Awnings are a critical part of comfortable cruising in the tropics as well as in cooler environments.
FPB 64 Updates
The following articles cover the FPB 64 construction sequence. You will find hundreds of detailed photos with explanations covering every phase of the build cycle. Scroll down to the bottom to see the first articles.
We are back from a brief hiatus and are snowed with a desk full of projects. But as your weekend is approaching, and football is so far less than exemplary (at Least in Tucson), we thought a few construction photos might help pass the time. We’ll start with FPB64-6, above, now well along in its metal phase.
“Having a boat that can deal with whatever might happen—no matter what—provides a mental comfort level that defines their view of happy sailing.”
–Bill Parlatore, Passagemaker Magazine
The various rules to which yachts are built are based on seagoing loads. If you design to ABS or Lloyd’s, odds are you will be OK offshore, but there is little extra margin for the mistakes which are a part of cruising. With an ABS keel structure, if you go aground, it is almost certain a trip to the boat yard is in your immediate future. But if you engineer to four times ABS, you are probably going to continue with your cruising.
We have tested these these theories ourselves, and had our owners repeatedly test them on our sailing designs. Now we have some real world verification of the FPB 64’s factors of safety.
The photos which follow were taken of one of the FPB 64s after it tangled with a reef in the Fiji Islands. She has been hauled to replace a damaged stabilizer fin. At the end of this post is a link to the details of the event which has some excellent lessons for us all.
We have been behind in our reports on how the FPB 64 production is progressing. This batch of photos were taken during August and the first week of September. The lead photo is, in construction industry parlance, the “topping out” of FPB 64-5. The jig built roof structure is being lowered over the window mullions. Very precise construction is required for these elements to fit together.
Traditional get home systems on single screw powerboats are typically not very functional. They tend to deliver 50 to 60% of the normal cruising speed in calm conditions, and be essentially useless in a stiff breeze fighting a head sea. This has made no sense to us. Why pay the weight, cost, and drag penalties, and make life more difficult maintenance wise in the engine room, if you can only accomplish what can be done with a dinghy acting as a tug? Especially since we have a get home sail.
If we were going to have a diesel powered system we wanted to have a respectable passaging speed, and the ability to make progress to windward in less than ideal conditions.
We now have that system.
Todd and Steve are sitting in a very warm Charleston, South Carolina wrapping up details on the FPB 112 and it is hard to relate to these winter photos from New Zealand. As you will see, FPB 64 five and six are rapidly taking form. These photos cover the first two weeks in June.
Steve Suters, John Gowing’s FPB 64-4 captain, has been kind enough to fill us in on some of the details of their recent brush with storm force winds (55 to 65 knots), steep seas, and a breaking entrance bar crossing. We have included the photo above of FPB64-1, Avatar, as a reminder of boat scale versus the waves about which you will shortly read. A the end of the blog are two short videos.
As you go through the following keep in mind one key fact: this was taking place in an area of south flowing current, opposing the wind driven waves, steepening them and causing them to break.
We’ve been going through the very short video we have posted on Osprey’s adventure, and found a few interesting waves. As previously mentioned, the steepness of the seas is a result of current opposing the wind. Note that these were taken before it started to really blow, i.e. the breeze here is 35 to 40 knots and it blew up to 65 later on, and that photos always visually shrink wave size.
Bill and Sue Henry, owners of FPB 64-2 Sarah Sarah, are the first to make use of the threaded inserts on the house sides for kayak storage. If you look carefully at this lovely photo, sent in by Brian Rickard (as are the others), you will see one of the kayaks stored just above the windows.
We look at photos of FPB 64s under construction typically on a weekly basis. And although we have seen this many times before, with older designs, and with the FPBs, we still get a buzz. The long time SetSailors amongst you will have been through this with us as well, but it has been a year or more, so we are going to post updates from time to time. If we are totally boring you, protest, and we will take theshowing under advisement.
Starting with the pointy end, the Circa fabricators are getting ready to tack on rolled plate.
You are looking at the Circa computerized cutting table at work on the jigsaw of aluminum pieces that will shortly become FPB 64 number six. The production process is rolling at Circa, and there are some details to share including a short video.
With four FPB 64s + the FPB 83 prototype WInd Horse now cruising, the fifth boat under construction, and two more awaiting their start, FPB cruising news is starting to filter in. We thought a brief recap and some links might be of interest.
If the sea trial photo above has you wondering how the FPB 64 handles heavy weather – say seas three times this size and 30 to 40 knots of wind – we have a couple of e-mails from Pete Rossin aboard Iron Lady, to sate your curiosity. Pete and Debbie, and crew Steve, are on their way north to the Islands. They left New Zealand with the intention of riding a bit of gale force pressure north, and getting in a few rides in the process.
There are three e-mails from Pete that follow. Read the rest »
While the Arizona Wildcats were thrashing Duke in basketball, we were out in the remnants of another New Zealand gale with Iron Lady. For company there were eighteen visitors from around the world (three parties of six). It had been blowing from the east for two days, so as you might imagine, the combination of shoaling bottom, reflected waves, and river mouth currents made for an interesting mix.
None of the conventional approaches to get home systems in use today have the ingredients to meet our expectations. They all have shortcomings which we feel make them unacceptable. This led us to develop our get home sailing rig which in combination with a powerful dinghy tied alongside for close to harbor propulsion is a reasonable compromise.
Now, with the swim step extension, there is another option which makes the FPB 64 get home system even better.
With the first run of FPB 64s nearing completion we have been at work on a few options for the next group of boats, most of which are retrofittable to the first run. We have also updated the drawings closer to the real world, the originals being somewhat out-of-date.
Let’s start with the back end of the boat.
Brian Rickard was aboard the FPB64 Sarah Sarah on her recent passage from New Zealand to Washington’s Puget Sound. Along the way Brian accumulated video so that we would have a chance to evaluate how Sarah Sarah did in various sea states. This was never intended for general public viewing, but the videos are so informative we thought you might like to share them. And if you are really into the yacht design and the real world of ocean crossing think of this as an early Holiday present.
Here is something so unusual we had to share it. Readers of this website will be familiar with the second FPB 64’s quick exit from New Zealand and subsequent passage to the Pacific Northwest of the USA. With less than 100 hours of sea time she set off on a 6000+ mile shakedown cruise. This is what makes for prematurely bald boat builders.
When Sarah Sarah arrived in Seattle of course there was a punch list of warranty items. New boat, 7000 total miles in the first 100 days, you can imagine the yard bill.
Or can you.
What would you guess? $50,000? $25,000?
TIME: 2010/10/16 00:00
COMMENT: Partly to mostly cloudy, air 58°F, sea 61°F (corrected temperatures), 1026 mb, wind light/variable, 0.7m swell from NW with no wind waves.
As you will note from the report above Sarah Sarah has positioned herself under the benign influence of a high pressure system (1026 mb) to complete her passage. Boat and crew are well, and plans are being coordinated for friends and family to meet her as she makes landfall.
Sarah Sarah and her intrepid crew are entering their seventh day a sea from Hawaii. The predicted frontal passage has occurred, just a bit early. Boat speed and good weather routing now has Sarah Sarah positioned within the influence of a high pressure system. They should be able to make their landfall without further frontal boundaries and their gales.
Having completed their fifth day at sea Sarah Sarah’s crew is undoubtedly celebrating having half of the 2275 nautical miles to the Straights of Juan de Fuca behind them (actual distance with weather jogs is likely to be closer to 2400 miles). According to Rick Shema (see below) they have one more frontal passage, perhaps gale force, and then the long range forecast is quite good considering the time of year and location.
After a brief period of heading north of the rhumbline during a frontal passage Sarah Sarah is back on track for the Straights of Juan de Fuca. From her satcom update:
TIME: 2010/10/11 23:59
COMMENT: Back on rhumbline to C. Flattery @ 15:23Z, ave. 9.6 kts. Overcast, occas. rain, air 68°F, sea 76°F, 1023 mb*, wind SE at 18 kts.*, 1.2m swell from E
The second FPB 64, Sarah Sarah, has had an uneventful trip weather wise between New Zealand and Hawaii. Aside from a day spent in confused large beam seas, the boat and crew have not been challenged, at least from a design standpoint. A leg like Hawaii towards Seattle will be different. It is going to present them with a variety of confused sea-states, which will test the ability of the boat to maintain its average passage speed,(speed, as you know, is the holy grail of safe passagemaking, especially in the fall crossing the North Pacific). A few comments from the boat, and Rick Shema, their weather router, follow:
Sarah Sarah is berthed at the Hawaii Yacht Club on Oahu. Prior to turning in they sent us a few photos of Palmyra Atoll (above), Pango (at the end of this blog), and the trip up.
Preliminary data indicates that for the last leg, across the hurricane belt, Sarah Sarah averaged 9.8 knots turning 1750 to 1800 RPM, with top surfing speed of 14.7 knots. Average fuel burn reported by the engine’s CPU was 4.5 US gallons / 17 liters per hour. Good going guys!
Following is the latest report from the second FPB 64, Sarah Sarah as they make their way towards Hawaii.
We’ve had some partially clear nights lately, and with the Moon approaching full, we could oftentimes clearly see the clouds and waves, which made night watches much more interesting. We didn’t encounter any more vessels after our last report, three days out of Pago Pago, American Samoa.
On September 21st, at 19:16 UTC (8:16 in the morning by ship’s clock), we crossed the Equator and entered the Northern Hemisphere at a longitude of 161°43.88’W. This marked Bill’s first ocean crossing of the equator, and he joined John and Brian in the ranks of “shell-backs,” being a “pollywog” no longer.
The crew of the second FPB 64, Sarah Sarah, have just arrived in American Samoa from New Zealand, after a brief stop in Nieu along the way. Brian Rickard has just sent us a batch of photos to go with their reports, which follow.
A lovely photo taken by Ed Firth of Circa, showing what every owner, builder, and designer looks forward to – launch day. This is Sarah-Sarah, the second FPB 64, destined shortly for a trip from New Zealand to the Pacific Northwest, on her own bottom of course.
We are on our first “passage” from Poole to Plymouth in the UK. While short, it is giving us a chance to run up some of the systems and electronics. In particular we wanted to test our five year old Village Marine NF800 watermaker which has been in storage mode for eight months
Last night we had a chance to photograph the great room aboard Avatar for the first time. This is a test run – we’ll do better with practice – but we know there are a lot of folks waiting on these photos so we are going to post them anyway.
We’ve been showing you build photos for so long we figured might as well give you a look at things during the last few days the first FPB 64 is coming together (before she is ready to “show”). It is amazing what being able to look outside the great room windows does for the feeling of spaciousness.
Trying to get a feel for the interior of a boat under construction is difficult. Furniture is covered, lighting is bad, there are no embellishments to give the image a finished look. But now that the upholstery is starting to go into the first FPB 64 you will be able to get sense for the space. The photo above is taken from the aft end of the port side guest suite.
We’ve got a lot of photos to share in this update, starting with the now installed bridge electrical panel. Our philosophy has always been that we want the hidden stuff to look as good as that which is exposed. It costs a little bit more, but the pleasure knowing that things are done right, and look good, even when out of sight, is well worth the cost to us. This gives us more of a buzz than the front side.
Here’s an image to set your heart aflutter (with a little imagination). Add the sun/rain awning to the framework, move to a lovely anchorage in the tropical South Pacific, insert puffy cumulous clouds, coconut palms, and translucent warm water, and then relax with a cold drink and good book.
When you see the “sparky” (Kiwi speak for electrician) working on the outside lighting and electronics it is a sign launching is within six to eight weeks. This photo also demonstrates the advantage of a hinged mast (aside from vertical clearance). It makes maintenance and changing electronics easier.
We’ve been discussing various design considerations with a client headed for Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic and thought some of the dialog might be of interest. We’ll start with the logic behind single vs. twin engines, and get home systems.
Everyone wants the safest, most reliable yacht. The question is how do you achieve this? Contrary to what you may think budget is usually not a major factor. Clear thinking about the risks and rewards of various approaches is the key ingredient.
Lets start with the risks as we see them, and our approach to reducing or eliminating these.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The sun is headed south towards New Zealand, and although spring is a little wet right now, soon it will be summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Progress continues on the first four FPB64s, hulls one and two of which are shown above in the fit out bay (one is on the left with its windows in place). From here on out as the interior goes in the photos will show a degree of visual chaos which will continue right up to the day before launching.
Now to some details.
This update we have some catching up to do with photos.
The inverter system provides both 115VAC and 230VAC (on boats with just 230VAC the fourth inverter serves light loads like electronics and small galley appliances). Splitting the sources like this provides back up and reduces idling current when the stack of three inverters are not required for heavy loads.
We love looking at the progress photos, especially the engine room (which is really hard to photograph). It is getting closed to being wrapped up and there is less confusion and more order now. This shot is taken from the engine room door, looking aft towards the port corner.
Furniture for the first of the FPB 64s is now being completed and we thought you might like to see the level of finish quality. New Zealand is known for its wood workers, “Chippies” as they are called, and you can see why (although it is tough to really get a feel for finish without viewing it in person).
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.