FPB 78-1 Video: The Ultimate Surfboard? Watch and Find Out


The video you are about to watch represents a seminal moment in the design arc of the FPB world. The last two minutes take place in some of the most difficult steering conditions we have ever seen in 40+ years of cruising, and are an extreme test for the design philosophy that is the foundation for this new generation of FPBs.

If you are familiar with our work you will know that we value speed for the safety it brings, the flexibility in choosing the best weather, and for its tactical importance in dealing with extreme weather scenarios. In the FPB world, going faster almost always means a more comfortable ride. The better your steering control, the faster you can go, and in an extreme weather situation, the limits of your steering will also determine your storm tactic options.

In yacht design terms, there is a conflict between a hull shape that is comfortable heading into the seas and one that steers well running off at speed. The tradeoff lies in the shape of the forward part of the hull; the sharper the forefoot, the softer the ride into the waves. But a sharp forefoot locks your steering in downwind, making the boat difficult to control.

This is why it is so dangerous to run at speed and surf downwind in most yachts, both power and sail, due to the risk of broaching and the problems — occasionally terminal — associated with this unpleasant event. Yet running at speed is often the only tactic that will take you away from a storm system center (particularly tropical storm systems).

We don’t like to talk about what FPBs can do. We would rather demonstrate. Hence the lack of public performance data about the new FPB 78s. The FPB 78 is designed to be the most comfortable uphill FPB yet. But we also want the ability to run at speed, and surfing is fun.

This video takes place in 30 knots of breeze building to 50 plus. Seas are new and, at the end of the video, reflecting back from the shore. Some of these waves are six to seven meters/20-25 feet. You will see speed over ground from the gps and rudder angle, along with heel and pitch attitude.

If we told you in advance that the FPB 78 would perform as you will see in this video, most would say it’s not possible. We will let you judge for yourself. We suggest you watch it now, then read the comments below.

To begin with, we are in the early stages of calibrating the steering system and the stabilizer settings. As good as what you have just seen is, it will get better as we fine-tune Cochise. If you go back and study the rudder angle, heel, and speed data shown onscreen, you will see very little rudder movement for the conditions at hand. To us, the most interesting part of this passage came during three instances where a wave slap knocked us off course 10-15 degrees, and the buoyancy of the wave dropped away as we crossed its face at an angle, inducing heel of 15-30 degrees. During each occurrence, we maintained boat speed and steering control, and within a few seconds were back on course. Those of you who are familiar with the sea will recognize the uniqueness of this capability.

There are several key design elements that contribute to the performance you have just witnessed. In broad brush terms, they are the development of volume in the bow, the positive angle of the sheer, and the anchor and anchor platform, plus the very fine stern shape. Although these characteristics are in some respects typical of the entire FPB family, the way in which they work together on the FPB 78 is a major refinement of what we’ve done in the past.

While the most telling part of this video lies in Cochise’s response to potential broaching situations, the really fun part is the way she hangs on a wave face for long periods of time. She does this better than even our fastest sailboats. We can’t wait for some long period open ocean swells.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 20, 2016)

20 Responses to “FPB 78-1 Video: The Ultimate Surfboard? Watch and Find Out”

  1. Matt Riser Says:

    That ship is more stable than my catamaran. The cat would have a “bit” more lean in those seas.

  2. Shannon Woodcock Says:

    Wow! Thanks for the video.

    Trying to figure out which is more impressive.
    Low pitch & roll
    Autopilot and rudders keeping the bow on point
    Sea state & wind

    And internal shots showing how spacious the salon and matrix deck is.

    Congrats to you & the Circa team.

  3. Peter Says:

    Fantastic Steve, nothing else to say really.

  4. Tom Smeaton Says:

    I have done similar speeds on racing yachts. The only difference was we would have two guys playing the spinnaker, the helmsman working his backside off and the rest of the crew cuddled around the the transom saying their prayers. You are doing it in style.
    Well done
    Tom Smeaton

  5. chris Says:

    I’ve spent just enough time offshore and in nasty conditions otherwise to be genuinely impressed; well done. Would be fun to hand steer in that for a while and really get a feel for it.

  6. Large Marge Says:

    Nice dry deck and fwd glass!
    Weight during this video? RPM?

    The running-commentary scroll is great. A nice refinement to your videos.

    Get the Circa people to speak more. I like the way foreigners talk!

  7. Eric Says:

    Congratulations the boat looks and appears to be running great. What RPM were you folks at and what was the GPH?

  8. Cedric Says:

    Simply stunning performance. Yet, honestly, expected based on past FPB performance and all the teasers you’ve been slowing leaking to us. Nonetheless, seriously bad-ass and the new benchmark by far. Well done. Should my boat ticket (lotto) ever come in, we’ll definitely be joining the build queue!

    Question: What load were you running the engines? (Assuming level seas)

    Question 2: when do we get to see the WOT performance? You teased us mercellisly during design and build; enquirering minds want to know!

  9. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hello Cedrid;

    Once we have settled on the performance band with which we want to run, and sourced the props for this, we’ll do some WOT testing. It should be noted that while the FPB 78 is no slouch when it comes to surfing, her hull is tuned to a cruising speed in the range of 10.5 to 11.25 knots.

  10. Andy Says:

    What is the RPM setting & % of load, also fuel consumption & EGT?


  11. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Andy, and others who have asked about the engine related data:
    We have not had time to look at the recorded data for the various operational parameters. However, we were testing different boat speeds and RPM settings, which varied between 1800 and 2000 RPM. The engines have been derated to M1, 230 hp 2300 RPM.

  12. Michael Says:

    Marvelous! My favorite moment was seeing Linda relaxed on the settee engrossed in a book. Delighted with the visual impact of the glass table. Many fine details here–the staple rail installed, the overhead lines rigged in the Great Room, the A/C vents along the stairway edge–all nice indeed. Thank you for the images that finish the video. Looking good!

  13. Joel Norberg Says:

    Steve –

    What an incredible accomplishment… You’ve knocked it out of the park, again! I was blown away with how quiet she was and then when I compared rudder/pitch/roll…. While she keeps up her speed, absolutely incredible.

    Her layout was my favorite to date. Impressive use of inside and below deck space. Now with these numbers… It’s a win/win.

    Congrats on her success my friend!

    Joel (Seattle)

  14. James Masters Says:

    It’s exciting and extremely-satisfying to have “the facts” validating your Intentions, yes?

    She most-certainly is beautifully-finished — with her own elegance as impressive as her performance.

    How’re you liking “your new office” …?

  15. Steve B Says:

    Dream Machine indeed.

  16. PJ Says:

    Would be nice to see more footage from the Matrix helm, as the short clip you showed early on almost looked like slow motion. Incredible balance.

  17. John Newman Says:

    The video is playing back in ultra slow motion – frame by frame almost

  18. admin Says:

    Hi John, it’s on YouTube now and embedded with their codec so streaming should be smooth. Cheers.

  19. Edward Turner Says:

    I could not watch the video. I tried but after fifteen minutes I had only got to 3.10.It kept on stalling every few seconds. Why not upload to YouTube and then embed the videos in your webpage rather than hosting them yourself?

    I really wanted to see the last two minutes!!

  20. admin Says:

    We were having some technical issues with YouTube, but it’s on now and embedded. You should be able to stream fine now. Cheers..