Leaping Into The Future – FPB Progress In The Antipodes

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Here in Arizona we’re excited, having received our weekly update of photos from New Zealand. Seeing progress starting to accelerate on the first of three FPB 78s now scheduled, we are leaping for joy. The assembly floor has been laid out, and the tank modules are being dropped into place.

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The view from the deck of FPB 64-10 starts to give a sense of scale.

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And then the first frame is standing.

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A bulkhead is being assembled. The slots are for systems runs and the big cutout for build access now and for future maintenance.

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A massive stem bar. We work hard to keep superfluous weight out of the boat so we can put it back where it counts – in the bottom and bow.

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Lots of small bits here. Note the thickness. These are for low in the boat where they contribute to strength and stability.

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A few days later and this cutting edge bow design is starting to take shape. Combine the stem bar, breast hooks (horizontal stiffeners) with 12mm bottom and 8mm topside plate and you can see where we have some margin for banging into things.

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Meanwhile many details are being finished off inside and outside of the FPB 97, such as this Matrix deck docking wing station. The opening in the gate was suggested by the owner’s representative, for use when the boat is alongside a high commercial dock, to make boarding easier.

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This large foredeck hatch is operated with a winch handle.

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There will be a small jib boom arrangement to hoist and lower heavier items into the forepeak.

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Installation of furniture is well along throughout the FPB 97-1.

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The aluminum structure on the right is an access port for inspection and maintenance of one of the stabilizer mechanisms.

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FPB 64-9 is now undergoing builders trials, which leaves FPB 64-10 as the lone member of this class still in the shop. In the not too distant future, 64-10 will make way for FPB  78-2  to begin its gestation period, to be followed shortly by metal work for FPB 78-3.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 7, 2014)

2 Responses to “Leaping Into The Future – FPB Progress In The Antipodes”

  1. Jono Frankfort Says:

    Are the owners of 64-9 the first to go with a topside coating? Either this is a bit of trick photography, or the crew at Circa are amazing ! This is the most finely fair’d aluminum hull I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a few. Keep after it, my slot is still a ways away.

  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    No coatings, Jono, just heavy framing and plating for high factors of safety and careful shaping and welding of the plating. If you go back and look through the ealier FPB 64s you will see similar results.