which one is better?



Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 8, 2009)    |    Comments (8)

Radicalism or Realism?

Wakaroa, Raven, Wiind Horse Musket Cove, Fiji

We were working through photos this weekend, putting together more slide shows for our web stream, and came across this photo which might be of interest. It was taken in July of 2005 at Musket Cove in Fiji, a great place to start your winter cruise. The water is just as inviting as the lovely blue sky.

The three boats represent historic milestones of sorts for us.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 8, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

FPB 64 Headliner System


Circa have just sent us photos of the first of the upholstered headliner panels. Note the reveal between the panels.


This is a detail we first employed on the 78 foot ketch Beowulf back in 1995. We used it again on the FPB 83 Wind Horse and love the aesthetic it helps to create. This is not easy (or inexpensive) to execute, but we and Circa think the end result is worth the effort.

If you click here you can view a slide show with lots of interior shots of Wind Horse which will give you a feel for how the headliner design works.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 8, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Sight Lines From The Helm For Sailboats


Sight lines from the helm on a sailboat add the requirement to watch sail trim to the need to see traffic or close under the bow when navigating with debris in the water. When there’s a raised house or large dodge in the equation, the evaluation process gets even tougher.

Take the yacht above. She will have a nicely protected inside steering station. Visibility at sea will be OK except for one factor we will get to shortly.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 7, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Bow Thruster Options

Gooday Steve and Linda,

We recently purchased a Sundeer 60 and she’s in the yard undergoing a refit. Seriously considering a bow thruster and would like any feedback on the type/specs, ideas you may have.

Thank you in advance!

Gwen & Russ Hobbs
Vancouver, BC

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 7, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 64 Electronics Wiring


Modern yachts have a bewildering array of electronics wiring and black boxes. These tend to get hidden away making installation and fault checking a challenge. The basement design offers us the potential to solve this problem for the builder, and make the Owner’s life easier when he wants to add or update his electronics.

Circa is starting to connect the inside bridge controls and electronics on the first FPB 64. The cables which connect to the control heads (we’re looking at the underside of the bridge desk here) are pretty simple. It is wear these connect to their black boxes that it gets complex (when we show you the finished wiring in a couple of months this will be neat and orderly).

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 6, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 64 Update 22A – The Engine Room


There are so many photos to share from our recent trip to New Zealand that we’ll do update #22 as a series of which this the first (to be followed over the next few days by further updates and posts under the FPB 64 Series Notes category).

While it is difficult to ascertain the quality of most of of Circa’s work on the FPB 64s from construction photos, the engine room being nearly completed gives us a hint of what is to come throughout the boat. These photos do not begin to give what you really feel – but short of a visit to New Zealand they will have to suffice.

As mentioned elsewhere, it is difficult in the extreme to have a functional and aesthetic engine room. There are so many hoses, pipes, wires, and pieces of gear that a beautiful result takes patience, dedication, a lot of effort, and the willingness to do things over – sometimes three or four times. Most builders do not even try. They simply hide the messy looking stuff. The problem with this approach is that it also hides the problems. We have always preferred to expose everything, where we can clean and keep an eye on all of it.

The lead photo (above) is taken from the aft starboard corner, looking diagonally across the engine room towards the forward port corner.

Consider this and the photos which follow in the context of how this engine room will look when the floorboards are covered with the same material as the galley soles, permanent lighting is installed and work lights and their wires are removed, and the Owners have strategically places lovely artwork on the bulkheads. The end result

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 4, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

FPB 64 Flying Bridge Instrumentation


The design of the flying bridge seating, table, and instrumentation is something we wrestled with on Wind Horse (FPB prototype). There were dozens of drawings, and numerous mock ups in our office and on the boat. With the advantage of 45,000 miles of experience the FPB 64 design was much easier.

We’ll start with this series of 3D drawings, and then show you photos of the real thing now going together on the first FPB 64.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 4, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Sailing Videos

The following five videos are excerpted from the five hour Offshore Voyaging DVD series. They are all in high-def on our YouTube channel.

Introduction to the South Pacific aboard the 78 foot ketch Beowulf is first. This has some of our favorite sailing footage, with surfs in the Southern Ocean to 27 knots.

Winter Crossing will take you aboard the Sundeer 64 ketch Artemis during a storm tossed out of season crossing of the North Atlantic.

Want to spend more time in the South Pacific? Click here to cruise aboard the 68 foot ketch Sundeer.

For a look at cruising in the early 1980s click here. Included is archival video footage from the beginning of the Deerfoot Series of yachts.

Finally, come back aboard Beowulf for a 2900 mile record breaking passage between the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific and San Diego California, dodging two hurricanes along the way.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 1, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Slide Shows Online

Wind Horse through Greenland iceberg

We’ve been trying out some new software which simplifies creating web based slide shows. The first four of these are now posted on our server for your viewing pleasure. You can watch them (together with our videos) by clicking the “Streaming Video” link at the top of the page. Or, you can get to them via the links below.

To watch slide shows of the latest FPB photos, lots of details on Wind Horse , and plus 90 underway and anchored images click here.

We’ve also posted our favorite images of Svalbard (with music) here.

We will be adding to these slide shows weekly, so check back periodically to see the latest.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 1, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Sight Lines From The Helm


We were waiting out weather in a harbor on the coast of Wales, filled with interesting craft with good examples helm sight lines. A variety of helm positions are in evidence on vessels which almost certainly started life in the commercial realm, but now work at the leisure trades.

This got us to thinking about the complex tradeoffs of optimizing sight lines and comfort; two inherently incompatible requirements.

We’ll start with this handsome vessel.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Isolating Exhaust Noise


A large percentage of the propulsion noise on most engines comes from the exhaust system being in contact with the structure of the boat. This is a particularly difficult problem to solve on most designs. However, if you have an aft engine room achieving a favorable result is easier.

On the FPB 64 the exhaust system is totally isolated from contact with any structure. This starts

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 26, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

British Smack Keewaydin


Here’s a Thanksgiving treat for you. We’re looking at the British fishing smack Keewaydin, and one of her two crew members are making a harbor furl of her jib.

She has just sailed in and set her fisherman style anchor alongside Wind Horse so we had a ringside seat to putting her to bed. No roller furling here!

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 26, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Fire Risks and Fuel Shut Off


We don’t worry about heavy weather, or hitting debris, but the concept of fire has always scared us. We do everything we can think of in the boat to mitigate the risks, and have yet to experience a problem. But this is still the one thing that really concerns us.

The engine rooms are, of course, fitted with fire suppression gear. There is a manually operated fire dampener in the air intake for the engine room, and this Morse cable controlled fuel shut off valve. The control handle for this, the fire dampener, and the manual trigger on the fire extinguisher are located next to the engine room door.

When the fuel supply valve is closed fuel is cut off to the diesel heater, genset, and main engine.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 25, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 64 Update 22B – Interior


This is the second in a series of reports on our November visit to Circa in New Zealand. In this blog we’ll deal with the interior of the first FPB 64 (the preceding report covers the engine room).

It takes some imagination to jump from a yacht under construction to what the completed boat will be. When viewing these photos keep in mind the lovely view out the 17 great room windows, now add sophisticated counter tops, finish the galley lockers, install flooring, and fit head and hull liners upholstered in Ultraleather to your mental picture (or review some of the FPB 83 interior photos). The result will be stunning.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 24, 2009)    |    Comments (10)

Bulk Oil Storage


A cruising yacht needs to carry lots of lube and sometimes hydraulic oil. We like to have enough for at least four changes. We assume that the FPB 64 will carry the following as a minimum:

  • Four 20 liter containers of engine/tranny/genset oil (they will all use the same) and another eight four liter containers.
  • 20 liters of spare hydraulic oil.
  • 12 liters of Deere coolant.
  • An empty 20 liter container for the first oil change.

These items could be stored in the basement, but it is more convenient to store the majority of them under the swim step in the engine room in this area between the reinforcing structure, and in the next bay forward.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 24, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 64 Update 22C – Forepeak


The forepeak has always been a key design element in our designs (both sail and power), and this continues with the FPB 64. Although there are systems in this area, the key function of the forepeak is storage.

Drop down the ladder with us and we will take you on a tour.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 23, 2009)    |    Comments (4)

Watermaker Details


Watermakers are the most unreliable gear you will find on a cruising yacht. The electronics, solenoid valves, sensors, pumps, and filters make for a complex mix. They also tend to make a mess of other gear if they leak. On the other hand, we, and our clients love abundant fresh water. It is a conundrum, our answer to which is as follows:

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 23, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Prop Shaft Brake


You are looking at a propeller shaft brake on the FPB64. This device uses an eccentric cam to apply clamping pressure to the shaft coupling. This makes the job of checking coupling bolt torque easier, and assists in changing the flexible coupling should this ever be required at sea where the boat’s motion otherwise would be moving the prop. It will also come in handy should the emergency sailing rig be required.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 22, 2009)    |    Comments (2)



As the risk of asking too many questions… (sent on on refer systems last week) I’m wanting to insulate my C&C Landfall. It has a cored hull/deck but after a winter aboard I’d like to insulate more. My plan would be to go with the insulation you used but I can’t see to find the information you used to have posted on

Appreciate the time.



Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 21, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Greeting from Hamburg / Germany

So far i was only reading your comments and following your FPB adventures even to Europe. I am coming from sailing , actually from a Nordic folkboat and was thinking a lot about my next boat sail / power / motorsailor starting from some dutch steel motor vessels via Amel maramus up to Taiwanese Tayanas with my budget of 100 k EURO. I looked at old nauticat, Hallberg Rassies etc but nothing fits really.

One month ago I found small advertise in a harbour and meanwhile I am the owner of a nice boat which in never heard off or which I have ever seen. It is a Marimba 44 designed in 1980 by Dan Murray from New Zealand, built in Germany in 4.5 AlMng as round hull with centercockpit and interior was done in nice mahagony by another yard. A boat for 2 + 2 shortime guests, with a lot of storage , a sail locker in front of the saloon and head instead of add. Bunks, solid watertight alu bulkeads to separate the boat in 3 tight sections, no pressure water, but nice full batten sails etc. 13,5 m x 4 m x 2 m, 14 tons, 110 sqm

It looks like the boat found me and not I found a boat. So I can start some serious sailing. Thanks for your information and enjoy boating as long as possible.

Carsrten Fruendt
“ Mar y Sol”

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 21, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Bow thruster

Hi y’all!

I can’t see a bow thruster on your boat. Don’t you have one or do you have a retractable?
If you don’t have one, why?

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 21, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Spare Parts For Cruising


There are two schools of thought on spare parts. One is that international courier service is so wide spread that you just need the minimum in spares, and can order what is required when the time comes. If you are cruising with crowds, and don’t mind waiting for parts, and then dealing with the courier services and Customs, this makes sense. The other approach is to be fully equipped, prepared for almost anything, which is a requirement when you are off the beaten path (and an advantage in civilized cruising areas).

The photo above exemplifies our approach to this conundrum.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 15, 2009)    |    Comments (3)

FPB 64 Update #21


We’ve got an interesting batch of photos to share with you this week. We’ll start again in the engine room, this time with the salt water feed system.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 13, 2009)    |    Comments (4)

Rail Mounted Life rafts


We’ve used rail mounted life rafts on many boats, although usually off the stern. This side mount has some potential problems:

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 11, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

New Article in PassageMaker October 2009


Click here for an article and photos in the October 2009 issue of PassageMaker magazine. (5MB)

“Going with the Flow: An impromptu cruise along Canada’s enchanting East Coast”

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 9, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

How To Tell Bottom Makeup When Anchoring – Cleaning The Anchor

Rocna Anchor after hard mud bottom set

Knowing the type of bottom into which you are setting the anchor is the basis of all decisions from basic security, to the correct scope, and the best anchor to use.

We have recently anchored in three very different set of conditions, so we thought a few comments might be of interest.

On the assumption that you do not know from pilot or guide books the bottom type, the first clue is sound.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 9, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Weather Cloths

Weather Cloth - Tobermory-Scotland-100

Here is an interesting riff on the traditional cockpit weather cloth. Using dodger window material so you maintain visibility.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 6, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

Windshield and Dodger Integration

Windshield to dodger connection-537

Windshields on sailboats make no sense to us, unless they are incorporated into a dodger design. We shared a dock with this fifty foot (15m) Bavaria in Reine, Norway, and were impressed with the details.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 6, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

FPB 64 Update #20


Here is a photo to start your heart racing! A double set of tool drawers under the work bench. This feature has been on our wish list for years, but for various reasons we have never been able to make it work. Aside from the space these drawers consume, access to a variety of systems has to be maintained.Tool drawers are a standard feature on the FPB 64.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 4, 2009)    |    Comments (6)

Weather, Sea States, and Cruising Plans


We’ve been aground in the office in Arizona for six weeks, enough time to get caught up and start thinking about next year’s testing afloat. All options are on the table. Returning to the US East Coast via Iceland and Greenland sounds intriguing, as does the South Pacific via the Canary Islands, Panama and the Galapagos. There is also the Med. option.

Lots of factors play into the decision. We are used to this of course. But what is surprising in this decision making cycle is the part which comfort at sea seems to be playing.

It didn’t used to be this way.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 2, 2009)    |    Comments (4)

Food – How Long Does it Last in Storage?


When we were preparing Wind Horse for our cruise to Europe in 2008 we knew that food would be more expensive than the States. So we loaded the basement and freezers (there are two) with everything we could fit.

We thought that you might be interested in what we have found on longevity.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 1, 2009)    |    Comments (3)

Wind Horse Dinghy After Five Seasons


Our aluminum dinghy is now five years old. When we decided to go this route rather than another inflatable we had several objectives. These were:

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 30, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Clamp Meters


We were using our clamp meter one morning in Norway to check the Oberdorfer 1/4HP fuel transfer pumps, so we thought we’d mention this very handy tool.

The red lever on the left side, just above the digital read out, opens the red jaws at the top of the meter. You place these around one of the cables, and then read the amperage being used. In this case the motor is drawing 11.4 amps at 24 VDC, just right for a 1/4HP motor under load.

Measuring the amps of any electrical device is a good way to tell if there are problems. If the current is higher than normal, you know further checking is in order.

This meter does both AC and DC. We carry a second meter which is about 1/3rd this size for AC only loads in tight spaces.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 28, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Induction Cooktops

hi linda and steve,

we recently sold our sailing catamaran we cruised on for 10 years and have gone to the “dark-side”. as i write this we are having a 47′ power catamaran being built in maine. we are just about 70yrs and in the future will limit ouselves to the usa, bahamas and the caribbean. no more sail handling in nighttime squalls!

it has been with great interest that we learned you are using induction cooktops.

power generation: we will have 680 watts of solar panels, 1260 amps in a house battery bank, and a 6kw. genset. in the past we could basically live off solar while anchored in the tropics even making water (12 gph at a draw of about 15 amps per hour). we will have “dumpster” style fridge/freezers that draw less than 5 amps and run 1/3rd of the time. all lighting is LED and we read and do not plan on getting a tv.

can we look forward to induction cooking? anything you can share about your experiences will be appreciated.

regards/glenn and pam cooper

p.s. we loved your high lattitude photos.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 27, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Domestic Water Pump

Dear Steve,

Will you be using the double action Surflo pump for domestic water on the 64? In other words, is it still a good choice or is there something better?

I’m looking at domestic water, washdown, RO feed and would like to do it with the same pump model.

Thanks for all you do,
Bill Shuman

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 27, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Refer System


I’ve just put my C&C Landfall up on the hard for the season and will be refitting her over the next year. I noticed that you have decided to go with putting the keel coolers for your refrigeration in the freshwater tanks on the FPB’s. Sounds like a wonderful idea. I have two keel coolers with my system right now and now think I might consider your idea. Do you have any recommendations? Tank size, corrosion issues with dissimilar metals, contamination, etc. Also, do you have any input on refer/freezer boxes?

Just finished your meteorology book last month. Very well done. I was excited to see that Steve is a sailplane pilot! I think it mentioned him soaring somewhere out west? I’ve been around the sport for years and it was nice to see someone compare the two disciplines. Lots in common. Very cool.



Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 27, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Anchor Swivels – Why They Are A Bad Idea


We are not fans of anchor swivels, having seen several disasters due to their failure. This photo clearly shows the problem.

Your anchoring system needs to be consistently engineered, from the bow roller, to the anchor chain connection, the chain itself, chain stopper, and windlass.

Look at the chain in this photo, and compare it to the swivel clevis pins. The steel in the chain is probably a third (at least) stronger than the stainless in the swivel (depending on chain alloy). The links have two legs, equal in diameter to the swivel clevis pins. So the stronger chain alloy has twice the material to carry the load. If you had to pick a weak spot in this system it would be the swivel, which might carry half the load of the chain before failing.

Do you want to bet your boat, and maybe your body on this set up?

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 26, 2009)    |    Comments (6)

Engine Exhaust Line Valves – Are They Necessary?


Valves in the exhaust system of diesel engines are a mixed blessing.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 25, 2009)    |    Comments (10)

FPB 64 Update #19


Welcome to progress report #19.We’ll start with a sure sign that we are in the 21st century. The opening photo shows the start of the NMEA 2000 “backbone” which we are installing in the FPB64s.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 23, 2009)    |    Comments (6)

Rowing an Inflatable Dinghy – It’s the Oars!

Inflatable Dinghy Oars Tobermory-Scotland-654

We don’t see a lot of inflatables being rowed these days. Most use outboard propulsion. But when the oars are in use those typically supplied by the dinghy builders are of marginal use.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 21, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

Using 5200 For Sail (or flag) Repairs


Flags take a beating when you do as many miles as Wind Horse does. So when the trailing edge of our ensign began to unravel we decided to test a system Dan Neri talks about in his book, Sail Care and Repair.

We trimmed off the ragged edges, and then applied some fast cure 5200 adhesive. We used tape to try and keep a neat edge. This fabric is so light that the job was rather messy. But the repair is strong. And we can see where the approach would work really well with sail cloth.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 20, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

Glazing Question

Hi Steve,

We just bought a 60’ aluminium sailing boat, 6 years old, and we are in the process of rethink many particulars for adapting the boat to our plans who are to sail even in cold places like Patagonia, and Antarctica.

Your site is wonderful; a lot of passion is filtering in your words.

A big wave destroying the glazing is one of our nightmares and so we found interesting your thumb rule for dimensioning the glazing.

We’ve read of your concerns about laminated glasses, but you don’t talk about double glazing to reduce the condense inside the boat in cold places. May be because with such thicknesses is not an issue?

Thanks a lot,


Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 20, 2009)    |    Comments (6)

Plumbing Manifolds – The Best Way


You are looking at the ultimate execution of a plumbing manifold. These are for various exhausts (two bilge pumps, two sump pumps, water maker brine) in the engine room of the FPB 64. The details are as follows:

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 19, 2009)    |    Comments (4)

A Long Hot Shower – The Ultimate Cruising Luxury

Ultimate hot water heater FPB64

You are looking at the business end of the FPB64 hot water heater. This unit allows long hot water showers (something possible with the huge fresh water capacity these boats have). This system is a refinement of what has served us well over many years.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 18, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Cutwater Construction – Getting Ready For Ice and Debris

Cutwater FPB64 #3

One of the reasons we like aluminum construction is that it is simple to build in extra factors of safety precisely where they are required. In this case, we are looking at the cutwater (bow stem) which is potentially the most vulnerable part of the boat. On our fiberglass designs we always add lots of extra laminate here. For work in ice and debris infested waters extra metal is the optimum answer.

The stem bar which forms the cutwater is a massive chunk of solid aluminum.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 17, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

FPB 64 Steering System

Dual Steering and Autopilot system on FPB 64

The basic steering system, manual and electronic, is now installed in the first FPB 64 and perhaps some discussion is in order. To begin with there are several important details in view in the photo above:

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 16, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

Murphy Oil Level Gauge

Murphy oil sight gauge on FPB64

Last week we were discussing Murphy Gauges and forgot to include this photo of the oil level gauge. This unit performs three important functions:

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 15, 2009)    |    Comments (1)

Stad Amsterdam – Something To Dream On


You cannot help but think about the Maritime history in a place like Falmouth. All types of historic naval and commercial craft have called here and anchored in Carrick Roads, as have many famous modern yachts. But in the last several centuries we’d venture nothing cooler than this modern replica of a clipper ship has set her hook off Falmouth harbor.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 14, 2009)    |    Comments (2)

The Instant Library


Here is the ultimate collection of the Dashews’ work. Four books (3130 combined pages with more than 4000 photos and drawings) along with 3 DVDs (5+ hours) and 2 music CDs. All this for just $299 (a savings of over $50).

Steve and Linda’s books and DVDs have helped thousands of sailors around the world turn their cruising dreams into reality. They cover every aspect of purchasing, equipping, and sailing the right boat for your needs and budget.

The Instant Library gives you all four books along with three DVDs plus two bonus music CDs:

  • Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia (1232 pages)
  • Mariners Weather Handbook: A Guide to Forecasting and Tactics (594 pages)
  • Practical Seamanship: Essential Skills for the Modern Sailor (644 pages)
  • Surviving the Storm: Coastal & Offshore Tactics (672 pages)
  • Offshore Voyaging DVD Series (3 DVDs, over 5 hours of cruising video from all over the world)
  • Music for Cruising CD
  • Tradewinds High CD

The Instant Library delivers the knowledge necessary for safe, comfortable, and enjoyable cruising. We back this up with a 90-day no-questions-asked guarantee. Order the Instant Library today for a package price of just $299!

Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (October 12, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Best Hose Clamps To Use


A small but important plumbing detail is shown above. Note the beveled edge on the double hose clamps. This reduces the tendency for hose clamps to cut into pluming. These are standard throughout the FPB 64s.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 11, 2009)    |    Comments (5)

Murphy Gauges – Why We Still Use Them

Murhpy gauges on FPB 64

We’ve been fitting mechanical (non-electric) Murphy gauges to our yachts for 30 years. In this era of electronic controls, and the NMEA 2000 backbone, why it this necessary?

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 10, 2009)    |    Comments (3)

FPB 64 Update # 18


You are looking at what will eventually become the mast assembly on the FPB 64.This is a complex engineering job, with many tradeoffs and conflicts. As such this has taken a substantial amount of Circa’s and our time. Like many yacht details, there is more cost involved in the design than the actual fabrication.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 9, 2009)    |    Comments (4)

Poly V belts for Big Alternators

poly v belt for Electrodyne alternators

We continue to be impressed with the John Deere use of poly-V belt drives for accessories. You are looking here at a belt with 2400 hours of hard use, up to 10 horsepower of load with an average of probably six to seven horsepower. If it weren’t for the fact that we have lots of spares, we would continue to use these as they are showing very little wear.

Dual B belts of the highest quality, with precision engineering of pulleys, might go for 500 hours in this application.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 8, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Changing Horizontal Oil Filters


Engineers who put horizontal oil filters on diesels should condemned to changing these several hundred times, and cleaning up afterwards. If this were the case, they’d figure out how to install these vertically.

So, if you have a Northern Lights genset, as we do, with a horizontal oil filter, the one trick we’ve learned is to poke holes into the filter to partially drain it before removal. This still leaves a mess, just not as big as occurs with a filter full of oil.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 5, 2009)    |    Comments (5)