We learned years ago that an efficient deck layout, with the ability to store and handle a variety of dinghies, is a critical component to successful cruising.
The same goes for enjoying the outdoors. If the deck design allows for a variety of lounging locations, with protection from the elements, then a lot more time is going to be spent enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer.
The deck layout for the FPB 64 is very close to what has worked out so well on the FPB 83. This starts with a large aft deck, capable of storing a variety of sizes and shapes of dinghies. That is a 6.5′ (2m) wide x 13 foot (4m) long inflatable.
Note that there is no stanchion between the gate and pushpit. This is OK structurally with the welded bases and eliminating this stanchion makes the dinghies easier to launch in an emergency. The life lines are connected at the aft end with rope lashings, easily cut, so the dinks need only be barely lifted off the deck. The same applies to the life raft. Rather than lifting it over the lifelines, it can be slid down the deck and over the side (not that we think any of this will ever be necessary!).
The Bar BQ is proving to be a popular place for cooking. Located in the lee of the house when at anchor, wind is minimized extending the range of conditions in which it can be used.
Once the dinghies are in the water the aft deck becomes an enormous space, susceptible to all sorts of plans. An aft deck awning and a full aft deck enclosure can be integrated into the design.
The twin booms covering the aft deck serve multiple functions.
First, they offer an easily controlled method of lifting dinghies on and off the boat. Because the boats are stowed relatively low, they can be retrieved in much rougher conditions than if they were stored on an upper deck where motion is exacerbated. The fact that they are so easily retrieved makes the option of picking them up each evening a lot more appealing. There is a self-tailing electric winch on the aft deck used for hoisting the dinks as well as for docking and kedging if you are aground.
The booms are used at anchor with “roll-control” devices to minimize motion in bouncy anchorages. They also can be rigged underway with stabilizer “fish” as a backup to the active stabilizer system. Finally, the booms can be deployed as a “jury rig” with a small sail.
Need more space for kayaks, sail boards, kite surfing gear, or the sailing dinghy rig? The sides of the house have a series of threaded inserts welded in place (the same as we use to tie down the dinghies on the aft deck).
These inserts can be used for eye bolts, as with the dinghies, or brackets to support kayaks or other gear, as shown above.
Aft of the house on the centerline of the deck is a counter with a sink for washing up, and space for an outdoor propane cooker (Bar BQ). Storage space is available below the counter for a propane cylinder and utensils. We think this area will see a lot of use in the tropics and temperate climate summers where dining outside is desirable. The work surface and sink will allow organization of the meal and cleaning up.
The sink will also come in handy for cleaning fish, and the counter provides a convenient hand hold when moving aft at sea.
The flying bridge is patterned after the FPB 83, just a touch smaller. It is designed to protect you from the elements through a wide range of conditions. There is an awning which keeps sun and rain off the occupants.
The clear plastic wind break has been wonderful in reducing the wind felt aboard Wind Horse extending the range of weather conditions in which the flying bridge is pleasant to use.
There is an opening in these forward so you can admit the breeze if desired. However, our experience to date has been that full protection from the breeze, even at anchor, is the favorite mode.
There is a table with folding wings between the flying bridge seats,
with controls for the engine and steering, thruster, along with windlass and deck winch. For al fresco dining you have seating at the table for four along the sides, with room for additional company aft on the seat and forward across the front in folding chairs.
The real test comes when maneuvering the boat. Visualize yourself standing at the flying bridge helm, and then think about your sight lines forward, aft, and alongside the boat. The use of the clear wind break panels allows you to see the water close in to the bow and stern, docks alongside the topsides, or other obstructions near the boat. Regardless of the docking situation, you have the viewing angle from your helming position at the flying bridge to estimate distance, without waiting for a crewmember to call the information to you. This allows the person at the helm to exercise precise judgment in the use of engine, helm, and thruster, resulting in much more effective maneuvering (and allowing you to work into and out of amazingly tight situations).
For a series of photos of the flying bridge and deck systems on the FPB 83 Wind Horse, which are similar in design to the FPB 64, click here.
For more information on the FPB 64 contact Sue Grant: Sue.Grant@Berthon.Co.UK.