We’ve been hard at work fine-tuning FPB 97-1 for her very experienced owner. His goal is a highly efficient cruising platform, one which is easy to maintain, and has the highest degree of reliability. There is an instinctive understanding of the difference between the theoretical ideal and the everyday practical. The results so far, of this collaborative effort towards the perfect family cruising yacht, may surprise some observers.
To begin with, this is a yacht that will primarily cruise without professional crew aboard. This makes most operations single-handed in nature. In this regard, the FPB 97 is not that different from the FPB 64 or the FPB 83. Once away from a crowded harbor, offshore, at anchor in a lovely lagoon or off a spectacular glacier, the work load is similar.
With one exception. That is the surface area to be cleaned. There is simply more of it. Some items, like the windows, are actually going to be more easily maintained. The engine room will take a little, but not significantly more, time. Items like the cabin soles, on the other hand, are directly proportional to area, and here the FPB 97 will take more effort. Which leads us to the photo above. You will no doubt have noticed the sole in the great room. FPB 97-1 will not have timber soles. Rather, she will be fitted with a handsome, light-colored floor covering that provides sound attenuation and non-skid, with a fraction of the maintenance otherwise required.
The Matrix Deck is another example of the less-is-more philosophy. Present plans have the aft area open without built-in furniture, but with provision for bolting down furniture or exercise equipment in the future, when more is known as to the best use for this area. Our bet is that it remains open with lightweight furniture brought up from the forepeak when required. The bare teak furniture will look good, and eliminates painted or varnished surfaces.
Here is an interesting detail, one that will become standard: a gate in the observation platform to use when getting off and on when berthed at high commercial docks, or when rafted with bigger vessels. There will be a lightweight plank to accompany the gate.
We can think of a number of times over the years where this would have been very handy,
including Quortatoq in Southern Greenland.
We are now on the seventh iteration of the swim/boarding platform. Getting this area just right is critical to cruising enjoyment. You need easy access in and out of dinghies, while swimming, retrieving someone who has inadvertently gone into the water, using paddleboards, kayaks, kite surfing, etc.
The platform needs to be low enough for ease of use, but not so low your feet get wet in a choppy anchorage.
The topsides have been extended to provide security for stored gear and t0 reduce wetting in rough anchorages.
The edge will provide a convenient hand hold when coming alongside with the dinghy.
Likewise, the swim ladder has been through many versions, of which this may (or may not) be the final. It has good ergonomics, is easily launched, and is robust enough to take a lot of abuse.
We are still working on the “porch” area under the Matrix Deck.
There is a locker under the stairs to starboard with a sink, and the table has a folding leaf, with a high/low slide mechanism. This has to serve many purposes, including dining al fresco, being used in the low position when lounging, and as a sorting point when loading groceries onboard. The back of the settee has drawers and shelves, there is bulk storage in the seats, and there is a day head to port.
We’ll close with this height-of-eye test rendering. If you are 1.95m/6’4″ tall, you are going to be concerned with the view under the headliner. In this image the camera is set 1780mm/70″ off the sole, the height of eye for someone this tall. The anchorage is Wakaya Island, in Fiji. It will be lovely when we can dispense with the simulations and show you the real thing.
For more information, contact Tood Rickard, Sue Grant: Sue.Grant@Berthon.Co.UK..