FPB 781 Cochise Solar Update Spring 2019

It is late spring in the Bahamas, water temperature is 83/85F and air that or more. Humidity often is in the 80% range. We are making water, staying comfortable with air conditioning in the evening, generally leading a carbon neutral existence. Welcome to the new world of solar panel cruising.  What follows is a bit of data and several suggestions that might help on your own vessel.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 18, 2019)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1 Cochise: Now Running Air Conditioning With Solar Energy

We are anchored at Cape Lookout, North Carolina. It has been a very warm humid weekend, the type of weather that typically finds us in cooler climates. We’ve been waiting for the arrival of six new Sunpower 360 watt solar panels, the most efficient available, and very much in demand. Cory and Angela McMahon’s Triton Marine Team have just completed installation, and we are watching as the Outback Mate controller adds up the day’s power creation.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 26, 2018)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1 Solar Energy Update

IMG 2230

FPB 78-1 Cochise has been anchored to the dock in Fort Lauderdale the past five days; we have yet to connect the shore power cord, the genset has not been used, and the batteries remain full.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 20, 2017)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1 Cochise’s Solar Array: Even More Valuable Underway


Cochise’s solar array is saving us substantial quantities of diesel on this passage. Read the rest »

Posted by admin  (November 2, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1 Cochise: Solar Update


We continue to be impressed with Cochise’s solar array. From ten solar panels we are generating within spitting distance of 20 kWh. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 20, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

Air Conditioning With Solar Power? Yes, With FPB 78-1 Cochise


We are about to demonstrate the holy grail of solar energy. But first, the backstory… Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 29, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1 Cochise: First Serious Air Conditioning Test And Record Solar Output


We are “anchored” in Denarau, visiting friends on the leeward side off the big island in Fiji. The breeze is non-existent to light, and it is hot–very hot. Perfect conditions to test air conditioning and ventilation. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 22, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 97-1 All Charged Up: Solar Report From Mark Fritzer

#1 Battery

Hi Everyone! I’m freshly back from a trip to Whangarei to do some testing on the 97 prior to delivery. While Todd and Sarah relaxed in the boardroom with flat whites enduring endless meetings, I was able to get aboard the 97 and do some eagerly anticipated testing of the electrical system. Read the rest »

Posted by admin  (January 26, 2015)    |    Comments (0)

To Track Or Not – That Is The Solar Array Conumdrum


When we started with the solar panel project on Wind Horse, we were 100% certain we would use the panels only in flat mode, unless they were in storage configuration at the dock (in the past we have always thought that tracking was not worth the effort). We have previously reported that substantial increases in output were recorded when the panels were squared to the sun. Now, with the Maretron N2K view data available on our iPads, we can play with tilting/angling the panels and see results as we adjust.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 13, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Solar Output Averages In Maine And A New Record

Wind Horse Solar Array New Output Record 1001

We’ve got high pressure to our west generating northerly winds, so the solar panels are facing south, an ideal situation for a little angle on the panels. With the sun due to arrive over the equator in a few days we eyeballed 45 degrees. The results were immediate and positive.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 10, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Optimizing Solar Panel Angle And Direction – Is It Worth The Trouble?

Wind Horse Angled Solar Panels Roque Island 101

We are at anchor, it is quiet, just three other cruising yachts in this bay, and the sun is shining for a change. With the sun now dropping towards our neighbors in the Southern hemisphere, or the earth tilting if you prefer being accurate, the sun’s angle to our flat solar panels is less than optimal. But is it worth adjusting the solar array angle?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 27, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Solar Output In Foggy Maine – Will Assumptions On The FPB 97 Stand Up In This Environment?

MG 6522

The big question with our solar power calculations has been: what would we see in the real world? The 320 Watts per panel (of which there are four) is the theoretical maximum. You then degrade for shadows, less-than-perfect angle of panel and sun, dirt on the panels, and clouds. We have assumed Maine would be an interesting test with its summer fog. The data has been surprising, and how it relates to the FB 97 assumptions even more so.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 10, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Sunpower 320 Solar Panels – Real World Output Data

Wind Horse Solar 2 246

We have finally had a proper day of solar energy testing: free of the dock, booms out so no shading, minimal overcast. The results are surprising.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 23, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Wind Horse Solar Array – Up and Running

FPB 83 Wind Horse Solar Array First report 100


Yesterday afternoon–the intrepid Triton Marine crew is caught delivering the first of our two panel solar arrays. Rick Goode is leading the way, the boss, Corey, is hiding, and Casey Weires is bringing up the rear. These 145lb/66kg assemblies were duly lifted onto their transom mounted masts, and the wiring process commenced.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 21, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Solar Array – Final Layout (Really)

Screen shot 2011 12 01 at 3 24 35 PM

We’re out of time, which is a good thing since it forces a decision on the solar array, hence this post. What you see in these images is what we’ll be looking at from the dinghy, the view with which we are most concerned.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 3, 2011)    |    Comments (0)

Wind Horse Solar Array – Final Location (Updated)


Sometimes an idea that seems great in abstract fails when you get into detailed drawings. Such is the case with our solar roof, now history. But as cool as it might have seemed (to some) we have a much better solution.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 9, 2011)    |    Comments (0)

Solar Roof For The Flying Bridge? Maybe

WInd Horse solars 430

The rendering above shows the proportions of a solar roof for the flying bridge (support is not yet shown, but will be required). The efficiency and cost per watt have gotten to the point where this may make sense. In the scheme above there would be eight 250 to 320 watt panels, depending on what we find next week. This is enough to generate a large chunk of our daily power usage at anchor. But is it worth the expense and hit on aesthetics?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 5, 2011)    |    Comments (0)

Mounting Solar Panels on Dodgers and Awnings


There are large solar arrays on many of the cruising yachts we meet these days. A combination of high efficiency monocrystal panels and MPPT controllers makes it feasible to get most, if not all, of your systems power from the sun. Of course mounting space is always an issue.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 27, 2011)    |    Comments (0)

Solar Panels

Hi. We’re about to install rigid (as opposed to flexible) solar panels on our Cal 3-46: looking at a number of options for placement: atop dodger, atop Kato davits at stern, swiveled at side rails–any comments about optimum placement and subsequent sailing/safety issues? Thanks, Glenys

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Autopilots for Steel Boats /Solar Panels

Dear Sirs, Please advise which autopilot system will be better for a 12m. steel ketch: Autohelm or Robertson? We have a hydraulic steering system by Vetus. I would like also to know which self-steering you would recommend? We have a central cockpit. Our intention is to sail from the Arabian Sea to Australia so we need really good gear. So far, we have sailed from Slovenia to Oman (wintertime on Med) – hand-steering all the time and only two of us. To be honest, I (would rather) have something to help in the future. Last question – how many solar panels should we have to be able to run fridge and have a hot water system as well? I have ordered your Encyclopedia and am waiting for it to arrive. Thank you for your help. – Nina

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Evolution of the FPB Super Cruiser

I spent my first six decades on earth despising powerboats and those who operated them. In my early days of sailing dinghies, powerboats would always speed up to cross ahead of us leaving a huge wave to wreak havoc with us and our compatriots. My earliest recollection of the single finger salute was from such encounters. As cruisers, if there was a “stinkpot” around they inevitably would anchor close by and then run their genset 24 hours a day. And the lack of seamanship was stunning.  Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 3, 2019)    |    Comments (0)

Steering Clear of Trouble: Our Search for Cruising Perfection

We are standing at the forward end of the great room aboard FPB 78-1 Cochise. It is eerily quiet as we watch the steam gauge climb from 13 to 20 knots, linger for a moment, before peaking at 22. A fast-rising SE gale has kicked up a steep sea, now confused with a reflected crossing wave pattern as we rapidly close with the Southern entrance to New Zealand’s Bay of Islands. This 60 metric ton motor yacht is surfing under autopilot control. The seas are perfect for Cochise and she rides the better waves for several minutes at a time, at speed length ratios above 1.6. Cochise is the most recent iteration of the perfect yacht, at least for us. Aboard Cochise, and the rest of our yachts, the key design ingredient upon which all else rests is steering control. We are warm, dry, and very comfortable. 

It wasn’t always so. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 10, 2019)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising At Its Best In The Bahamas

For those of you who want to experience cruising at its best, if you live in Europe or the East Coast of the US, in your back yards is some of the very best cruising on this planet. We speak of the Exhumas group in the southern Bahama Islands.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 7, 2019)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1 Cochise Tests Survival Storm Tactic In Unusual Sea State

Many years ago, while researching ultimate storm tactics for our book Surviving the Storm (free download here), it became clear to us that, whether it was Fastnet 79, Queen’s Birthday Storm, or the 1998 Sydney Hobart Race, heading into the waves is often the best tactic in severe weather.

Because our yachts surf downwind under control making quick passages, and since in all but one of the serious storms we have experienced our natural course was downwind, we’ve rarely had the chance to experiment with truly dangerous seas on the bow. And while this most recent experience is far from what we would call a survival storm, the unusual sea state did give us a chance to test several FPB specific steering and throttle techniques, along with gathering a couple of ideas for improving electronics and night lighting layout.

The notes which follow, although aimed specifically at the FPB fleet, may offer some ideas to others who find themselves in difficult seas… Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 14, 2018)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 70-1: Growing Big and Strong

You are standing on a rigid coaming of the FPB 70-1’s Matrix deck, looking toward the bow. Inside and out, she is coming together.  Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 12, 2017)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 70 and 78: A Much “Kneeded” Perspective On The Next Generation Of FPBs

fpb782_matrix_conFPB 78-2 Matrix deck helm

The current America’s Cup spectacle has us entranced: unbelievable speed, maneuverability, and difficult sailing, the likes of which has never been seen before. The design and engineering required to achieve this level of performance is nothing short of astonishing.

The time to study what’s happening in Bermuda in detail is the result of this correspondent’s photography accident (night sky shooting on a dark dock), which resulted in a shattered kneecap and a forced hiatus from summer cruising… Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 16, 2017)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78 The Dream Machine: Reality – Updated May 24, 2017


The Next Generation of FPBs is here, cruising even farther, faster, more comfortably and efficiently than their predecessors. With the first two FPB 78s rapidly racking up sea miles, read on to find out how, in a world full of empty claims, FPBs do what they are supposed to do.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 24, 2017)    |    Comments (0)

Using Modern Tools To Manage And Extend Cruising Range Under Power

We begin writing this post halfway through a 4,700 nautical mile passage, under power, against the trade winds and prevailing current, between French Polynesia and Panama. The accurate fuel consumption data available with tier II and tier III diesel engines has completely changed our approach to fuel management and the future passages we are thinking about undertaking…

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 18, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1: Greetings From the 4th Parallel (And a Birthday at Sea)


Greetings from FPB 78-1 Cochise, where we have now crossed into the fourth parallel. The big news is that after 4000 nautical miles with the wind dead on the nose it has started to free a bit, having backed to the SE ever so slightly. Now, if the knot of west-flowing current would just go away. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 1, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1 Cochise – After A Very Quick 5000 NM


FPB 78-1 Cochise has just completed a 1832 NM passage, Fiji to French Polynesia, against the prevailing wind and current, and has now seen more than 5000 NM pass under the hull in just four months. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 17, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1 First Passage: The Hardest Part Is Just Going


Getting away on first passages are the hardest. There is always more to do than time allows. But at some point you have to say “Enough, we are out of here.” In our case a reasonable weather window was the incentive to get on with it. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 8, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1: Dock Trials Report

FPB 781 Cochise First look testing

Dock trials are always a testing period for the build boat crew and designers. There will be a list of things that take time to sort out, a few items that don’t work as advertised… Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 17, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1: We Are Having A Blast (And Other Details)

Engineering 865

There is a hint in this photo that the day of reckoning draws near. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 17, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78 Battery Bank And Charging Details

Electrical 198

It is a law in the yacht building universe that the sparkies (electricians) are always the last ones off the boat. And with the DC system now almost complete, we can see the light at the end of the long building cycle tunnel. We thought this might be a good time to go through the DC battery bank and related circuits. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 7, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 70 – A New Baby Sister!

There’s a new kid on the block, a smaller sibling to the FPB 97 and 78, and like most younger family members, this one is as tough as nails.  Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 20, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78 Custom Jewelry


You are looking at as lovely a piece of yachting jewelry as has ever been afloat. The creation of Circa’s  Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 26, 2015)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78 Update: Anchored In Reality

Interior 626

We have been accused in the past of being obsessive about our ground tackle systems, to which we contentedly plead guilty.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 5, 2015)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78: Getting Wired

Electrical 54

With mechanical systems installation wrapping up, and furniture modules being installed, the time has come to begin wiring on the first of the FPB 78s. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 20, 2015)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 97-1 Performance Data


We have just finished a first look at the FPB 97-1 sea trials and two passages worth of data. What can be done on board this 110-foot 100 ton yacht, with just 600 HP Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 20, 2015)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1 The Insulation Story

Interior 22

Insulation of the hull and deck is critical to comfortable and efficient cruising. It impacts noise levels from exterior and machinery, condensation in cold climates, and electric requirements for heating and air conditioning. With the FPB Series we take the insulation game to a new level. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 18, 2015)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 97 – Efficient At Anchor And Underway


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 (0)

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

FPB971 day 2 sea trial 200

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 (0)

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

2FPB 781 June 6 2014

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?

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 6, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

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

20140509 009

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.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 14, 2014)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78: Dream Machine Comments

The following is a compilation of the comments and dialogue we have received from various posts on the new FPB 78 Dream Machine: Read the rest »

Posted by admin  (December 11, 2013)    |    Comments (0)

FPB Construction Update

20131205 007

Words don’t work here. The photo is capable of speaking for itself.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 8, 2013)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78 Dream Machine – Matrix Deck

Now let’s have a more detailed look at what may end up being our favorite area on board: the Matrix deck. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 1, 2013)    |    Comments (0)

Can A Non-Planing Hull Like the FPB Operate Efficiently at Post-Planing Speeds?

DAvid Taylor series ref
Over the years we have had many tools with which to predict performance, some more accurate than others. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 9, 2013)    |    Comments (0)

FPB Update: 64 Progress

“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 »

Posted by admin  (December 11, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Wind Horse – Working Towards Perfection (Making The Best Better)

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

1DX 9344

Since launching, Wind Horse has comfortably chauffeured us well over 50,000 miles.. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 13, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

A Wicked FPB 97 Exterior Update

FPB 97 Update Oct 2012 121

We’ve been so busy on the details end of FPB 97-1 – a  project like this has a tendency to take all your bandwidth – Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 8, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Checking Transom Air Flow – And The Use of Woolies

MG 6595

If you look carefully, you will see short bits of red wool attached at various places around the aft end of Wind Horse. We are using these to give an indication of air flow when apparent wind is on the bow, and to see if the air flow can be modified by angling the solar array. Although we were using woolies 40 years ago on our sails and superstructure as flow indicators, and more recently on glider wings, we didn’t think about this for the boat until last week.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 25, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Nantucket Sunrises, Celestial Orbs, New Friends and Old, A Whale of a Cruising Tale


We’ve been hanging out on the hook in Nantucket, a bit to the north of the summer mob scene. In spite of dreadfully slow internet service on both AT&T and Verizon, this is a lovely spot. The sunrises, as you can see above, have been wondrous. And by getting up at 0445 for the start of the morning twilight show, internet bandwidth is available.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 31, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Cruising With NMEA 2000 – A First Hand Look The Maretron System, And A Few Other Observations

MG 6223

We’ve just completed our first passage in what seems like forever: Beaufort, North Carolina to Nantucket Island off the coast of New England. This gave us a chance to work with our newly installed NMEA 2000 (N2K) information system and Maretron’s software, as well as try out the newly enclosed flying bridge. The screen shot above was taken after rounding Cape Lookout, heading for Cape Hatteras, and doing a little surfing, which is always good for the soul after a long hiatus in the boat yard.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 28, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Rigid Industries LED Spotlight Update

Rigi Lights Update Beaufort 100 2

It turns out that Rigid had some quality issues with their first batch of marine LED spotlights, so ours have been replaced. This gave us the opportunity to change from the Rigid spots to floodlight design, as our initial testing indicated we wanted more light in close to the bow, and there was sufficient throw to be useful in lighting up an anchorage shoreline.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 20, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Wicked FPB 97 Tank Volumes

FPB 97 Tank layout

The FPB 97 has a wicked amount of fuel and water capacity, so much so that only in special circumstances would the full amounts of either ever be carried. The weight and position of these liquids obviously have a substantial impact on fore and aft trim and stability. We are dealing with close to 37,000 liters/9,800US gallons of capacity (after deducting for structure, separating coffer dams, and stabilizer coffers).

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 22, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 97 – The Foundation Part ll


Where you intend to cruise, and the ambient weather with which the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) have to deal, is the starting point for the systems analysis and their integration into the rest of the design. The space these take for installation has an impact on structure and interior design, and the power needed to operate them dictates the requirements of both AC and DC electrical systems. Sitting in a lovely anchorage in the Bahamas, or French Polynesia, has totally opposite requirements in this regard versus exploring Tierra del Fuego or visiting Antarctica.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 18, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Amping Up The Story Of The Wicked FPB


We are somewhat surprised by the amount of comment induced by the post on the solar array, so we thought we’d update you to the present (things are moving quickly).

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 29, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

The Next FPB – A Breath Of Fresh Air


When you start to consider powerboat (stinkpot) systems, virtually every decision revolves around air conditioning. Air conditioning holds you hostage. High heat loads from large windows and poor-to-nonexistent shading, coupled with a lack of ventilation, force you to fit large compressors, which means a big genset. Since you cannot do without the genset, you need a second, both of which are too big to just run air conditioning at night, so a small night generator is needed.  All other systems decisions flow from this conundrum.

But what if you had good ventilation, even when there was no breeze, and then coupled this with minimized heat loads?

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 28, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

Improving On Perfection -The Next FPB

FPB Wicked 2

For years we’ve been wrestling with a way to improve on the FPB 83, Wind Horse. We’ve done smaller, as in the FPB 64: a very efficient, attractively priced, well-mannered yacht. And we’ve worked up a larger version in the guise of the FPB 115, about which we can get excited. But to improve on the Wind Horse combination of comfort, sea-kindliness, heavy weather ability, trans-ocean average speed, systems efficiency, and ease of handling for a couple has yet to happen.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 25, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 83 On Deck

The process of developing the exterior design is never easy. Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 11, 2012)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 64s Iron Lady and Osprey – A Few Details

FPB64 3 4 details 100

Here’s a sight that would gladden the heart of anyone interested in cruising yachts. Two FPB 64s, Iron Lady and Osprey, side by side in Marsden Cove Marina.

While we were a little busy last week we still managed a few photos, which follow. At the end of this article you will find a link to a high res slide show which has full-sized high def images, of these and other details.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 30, 2011)    |    Comments (0)

Clever Dinghy Davit


Every now and then we see something new which really works and is such an obvious answer that it is amazing it was not done previously.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 10, 2011)    |    Comments (0)

Cockpit Awning Ideas


We are always  on the watch for cockpit awning ideas. Here are a couple of good ones. The cockpit awning system above has several things going for it:

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 25, 2010)    |    Comments (0)

Shaft generator

Aloha Steve and Linda,
We are building a 65′ Catamaran and trying to get as much of our electricity needs from solar and hydro. We chose a Duogen turbine but so far haven’t found a way to install it in a cat. Then I read that you used a shaft generator in one of your vessels in your cruises around the world. Can you tell us the pros/cons of the system and if it could be installed in a Cat. How much power should we expect from the shaft generator? we are running a 24V system in our boat.
Mahalo for your help and safe sailing.

Read the rest »

Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 19, 2010)    |    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)

FPB 64 Update #12


Most motor yachts these days use household fridges and freezers. This has substantial cost advantages, but brings with it enormous power consumption. We have stayed with our highly efficient specially insulated box design, and these 24 volt DC Danfoss compressors connected to evaporator plates. There are three independent systems, each capable of being used as fridge or freezer. The combination of this hardware and our box design has proven to be the most efficient system we have ever used.

The compressors are cooled in the same fresh water tank that is used for the air conditioning system (discussed in the previous post). This is accomplished with a passive “keel coolers” mounted through the top of this cooling tank. We first tested this approach on Beowulf 14 years ago and it works so well that the compressors receive sufficient cooling even when the boat is hauled out for storage.

Read the rest »

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

Norwegian Lighthouses and Navigation Marks


Norway has an incredibly complex array of channels through reefs, rocks, and islands. To assist the mariner through these are a series of sectored lights and light houses. White light means you are on course. Red or green colors of light indicate the direction needed to turn to get back into the white sector.

When laying our a course on the chart plotter we start with the white sectors.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 17, 2009)    |    Comments (0)

Southampton Boat Show

The Dashews check out lots of cool gear at the enormous Southampton Boat Show.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 19, 2008)    |    Comments (0)

Port au Choix

A short hop past notorious Point Riche to fascinating Port au Choix.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 22, 2008)    |    Comments (0)


Eureka! The Dashews revisit the small Northern California town where Linda taught school 40+ years ago, and discover it to be one of the best cruising stops on the Pacific Coast.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 10, 2007)    |    Comments (0)

Desolation Sound, Part 2: Waterfalls!

Desolation Sound, Part 2: Waterfall quest.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 10, 2007)    |    Comments (0)

Tropical Awnings, Part 3

Here are some permanent awnings which work under way as well as at anchor.

dodger with collapsible Bimini awning

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 3, 2007)    |    Comments (0)

Tropical Awnings, Part 2

awning covering whole boat

If you are going to be hanging out in one spot for a long period of time, perhaps living aboard while you work ashore, larger awnings come into the equation. These awnings provide shade over the entire boat. They will be a pain to rig, remove, and store, but when they are up and it is warm outside, they will be very pleasant.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 19, 2007)    |    Comments (0)

Going Small

Going small: Inspiring ideas from several small boats that Steve & Linda have met cruising in the Sea of Cortez.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 16, 2007)    |    Comments (0)