Since launching we’ve had master aerial photographer Ivor Wilkins on standby for the right conditions to shoot the first FPB 64. Read the rest »
“Having lunch under way, we relaxed as the boat headed north at 11 knots…”
–Bill Parlatore, Passagemaker Magazine
Speed often equals reduced motion when you have your design ducks in a proper row. But when you discuss this in polite circles (which for the purposes of this blog we shall include the local sailor’s bar)the concept often generates a hardly concealed look of disbelief. If you have ever ridden a bicycle slowly, wobbling this way and that, you will understand one of the principles which are at work. Or, if you have sailed high performance dinghies, and felt the stability that comes as you transition to a plane, you know whereof we speak.
That the combination of cruising, speed, and comfort is not more universally respected probably has to do with negative experiences brought on by excessive speed in an uncontrollable configuration. But if your autopilot can steer the boat as she accelerates,
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. (Click here for a detailed post on our Black Swan theory of cruising.)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.
This past week we have been asked three times (by e-mail and in the marina) about the switch from sail to power, and what we thought about it now. Before answering the question some context is in order.
Prior to Wind Horse we had only twice set foot on a stinkpot, both experiences being very short. We loathed power boats, a feeling built up from years of negative interaction. Our sailing yachts, both racing cats in the olden days, and cruising designs more recently, were fast, nimble, and a joy to sail. Beowulf, the 78 foot ketch above and in subsequent photos, was the ultimate high performance cruiser, and crossing oceans aboard her was mostly a pleasure. We enjoyed sailing her agressively as a couple and the challenge of making quick, seamanlike passages, without undo risk, with just two of us aboard, was a big attraction.
“She’s meant to go places in comfort, and stay there for as long as her owners want.”
Last week, while driving with a friend through Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming, we were asked why our yachts look so different from the norm. That got us into a discussion about beauty, function, and environment (we’ll post some photos from that drive in a few days).
We have always believed that a yacht should make your heart sing, especially when viewed from the dinghy. And while some forms of art – yachts being included in this category – are an acquired taste, there are certain absolutes. Proportions, flow of lines, detailing commensurate with the overall design, are part of this equation. So to is how the object fits into its environment. Art on land is one thing. But when you take it to sea there are other issues. It is here that as Frank Lloyd Wright said “form follows function”. The more frequently one leaves the marina and the further one travels, the more absolute these seagoing considerations. Read the rest »
“Low drag and hull efficiency mean that propulsion requirements for Wind Horse are miniscule – two 150HP diesels…The calculated range on full tanks is 6,000 nautical miles at 12 knots.”
–Sea Spray Magazine
We get a lot of questions about range, fuel burn, boat speed, and how this works out in the real world. Whether you have an FPB or a trawler, the same basic issues apply. In this blog we are going to review the factors which impact the fuel equation and then compare data for several different types of vessels. The photo above and below of the FPB 83 Wind Horse, were taken in Gibraltar, a favorite (low cost) fuel stop. Read the rest »
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.
With 5200 hours on the engines, more than 50,000 mile in six cruising seasons, Wind Horse has proven to be our ultimate cruising tool. Now closing in on her seventh year afloat we have the proverbial wish list, with items big and small about which we need to decide. Considering that Wind Horse is being used far more intensively than any of our previous designs, and in much more demanding environments, our wish list is quite short.
When we are aboard, we are always thinking about fine tuning details, the curse of perfectionism with which we have lived these many years. But we have learned to wait before going forward, spend time ashore to give ourselves perspective, and then decide if it is really worth the time, effort, and expense to act on those desires.
This blog is a form of internal discipline. We want to recap how Wind Horse has been used, what is likely in the future, as part of the decision making process. Let’s start with where she has taken us. The distances, comfort level, conditions, and what we have learned.
We’ve been aground in the office in Arizona for six weeks, enough time to get caught up and start thinking about next year’s testing afloat. All options are on the table. Returning to the US East Coast via Iceland and Greenland sounds intriguing, as does the South Pacific via the Canary Islands, Panama and the Galapagos. There is also the Med. option.
Lots of factors play into the decision. We are used to this of course. But what is surprising in this decision making cycle is the part which comfort at sea seems to be playing.
It didn’t used to be this way.
It is Saturday afternoon, football so far is boring, and having been on land now for almost a week we’ve been talking about some of our favorite anchorages. That lead to the thought that it might be nice to share a few of these with you. We’ll start with Secluded Bay, on the West Coast of Baranof Island, in Southeast Alaska. The arrow above points to the very narrow entrance. This was deep enough for the five toot (1.5m) draft on Wind Horse, but so narrow that the tree branches barely cleared our booms. Read the rest »