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.
Lymington, the site of Berthon UK and Grey Wolf’s celebration, is a lovely old Georgian sea port, with a long history of ship building; at dusk the church bells ring and locals and tourists alike retire to the comfort of a pub for a beer, or perhaps a spot of curry. (Todd and I opted for both.)
In the morning, folks are hard at work at Berthon–Sue Grant and the Berthon brokerage crew are the European representatives for FPB. They house an impressive yard to boot, working on everything from military hovercraft (in the foreground), to restoring 100 year-old classic yachts, and all manner of boats in between. The Berthon company has been based in Lymington since the 1850s–they’re clearly doing something right.
Speaking of old… Your reporter managed to drag Todd away from discussing wire diameter with Grey Wolf owner Peter Watson long enough for a photo op in front of Stonehenge. Another typical work day for the FPB crew.
But the main reason for our visit was to talk about Peter Watson and crew’s 12,000 NM trip from New Zealand in just three months, and spend a little time discussing our design history and the FPB paradigm. Here some 60-odd members of press and interested parties listen to Todd discuss four main parameters that dictate our designs: safety, speed, efficiency and comfort. (Note Circa Marine managing partner Bruce Farrand in the left of the photo–he flew in from Whangarei for the festivities.)
The best part about show and tell is getting to show. All hands aboard here. Sue Grant is leading the charge.
And three of the four Berthon apprentices who each crewed one leg of Grey Wolf‘s journey enjoy a reunion with their floating home.
While owner/skipper Peter Watson keeps a keen (photographer’s) eye on the activities.
Then it’s off to the shipyard house for a wonderful dinner, replete with lobsters caught that day off the nearby Isle of Wight.
With bellies full of good food and wine, the topic of conversation turns to new horizons: Where Grey Wolf will be headed next, where the other FPBs and their owners are cruising, and the impending splash of the Wicked 97.
I’d like to send a hearty and heartfelt thanks to the folks at Berthon and in the town of Lymington, and to Peter Watson and Grey Wolf, for welcoming a couple of Yanks so graciously. And for only once telling us that we have no idea how to make a decent cup of tea anywhere in America.
Now it’s back to work, and to figure out that tea…