by Tom Cunliffe
So, you like cruising, but you don't like all that running around on deck, messing about with sails? You really want a power boat, but you want to be eco-friendly? Maybe this boat, designed by one of the world's most famous long term sailors, is for you.
FPB at speed
Looking nothing like your sleek 'mine's bigger than yours' typical modern superyacht, an FPB is a planet-friendly motor yacht designed by Dashew Offshore. She is built in New Zealand for the sort of long, blue-water cruising passages which until now have been the monopoly of sailing boats. In fact, she looks more like a converted Fast Patrol Boat. With a range of 5000 miles at around 10 knots (in flat water that is), the FPB offers an intelligent alternative to fuel-gulping, noisy, wash-creating power yachts that we sailors love to hate.
Grey Wolf nav station
The latest FPB off the blocks, Steve Dashew-designed, New Zealand-built, Grey Wolf has been bought by an Englishman, Peter Watson, who is taking her on her 'long voyage home' back to the Old Country. So the 64ft, already British-flagged aluminium boat left her build yard Circa Marine in Auckland on this week bound east across the Pacific, planning to transit the Panama Canal, then the Atlantic and arrive in her destination of Lymington in early summer.
Grey Wolf galley
Her new owner Peter Watson is on board and skippering a 6-man crew which, excitingly for them, includes apprentices from the Berthon Boat Company, the European agents for the FPB.
Tom Cunliffe, who is handling the UK end of a blog dialogue with GREY WOLF and the Berthon apprentices, observed, 'The very idea of making this particular 12,000-mile voyage in a relatively small, semi-production motorboat is ground-breaking. The probable weather is far from ideal and the start has already been delayed by a named cyclone in the South Pacific.
'The first leg of 2000 nautical miles to Tahiti is regarded as a potentially heavy-weather passage and the crew have rolled the dice, playing the odds in a notably active hurricane season. Following the blog over the whole voyage promises a frank human commentary from several young men who never expected to go to sea. It will also secure readers a private glimpse of life on the ocean in one of these remarkable boats.'
Grey Wolf forward cabin
Because the FPB's brief is to work with nature rather than battle to 'conquer' it, Peter Watson expects that some of his passages will involve significant detours from the Great Circle routes to optimise winds and avoid adverse weather. With modern meteorological data feeds, a real-world cruising speed of over 9 knots makes this entirely realistic.
Passage legs are:
Leg 1 – New Zealand to French Polynesia (11 days – 2225 nm)
Leg 2 – French Polynesia to Panama (22 days – 4450 nm)
Leg 3 – Panama to Antigua (10 days – 1150nm)
Leg 4 – Antigua to Bermuda (4 days – 950 nm)
Leg 5 – Bermuda to Horta (8 days – 1800 nm)
Leg 6 – Horta to Guernsey/Lymington (6 days – 1300 nm)
Follow Peter Watson, his crew and the Berthon apprentices on the GREY WOLF blog -
About Dashew Offshore, the designers:
• An experienced design house headed up by Steve and Linda Dashew, who have been involved with blue-water cruising in sail and power at the highest level for many years. The Dashew team also delivers detailed project management of the FPB range throughout build.
• The FPB is designed around the goal of crossing oceans in maximum comfort and safety, without fuss and offering extraordinary levels of fuel economy. The boats come with a myriad of custom design features that will be appreciated by yachtsmen wanting to undertake serious passages.
• You can find Dashew at www.setsail.com
• Circa Marine & Industrial Limited is a long-established family operated company with a 35 year proven history in building high quality aluminium vessels, and for turning out luxury interior craftsmanship, borne from a passion of excellence by all staff. www.circamarine.co.nz firstname.lastname@example.org