FPB 97 – Code Name “Wicked”


Slicing through the barriers of what can and cannot be done with a large yacht, the Wicked FPB 97 redefines the cruising paradigm.

“Strength and purpose are written in every line and angle of their uncompromisingly assertive appearance.”
-Ivor Wilkins, Boat International

  • Generator-free at anchor
  • Crew optional voyaging
  • 5000+ NM range at 11.7 knots
  • Extreme weather survival capability, including capsize recovery
  • Unprecedented interior design
  • Five foot draft, and the ability to dry out on tidal rivers
  • Designed and constructed for minimum maintenance

The first FPB 97 has now completed her first year of cruising. In the interim, we’ve put together a detailed look at the thinking behind this Wicked new FPB. For the latest construction/sea trial updates, click here. For recent features in Boat International, click here.


If you could create the ultimate yacht for long distance voyaging, one suited to those wonderful cruising destinations like Tierra Del Fuego and French Polynesia, or experience the Arctic wonders at 79 degrees North in Svalbard, and do it comfortably in secure surroundings with minimum hassle, what would this entail?

  • Heavy weather capability, including the ability to self-right from a capsize
  • Strength to deal with the inevitable mistakes that occur
  • Speed to keep you out of harm’s way weather-wise, and to shorten passage time
  • Physical and emotional comfort on passage so that voyaging is a pleasure, rather than something to be endured
  • Efficient systems, installed for ease of access and maintenance in primitive environments
  • Shallow draft and the ability to dry out on tidal rivers or grids
  • Minimal carbon footprint
  • Massive storage space for spares, emergency gear, supplies, so that operation for long periods of time away from the first world supply chain does not entail hardship
  • Living space that is open visually, but still works well at sea
  • Dinghy storage, launching, and retrieval system that is 100% reliable, and usable in a rolling anchorage
  • Operation and maintenance engineered so a couple can, if they so choose, operate on their own without crew


The Wicked FPB 97 is simply the most comfortable, secure, and efficient yacht that has ever been created for long distance voyaging, and she gives her owners the option of cruising with or without crew.


Able to withstand extreme conditions, with self-righting capability, it has the toughest structure ever offered in a series-built yacht.”
-Boat International

Interior Design Principles and the FPB 97

FPB 97 night Bah strbd side 5b

“…The concept deserves consideration from anyone who wants to cruise offshore over long distances.”
–Yachting Magazine

The FPB 97 combines a Great Room where you can live while running the vessel, the unique Matrix Deck which is a combination of penthouse and flying bridge, and a wonderful owners’ suite on the Accommodations Deck that is full width and 7.7m/25 ft long, in an interior that makes passages as inviting as sitting at anchor. The three interior decks are all positioned well aft, in the region of minimized motion, for the most comfortable sea-going experience.

There are a number of interior design principles at work throughout the FPB 97 that are key to successful cruising:

  • Visually open spaces–360 degree views in the case of the Matrix Deck and Great Room–that have wonderful natural lighting
  • Furniture designed to minimize visual obstructions, enhance communications, and at the same time hold you in place at sea
  • Removable staple rails and furniture level hand rails to further enhance security at sea
  • Large volumes of storage space for everyday use with drawers and shelves, plus significant bulk storage provisions

The Matrix Deck

FPB 97 night Matrix deck fwd lkg aft 2

A major design innovation is revealed in the Matrix Deck, a seagoing union of fly bridge and penthouse. 360-degree views are combined with a layout that works equally well for watch keeping, lounging, or entertaining, within a space that can be both open to the outside or enclosed, heated, or air-conditioned.


At sea, the lines of sight are excellent through 90% of your potential view field, and by moving a few feet you cover the other 10%. You are positioned in the zone of maximum comfort for head seas. When conning in difficult circumstances, you not only have good sight lines, but with some or all of the windows open you are in touch with the surroundings in a manner that cannot be duplicated inside. Couple this high degree of function with the ambiance of a lovely salon, or tropical lanai, and you have the truly unique experience that is the Matrix Deck.

The Great Room

FPB 97 Great Room 515

The now-familiar battle-worthy look of the FPB yachts hides a beautifully crafted interior from the outside world. The Great Room concept has been a key ingredient of the FPB concept since the beginning. A combination of work, living, and watch standing center, the Great Room is one of the design features which makes short-handed cruising on the FPB 97 so enjoyable. These attributes pay dividends at anchor too. Regardless of what you are doing–preparing a meal, working at your desk on a web post, or relaxing with a book–everyone has the same wonderful views.

Wicked FPB 97 Great Room Plan 10

When standing watch on passage, you can see behind as well as ahead of you. And when the time comes for a meal or a snack, you maintain situational awareness. Standing in the galley you can see forward, abeam, and aft.

And if too much togetherness is not a benefit, then some of the crew can retire to the Matrix Deck, where the views are even more stunning.

Accommodations Deck

FPB 97 Owners Suite Plan

If you think the Matrix Deck and Great Room are cool, wait till you see the owners’ suite on the Accommodations Deck. Encompassing 25% of the hull’s length (7.7m/25 ft long) and spanning the full beam, the suite is positioned well aft for minimal motion. The head of the king sized walk-around bed is directly on the longitudinal center of the waterline. There are four large hull windows and several deck hatches that bring in copious amounts of natural light. Open-air ventilation from four silently powered vents keeps the air fresh and relatively cool until the point where air conditioning is warranted.

There is a full width walk-in closet, a large sofa, combination sauna/bath, and of course a TV which, when not in use, is hidden by a panel that can have a piece of art affixed.

All of this takes place within an open floor plan that has a lovely sense of spaciousness. With the engine room a full 25 feet/7.7 meters away and separated by two massive bulkheads, you know the only sound you will ever hear underway is the sea softly passing down the hull.

The foyer off the stairwell is an ideal location for an office, with desk space for a pair of large monitors, storage space and ship’s library.

The guest accommodations have generous heads attached ,each with a shower/bath, desk, and substantial storage.

The systems room, all the way aft, provides excellent storage, a pair of bunks for crew or overflow guests, with a wet head en suite. This area acts as a sound buffer, and what little machinery noise escapes the engine room will be substantially attenuated before it gets through the two sets of bulkheads between here and the guest sleeping cabins.

Heavy Weather Capability

The recent capsize of the 60-meter yacht Yogi, in moderate gale conditions, has focused attention on the vulnerability of yachts that conform to the MCA Ly2 stability specifications. With a limit of positive stability at between 55 and 70 degrees, if they meet the wrong wave at the wrong time, or are disabled and lying abeam of the seas, the risk of permanent capsize is significant. Most smaller yachts do not even meet the MCA stability code requirements. The FPB 97, like all FPBs, is self-righting and has positive stability of at least 140 degrees, when correctly loaded.


FPB Structural Basics

Cutwaterdetailfpb643 2021
“Having a boat that can deal with whatever might happen—no matter what—provides a mental comfort level that defines their view of happy sailing.”

–Bill Parlatore, Passagemaker Magazine

If you spend much time poking around with boats, eventually you are going to run aground, you will be hitting things, there will come a time when a rough commercial vessel drags anchor and bangs into your hull. The FPBs are designed for this life. They are tolerant of operator error. All of which leads to the peace of mind that gets you off the beaten path.There are several common structural factors to all of these yachts:

  • Massive “stem bar” for collision resistance, as in the photo above
  • A collision bulkhead and at least two other fully watertight bulkheads
  • Hull framing and plating to twice the Lloyd’s Special Service rule stiffness requirements
  • Bottom plating with a minimum thickness of 12mm/15/32in
  • Double bottom between forepeak and engine room watertight bulkheads
  • Massively strong windows (19mm /3/4in)
  • Designed for drying out
  • Fully protected props
  • Spade rudder(s) on shafts to twice the Lloyd’s rule requirement
  • Over-sized stabilizer actuators
  • Stabilizer actuators in watertight coffer dams
  • Over-sized prop shafts
  • Prop skegs designed for grounding loads

Design & Systems Efficiency Leads to Cruising Freedom

If you want to cruise to distant ports with complex, modern yachts, you are faced with a dilemma. Systems complexity, fuel burn, high maintenance demands, and crew requirements limit freedom of movement. This turns life afloat into a compromise between the owners’ cruising dreams, what the crew wants, and where service technicians can be found. With the FPB 97, owners have the option of going with or without crew. Combine this with enormous tankage, systems that allow you to be totally free of fossil fuel consumption at anchor, and huge storage capacity,

and suddenly you have the ability to sustain yourself for long periods of time away from civilization.

Simple, reliable systems with backups in place, an extensive list of spare parts and tools, plus a detailed vessel operations manual, and access to all critical systems for periodic inspection and maintenance, mean more time spent cruising, and the ability to deal with problems when they do occur. Add in a 5ft/1.5m draft, and the usual tough hull construction of the FPB, a double bottom and four watertight bulkheads, plus a functional, unpainted aluminum exterior, and the FPB 97 owners have the ability to cruise where they want, when they want, and with whom they want. It is an enticing formula.


“This would have to be the most intriguing offshore cruising powerboat I have come across. Conceptually, Steve Dashew has possibly developed a new paradigm for offshore cruising…”
–Sea Spray Magazine

For more information, contact Sue Grant: Sue.Grant@Berthon.Co.UK.

To read all posts about the Wicked FPB 97, click here.

If you would like to learn more about Dashew Offshore, the way we build yachts, and our history, see the links below.

A Different Approach

Design Milestones

Video page


Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 15, 2015)

29 Responses to “FPB 97 – Code Name “Wicked””

  1. Patrick S Lasswell Says:

    So…we don’t get to eat at anchor? Or only “foods” absent in carbon content? Are there excreta constraints we should be aware of? Exhalation prohibitions? Carbon seems a frail reed to rest this strong design upon.

    Noise free at anchor? Works for me.

    Anchor at ease with high efficiency systems to help you enjoy your stay without a generator interfering? Probably too wordy.

    Stay your full welcome at anchor? Well, that invites invidious comparisons between guests and fish.

    You’ve got a design that appeals to smart people. Too many of them are going to know the open secret that solar, for all it’s advantages, is still a net carbon loss compared to efficient conventional systems. You’ve got a really strong application for solar energy, and God knows your designs are incredibly tested and trustworthy, but bringing in the carbon bogeyman is an excess of shorthand.

  2. Rob Says:

    And apparently one blinkered person, the juries in on the carbon advantage of solar panels, thin film takes 1-2 years to produce the energy used in its construction and conventional panels take 3-4 years. That’s when they’re offsetting the US average power grid as a whole. Small scale diesel generation that these panels would be offsetting is substantially less efficient than the grid. It is patently untrue that solar in this application, or on the national is a net carbon loss.

  3. Patrick S Lasswell Says:

    How much does it cost in time, materials, and fresh water to clean them properly? What about in a pollen dense area? What about people like me who live downwind of Mt. St. Helens and the rest of the Cascade volcanic region? How many times can they be cleaned before they must be replaced? How long do they last? What kind of cost efficiency do they show in regions with tornadoes? How much does it cost to mount them? How much does it cost to keep the mounts intact? What’s their earthquake endurance? How much does it cost to store that energy for the hours of darkness, cloudy days, and winter?

    I’m willing to take Steve’s numbers as accurate because sails the miles, makes it work for himself, and has answered these kinds of questions already. My willingness to accept consensus science and subsidized development that appears to leave rather a lot of solar companies in the smoking rubble of bankruptcy is limited. The solar advocates can’t all be money launderers and frauds, but a whole lot of them demonstrably are. Steve is confident enough in the yields he’s seeing to develop a boat around solar accessibility, and I trust his integrity for this very expensive and carefully built craft.

    But the FPB series isn’t going to sit out bolted to the ground in tornado alley anytime soon. It isn’t going to be built by the lowest bidder seeking to provide a jobs program and kickbacks to local planning councils. Steve’s going to sweat the details on every weld on every boat. That kind of dedication just doesn’t scale when mixed with political advantage. Pity, but without those conditions, solar just does not make it as a terawatt source of energy.

  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    From our own experience years ago and from our present day research, the cleaning is a minor issue. As to subsidies, I don’t know of any friends of the current administration that have been successful in this business, but there are quite a few private companies that have done well.

  5. Michael Seng Says:

    Congratulations to the entire design team! Well done. Looking forward to hull #1 commencement!

    As always, thanks for bringing us along!

  6. Lawrence Chamblin Says:

    I see you removed the “carbon free at anchor” from the list of benefits of the FPB 97. I assume you caved to Patrick S Lasswell’s criticism. Did you click on the link to his website? He has some pretty extreme views. Very disappointed that you would be so easily influenced. Maybe I’m in the minority among the people who frequent this website that I’m attracted to your boats because they’re “greener” than the competition.

  7. Steve Dashew Says:

    Howdy Lawrence:
    In fact, what influenced the change to which you refer was a question earlier this week about genset use on the FPB 97. The questioner did not understand that our point about carbon footprint meant no genset time. We thought it would be more understandable the way currently written.

  8. Patrick S Lasswell Says:


    About 100,000 of my neighbors used to work in the aluminum industry nearby until some innovative energy frauds created a situation where aluminum companies made more money re-selling their power instead of making anything meaningful. A good friend of mine put the first of the Enron traders in jail with evidence he discovered, but he couldn’t put anybody back to work.

    For the last four years I’ve seen windmills going down the road to get put up in the gorge, and industrial plants dependent on inexpensive, stable and abundant electricity shutting down. I’m sorry if my reporting on your future is frightening and extreme.

    I like Steve’s designs because he won’t keep gear that doesn’t work or include features that aren’t worth their weight. He’s honest and transparent about his design process and makes the numbers available for everyone to see. I genuinely wish that a tenth of the alternative energy advocates had a tenth of his integrity, but based on my experience and my hundred thousand neighbors looking for work, I’ve come to the conclusion that they do not make the grade. Storms are coming, and you’d be advised to hew closer to a more verifiable course.

    By the way, “easily inlfluenced?” I’ve been on Steve’s case for six months about solar matters, with probably 2,000 words of pretty defensible commentary. Disagree with me if you must, but do me the courtesy of acknowledging that I’m not a troll.

  9. Steve Dashew Says:

    OK Guys, no personal attacks please and lets move on to a different topic…

  10. JLF Says:

    Love your boat.

    I suppose it is premature, but I’ve been trying to figure out the route for getting this boat home ( South Florida ). It looks like I’ll have to make the run from the Marquesas to the Panama Canal in one shot. Does this boat have the range for that, safety factors and all? Or perhaps an other route would be better?

  11. Steve Dashew Says:

    The route depends on what you want to do. Quickest way would be New Zealand to Panama via the 40s, then turning north around the Galapagos. An intermediate stop would be the Gambiers, wonderful high islands at the south end of the Tuamotus. With a little current and favorable winds you could make it to Panama without refueling with reserve. But both mentioned stops would have fuel. You might want to back off to 10.5 knots to reduce fuel burn until far enough along to be sure the weather was in a “normal” helpful pattern.

  12. Rendering yachts on water - YachtForums.Com Says:

    […] In their posts about the new FPB 97, the Dashews have many pictures where they've inserted renderings of the 97 into pictures that originally showed either the FPB 84 or in a couple cases the FPB 64. That's obviously the best way to deal with accurate wave patterns, but you may not have a large supply of pictures of similar boats (to your renderings) to work with. SetSail Blog Archive FPB 97 – Code Name “Wicked” […]

  13. Daryl Lippincott Says:

    Wind generators or solar panels don’t make financial sense without the gov. subsidies but for cruisers they can be part of an overall energy system that seems reasonable if you can stand the noise and the up front cost. (Although one of my dock mates just put on some new blades on his wind generator that are very inoffensive.)

    I really like the “generator free at anchor”. I would think fuel will need to be somewhere around $6 a gallon for the panels to make sense purely from a cost per watt point of view. That will surely happen before this boat or the panels are worn out. One would also think that the solar panels will continue to get more efficient both per dollar and per square foot so having the system on the boat will make upgrading easy in the future.

    But more than that, it is easy to imagine a “Black Swan event” that makes fuel not just expensive but difficult to source. The ability to go someplace remote and live on very little fuel is very attractive.

  14. Michael Jones Says:

    My take on the alternative energy comments here is that some are talking about solar or wind as if arguing a national or global policy while I’m only concerned (when at the Dashew’s website) for my own boating interests. I’m really attracted to everything that increases the true sense of independence. I would pay 3x or 4x for 2x the freedom. Just thinking about it feels liberating.

  15. Shannon Says:

    That’s my take on it too. Not having to run generators as much reduces fuel use & extends time in remote areas. Also, it’s simply nicer sitting at anchor without a generator running. On a boat, solar or wing energy is a totally different issue.

  16. Henrik Says:

    Why do you use wire handrails and not solid aluminum or stainless steel tubes?

  17. Steve Dashew Says:

    Solid rails are more subject to damage when rafting to other vessels and laying against pilings in less than calm harbors. Wire performs better in this environment.

  18. Ben Woodford Says:

    Have you considered mounting a kite sail on any of the fpb family? Seems that in many situations it might reduce fuel use as well as making a dandy ‘get home’ system. Granted it takes power to use, but if the solar array keeps the batteries topped off that shouldn’t be a problem. Not sure how much the tackle and control systems for a kite sail weigh, so I don’t know how it would affect balance.

  19. Steve Dashew Says:

    We have looked at kite sails extensively as have several of our owners. Great fun, and potential boat speed with all that wind aloft. But launching, retrieval, and auto control are not yet solved for cruisers.

  20. Shannon Says:

    I love the computer images. Very nice touch. I would love to see a video where you walk through the entire boat when that is possible. A video like that is the best way for me to get a feel for the size of a boat short of being there in person. I think lots of people appreciate the “boat show” tour. I am really excited seeing the progress of this 97, it’s a very impressive vessel on so many levels.

  21. Shannon Says:

    Wow. All this talk of the efficiency & cost effectiveness of solar panels. Is overall cost really the big issue on a boat? It sure isn’t to me. What is important to me is the ability to sit at anchor quietly in remote areas without burning fuel. I am willing to pay a premium for that ability when the nearest gas station is 2,000 miles away. It would be worth it to me even if the system never pays for itself in overall savings. A peaceful day at anchor & having power without burning fuel in remote areas is the main benefit of the solar system. If it happens to eventually pay for itself in overall costs that’s just an added bonus.

  22. Scott Webb Says:

    Totally agreed.

  23. John Rushworth Says:

    I agree with Shannon and Scott. However here is my two pence worth..

    As I think Steve said, solar is all about minimising generator run time at anchor, and to some extent I think we leave the green conversation aside.

    My small pure electric propulsion sailing yacht (with a standby 1kW Honda silent type portable generator) would love the space for as much solar as possible. Anything in my case helps, and the solar panel cost effectiveness numbers seem to scale up to boats like the FPBs.

    As regards the cost. The payback time for me, subject to how much day/weekend sailing I do, is but a few years when the boat is kept on a mooring. But if I keep the boat in a marina, then I can’t compete with the 20p/kWhr the marina charges for electricity and the payback time goes up to the more usual 20 to 25 years.

    However when I add in the cost of a day visit to a marina at say £20 per visit to recharge, it is still cheaper for me to run the generator on a mooring to recharge, if I’m not prepared to wait the two or so weeks it would take the solar to do it. But the noise.

    Regardless of cost, I love the silent charging of solar and glad it is becoming more affordable.

  24. David Sutton Says:

    Hello Steve and company,
    Many congratulations on the Wicked 97! As an engineer and designer for an aluminum boatbuilder, I find the FPB projects extremely fascinating.
    My compliments to the entire team. This is a well thought out design and executed brilliantly.

    To address what has become the primary theme in the comments so far, solar and or wind generation are particularly useful in mobile applications such as this.
    I have worked on a number of small yacht projects where the customer has added moderate (.2 to 2 kW) solar/wind generating capacity. To date all are extremely satisfied. This applies equally from very minimal demand sailors to moderate demand motoryachts and when scaled up to this level can provide the customer with unprecedented freedom.

    The feedback I get is that it largely removes the need to run an internal combustion engine to generate electricity (reduced run time = reduced effort and cost). Of course the effectiveness is dependent on the user profile. I could have two clients with the same vessel and the addition of renewable energy may have little to no benefit for one of them if it doesn’t suite their type of use.

    What most don’t understand is that these systems on an average cruising yacht cost similar to a replacement generator set. I prefer the concept of installing as much renewable as you can accommodate and the smallest genset you can get away with. This way when you do run the genset it will likely be running near it’s optimum efficiency point rather than coasting along as most do. With the right gear you can have the genset automatically start when the renewables aren’t keeping up with demand.

    In the end the cost and environmental benefits are not the critical factor. Having a yacht that is more enjoyable, reliable and easier to maintain is what the “converts” value most.
    With this in mind I eagerly await news of how the Wicked performs on this front.

  25. scotto Says:

    update, update, update


  26. Jono Frankfort Says:

    Hey Team,
    It is now the 5th of March and was wondering if the Berg has melted?
    Just looking for an update on my next home, while I understand completely your focus on your next home, it would be nice to know if she made her marks.
    Any news is good news.

  27. Steve Dashew Says:

    Sorry for the paucity of news Jonno:
    We have been swamped. FPB 97-1 is doing well, hitting her numbers.

  28. Scott Evangelista Says:


    Any closer to final numbers on performance on 97-1

  29. Steve Dashew Says:

    We will get them posted in the next couple of weeks,Scott:
    Have been swamped…