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. At present FPB 78-1 is in the water, and two more 78s are under construction, all for previous FPB owners.
Welcome aboard. Let’s start our tour in the Great Room.
The great room is one of several focal points for life aboard.
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.
The FPB 78 great room, with its outward angled windows and negative edge headliner, offers an unobstructed view of the world outside.
On soundings, the Matrix deck is the primary con, but on passage the inside bridge is often the watch standing station.
There are excellent sight lines from this location.
The galley has loads of counter space, lockers, drawer storage, and room for a variety of appliances.
This is one of the many lighting options for ambiance and working on night watch.
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.
From the galley or 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 areon your right, forward, with guest cabins aft, on the left.
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 less than a minute). On our left, and forward, is the watertight door which divides the accommodation deck.
There is not a lot to say about the owner’s suite that these photos don’t communicate better. There is enough space and ambiance, more than a quarter of the accommodation deck, that if you feel 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…
…are part of the isolation and privacy system.
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.
Here is a plan view showing the owner’s suite with its bulkhead in open mode, with the annex set up as a workout space.
Above 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.
Guest cabins are generous in size, with adjacent heads and bathing facilities.
Each guest suite has a vanity, hanging locker, and lots of drawer space under the bunk.
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, as well as 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.
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.
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.
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.
This area can also be divided between living space and forepeak. 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.
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.
And there is lots of nav desk area for paper charts.
Shallow draft, under five feet/1.5m, opens a new chapter in exploration potential.
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.
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.
With the FPB 78 we are at a point where the generator is rarely be needed unless air conditioning loads are high.
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 and a portion of the air comditioning. At anchor in Fiji, we are collecting 15kW hours or more on from the solar array average days.
This leaves the massive capacity of the 24 volt house traction battery bank, 1600 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 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 keeps the great room temperature in check.
When the air is still, a pair of extraction fans in the aft port corner 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. In addition, there are high efficiency cellular shades on each window.
Couple this with three times the insulation of previous FPBs and you will understand why the air con loads are so reduced 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.
The aft deck area is enormous, with the majority of it shaded by the roof overhang.
To put the FPB 78 aft end into context, above is a photo of 78-1 with 16-ft AB RIB to starboard in its at-anchor out of the water storage position.
One person can have the dinghy sitting on these rotating support arms in less than one minute.
The 14-ft rowing dink is hanging from its davits, where it is easily deployed at anchor. Underway the davits are rotated inboard, and the dinghy sits on top, leaving the deck below clear.
The engine room air intake provides the base for a barbecue, food prep area, and large sink, with valuable storage space below.
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.
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.
With full tanks, at 11 knots, the range is in excess of 4500 NM. This gives us our 11 knot cruise at a very smooth and quiet 1600 RPM. Sound level in the great room at this speed has been measured at 52db.
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 13.25 knots
- Approximate Range 10 knots – 6500 NM
- 11 knots – 4500 NM (Note: speeds/ranges are smooth water/clean bottom)
If you’d like to join us on this journey, contact Sue Grant: Sue.Grant@Berthon.co.uk.
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