Something Wicked This Way Comes (A New FPB)

FPB Wicked 1

It starts as a hazy vision one sleepless night, an outline, and there is a compulsion to see where it leads, even if it is not on the master plan. When the beast strikes, you have to feed it – there is no other option. Days are long, nights are short, computers whirr overtime and the design spiral fits seamlessly together. Gigabytes criss-cross the internet. Hydrostatics, structure, layout, motion, systems, ventilation, aesthetics – meld wickedly, as if this were meant to be.

For more information on the FPB Series, e-mail Sue Grant: Sue.Grant@Berthon.Co.UK.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 22, 2012)

40 Responses to “Something Wicked This Way Comes (A New FPB)”

  1. Raj Narayan Says:

    What a way to begin the week!
    If someone is keeping a score, my guess is fpb 86: the new avatar of windhorse series.

  2. L. Bruce Says:

    FPB 115 would be my bet.

  3. Scott D. Says:

    Wait for it…….

  4. Gerhard Says:

    The sun will go higher and the fog will go away.
    We all want to see what comes out.

  5. Steve B Says:


  6. John A. Says:

    I’m thinking, a little length added to 64 to allow twin screw. Take home power solved!

  7. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi John:
    Details shortly.

  8. David Guest Says:

    What a wonderful marketing move….

    Congratulations …

    Can’t wait to see the fog lift…

  9. Justin Says:

    I think either a twin screw 64 plus as John suggests, or a Wind Horse class as Raj suggests. On the twin screw point, I know that single screw is theoretically safe and gives the screw a better-protected position under the boat, but I remember when Steve & Linda noticed – early – a problem with one engine (blocked cooling water intake) by seeing an unexpected difference in engine temperature between the two engines. That is only possible with twin engines.

    I think that for a couple wanting to cruise with a bigger second bedroom than the 64 offers, a Wind Horse class would be more attractive than the 115. The 115 just appears too big, and your typical millionaire cruising without crew doesn’t necessarily have the boat-handling abilities of the Dashews. Otherwise, I would (if I were a nautically-minded millionaire) go for crew and a really big boat with a swimming pool. Of course the 115 is credible for universities etc.

  10. Alain M Says:

    John A. you said loudly my quiet dreams… Or a 86 with the know how from 64, keelless!
    Theatric Steve!!!
    Wait and see!!!

  11. Baz Says:

    How about a smaller FPB for these economically difficult times?

    The FPB concept scaled down to somewhere around the 40 feet mark, could still be a very capable cruiser, while opening up new markets…

  12. Steve Dashew Says:

    Howdy Baz:
    We have not had the time to look at a compact FPB. One of these days, when we are caught up, we shall investigate .

  13. Vincent Cate Says:

    I would love to see a solar/electric design. You would not have to buy fuel, you eliminate the noise and vibration, and there is a lower risk of breakdown. Solar is down to around $1/watt. So each horsepower is only $750 when the sun is out. The ability to run at night takes batteries and more solar, so it is more like $2,000/Hp. Still, not too bad. It probably would not be as fast but I think it could be a fantastic cruiser. And talk about new markets.

  14. Rob Says:

    Make it a hybrid solar electric and it would be just about as close to my dream boat as is possible. Two mid sized gensets to keep battery banks topped off and add some redundancy, a decent lithium ion battery bank and a solar array +/- a wind generator, finally a pair of high efficiency electric motors. Silent running for around harbors or at night if you have guests in the rear cabins. Can choose to run each day as far as solar charging alone allows you or run a genset whilst underway and you wouldn’t even know you didn’t just have twin diesels in the engine room. The advantages seem endless to me from the obvious to the little things like being able to turn off the genset whilst you do some work in the engine room and continue with silent, cool electric running.

  15. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Rob:
    That’ts the theory. Problem with reality is that there have been n o reliable supplier of the gear – yet. We are still waiting on this one.

  16. Vincent Cate Says:

    Another problem is that it would be hard to fit as many solar panels as you would be willing to pay for on a monohull because they take up so much area. But I think I would be willing to go slow enough that it would work.

    The “PlanetSolar” catamaran shows something in this area is possible. I think fuel costs will be going up fast in the coming years, so I expect solar will become more and more interesting for cruisers:

  17. Francesc Says:

    That would be great!! a compact FPB, maybe around 48-50′?. It’s about cost but also usability.

  18. scotto Says:

    awesome Pic?
    leaves much to the imagination.

  19. Alain M Says:

    FPB-Wicked-1 and FPB-Wicked-2 ??? Two different ways??? Or Nr 2 is the answer from Teaser Nr 1… ???
    PS: No need to be published… As you wish…

  20. quoc Says:

    I am guessing FPB78 twin screw to stay below 24m

  21. Mike Turgeon Says:

    Steve, you wrote: “Problem with reality is that there have been n o reliable supplier of the gear – yet. We are still waiting on this one.”

    Can you reveal what gear and the level or reliability you are looking for? There may be a market for those that were unaware of what you are looking for. Hint…

    Great stuff as usual,

  22. Steve Dashew Says:

    No specifics. But to our knowledge there have been NO successful hyrbid system t hat stand up in a commercial use environment – which is our standard – in the HP range we need. There are very small systems, and huge. Now, if someone knows of gear in the 150/300HP range that has a proven history of reliability, please sing out.

  23. Rob Says:

    Need to be clear on the issue. There are most certainly hybrid systems that stand up in the commercial environment, it is fast becoming the standard system on large cruise ships, icebreakers, submarines and some tugs and other workboats. The issue is the second part, the size suitable for an FPB, as you point out there are huge systems for the vessels I have listed above and some boutique manufacturers are getting in on the action as fuel costs and ecological considerations are becoming more important in the small vessel market. However there does seem to be a gap in the middle waiting to be filled, I’m sure however if there was some interest shown some of the manufacturers of larger systems could come to the party, perhaps a motor designed as a maneuvering thruster from a larger vessel would fit the bill as a commercial grade main propulsion motor for vessels the size of the FPB. Someone else has pointed out Regen Nautic, I have no first hand knowledge of the quality or reliability of their gear but their advertising quotes a range of 40-600 hp equivalents, which perfectly fills the very gap in the market we are discussing. I feel that this will be an area of rapid growth as fuel costs become a bigger concern.

  24. Steve Dashew Says:

    Thanks Rob:
    Looked at your link . We’ll check them out and see what sort of real world history they have in our HP range.

  25. Kevin Says:

    Maybe a power solution from ReGen Nautic? They look interesting…

  26. marco Says:

    I would have thought it should not be difficult to design a reliable hybrid system for propulsion using off the shelf industrial quality components. The company I used to work for designed and installed similar systems for remote pumping stations which operated 24/7 with very few problems (typically problems were fuel related)

    Basic system comprised a Generator + switchboard + variable speed drive + motor, all of which are readily available at any duty. To provide a second input form batteries/solar into the switchboard should be not be difficult.

    For a boat I would question why though, as the system generates a lot of complexity for little gain. A 1.5kW solar system might generate 6kWh per day (equivalent to only 1hp for 8 hours). The FPB64 has a 236hp engine so running that at say 30% load for 8 hours = 4,720kWh of energy, ie solar provide .13% of the energy!

    Cost would high, and they system would likely be less efficient that a well designed traditional system. Losses through inverters, variable speed drives, electric motors are probably similar to losses through a gearbox.

    My understanding is that large cruise ships use a large proportion of their energy for running the ship, so it makes sense to combine propulsion and other energy uses and take advantage of being able to locate plant in other locations.

  27. Vincent Cate Says:

    With a 1.5 Kw array it does not make much sense but if you cover the whole boat with solar it might. With the whole boat covered I am sure you could go slow enough that the solar you had was enough power and you needed no fuel. Maybe this is 6 knots or something though. Maybe it is not fast enough to please everyone but you don’t need to please everyone. Some of us like being on the water and are not really in a hurry. With weather information today speed to get away from storms does not seem as crucial as it used to be. In particular for someone flexible enough to head to where weather is typically nice that time of year.

  28. Rob Says:

    I personally see it as a simplified system, The boat already has a generator and a battery bank so they’re no more complex, but you’re swapping out two heavy complicated diesel engines for two light compact electric motors with one moving part each. Electric motors have a reputation, as you pointed out, of being very reliable and are run in many industrial setting essentially continuously for years. Depending on your budget and the size of the motors you could potentially just keep an einter spare on board if you are still concerned about reliability as opposed to the need to keep dozens of spares to rebuild a diesel engine at sea.

    I personally see an advantage in electricity as the common fuel for your entire boat, there are many way to produce electricity. If fuel cells suddenly have a breakthrough you can drop one in place of a generator, if solar or wind continues to rapidly decrease in price and gain efficiency you can add some more or even if new generators become more efficient you can upgrade your gennies. But importantly you can choose and change your sources without needing to change the rest of your system.

    There’s a lot of debate about the potential efficiency gains of these systems, the big advantage of a diesel electric system is you decouple your engine from your props meaning you can run your diesel at its optimal efficiency instead of having your engine run speed determined by boat speed. As boat speed and therefore energy drain from the batteries increase the change is that the generator runs for more time each hour. Move from a slip to the fuel dock and it won’t even start, push an FPB to 11 knots to run from some weather and the generator will run continuously, cruising at 9 knots and the generator will probably run for 30 mins of each hour depending on house uses and other inputs.

    There is no doubt that if you really want to you can circumnavigate on solar power alone, trouble is to do it you have to make your boat look like this
    which while very cool is not all that practical. However correct me if I’m wrong Steve but the solar system on the FPB is more targeted at covering the house consumption which means that whilst at anchor you are completely liberated from the need to run the genset, if it covers any of the propulsion requirements then that is just a bonus.

  29. Steve Dashew Says:

    Liberation is the word.

  30. Paul Says:

    Maybe an 80 ft with an enclosed pilothouse as in the 115 leaving a bigger great room; that would be my perfect boat.

  31. Lindsay Says:

    Looking forward it what ever it is.

  32. Douglas Pohl Says:

    Might an improved diesel-electric i.e. a hybrid be in the offering or is Steve bringing the Hunt for Red October magnetohydrodynamic drive to fruition… ?

  33. Mark Says:

    Of course if you are looking for diesel free, environmentally friendly propulsion, you can always go sailing! Solar energy in action…

  34. Steve Dashew Says:

    You have the perfect answer!

  35. Alain M Says:

    So thrue!!!

  36. J Browne Says:

    Interesting, My bet is a raised pilot house in the 80ish ft range. Deck plans will be similar to the 115. I agree with Doug. It would be my perfect boat too.

  37. J Browne Says:

    Sorry, I meant Paul.

  38. Chris Berg Says:

    A solar powered cruiser? Never happen, solar panels don’t create enough power to move such a heavy mass. Why would you do it? Environmental protection starts and finishes with population control, anything else is B.S. There’s too many people, even if they all started driving hybrids the mass extinction is just 30 years away. Google: red tides, ocean dead zones, and mass fish kills to monitor how much time you have on Earth. The Oceans create 75% of the Earth’s oxygen, and they’re dying, so, live it up while you can. Perhaps a nuclear war igniting with Iran and ending with China will save us. Without wars, we’d already all be dead, do the math. Atmosphere 3 miles thick, Oceans 2 miles deep, that’s a thin skin of life and the worst pollution is agricultural runoff. mensunion org

  39. Vincent Cate Says:

    One horse can pull a canal boat at a reasonable walking speed:
    (just watch last 30 seconds if you want to save time)

    So that is like 1 Hp or 750 watts. That is about $750 worth of solar panels now.

    The energy that you give to the water when you move it goes up with the square of your velocity. The amount of water you pass goes up with the velocity. So the energy/second goes up with the cube of your velocity. What this means is that going half the speed might take around 1/8th the energy. So if you are willing to go slow you don’t need so much energy.

    This ignores wind, waves, currents, etc but much of cruising is downwind.

    There is a nice sized solar cruiser that is already most of the way through a circumnavigation:

    So solar power can be done. Assume today it cost you $10,000 to fill up your fuel tank and you do it twice a year. If I want to see if I can afford a similar lifestyle how much money do I need to budget for fuel? Well, knowing that requires knowing the future price of fuel. If we knew that we could get rich by placing the right bets in the futures market. So we don’t know how much fuel will cost and it is hard for me to know if I can afford cruising around in a diesel power boat. A solar powered boat would have a slightly higher up front cost but never need fuel. This eliminates the budget uncertainty of fuel. This will make some customers more comfortable about taking the leap to a cruising lifestyle.

    Solar powered cruising will come.

  40. Douglas Pohl Says:

    Maybe is as simple as adding an air lubrication system, where portions of the ship’s hull slide as if on a carpet of air bubbles… improved economy… etc…