FPB Systems Log – Maintenance on a Voyage Halfway Around the World


With the FPB 64 Grey Wolf covering an average of a thousand or more nautical miles per week on her voyage home, we have in effect an accelerated maintenance test to observe. Experienced cruisers and marine professionals will be surprised by the data accumulated since her departure from New Zealand the last week of March.Peter Watson had one of the apprentices aboard write up the engineering log and forward it to us via Sailmail. The data following covers the Grey Wolf Voyage from New Zealand to Tahiti, Tuomotus, Marquesas Islands, Panama, and Bermuda.

Grey Wolf long voyage home engineering service record:

Depart Whangarei: 23/3/14

  •         John Deere hours: 379.6
  •         Water maker hours: 118.3
  •         Genset hours: 236.0
  •         John Deere fuel used guage reading 6117.5L
  •         Aprox 10500L Diesel on board

Tahiti: 5/4/14

  •        John Deere hours: 638.9 (259.3 hrs since New Zealand)
  •         Genset hours: 258
  •         John Deere fuel used guage reading 11202.5 (5085 consumed – 19.6 L/hour)

Take on 5646L (6/4/14) of Diesel + 914L (17/4/14)–top up

  •      John deere oil and filter change
  •      Air filter cleaned
  •      Raw water pump impellor changed, old one kept in good condition
  •      Belts changed, old ones kept in okay condiition
  •     Gearbox oil fine
  •      Genset water pump changed, old one only had one tooth left.

Tahiti 22/4/14

  •         John Deere hours: 674
  •         Water maker hours: 152.3
  •         Genset hours: 386.2
  •        John Deere fuel used guage reading 11823.5

Nuku Hiva 29/4/14

  •         John Deere hours: 772.6 (88.6 hours since leaving Tahiti)
  •         Water maker hours: 163.9
  •         Genset hours: 432.5
  •         John Deere fuel used guage reading 13788.5 (1956L consumed since leaving Tahiti – 22.14L/hour)
  •         Take on 2386L diesel
  •         Genset, oil and oil filter changed

Panama 20/5/14

  •         John Deere hours: 1201.8 (429.5 hours since Nuka Hiva)
  •         Water maker hours: 188.8
  •         Genset hours: 477
  •        John Deere fuel used guage reading 22594.5 (8802.7 L consumed this leg – 20.5L/hour)
  •        Take on 8424L dieselJohn Deere gearbox oil change, magnet filter cleaned
  •        John Deere oil + filter changed
  •         Bolts and fittings tested to be tight.

Bermuda 2/6/14

  •        John Deere hours:1421 (219.2 hours from Panama)
  •        Water maker hours:201.8
  •        Genset hours:552
  •        John Deere fuel used guage reading 26689 (4094 L consumed since Panama – 18.7L/hour)
  •        Take on 3000L diesel
  •       Replace prop anode underwater
  •       Check raw water anodes, replace 2 john deere
  •       Remove oil cooler, cleaned tubes, precautionary not required john deere
  •       Remove end cap of intercooler, clean tubes, precautionary not required. john deere
  •       Clean air filter john Deere
  •      Check oil levels, fine
  •      Clean engine
  •      Check belts, fine

At 09/06/2014our position was 35°26.59’N 051°16.48’W course 079T speed 9.4 True Wind Direction 224T True Wind Speed29.8

As owners and cruisers, there is nothing we hate more than maintenance brought on by poor design or equipment. Of course we have the odd problem, but in general, we do not consider the Grey Wolf experience to be exceptional. Staying ahead of maintenance, carefully checking equipment before during, and after passages, means small issues can be detected, and corrected, before they become big problems. For this approach to work you have to have easy access, and this takes valuable interior volume. And it means not hiding systems behind nice looking panels that restrict access.

When Grey Wolf is back in her home waters, the yard crew at Berthons will give her a thorough check up. It will be interesting to see what they find.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 12, 2014)

10 Responses to “FPB Systems Log – Maintenance on a Voyage Halfway Around the World”

  1. Pete Rossin Says:

    Would be interested in their total JD engine fuel consumption adjusted by 2 liters per hour for their genset usage underway. May not be possible. We never run the genset underway, however, so that would be an interesting comparison.


  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Pete:
    The fuel consumption reported for the propulsion engine is based solely on the Deere CPU figures, which seem to be accurate from what we can tell with other FPB 64s. When Grey Wolf gets back to the Channel islands she will top off, after which we’ll have an accurate New Zealand to the UK consumption number for everything. Re genset fuel burn, John Henrichs figures a gallon per hour. He has reported in today half way to Fiji, running at 10/10.2 knots, burning 5.2 US gallons per hour with light tail winds (he said he was very heavy – six inches below reference marks forward and four inches below aft.

  3. BrianC Says:

    Have you considered implementing a system and flash memory that automatically stores all vital data and uploads it to a server for you to track ongoing operating statistics like location, fuel consumption, engine operating speed, etc. – and uploading the data to a central server on a semi-regular basis, so that you can track the efficiency and sort of “black box” data that would allow you to gather information and continue to tweak the design based on a large amount of real-life data?

    Seems like a great opportunity that owners would want to support.

  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    Maretron makes a new storage device which does this and is quite clever, and that allows selective downloading. Monitoring all of the channel data generates a huge amount of information, so a robust connection is required for getting it from the boat over the internet.

  5. Steve Dunbar Says:

    The genset hours also caught my eye as well. Is there something unusual with how they are using the systems or are the HVAC loads in this climate exceeding what you can comfortably get from the JD?

  6. Steve Dashew Says:

    I think most of those genset hours are at anchor. Each of the (two) alternators can give 150 amps at 27.8 volts at cruise. That is a little over 4kW per alternator.

  7. Perriot Says:

    Hello ,
    It could be interresting to put also the nm loged.
    In this case we could have a good idea of the consomption in the real life .
    Of course on a chart we could have the shortes way , but it will penalize the result if Grey Wolf don’t match exactly this shortess way (who are able to run exaltly the shortest way ? May be vlc or container ships (they use the shortest way for the weather at this time )
    Sorry for my English…still the same !!
    Crew of Hoa

  8. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hello Perriot:
    Grey Wolf’s engine hours are noted in the post and she had voyaged about 13,500 nautical miles since launching at this point.We will have a recap in a few weeks now that she is in the UK.

  9. Colin Stone Says:

    Have you considered keel cooling and avoid sea water pump impellers and water filter issues?

    Final fuel consumption figures and average speed will be interesting.

    Does Grey Wolf have a decent solar PV set up? Unless using an elec oven, our solar PV generates enough so that generator is not required. Aircon is ceiling fans – works well in 40C.

  10. Steve Dashew Says:

    We have looked long and hard at keel cooling. THere are advantages and disadvantages. The latter outweigh the former for us. Much more complex exhaust, dirtier, noisier, with maintenance issues as big as raw water pumps (which we don’t find a hassle).