We’ve been chasing the holy grail of the perfect cruising yacht for 40 years. The Deerfoot, Sundeer and Beowulf series are considered the premiere sailing yachts on which to circumnavigate. The FPB fleet is judged by the most experienced owners and journalists to be the best ocean-crossing motor yachts today. To find out why, read on:
Our goal has always been the same: safe, comfortable, long-distance voyaging, achieved with maximum reliability and efficiency. The FPB paradigm is the ultimate mix of sea-going capability, comfort, systems engineered for long periods of time cruising off the grid, and a lovely ambiance,
resulting in a package that minimizes maintenance and crew requirements.
Although we don’t build a lot of boats, those that we do build tend to go places, like Magelena Anchorage, Svalvard, just 640 miles from the North pole.
Of the 50 some sailing yachts we’ve launched, there are mileage records for 37 of them, and the average is over 54,000 nautical miles per boat.
The three yachts in the photo above, anchored in Graciosa Bay, Canary Islands, have seen 300,000 nautical miles of cruising pleasure in their wakes.
In the FPB world, our owners are just starting to explore, but in the short time these FPBs have been cruising:
- FPB 83-1 Wind Horse covered 60,000 NM in her first seven years.
- FPB 64-1 Avatar has cruised over 36,000 NM in five years.
- FPB 64-2 Sarah Sarah has accumulated 1950 hours on her engine in her first three years – over 16,000 NM.
- FPB 64-3 Iron Lady (pictured below anchored in Fatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands) has 24,000 NM under the keel in her first four years of part time cruising.
- FPB 64-5 Tiger has cruised 15,000 miles in her first three years.
- FPB 64-6 Grey Wolf has made quick work of the 12,000+ NM between New Zealand and the Azores, taking just 102 days for this part of their cruise back to the UK. The longest leg, Nuka Hiva to Panama, 4100 NM, was done at an average speed of 9.5 knots. She arrived with sufficient fuel aboard for another 1200 NM.
- FPB 64-7 Buffalo Nickel has managed over 10,000 NM in just two seasons of part time cruising.
The space provided for systems, ship’s equipment, bulk storage, and dinghies, together with large forepeaks and
aft engine rooms, is a key ingredient to successful, long term voyaging. This is part of what makes remote anchorages like Hanavavea Baie on Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas Islands so easily accessable.
Here is the design philosophy that forms the foundation for the FPB paradigm:
- High average cruising speed, because it is the single most important factor in reducing weather risks, thereby improving passaging comfort and, ultimately, safety. Plus, going fast is fun.
- Heavy weather capability, which allows us greater flexibility in deciding when and where to go. And peace of mind while we’re out there.
- Structural safety factors to deal not only with the sea, but to reduce the need to visit a boatyard in case of operator error – read, grounding – so we can continue to cruise while taking the occasional bump in stride.
- Efficient but simple systems that let us operate far from outside assistance, with the comfort and ambiance that keeps all members of the crew content, without being generator-dependent.
- Interiors designed for comfort at sea and in port, immersing us fully in the surrounding beauty.
- Fuel capacity for a full season or more of cruising, so we can maintain our high average speeds and have the option of refueling when and where convenient.
- A low profile exterior that conceals a luxurious interior, allowing owners to blend in more easily in remote areas.
Over two million miles of accumulated cruising from a relatively small fleet of yachts shows that when you get this formula right, the horizon beckons.
Appearances can be deceiving. FPBs do not fit the stereotypical yacht look. Most observers think they are naval or patrol vessels. And when you first take in the FPB’s rugged, military-like, unpainted aluminum image, the last thing you expect is a luxurious interior.
This is a carefully cultivated misconception. Our owners would rather keep a low profile, so as not to attract the wrong type of attention, and to fit in better in the more remote cruising grounds around the world,
like the Lau group in Fiji (above) or Illulisat Harbor on Greenland’s Disco Bay below).
Our owners enjoy the gasp of surprise that typically follows a guest’s first glimpse of the FPB interior.
Whatever your plans, we think the best source of data are people who are actually out there cruising, living with their yachts day in and day out. They know what works and what doesn’t in the real world.
If you see one of the FPBs, dinghy by, say hello, and ask the folks aboard what it is really like to cruise with their yachts. They will be able to put this into perspective for you, as they are all experienced, can tell you what it was that convinced them to join the FPB family in the first place, and how their cruising experience has changed as a result.
For a much more detailed post on the FPB paradigm including interviews with current FPB owners, click here.
For more information on FPBs, email Sue Grant at Sue.Grant@Berthon.co.UK.
For more details and related posts to our history and the way we build yachts, see the links below:
- For an in-depth look at the Black Swan theory of yacht design and construction click here.
- Detailed post about safety factors here.
- Living with 360 degree views.
- Seagoing ergonomics.
- Video of entertaining during a gale force sea trial upwind.
- The Matrix Deck in detail.
- Detailed article on the FPB 97 interior.
- Video of FPB 83 Wind Horse on a 12 day passage.
- Capsize of megayacht Yogi, and a brief discussion of yacht stability and capsize recovery.
- Video of FPB 64 Iron Lady heavy weather sea-trials.
- The importance of boat speed in reducing weather risks.
- Video of FPB 64 Osprey in storm force conditions.
- Crew comments on Osprey‘s storm force experience.
- Osprey storm wave analysis.
- FPB 83 Wind Horse strong gale video.
- Heavy weather issues.
- FPB 64 Iron Lady passage in a gale.
- FPB 64 Avatar Force 9 upwind passage.
- The importance of steering control.
- FPB 64 Iron Lady after pounding on a reef for 2 hours.
- FPB structural engineering basics.
- Read in detail about the FPB 97’s integrated systems approach here.
- Read about the 97’s engine room and systems annex.
- A more efficient approach to ventilation and air conditioning.
- Cruising as a couple: a detailed analysis.
- Dinghy launching and retrieval system.
- The importance of lines of sight.
- Part One of a foundation to successful cruising.
- Part Two of a foundation to successful cruising.
- A Different Approach
- Design Milestones