To A New Paradigm With FPB

FPB 78: The Dream Machine (Updated September 1, 2014)

FPB 78 287 Exteriors100

The FPB 78 is the newest member of the FPB squadron. With metal cutting for the third FPB 78 underway (FPB 78- one, two and three are for current or former FPB owners), this Dream Machine is off to the fastest start in FPB history.

The FPB 78 is the fourth design in this series, fine-tuned by over 100,000 miles of open ocean FPB experience during the past eight years, feedback by our owners, and a huge effort by the FPB team around the world from the UK, to New Zealand, to North America.

Welcome aboard. Lets start our tour in the Great Room.

FPB 78 Great Room entry lkg fwd 4 2

The great room is one of several focal points for life aboard.

100FPB 78 plans Edit 2

The galley, breakfast bar, salon, theater, and one of the two helms are situated in the most comfortable region of the hull. When making shorthanded passages, this great room layout allows for ease of communication and togetherness.

FPB 78 Dream Machine intro 214200 4

Of course, with more people onboard there is the option of hanging out together or separately, with the Matrix deck available as a living space as well.

106FPB 78 Great room Lighting 2

The FPB 78 great room, with its outward angled windows and negative edge headliner, offers an unobstructed view of the world outside.

105FPB 78 Great room Lighting 2

The evening view can be compelling and varied courtesy of the sophisticated lighting system.

FPB 78 Dream Machine intro 215300 3

The outward cant of the 3/4” (18mm) laminated low-e glass also provides a base for the window covering system to lay against. This eliminates window shade movement and provides a seal to the coverings that enhances insulation properties.


There is space for a large TV – 65” is shown here.

FPB 78 Dream Machine intro 214201

 The screen can also be observed in a low position, ideal as a radar monitor when using the Ekornes chairs on watch.


The low TV position makes it possible to maintain situational awareness on passage from any location in the great room without blocking the view outside.

100FPB 78 Great Room bridge area

On soundings, the Matrix deck is the primary con, but on passage the inside bridge will often be the watch standing station.

101FPB 78 Great Room bridge area

There are excellent sight lines from this location.

FPB 781 270 108

And there is space for a functional nav station without overwhelming the great room with electronics.

1FPB 781 Galley from stair landing 2

The galley has loads of counter space, lockers, drawer storage, and room for a variety of appliances.

FPB 781 270 120

There are four fridge/freezer units. Volume of these totals 28 cubic feet/800 liters.

781 283 galley lkg fwd 1

The C-shaped configuration works well in port and at sea.

105FPB 78 Great Room Lighting demo

Grabbing a quick snack when on watch you can maintain situational awareness with the excellent view forward.

FPB 781 270 121

The view aft is not too bad either.

101FPB 78 Great Room Lighting demo

This is one of the many lighting options for ambiance and working on night watch.

FPB 78 Dream Machine intro 212100

The ship’s master systems panel is located in the aft starboard corner of the great room, where any lighting associated with operation of the panel is shielded from the helm. The design allows you to wedge yourself in securely in rough weather. The majority of AC and DC breakers are located here, as are the genset, inverter controls, heater and air conditioning, fridge and freezers, plus engine Powerview, and great room lighting circuits. Most of the black boxes for the nav system, engine controls, and related are also located within this cabinet for ease of access.


From the galley or the the systems controls/engine data panel turn around and you are looking at the stairwell to the lower deck, which also provides valuable wall space for favorite photos and art. When you get down to the bottom of the stairs, owner’s quarters will be on your right, forward, with twin guest cabins aft, on the left.

FPB 781 Owners aftentrnc WT door 3 2

We are looking forward now, down the hallway which leads to the annex or forward cabin, or into the owner’s suite, depending on how the bulkheads are configured (they can be reconfigured in a few minutes). On our left is the water tight door which divides the accommodation deck.

FPB 781 Owners lkg aft 2 2

There is not a lot to say about the owner’s suite that these renderings don’t communicate better. There is enough space and ambiance, more than a quarter of the accommodation deck, that if you feel that you want to get away from guests or crew this is an ideal private lounge. Its location ensures quiet – there are three sets of double isolation bulkheads between here and the engine room. The suite features excellent natural ventilation, and the pillows on the bunk are within a step of the pitch center for minimum motion when on passage and heading into the waves.The starboard side features an office and 13 ft/4m of closet space (with an additional 1m on the port side). The partial bulkheads at the left side of the rendering are part of the isolation and privacy system.

FPB 781 Owners port aft lkg fwd strbd 1 2

These bulkheads can be closed off from the office if there are night owls at work. With guests or crew aboard who need access to the forward area – which can be configured as laundry/pantry/gym, or as a stateroom – this becomes a hallway.

100FPB 78 plans Edit 29

Here is a plan view showing the owner’s suite with its bulkhead in open mode, with the annex set up as a work out space.

FPB 781 Owners port aft lkg fwd strbd 4 2

The lighting throughout the FPB 78 features multiple dimming circuits on LED floods and rope lighting. This has functional advantages, but it is also downright cool, or better put, sexy.

100FPB 78 plans Edit

Here is a look at the accommodation deck for FPB 78-2, with the aft end configured as crew quarters, the forward annex as an extra guest cabin and the owner’s starboard bulkhead positioned in what we call privacy mode.

100FPB 78 plans Edit 30

Guest cabins are generous in size, with adjacent heads and bathing facilities.

The areas outboard of the hallway separating guests and owners contain a plumbing systems room to port, and high power electrical gear to starboard. The plumbing room has the selection valves for the damage control pump pickups and fuel manifold where they are easy to reach, along with heating and hydraulic system components. The electrical locker has inverters, fuses, contactors, and related gear for both the high powered electrical circuits. Inverters are installed in an area isolated for noise with a dedicated ventilation system, including an extraction fan.


Each guest suite has a vanity, hanging locker, and lots of drawer space under the bunk. In addition, there is a locker in each head for spare bedding, towels, and supplies.

100FPB 78 plans Edit 16

Moving aft we come to the engine room, with its pair of of six cylinder John Deere diesels. The full width engine room has excellent access to systems for visual checks when underway and maintenance. There are beams overhead for lifting engines and genset, and a large work bench. The air inlet is sized for passive operation, although there are separate pressurization fans as well.

100FPB 78 plans Edit 18

There are a variety of ways to use the aft end of the FPB 78. If there is to be crew aboard, this is most probably where they will reside. This is just one of many possible layouts, the result of much feedback from owners who have had crew in the past, and professional sailors. The one thing everyone agrees on is that the boats with the best quarters get the best crews.

100FPB 78 plans Edit 17

On the other hand, there is this made-in-heaven workshop, with adjacent hang out/relaxing area, which is how FPB 78-1 and 3 are starting life. To port there is a large work bench, room for a drill press, bearing press, belt/disc sander, and sink. There are two large sets of tool drawers, one facing aft and the other with drawers opening inboard so they are handy to the engine room. The starboard side has room for a table and chairs for lounging, as well as general storage for equipment like dive gear used aft. Shown here on the starboard side is one of the two folding pipe framed shelves. There is room for a large TV on the bulkhead, which can be used to monitor ship’s systems, display reference material, or for fun.

100FPB 78 plans Edit 27

The space forward of the owner’s suite measures 18.5ft/5.7m in length, enough space for a variety of uses. The layout shown above, as one big room, is how the first and third FPB 78s are being done. The aft one third of the area has storage space below the sole, on top of the fresh water tanks, for a large inventory of storage bins. The forward two thirds has the bilges exposed below the sole. Part of this volume is taken up with systems, but there is still substantial space left for spare propellers, extra rodes, etc.

This area can also be divided between living space and forepeak..

100FPB 78 plans Edit 28

 The space could be used as a laundry room/pantry, large office suite/library, or even a walk-in closet. Or, as in the case of FPB 78-2 an extra cabin with two single bunks.

100FPB 78 2 EXT H220

The Dream Machine is the second FPB to have a Matrix deck.


This is twice the size of the flying bridges on FPB prototype Wind Horse and the FPB 64s, and just a touch smaller than the 97. The Matrix deck can be enclosed or left open as weather and inclination dictate. There’s plenty of space for relaxing. On soundings, navigation has the benefit of elevated sight lines and a full array of electronics.

1FPB 78 Matrix deck strbd corner lkg fwd 2a

Watch keepers have the choice of the two helm chairs or relaxing comfortably on the elevated settee with a good view forward.


There is a head and vanity in the aft starboard corner for the watch keeper. Seating is long enough to sleep on, and we think this will be a favorite sleeping area at anchor for the younger generation.


There are good sight lines for docking with your head out the window and controls close at hand. This control set is portable and can be moved to the outboard docking station if required. Note the notch to starboard of the nav desk. This will allow the watchkeeper to get right up to the window in rain or fog. The window can be opened for unimpeded visibility, typically without wetting the nav desk in moderate rain.

Shallow draft, under five feet/1.5m, opens a new chapter in exploration potential.

FPB 78 Dream Machine intro 14102

The ability to “dry out” is a direct benefit. And when the fins or props need cleaning, this is an easy way to get the job done.

FPB 78 287 Exteriors102

We started out talking about efficiency. Each step along the FPB evolutionary path has brought us better systems, more ambiance at anchor, and less generator time.

FPB 78-1 Dinghy view-3-A

With the FPB 78 we are at a point where the genset will rarely be needed.

FPB 78 287 Exteriors120 2

There are a series of factors with the FPB 78 that make for generator-free cruising. First are ten 340 watt solar panels, capable of providing sufficient power at anchor to take care of the 24-volt DC loads. This leaves the massive capacity of the 24 volt house traction battery bank, 1800 amp hours (20 amp hour discharge rate), to deal with cloudy days, and/or extra AC circuit loads. With excess loading beyond the solar capability likely to be moderate, you can sit pleasantly at anchor for days on end, waiting until you are underway for any recharge required. And once those diesels are turning, a pair of 250 amp (28V) alternators will rapidly recharge the batteries.


The X factor in this is air conditioning, which we are dealing with in several ways. First is a reduction in air conditioning requirements as a result of the passive air flow system. Naturally pressurized air flow from a series of inlets on the underside of the forward roof overhang and front of the Matrix deck coaming will keep the great room temperature in check.

FPB 78 Dream Machine intro 215300

When the air is still, a pair of extraction fans in the aft port corner will pull fresh air from the passive vents forward through the interior and out the aft end of the house. These extraction fans also work as a galley exhaust. The staterooms have a system of Dorade pipes – each fitted with a fan – one for extraction and a second for pressurizing. Heat load in the great room is reduced with big overhangs forward and aft, the outward angle of the windows with overhangs beyond, and with a laminated low-e glass. In addition, there are high efficiency cellular shades on each window.

Couple this with significantly more insulation than previous FPBs and you will understand why it will be rare that air conditioning will be needed at anchor. And if it is one of those hot, sticky, end-of-the-season nights in Fiji or the Bahamas, where air conditioning would be ever so nice while sleeping, the battery bank will supply power for the compressors.

On the FPB 78 the generator is a backup for the solar panels.

FPB 78 Dream Machine intro 214200 6

The area adjacent to the aft end of the great room, which we call the porch, has a large locker in the starboard corner, with space for coats, emergency gear, and dinghy equipment. For 78-3 there will be a settee under the stairs with storage for fishing gear. FPB 78-1 and 2 have their washers and driers in this location, with a large work surface over them. There is a barbecue, sink, and cleanup area integrated with the engine room air intake.

FPB 781 porch 1

 In unpleasant weather the porch can be closed off, making a convenient “mud-room”  and/or environmental air lock for the interior.


The aft deck are is enormous with the forward section shaded by the roof overhang.


To put the FPB 78 aft end into context, there is room for up to an 18-foot dinghy on the starboard side and an 11-foot RIB on the port side.


Shown here are ten and fifteen foot dinghies.

FPB 78 Dream Machine July 1 exterior update107

In spite of twin engines, props  protected by full depth skegs, and hundreds of thousands of miles without drive line problems, we still want a fall back position if propulsion or steering is compromised. That is where the forward mast comes into play. We think a small sail, all the way forward, will help get the bow down wind after which its area and windage should help us get somewhere, if somewhat slowly.


The A-frame design hinges down for maintenance or when hauling out with a travel lift which it would otherwise block.


There are several interesting details on the foredeck:

  • A powerful Lewmar 65 deck winch for kedging, second anchor rodes, and handling dock lines in a blow.
  • The Maxwell V 4000 windlass.
  • A mud dam (breakwater) to keep mud and weed from the chain from migrating down the deck.
  • A 550mm/24” wide anchor platform that allows easier access to the bow fairlead than in the past.
  • The large foredeck hatch.

1FPB 78 1 PRelim 4 100 152

In a fleet designed for toughness, the FPB 78 is the meanest of the bunch. Bottom framing and plating are in excess of what would be considered ice class by Lloyd’s rules from the engine room forward: from the 24mm/1″ thick grounding plate, to the 16mm (5/8”) central turn of the bilge and engine room plate, not to mention the 12mm (1/2”) rest of the bottom. The FPB 78 is available with an MCA Category 0 rating, the most stringent standard under which a small yacht, can be built. Although the paperwork is onerous for the builder, the benefits in terms of resale and insurance can be substantial (very few yachts qualify).

The normal FPB approach to fuel and water tanks, using them to form in effect a double bottom for additional safety, creates 6800 US gallons/25,800 liters of capacity of which 70% represents fuel. Under normal circumstances 3500 US gallons of diesel would be considered full load. The extra capacity is available for special situations such as extra long trips, or protection against supply disruption.

Now it gets interesting. Between our tank testing, database of ocean crossing fuel burn and speed information, and a suite of software carefully tuned to our hull shapes, we have a pretty good handle on what sort of performance to expect from the FPB 78. For example, we know that FPB prototype Wind Horse easily averages 10.75 to 11 knots – roughly 268 miles per day.

FPB 78 216 underwater view400

The FPB 78 has a similar waterline length to Wind Horse, with a more efficient drive line than any previous FPB. With the integral fuel tank capacity, burning under eight gallons/30L per hour, you can go a long way, then come back, and still have sufficient fuel to allow cruising until you find the right price and quality of diesel.

How far are we talking about?

FPB 78 Dream Machine intro 212105


From Whangarei, where FPBs are built on the North Island of New Zealand, if the mood strikes, at a comfortable 11 knots, you can go direct to Puerto Monte, Chile, staying above 53 degrees latitude, a distance of 5000 nautical miles, with a reserve. Prefer the Northern Hemisphere and in a hurry, then how about the northwest corner of the state of Washington? That is 6,000 miles, and leaves a 10% reserve, so perhaps we should slow down to 10.5 knots, at least until we’ve consumed half our diesel payload and know we have Gray’s Harbor made. Of course making a straight shot through the South Pacific means passing up some of the best cruising in the world. So, maybe at least one stop in American Samoa to top off with the lowest cost diesel in the Pacific basin, which means keeping our average 11 knot boat speed is easy. Want to make the trip from Capetown, South Africa to Florida, or New Zealand direct to Panama without stopping? Okay, 6,500 miles plus reserve means we are slowing down to 10 knots or just a touch under.

The FPB 78 has a unique drag curve that is almost a straight line once the drag hump around 12 knots is passed. Pair this with common rail engines that deliver 230 HP at 2300 rpm M1 rating, and 330HP at 2600 RPM M4 rating and you will find that  drag and the M4 prop curve neatly coincide. This results in an engine propped for M4 rating working in M1 mode. Which gives us our 11 knot cruise at a very smooth and quiet 1600 RPM.

However, you are probably wondering what we are going to do with a pair of 330HP engines in a yacht that burns 8 gallons/30 liters per hour or about 80 HP per engine. The answer is nothing – if everything goes according to plan. That extra power is there for emergency use, a special weather event for example, that requires a high turn of speed to get remove yourself from the risk factors. Or a medical situation where time is of the essence. There will also be occasions when an extra turn of speed will get you in before dark. How fast are we talking about? We are not going to say at this point. We’d rather show you during sea trials during the last quarter of 2015. Let’s just say we expect a few eyebrows to be raised.

FPB 78 Dream Machine intro 212106

We started out chatting about dinghies and the ability to carry an 18’+ RIB. We have been wrestling with dinghies for more years than we care to admit. As we mature and as our dinghies get heavier, we have endeavored to design easier handling systems for launch and retrieval. This includes having a hinged lifeline gate (referred to in an earlier post), that will allow us to keep the dink at deck level when lifting it off and on the chocks. Next, we have come up with a new boom control system. The rendering above has booms out in the at-anchor angle. Notice the boom strut connected to the traveler control car. By running the car back and forth on its track we have positive control of boom angle, without a bunch of rigging hanging off the boom ends and running across the deck.

FPB 78 Dream Machine July 1 exterior update100

FPB 78 – Offshore Motor Vessel: Preliminary Specifications

  • LOD 86.2’ (26.27m)
  • LWL 83.66’ (25.5m)
  • Official length (MCA rules)  78.08’ (23.8m)
  • Beam Deck 20’ (6.1m)
  • Extreme Beam (edge of rub rails) 20.8’ (6.35m)
  • Draft-half load Canoe Body 4.5’ (1.4m)
  • Draft-half load Prop Skeg 4.75’ (1.475m)
  • Air Draft (top of masts-excluding antennas) 22.3’ (6.8m)
  • Displacement Full Load (3600 US gallons liquids) 121,000 lbs / 55 tons
  • Fuel Capacity 4850 US Gallons (18350 L)
  • Fresh Water Capacity 1950 US Gallons (7380 L)
  • Minimum Range of Positive Stability 140-degrees(half fuel in one tank, full fresh water tanks)
  • Cruising Speed 11. knots
  • Top Speed 12.5 knots
  • Approximate Range 10 knots – 7100 NM 10.75 knots – 5550 NM (Note: speeds/ranges are smooth water/clean bottom)

FPB 78-1 Dinghy view-3-A

How does the FPB 78 compare to Wind Horse, the FPB 64, and the 97? The answer is that there is no way to directly compare the designs, as they are each optimized towards different goals. But there are definite physical differences which are quantifiable.

Taking all this into consideration, it should come as no surprise that three FPB 78s under construction. All three of these Dream Machines are for existing or former FPB owners.

FPB 78 287 Exteriors102

If you’d like to join us on this journey, contact Todd Rickard:

Click here to read more FPB 78 updates.

Note: We have had literally hundreds of comments and dialogues surrounding our posts about the evolution of the FPB 78 design. We have compiled them all into one place for organization and ease of reading. Click here to see the dialogue.


Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 1, 2014)

54 Responses to “FPB 78: The Dream Machine (Updated September 1, 2014)”

  1. Roger Says:
    By magic or osmosis you’ve managed to incorporate nearly all my changes without any input from me. That is a rare talent right there. A Class III MSD recirculating to the heads and a centrifuge fuel polisher would easily fit in the expansive spaces you’ve created. Well done.


  2. Steve B Says:
    Amazing how much better the 78 looks with the swim step extension, extension! How do you secure the Ekornes chairs when the going gets a bit rough?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    The Ekornes chairs will have inserts in the great room sole to which they can be fastened.


  3. David Sutton Says:
    Hi Steve, I’m almost speechless. This design has come together so brilliantly. I love the flexibility of the forward, aft compartments and the partition in the stateroom. I hope that one day I will get to see one of these in person. Oh, and Casablanca was a nice touch in the beautiful rendering. I noticed some portlight shaped objects on the matrix deck windows in some of the views, but not all. Are those openings to let more air in? As always, looking forward to following the progress. Cheers, David


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi David: We are starting to work on the Everclear window design for the Matrix deck and the tapes are a rough in of the smaller openings within the larger window segments. We’ll update this in a few months when the design is finished.


  4. Carl E Says:
    Thank you for the latest update of your inspirational design. If I can bother you with a few questions: The matrix deck seems enormously practical as is. I’m just surprised the renderings don’t show any dining table for the wraparound seating? Also, initially the matrix deck was shown with a hard cover with solar panels, before being replaced by a detachable soft cover without panels, for maintenance reasons. The renderings above now seem to show a non-detachable hard cover, again without panels? Are there any engine controls on the aft deck to aid with mooring, as previous renderings seemed to show? Finally, what is he maximum beam of the dinghies?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi Carl: The different features for the various models get a little confusing. The FPB 78 has always had a soft top with solar panels on the great room roof forward (six) and aft overhang aft (four). There will be a small, hinged table between the legs of the settee in the great room, we just have not gotten to it yet. And yes, there are engine controls on the main deck, aft of the house, for use when nudging the boat during docking maneuvers or fishing. We’ll get to rendering these in the next few months, ow that the basic work is completed.


    Carl E Reply:

    Hi Steve, Thank you for clearing up my confusion regarding the Matrix deck roof. Regarding max. dinghy size, in “Speed, Sex, Rules, & Dinghies: Size Does Matter” the max. length was given as about 5.8 m.; what would be the max. beam for the large dinghy?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    We have a 2.15m beam allowed for in the dink on the starboard side. Chocks have two positions: all inboard in which case the swimstep gull wind door only partially opens, and with a .2m overhang outboard of the belting.

  5. Adrian W Says:
    Your latest interior plan is remarkably similar to plans I have been working on for a few years Having a stern cabin for crew or guests is the best use of space( but maybe with ladder access to the great room .Under msa rules you need collision bulkhead 5-15% back from bow waterline. So if a 3.2m bulkhead this probably would give enough space for your laundry and work bench up forward and maybe bigger ensuite for forward cabin but I don’t see a collision bulk head in your renderings


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    There is a collision bulkhead at the forward end of the forepeak.


  6. Clive Minchom Says:
    I understand from some of your posts that a good deal of thought has gone into the designed final overall length of the new FPB 78, in part based on how it might fit into the most appropriate international regulation to your best advantage. Most of the photographs, though not quite all, of your previous design Windhorse show it carrying what looks like the Red Ensign of the Cayman Islands. A number of the smaller FPB 64s seem to be carrying the US flag, where with the smaller length I presume there are not so many issues of the kind you have previously described. I wonder will you now flag your own new FPB 78 in the Cayman Islands again for similar reasons to before? However you do proceed, I must say the proportions of the final design you have now chosen, which is a little longer than before and has carefully balanced overhangs, are quite beautiful – some of the earlier versions, when it was still a little shorter, were a bit ungainly in comparison.


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi Clive: The FPB 78 prototype will fly a Cayman flag. Regarding the proportions, longer is always better as it helps to balance out the vertical part of the equation (which stays constant even length increases).


  7. Laurin Says:
    Just wondering about the cabinet in the hallway at the bottom of the steps. Would you be able to move it to the other wall and make it much larger or is there some other reason for it’s positioning.


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Te lower deck hallway cabnet is on the aft bulkhead to break up the athwartships distance and rovide a brace to catch your shoulder/hips against when peratung the door. It will serve as a bookcase on 78-1, a linen closet on 78-2, and on 78-3 a laundry hamper.


  8. Markus Says:
    Dear Steve, my question on your FPB78: What will be the average electrical energy used per day (in kWh or Ah @ 24 V) at anchor of all the consumers (fridges/freezers, lights, pumps & fans, cooking & appliances, computers, etc.) but without heating or air conditioning? I understand that you are using solar to replace some/all of that used electrical energy and recharge the batteries with the engine driven alternators when cruising or by using the generator when needed.


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Average power consumption excluding air conditioning will be between 6.5 and 10kW depending on computer usage. This is at anchor, and is based on what we saw with Wind Horse. We would expect the FPB 78 to use less power as the inverter systems will be more efficient, and incandesant lighting is being replacd with LEDs.


    RobS Reply:

    I hope you mean 6.5 -10kWh?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi Rob – You will need to be more specific.Cannot find to what you are referring.

    RobS Reply:

    You said the ship will consume 6.5-10kW, I am asking if you mean kW, a measure of instantaneous power consumption that would mean total daily consumption on the order of 160-240 KWh, or if you meant 6.5 to 10 KWh total daily consumption.

    Steve Dashew Reply:

    At anchor, Rob, the FPB will require between 300 and 450 amp hours from its 24V traction battery bank every 24 hours, excluding air conditioning. Most of this will end up being inverted to 115/230VAC before use. Air conditioning is typically not required given the shading,insulation, along with passive and active ventilation. When air is occasionally required it will normally be in the evening in the sleeping cabins in which case you will be able to take care of the owners suite and one guest cabin for around 200 amp hours. The solar array in the tropics on average should be good for around 14,000 watts of output each day. This is based on 10 panels at 340 watts/hour X six sun hours less 30% shade factor. Actual numbers will vary with sun declination, temperature, clouds, and vessel alignment relative to the sun.

  9. Gene LeBeau Says:
    Steve, The FPB 78 has turned out to be a wonderful boat (ship, yacht). I have watched it’s evolution and development with rapt facination. Regarding potential speed of the 78, I will take the high-end bet and say 14.5-15 kts. There is a well known designer named Jon Overing on the Gulf coast who designs “fast displacement hulls” the regularly get to LWL ratios of 1.6-1.7. With your design capability and two 330hp motors,your boat will do every bit of that. Gene


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Thanks for the kind comments, Gene: We are taking a wait and see approach with the FPB 78 performance. But we will admit that some of our sailboats have no problem at SLRs above 2.0 in moderate sea states and fresh breezes, with daily averages of SLRs in the 1.4 range on trade wind passages. Of course the FPB 78 is quite a bit heavier for its length. But then it does have some power advantages…


  10. Greg Gregory Says:
    I would be interested to make the aft staircase to the upper deck have more than one position. With a hinged foot and another piece of metal or two you could make the staircase stand up straight and have the treads maintain their horizontal orientation, relieving the view and the aft sitting area if you weren’t using the upper deck. Just a thought. I have thought about the same solution for sport fishers where that staircase is often a serious space hog.


  11. Anders M Says:
    Greg, I’d be very wary of having something like a set of stairs being hinged. I would personally prefer to have it either bolted thoroughly (and I do mean thoroughly) or, even better, welded, because I wouldn’t trust something that slides in any kind of sea. The only place I can think of where it might come in handy is at the dock at some marina. And frankly, with boat like the FPB series, I don’t see the need. I would be able to live with the space taken up by something stout and welded, rather than saving the space if I were to cater to a huge party on the aft deck. Further, I don’t think you will actually save space that way, because the bottom would have to have the space to slide, whereas with the solution as it is, you can use the place below for storage of one kind of another. I don’t understand why you would want it working like a parallelogram, keeping the steps horizontal. Would you climb up or down them if they were really steep and ladder like? That seems like an accident waiting to happen. I don’t mind looking at a couple of steps when they are as unobstructive as they look in the renderings. And if I could afford, I’d put in my order today, with only slight changes in the “feature” set. Carbon backed Solbian solar panels on the matrix roof, for one. And a way to get a lightweight motorcycle (115kgs) or down the stairs/through the hatch on the stern (i.e. a bit wider to allow for the handlebars, make it 40-50 degrees from horizontal, rather than the vertical it is in some renderings, and some way to utilise the poles to aid in getting it up and down the few steps inside). I forgot to mention, that I would want every piece of stainless steel (except exhaust) to be brushed stainless, not polished. That includes every handhold inside and out, every stanchion, rail, and what else might be chrome-like. I would also request matte or at most satin finish on all brightwork, and a lighter wood (ash?), and black linoleum on most furniture tops, and dark corian in parts of the galley, all to stop the harshest of reflections. Sorry for the length of this post, but it got me thinking.


  12. Virgulino Says:
    I was reading the Lugger’s manual: “Fuel injectors should be checked by a Lugger-Northern Lights dealer or qualified fuel injection shop every 600 hours.” Is that right?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    600 hours between injector checks sounds very tight. Our experience with John Deere has been to check our injectors every couple of thousand hours. On Wind Horse, afer 5000+ hours, we replaced the injectors (no more costly than rebuilding). Perhaps other readers will reate their experience.


  13. Glenn Says:
    Steve, We had injectors replaced on our Yanmar at 2200 hours. It was caught during a routine yearly check and also suspected due to a slight increase in the amount of smoke and soot buildup at the exhaust. Onan generator still running clean at 2000 hours, but has not been checked. Yanmar manual suggest 1000 hour interval, Onan does not specify. My experience has been that almost any decent diesel mechanic has access to a spray hood where the injectors can be tested. The issue is that they will not necessarily have the inventory to have your injector on hand. But if you carry a set, they can install them and get you going again right away. At some level, injectors are a fairly cheap, small, consumable part for your onboard spares list.


  14. Bruce Tharp Says:
    The power plant does sound intriguing. 330 hp is a boat load of power. Running 11 knots at 1600 rpm is nice. It’s easy to understand how it helps with the noise and vibration. What does that do to your power curve when docking? At idle what is the rpm? At engine idle, drive engaged what is the speed? Something I’ve not read in any of your posts is prop selection. What drives the selection? Having a history in submarines with low cavitation screws and merchant marine with one ship using Voith Schneider propeller (great for maneuvering – lousy if you want to get anywhere) your criteria in selection would be of interest to me. Would low cavitation screws help with a comfortable ride?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Lots of good questions Bruce: 1-More than enought power at docking to force things if needed. Most maneuvering will be done with touches in and out of gear. 2-Idle is prox 670 RPM. 3-With one engine engaged prox three knots. 4-Prop selection involves some science and a lot of testing, as you will know well. In our case we always kick up the DAR to improve efficiency and reduce cavitation in rough water. We do pay a penalty in smooth conditions for this. 5-Typically it is difficult to tell if there is cavitation except with an accelerometer over the props. Very fair skegs and clean flow to the props and extra tip clearance all help, as d oes 16mm plate in the engine room and over props.


  15. Scott Evangelista Says:
    Steve, The final touches look wonderful. All a matter of taste but the “new look” although modern, feel a little sterile to me. What is the height and width of the lower cross member on the front A-frame structure? i.e., how much does one have to duck if they want to get to the anchor?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Howdy Scott: Ducking not required to get forward, unless you are over 2m/6’6″ tall.


  16. Jono Frankfort Says:
    Steve, Is the move of the cook top to the centerline countertop going to be a new design set point or just a rendering of a good idea? In moving the cooktop, have you abandoned the breakfast bar of earlier versions? I’m also wondering what currently resides in the cabinet directly starboard of what was the breakfast bar. Ever since moving the electrical distribution aft, there has been no mention of what’s in that valuable piece of real estate.


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi Jono: Breakfast bar is still there with the cooktop moved. There were many reasons for doing this. There is a stack of drawers adjacent/forward of where you sit at the breakfast bar.


  17. A Hyde Says:
    I notice the STACKS (earlier they had radar units mounted) no longer are above the Matrix roof. Is the current design air draft (not including antennas and fold down radar) still 22′ 3″? Any chance of clearing the fixed RR bridge in Chicago?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    With fresh water tanks filled and half fuel aboard the clearance with antennae folded down is about 6.67m/22 feet and this is in salt water, so a little less height in fresh water.


  18. Anders M Says:
    In the new picture of the guest cabins (FPB-78-1-Galley-from-stair-landing100FPB-78-plans-Edit-30) you still show what looks like to be a “box” or “inset” of sorts in the port cabin on the hull. I first thought this was a to a porthole like you had it in the Windhorse owner’s cabin, but a long time ago, you said you weren’t going to have portholes in these, never iterations. I now wonder if that is in fact a porthole, and if not, what is it, and is there another way to get a bit of natural light into that, the port, cabin?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi Anders: The box out in the hull liner of the port guest cabin on the FPB 78 is for storage. A good place for a clock, book, glasses, etc.


    Anders M Reply:

    Ah, thanks, that makes sense!


  19. Markus Says:
    Hello Steve. Lets say you are in a marina sideways on a low pier. How do you get onto the aft swim platform from the pier as there is still about a 2 meters distance between the two (due to the shape of the stern)?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi Markus: There is provision for a passeral that can be used in side tie or stern to.


  20. Carl E. Says:
    Hi Steve: Do you expect any reduction of life span for the outside washer and drier as a result of salt air and/or non-chamber operating temperatures? Where will they be on FPB 78-3? Also, I can’t immediately find the location of the battery bank in the deck plan?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    There might be a slight difference in life span, but this would beno different than living at the beach in a house.


    Carl E. Reply:

    Thank you. I understand that the owners of FPB 78-3 placed them elsewhere? Also, I can’t remember if the location of the battery bank was ever discussed?


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi Carl: The main bank of traction batteries is located under the sole of the hallway between the owner’s suite and guest cabins, in a sealed area between fuel tanks.

  21. Jono Frankfort Says:
    Hey Steve, I was wondering about the materials used and the storage when not used, of the aft deck patio enclosure. The aft facing panel looks rather large. Where are you hiding it? Whould love to know. Thanks, Jono


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi Jono: The aft windows will be in sections, the details of which are yet to be determined, but probably four vertical sections. From our experience with Wind Horse, and the research we did then, in most situations we’d leave the Matrix deck windows in place when in long term storage. The exception being is we were worried about having the surface abraided by blowing sand.


  22. Thayer Says:
    Steve, I am in awe of this project. The design and engineering is truly inspiring. I check back every few days for updates. The solar panels at anchor and large engine-driven alternators underway, both feeding a large house battery makes for a very robust DC power system. Are you thinking of using a DC generator(s) or AC Generator and chargers – or both? You show 3 white rectangles in the engine room rendering… Appreciate your thoughts.


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Thanks for the kind words, Thayer: Although we have built a number of DC gensets for our sailing yachts, between the inverter charger power, engine alternators, and nature of AC loads, a conventional 230V AC genset is the most efficient answer for this series. That said, we do not expect to see many genset hours. It is onboard as a back up for the solar array.


  23. Alex Kimball Says:
    Steve, We are following and see one of these beauties in our future. Congratulations to the entire design, development and construction team. Beautiful


  24. Greg Russell Says:
    Hi Steve This vessel is a masterpiece (as confirmed by all the other posters). One question, which I am sure has come up before, is why you have excluded windows in the master/sleeping cabins. From memory you had them on Windhorse. On my current vessel I really enjoy waking up and looking outside from my berth, and it also quickly orientates me in terms of anchoring position etc without the need for instruments.


    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi Greg: Hull windows aee a trade off, like most things to do with yachts. We had them on Wind Horse, but 95% of the time the shades were down and they were blocked. This was more like 100% of the time in high latitude summers. And in port, they were closed off because of privacy. So the question becomes are they worth the cost in terms of budget, weight, and risk factors for such a small amount of time. When we are talking about risks it is working in ice, and laying on a reef that concern us the most. The final part of the equation for us is how often are we in the stateroom during the day? When we add all of this up, it comes out in favor of not having hull windows. That said, we have put hull windows in all of our sailboats. But here the situation is different as they have their great room on the same level as the staterooms, so the view outside becomes important.


  25. Junji Tatsuno Says:
    Wow, a beautiful boat indeed. As soon as I win this weeks lottery, I’ll be there to order one…..I’ve always wondered why no one designs in ‘dumb waiters’ to the multi decks.


  26. Andy Says:
    And forgot to mention the outboard stern grabbing rails, what a great idea! Been wishing for those great many of times when trying to board a bigger boat from small dingy.


Comments or Questions?