FPB 78 Update: We’ve Got Sole (in the engine room)

Engineering 597

We’ve got sole in the engine room, and it is ever so cool and functional.


  • Good visibility of bilges and everything they contain.
  • Lightweight, easily removed when necessary for inspection and cleaning.
  • Allows lights from overhead to illuminate the bilge area (there are also a series of below-the-sole high intensity LED lights).
  • No degradation over time.
  • We will have a padded panel on which to kneel or sit, and a tray for tools and parts when working.

Belt guards are not yet installed.

Interior 567

A couple of photos now of the bridge area on the Matrix deck. This is a mock-up, made from cut files that will be used for manufacturing. In this first photo you can get a feel for the size and storage capacity of the corner desk/chart table.

Interior 568

Along with lots of real estate for electronics, there is considerable volume below the hinged nav desk lids and in the lockers below.

Interior 575

The hardest thing to get right on a small yacht are the stairways. We are on mock-up number four for the tricky part at the bottom of the stairs.

Electrical 103

The electrical locker and communications desk area are coming along. This looks tidy and relatively simple, with good access for service, something for which we always strive. But the wiring shown here is a small part of the systems complexity.

Electrical 109

Another part is where the cable runs emanating from the electrical locker are attached. Shown above are thruster and windlass controls. Also in the area are the power solenoids for the windlass and deck winch.

Engineering 604

Just forward of electrical gear mentioned previously is a sewage holding tank. Situated above are three air conditioning compressors and their controllers. These remotely mounted compressors will be connected to the four 12,000 BTU evaporators in the great room. Notice how our once almost-empty forepeak/annex area is starting to fill up.

There is a point we are trying to make. Every time a system is added to the relatively small volume of a yacht, there is less volume for the rest of what needs to be installed and used. It’s hard to visualize the extent of the infrastructure required for each system. But the cumulative impact of the normally unseen bits is enormous. At the end of the day less is always better than more, and simple more desirable than complex.

Interior 562

Looking up at the insulation of the underside to the Matrix deck roof extension, also known as the porch roof. The black insulation is not for temperature but to reduce noise bounce.


Looking here at the inside of a cored door. This saves weight, is quieter, and is more stable with climate change.


We have mentioned the “wet” locker that is adjacent to the main entry door. While a great place for jackets, shoes, and wet weather gear, its highest use in life is as a transition area for wiring and plumbing between decks. It will soon have its outer walls festooned with examples of this. At the bottom is the Lewmar reel winch for hosting the large dinghy. Note the perforated flat bar running up the walls. This is for adjustable shelves and/or storage racks.


Here’s a closer look at the dinghy halyard winch.

Interior 581

Why is Jeremy smiling? Maybe it is the thought of watching the 65” 4K TV, that has projected upward out if its cabinet in the great room after a day of exploring in (pick one): Hanavave Bay on Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas Islands, Prince William Sound in Alaska, Cocos Keeling Island in the Indian Ocean, or Disco Bay in central Greenland.

For more information on the FPB series, contact Sue Grant: Sue.Grant@Berthon.Co.UK.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 14, 2015)

11 Responses to “FPB 78 Update: We’ve Got Sole (in the engine room)”

  1. David Guest Says:

    Sole in the engine room and soul in the yacht!!!!

  2. Shannon Woodcock Says:

    The expanded metal flooring looks great. And you will have leds below to illuminate the bilge? Nice. Matrix helm station looks huge, massive even. Might be camera angle.

    65 in TV? Dedicated LEWMAR to raise and lower it? 😛

    I love these detailed pictures showing the craftsmanship in the build.

    Thank You

  3. Howard Eckles Says:

    Your construction comments have fascinated me for years. I started reading when you started Wind Horse. The complexity of yachts is hypnotic. Now my question: I do not understand how much storage is allocated for victuals, say for 8 people for 3o days or so. Also The aft deck and swim step seem small.

  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Howard:
    The amount of bulk storage is substantial for ships sparse, lubricants and related, and as you have pointed out, provisions. We evaluate this based on experience, and the FPB 78 has substantially more bulk storage than any yacht we have ever done. We will do a post on this some day in detail, but in general:
    The forepeak has sufficient space below the floorboards in its aft bay to carry most if not all of the dried stores and canned or glass stored goods we would take if leaving the East Coast of the US for Greenland, Iceland, and Norway for a couple of seasons of cruising. That’s a lot!
    The area below the sole in the next area aft, which we call the annex, in total usable storage space is about equal to the bin storage on the FPB 64.
    In the workshop/crew cabin bilge there is room for something on the order of 20 liter containers of oil sufficient for four or so oil changes of the engines, a change of coolant, and sufficient hydraulic oil to refill the lines.
    Half of the spare parts would fit under the guest cabins bunks, with the balance scattered between the crew cabin/workshop and annex.
    There are then lots of smaller areas for stashing other supplies.
    While we have not done a formal computation yet I am comfortable with saying we probably have more than double the storage volume we had on the FPB 83 Wind Horse, and we have not even talked about the storage options in the great room yet.

  5. Gerhard Says:

    Hi Steve, is there a permanent current leakage detection? It’s more important for higher voltages? Nice to see the progress. thanks for Publishing it all.

  6. John Poparad Says:

    I am always stunned by how massive structural materials are in a true ocean going yacht. I typically want to get a commercial/industrial designed and say, neaten that up, there’s too many wires and pipes going everywhere. For the future, I wonder if there is a role for 3D printing to reduce the number of different types of spares carried.

    Make a good day

  7. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hello John:
    We do use 3D printing for mock ups. And we and Circa want the plumbing as simple and neat as possible. But, there is a lot of plumbing and it is not always possible to have it functional and aesthetic at the sae time.

  8. Pete Says:

    Exciting as ever 🙂

    One thing I spotted though – that waste pipe to the heads tank looks to be the standard stiff plastic stuff that always starts to smell a bit after a few years, and is a pig to work with. Not a product I’d have expected to find on an FPB.

    Since seeing it specified by an equally detail-obsessed owner for his new Fairline (see http://is.gd/RogeEh and subsequent posts), I have become a firm believer in the butyl-lined hose instead. It’s easier to work with both on initial installation and if the system ever needs to be opened up down the line, and it’s much more convincingly smell-proof. JFM gives a link to it in post #781 of that thread.

  9. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Pete:
    The gray and black tanks are primarily plumbed with schedule 80 PVC. Where there are short lengths of hose required with the black tanks the very highest quality hose is used. Also, there is constant fall in all lines so there is no sitting areas of sewage.

  10. David Says:

    Don’t drop a nut or bolt in that engine room or its gonna be hiding in the bildge!

  11. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi David:
    Actually, just the opposite. The bilge is the most open and least cluttered any we have done, particularly in forward – deeper – end. It will be very easy to find lost items, inspect, and clean. For maintenance projects we will have a tray for lose parts.