There is nothing we enjoy more when cruising than meeting up with our designs and their owners. This past summer in Maine was great fun in this regard. Read the rest »
With Simrad’s recent update, their forward-looking sonar has become a valuable tool, in particular when used in conjunction with their structure scan. The FLS is giving us an indication of the bottom coming up 350 feet ahead of us.
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 »
At a point in our lives where we want to concentrate on enjoying ourselves aboard, we just finished a long and costly rework of FPB 78-1 Cochise’s Matrix deck. The original was cut up and carted off. And then we went through a steep learning curve involving dozens of changes. Having just completed a couple of passages and done some local cruising here in Maine, we are now in a position to pass initial judgement.
We have been outspoken in our critique of Simrad’s Halo radar. We felt that its ability to pick targets out of sea clutter was poor, making it dangerous to rely on. We are pleased to report now that after adding Simrad’s Velocity Track software, our Halo is working very well. Read the rest »
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.
We have been having an internal dialogue about the ever-critical issue of anchoring systems, and the fact is that there is nothing like a real blow with a lee shore off your stern to focus your attention on the subject. It will come as no surprise that we like to sleep well at anchor, and by traditional definition this requires substantial holding power. It’s a given that it takes weight to achieve security at anchor, but beyond this simple postulate there are a plethora of choices. What our experience has led us to evolve into may surprise you.
This dim photo, taken with available light, turns everything we thought about navigation gear layout on its head. We are in the process of revising the Matrix Deck helm on Cochise, throwing out every design approach we have employed over the past 40 years in the process.
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
~ William A. Foster
This is a difficult post for Linda and me to write. But events in the past few weeks together with the urging of many of our friends and clients (often one and the same) have forced the issue, starting with the William Foster quote above sent to us by one of our owners.
The FPBs are designed with drying out in mind, and like all aspects of seamanship, we think testing the process in controlled circumstances before we actually need to use it makes sense. The following comments are based on a lifetime of avoiding experience with the subject at hand. But the old saying – it is not if you will run aground but when – is as true today as it was a couple of generations ago when we made our way without long range nav aids and few, if any, charts. Read the rest »
For some reason this summer, numerous friends asked us if we’d visit Washington, DC with Cochise. Go 170 miles out of our way to see a city that epitomizes waste and inefficiency? Then we thought, why not. We have lots of friends in the area, it would give us a chance to visit some of the buildings that were constructed with our concrete forming equipment (a very long time ago), and we could catch a few museums. And if we were really lucky, maybe the leaves would turn and we could finally snap a photo that has eluded us over many years. To see how this all turned out (and there is even a free lunch!), read on.
We are supposed to be in downtown Annapolis, on the dock for a few days, doing chores and having a few technicians visit. But then we were uncomfortable after a phone dialogue with the marina dock master – he was a shade too casual about handling our lines in a very tight space with a building breeze – and we decided to anchor.
From the glorious J-class sloops, we move on to the even more compelling fishing schooners, such as Columbia (above). This Sterling Burgess design (he is the creator of Ranger, the fastest of the Js) represents a combination of speed, beauty, and purpose matched in our minds only by Donald McKay’s extreme clippers.
Extensive N2K data systems, like we use in the FPBs, are costly, and take a substantial programming effort on our part. Yes, they provide a lot of information (and you need to guard against info overload), but is the cost and complexity worth it?
FPB 97-1 Iceberg running before a stiff breeze during sea trials.
The post that follows this introduction is a chapter excerpted from the FPB 70 and 78 Owner’s Manual. Everyone who goes to sea thinks and/or worries (or should) about heavy weather, and how their vessel will handle different conditions. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a 25,000 ton container ship, a moderate-sized sailing yacht, or one of our FPBs. We think it is better to discuss these issues openly, rather than ignore them and hope you never get caught. Read the rest »
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 »
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.
We’ve just received some video of FPB 78-2 running through her paces during sea trials down in New Zealand. The owners and Circa team members aboard were lucky enough to find some light weather to enjoy: 35-45 knots of breeze and 16-18 ft (5-5.5m) waves on the bow… Read the rest »
Returning from Biscayne Bay, Florida a few days ago we were reminded that in this age of electronic navigation, command, control, and monitoring, you still need to maintain a traditional situational awareness.
The sink full of marine weeds is a classic example of why this approach is still beneficial. Read the rest »
*Since we posted this article, we have had several comments from readers. Of particular interest was an email from blogger Peter Hayden (MVTanglewood.com). Scroll down to read Peter’s comments on his Simrad experience. We are curious to know your thoughts if you use Simrad, in particular their radar…Please comment and let us know.*
We’ve now had 11,000 nautical miles of concentrated experience with the Simrad Marine electronics suite aboard FPB 78-1 Cochise, and the time has come for an evaluation.
In the pantheon of situations to avoid when cruising, northers in the Gulf Stream are up towards the top. The wind opposing current kicks up a nasty, short seaway, and the warm water mixing with the cool air from the north increases gusts. Read the rest »
Attention SetSailors! Cochise is approaching landfall, ETA at the 17th Street bridge in Fort Lauderdale around 1330 local time. If anyone in the area wants to check her out, say hello, and maybe shoot us a photo, they’ll be sure to wave. Feel free to send any photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Welcome to the USA, Cochise!
*Note: FPB 78-1 Cochise is currently just rounding Cuba, with an ETA at 17th Street bridge in Fort Lauderdale sometime Tuesday afternoon. The following post was written after transit last Tuesday.*
Cochise has just completed the Panama Canal transit and is in the Atlantic Ocean. Of all our transits this was… Read the rest »
Our first visit to Panama was in the same era that the North Koreans first decided they wanted to reunite with their southern neighbors. In those days, our heads were filled with visions of one English gentleman, Mr. Henry Morgan, who exhibited a love for all things Spanish and visited the area twice as a result. Read the rest »
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…
Lots of excitement aboard FPB 78-1 Cochise in the last 24 hours, and a series of milestones. Cochise has seen the 9,000th NM roll under the hull, passed 1,000 hours on the engines, cruised into the sixth parallel north of the equator, and had some lovely downwind passaging weather. Read the rest »