Why FPB? The Concept Explained…


We’ve been chasing the holy grail of the perfect cruising yacht for 40 years. The Deerfoot, Sundeer and Beowulf series are considered the premiere sailing yachts on which to circumnavigate. The FPB fleet is judged by the most experienced owners and journalists to be the best ocean-crossing motor yachts today. To find out why, read on:


Our goal has always been the same: safe, comfortable, long-distance voyaging, achieved with maximum reliability and efficiency. The FPB paradigm is the ultimate mix of sea-going capability, comfort, systems engineered for long periods of time cruising off the grid, and a lovely ambiance…


…resulting in a package that minimizes maintenance and crew requirements.


Although we don’t build a lot of boats, those that we do build tend to go places, like Magelena Anchorage, Svalvard,  just 640 miles from the North pole.


Of the 50 some sailing yachts we’ve launched, there are mileage records for 37 of them, and the average is over 54,000 nautical miles per boat.


The three yachts in the photo above, anchored in Graciosa Bay, Canary Islands, have seen 300,000 nautical miles of cruising pleasure in their wakes.

In the FPB world, our owners are just starting to explore, but in the short time these FPBs have been cruising:

  • FPB 83-1 Wind Horse covered 60,000 NM in her first seven years.
  • FPB 64-1 Avatar has cruised over 36,000 NM in five years.
  • FPB 64-2  Sarah Sarah has accumulated 1950 hours on her engine in her first three years – over 16,000 NM.
  • FPB 64-3 Iron Lady (pictured below anchored in Fatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands) has 24,000 NM under the keel in her first four years of part time cruising.
  • FPB 64-5 Tiger has cruised 15,000 miles in her first three years.
  • FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf has made quick work of the 12,000+ NM between New Zealand and the Azores, taking just 102 days for this part of their cruise back to the UK. The longest leg, Nuka Hiva to Panama, 4100 NM, was done at an average speed of 9.5 knots. She arrived with sufficient fuel aboard for another 1200 NM.
  • FPB 64-7 Buffalo Nickel has managed over 10,000 NM in just two seasons of part time cruising.

FPB 64 Iron Lady Fatu Hiva 1

The space provided for systems, ship’s equipment, bulk storage, and dinghies, together with large forepeaks and…


…aft engine rooms, is a key ingredient to successful, long term voyaging. This is part of what makes remote anchorages like Hanavavae Baie on Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas Islands so easily accessible.


Here is the design philosophy that forms the foundation for the FPB paradigm:

  • High average cruising speed, because it is the single most important factor in reducing weather risks, thereby improving passaging comfort and, ultimately, safety. Plus, going fast is fun.
  • Heavy weather capability, which allows us greater flexibility in deciding when and where to go. And peace of mind while we’re out there.
  • Structural safety factors to deal not only with the sea, but to reduce the need to visit a boatyard in case of operator error – read, grounding – so we can continue to cruise while taking the occasional bump in stride.
  • Efficient but simple systems that let us operate far from outside assistance, with the comfort and ambiance that keeps all members of the crew content, without being generator-dependent.
  • Interiors designed for comfort at sea and in port, immersing us fully in the surrounding beauty.
  • Fuel capacity for a full season or more of cruising, so we can maintain our high average speeds and have the option of refueling when and where convenient.
  • A low profile exterior that conceals a luxurious interior, allowing owners to blend in more easily in remote areas.

Over two million miles of accumulated cruising from a relatively small fleet of yachts shows that when you get this formula right, the horizon beckons.


Appearances can be deceiving. FPBs do not fit the stereotypical yacht look. Most observers think they are naval or patrol vessels. And when you first take in the FPB’s rugged, military-like, unpainted aluminum image, the last thing you expect is a luxurious interior.


This is a carefully cultivated misconception. Our owners would rather keep a low profile, so as not to attract the wrong type of attention, and to fit in better in the more remote cruising grounds around the world…


…like the Lau group in Fiji (above) or Illulisat Harbor on Greenland’s Disco Bay (below).


Our owners enjoy the gasp of surprise that typically follows a guest’s first glimpse of the FPB interior.


Whatever your plans, we think the best source of data are people who are actually out there cruising, living with their yachts day in and day out. They know what works and what doesn’t in the real world.


If you see one of the FPBs, dinghy by, say hello, and ask the folks aboard what it is really like to cruise with their yachts. They will be able to put this into perspective for you, as they are all experienced, can tell you what it was that convinced them to join the FPB family in the first place, and how their cruising experience has changed as a result.


For a much more detailed post on the FPB paradigm including interviews with current FPB owners, click here.

For more information on FPBs, email Sue Grant at Sue.Grant@Berthon.co.UK.

For more details and related posts to our history and the way we build yachts, see the links below:

Posted by admin  (September 4, 2016)

4 Responses to “Why FPB? The Concept Explained…”

  1. Michael S Says:

    Hello Steve;

    Amazing vessel, probably the benchmark for the 21st century, and if well maintained likely to last through it.

    A few questions:

    Does the FPB78 make use of at rest stabilization when on the hook? I’m wondering about the power consumption needed for that, as 3KW of solar will offer about 15KWh maximum after losses, while stabilization is power hungry. Stabilization is just amazing, but it doesn’t come for free. If at rest stabilization is frugal it means that the FPB78 would have the at-rest characteristics of a catamaran.

    I understand your concerns about solar panels and VCG, however you might want to consider the advances in solar cloth, such as from this Cambridge UK firm: http://www.thesolarclothcompany.com/,
    Their “parking” solution has fabric panel strips sewn onto a sail-like canvas panel, it doesn’t need a load-bearing roof, and adds minimal weight.

    Good luck with this!

  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Michel:
    At rest we use the long booms with flopper stoppers. No genset required, and far more effective than the NAIADs

  3. John Majeski Says:

    Thank you for sharing your design philosophy and building process with us. Do you think your FPB design principals could be used to create a boat 50-60ft in length that could efficiently cruise at 20 knots? Most boats in this size range with a 20kt cruise are sportfishers or cabin cruisers and efficiency is the last priority. I would be interested to see how your principals could be applied.
    Looking forward to see how the 78 turns out.


  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    No, John, that sort of speed requires a planing hull.