Archive for 2014

Resolution For The New Year – Don’t Wait, Do It Now

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Waiting is never easy, and when it is for the next big thing in your life – in our case what we think is our ultimate cruising machine – it is even harder.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 30, 2014)    |    Comments (11)

FPB Yachts 2015 Calendar Now Available

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Thanks to the generosity of our family of FPB owners who, once again, freely provided many of the featured pictures, we are happy to offer you this 13-month (January-January) wall calendar. Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (December 29, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 97 Iceberg: Surfing Off Before A Wicked New Zealand Gale

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Come aboard FPB 97-1 Iceberg for a quick ride from Waiheke Island to Whangarei. Read the rest »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (December 19, 2014)    |    Comments (12)

FPB 97-1 Drone Photos (and video)- What You Really Need under The Tree

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Being very 21st century in all things to do with serious cruising, we have a demo of a pair of ultimate cruising tools.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 14, 2014)    |    Comments (20)

FPB 97-1: First Sea Trial Video

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Here is a very short video of FPB 97-1 on her third day of sea trials. Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (December 10, 2014)    |    Comments (14)

FPB 97-1 Sea Trials – Kicking Up The Revs

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FPB 97-1 is working its way up the engine load chart. We shot some video last week aboard, from which this transom shot is extracted. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 9, 2014)    |    Comments (5)

FPB 97 – Efficient At Anchor And Underway

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The FPB 97 employs a massive solar array of the most efficient panels you can buy, a unique passive/active ventilation system, and massive traction battery bank, to minimize and in some cases eliminate generator time at anchor. Theory up till now, we are starting to get real world data and the results look promising. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 8, 2014)    |    Comments (9)

FPB 97 Sea Trials – Veem Props Are For Real

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In an earlier post we mentioned having learned the hard way to take propeller manufacturers’ performance claims with a healthy dose of skepticism. Now that we have had an early taste of the Veem interceptor propellers, we can tell you they work as advertised on FPB 97-1. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 5, 2014)    |    Comments (10)

Survival Storm Tactic Tested Off The Needles In Breaking Seas: Updated With Video

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The ultimate survival storm tactic, jogging into breaking seas, has had its first (and hopefully last) FPB test. This took place recently off the Needles near the Isle of Wight in the UK’s Solent. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 2, 2014)    |    Comments (20)

Motor Yacht Stability, Comfort, and Safety – An Updated Compilation

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When you head offshore your safety depends on stability, both upright and ultimate (the heel angle at which you don’t recover from a knockdown). Given today’s software and computing power, calculating stability is a relatively straightforward exercise. This is required for commercial vessels, larger yachts, and generally for any flag state/class certification such as MCA, RINA, ABS, etc. We would not go offshore without this data, and we don’t think you should either.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 2, 2014)    |    Comments (1)

FPB 97-1 Sea Trials Day 2: A Wicked Wake

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You are looking at what drives the FPB team, what our client (and we) have been waiting to see after 2.5 years of intense effort. A lovely clean flow release off the stern with minimal magnitude indicating a highly efficient cruising machine (this at 13.1 knots GPS averaged in two directions). A wicked wake indeed. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 25, 2014)    |    Comments (7)

FPB 97-1 Sea Trials Day 1

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It is a perfect day for the first sea trial with FPB 97-1. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 24, 2014)    |    Comments (11)

FPB 97 Performance – What Is Your Guess?

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We will shortly begin a wicked set of sea trials with FPB 97-1. Along with the usual wringing out of the boat before handover, one of the objectives is to gather a data set with which to refine our velocity prediction algorithms. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 22, 2014)    |    Comments (19)

FPB 97-1 Trials: Inclined Towards Safety

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We thought a few photos of a stability check on the Wicked FPB 97-1 might be of interest. In case you want to do this yourself some day you will see it really isn’t that difficult.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 21, 2014)    |    Comments (1)

FPB 97-1 Floating Free

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FPB 97-1 Iceberg is floating free. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 19, 2014)    |    Comments (19)

FPB 97-1 The Moment of Truth

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The moment of truth is at hand. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 18, 2014)    |    Comments (25)

FPB 97 – The Emergence

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In the pre-dawn light, illusory figures attend the Wicked One, for it is known that this is the day.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 17, 2014)    |    Comments (26)

The Wicked One Is At Hand…

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The Wicked One is at hand. Stay tuned…


Posted by admin  (November 16, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

FPB 64-5 Tiger in Passagemaker Magazine: “The Minerva Option”

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Recently FPB 64-5 Tiger, her intrepid owners John and Sandy Henrichs, and their adventurous cruising choices, were the subject of a detailed feature by John Beatty in Passagemaker Magazine. Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (November 11, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78 Lifeline Stanchion Test

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We’ve been thinking about using aluminum lifeline stanchions for a long time as they offer a number of advantages.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 28, 2014)    |    Comments (11)

Extreme Weather Tactics Article In Berthon’s Magazine

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Steve has an interesting article on extreme weather tactics in the most recent edition of UK-based Berthon’s Lifestyle Magazine. They were kind enough to allow us to embed a pdf of the article here for SetSailors to peruse. Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (October 17, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 64-10 Launches, FPBs 78-3 and 64-11 Begin Construction – Posted by Sarah

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We are pleased to report that FPB 64-10 has begun her sea trials. Riptide is sitting well on her lines and happy to be afloat.

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Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (September 26, 2014)    |    Comments (16)

Sony Alpha 7 Camera Series – Further Evaluation

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With the day-to-day pressure on the FPB 78 Series winding down we’ve had time to do some more camera testing. The goal is maximum quality for minimum hassle, with a high degree of portability.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 22, 2014)    |    Comments (4)

Thai Government Clamps Down on Yachts – Posted By Sarah

1410426128_1-orgPhoto Phuket News

Our SetSail spies in Thailand have just made us aware of some interesting regulatory changes for those cruising in Thai waters. According to the Phuket News, all foreign-flagged vessels must now be equipped with AIS tracking devices. There is no vessel size limit on the requirement–all boats small and large have to comply. Read the rest »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (September 18, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

An FPB 64, A Party, And Some Old Stones: Report From England – Posted By Sarah

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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 »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (August 25, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

Hard Core Weather Watchers Alert -Bertha Is Going to Rock

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Hurricane Bertha has gotten a little press so far, but her evolution to extra-tropical structure indicates big things may be in store for the UK and parts of Europe.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 7, 2014)    |    Comments (3)

Sony Alpha 7 – A Revolution in Camera Gear

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We’ve been dragging around 40 pound backpacks of full frame Canon professional camera gear since the ark. It was the way we knew to get the results. Now there is a better answer. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 3, 2014)    |    Comments (8)

FPB Construction Progress Update: August1, 2014

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It is the first day of August and time for an update, starting with three shots of the FPB 97-1 forepeak, looking here from inside the chain locker and aft. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 1, 2014)    |    Comments (27)

Living the Dream up North: Avatar Logs

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It is always a treat to check out our owners’ blogs and live vicariously through their cruising adventures. Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (July 28, 2014)    |    Comments (1)

Power Boat Storm Tactics – Running With The Waves

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 11, 2014)    |    Comments (13)

FPB 78 Exterior Updated July 20 – 2014

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With the design and engineering cycle for the FPB 78 Series nearing completion – it has been two years and over 16,000 man hours since we started this process –

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 4, 2014)    |    Comments (20)

FPB 78 Great Room Helm and Galley Final Design With A Hint Of Lighting

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Continuing on with our update, let’s look at the great room con, the logic for which has changed completely.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 4, 2014)    |    Comments (11)

FPB 64-5 Tiger Featured In PassageMaker Magazine

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The July/August edition of PassageMaker Magazine features a lovely piece by John Beatty on “doing it right” with cruising. Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (June 30, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

Rockin’ The House

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In case you missed Sarah’s Broadway debut at 54 Below last week, we thought a few photos were in order. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 27, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf Is At Anchor Havlet Bay, Guernsey, Channel Islands

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Having traveled halfway around the world in three months, Peter Watson and crew have brought FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf to anchor in the Channel Islands.

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Posted by admin  (June 23, 2014)    |    Comments (4)

FPB 78 Series Construction Update June 20, 2014

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The first of the FPB 78 series now has all of its bottom plate in place, a major milestone.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 20, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

FPB Systems Log – Maintenance on a Voyage Halfway Around the World

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 12, 2014)    |    Comments (10)

FPBs Do It – Right

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Of the ten FPBs currently afloat, nine are actively cruising, taking advantage of their seagoing speed, range, and comfort, actually doing it…right. We enjoy hearing from our family, keeping up with where they are and what is going on. This week, for example, Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 9, 2014)    |    Comments (1)

FPB 78 – The Strongest Cruising Yacht Hull Ever Built? And Other FPB Progress Photos

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Bottom plate this thick is heavy, very difficult to fabricate, and costly in the extreme. It is two times or more the Loyds Special Service rule requirements. Does it make sense?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 6, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf Is Alongside: St George’s Harbor, Bermuda

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Having left New Zealand just nine weeks and 9000 NM ago, Peter Watson and crew, aboard FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf, have now completed the fifth leg in their journey to the UK.

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Posted by admin  (June 2, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

FPB 64-3 Iron Lady ‘s “Welcome” To Washington

Pete Rossin and crew have completed another uneventful ocean crossing, 2300 NM in ten pleasant days between Hawaii and Puget Sound. Upon arrival they were forced to use the Washington State Pilots

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 31, 2014)    |    Comments (10)

Sarah’s EP / Shows in New York

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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 »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (May 27, 2014)    |    Comments (6)

FPB 64-3 Iron Lady: Canada Bound From Hawaii

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FPB 64-3 Iron Lady is Canada bound from Hawaii, a relatively short 2400 NM (+/-) trip, depending on how the Pacific high treats them. Pete Rossin is filling us in on weather and vessel performance data. Information from the last five days follows: Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (May 23, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

Anchors Down: FPB 64 Grey Wolf Arrives In Panama

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FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf, Peter Watson Master, has arrived Balboa, Panama after a non-eventful 4100NM passage from Taieohai in the Marquesas Islands of eastern French Polynesia. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 22, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

FPB Passage Notes – It Is Ocean Crossing Time

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 17, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf: They’re Getting Close…

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Peter Watson and his intrepid crew aboard FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf are now just a few days’ from Panama. Keep up with their progress on Berthon’s web site. Of particular interest may be Peter’s comments after now having voyaged over 6,000 nm in the last two months.


Posted by admin  (May 15, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

FPB Construction Update: FPB 78 Taking Shape while FPB 64-10 and FPB 97-1 Draw Closer To Launch

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FPB 78-1 is now framed, deck plating is on, and hull plating begins soon. Which is good because we are depressed with this enforced stay on land.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 14, 2014)    |    Comments (4)

FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf Picking Up Speed: Possible Lottery Win On The Horizon

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FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf has finally hit her stride and is cruising along at 9.7 to 11 knots towards Panama along the fifth parallel.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 10, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

The Most Difficult of All Yachting Passages – 4000NM Eastbound From The Marquesas to Panama

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 5, 2014)    |    Comments (3)

A Little Weird Science -Looking For A Soft LED Lighting Color That Dims Sufficiently

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We are always looking for a better, simpler way of doing things, and this frequently includes in-house testing. Right now we are working on LED lighting, looking for the best combination of light, color temperature, and dimming ability.

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Posted by admin  (May 1, 2014)    |    Comments (16)

Cruising in the Olden Days – Crossing the Indian Ocean – The Easy Part

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 27, 2014)    |    Comments (3)

Bilge Pump Tests – Surprising Results

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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.

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Posted by admin  (April 21, 2014)    |    Comments (21)

Chasing A Stabilizer Problem Far From Home – A Primer On Teamwork

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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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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 18, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

Is It Better In The Tropics Or High Latitudes?

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 15, 2014)    |    Comments (3)

Weather Forecasts And Routing In The Real World: Good But Not Perfect

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 11, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

Hobie Alter – Surfer Dude, Marketing Whiz, Savvy Businessman, and All Around Good Guy – Gone at 80.

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

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 5, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

FPB 78-1 The Dream Machine Is Taking Shape

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 3, 2014)    |    Comments (15)

Weather Forecasting, Storm Tactics & Successful Cruising – Plus An Offer You Can’t Refuse

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 31, 2014)    |    Comments (73)

Beowulf: The Ultimate Short-Handed Cruiser-Updated March 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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 27, 2014)    |    Comments (21)

Get Ready To Rock-Making the Weather Work For Grey Wolf

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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 22, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

Spring Is In The Air

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 17, 2014)    |    Comments (6)

A Most Difficult Ocean Passage Coming Up – Playing The Weather Odds In Hurricane Season

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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 14, 2014)    |    Comments (9)

Beowulf IV and the Early C-Cat Foil Development

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 10, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

Leaping Into The Future – FPB Progress In The Antipodes

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 7, 2014)    |    Comments (2)

Deerfoot ll – Time To Part With A Member Of The Family

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 4, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising In The Olden Days – A Marquesan Tale

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 26, 2014)    |    Comments (1)

Six Years of FPBs

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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 »


Posted by admin  (February 12, 2014)    |    Comments (9)

Speed, Sex, Rules, & Dinghies: Size Does Matter

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 31, 2014)    |    Comments (25)

FPB 78: Crew Quarters, The Laundry Room, And A Hallway

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 24, 2014)    |    Comments (6)

Report From Ground Zero

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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 the Circa team. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 22, 2014)    |    Comments (12)

FPB Construction Update As Of December 18,2013

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The parts pile grows larger for the first FPB 78.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 3, 2014)    |    Comments (10)