With FPB

The Making of the FPB 97 – A Wicked Team Effort


We are fortunate to have a uniquely talented and capable team involved with us on the FPB 97 project, and want to acknowledge their efforts.


FPB 97 mid section wire frame.jpg


We’ll start with Ryan Wynott. Ryan first e-mailed us several years ago wondering if we needed any assistance with illustrations.


Back then our long-time compatriot, Steve Davis, had us in his care. When Steve suddenly left this world last year, Ryan stepped in to help us finish up some illustrations. As the FPB 97 sprang to life we called Ryan to see if he knew anything about the design software Rhino 3D. The answer was “No”, but he would check it out.

He sure knows Rhino now.

We have worked together, as of this writing for ten weeks straight, often 15 hours a day or more, seven days a week, changing, fine-tuning, modifying again, and then sometimes still going back a few steps.


Throughout what many would see as a grueling process, it has been a pleasure having Ryan’s assistance from his office in Toronto, Canada.


Todd Rickard, Mark Fritzer, and Brian Rickard, at the FPB Yachts office in Seattle, have done the detail work that is so vital to a project like this. They are often involved in critiquing design aspects as well as finding solutions to various challenges that inevitably crop up. While all this is going on, they still have to execute their normal routine of working closely with Circa and our FPB owners. This is not what you would call a nine-to-five job.

Todd also flies back and forth to New Zealand to meet with the builders for a face-to-face review of specifications, schedules, pricing, and the overall business plan. It is Todd’s mission to make sure that everyone is on the same page so that the risk of surprise–for us, builders, and clients–is minimized.


Bruce Farrand, Logan Cripps (they are in the background of the photo above), and their crew at Circa have been involved from the beginning stages. As the design has developed we’ve consulted daily with them on details, ranging broadly from basic framing logic to how and where fuel lines would be run in the interior. Bruce and Logan were kind enough to fly to Los Angeles to meet with our team, a very long haul for two days of meetings, to vet where we stood early in the process.

Dave DeVilliers has given us a series of gut checks as the concept has developed (Dave is lower left above). He is now starting the engineering upon which the final structural design will be based.


Ed Firth runs Circa’s engineering department, and he has supported us in the early stages with both comments and component drawings. Ed has also done much of the grunt work for the weight and balance calculations that are critical at this stage of the design cycle.


Sue Grant, the Managing Director of Berthon’s International in the UK (who represent us in Europe), has been a very patient sounding board, even though she is swamped with other demands on her time. Sue has a keen sense for what works and what doesn’t in the real world of long distance voyaging.

Several of our current owners have been kind enough to critique aspects of the design, and comment based on their substantial experience.


Pete Rossin,


John Henrichs, and


Carol and Mike Parker have all made valuable contributions in this regard.


Sue and Bill Henry have the most miles on their FPB 64 of anyone in the fleet, and their feedback has helped us in many ways. In particular, we appreciate Bill’s reports on adverse sea states (which he seems to enjoy).


Finally, John Gowing’s experience with storm force winds in extreme waves set up by an opposing current, and his willingness to share his thoughts on what was a potentially deadly combination of weather factors, have been of immense help. The payload data on his FPB 64, coupled with John’s video, has given us a set of data points otherwise unobtainable.


Sarah Dashew has brought her considerable voyaging background to bear on the Wicked FPB project. Sarah has assisted in both practical and aesthetic decisions, as well as working on overall aspects of the design. The photo is not at all an unusual pose for Sarah at sea, but on land we can attest that she is hard working and upright.


We want to make special mention of the input of Michael and June Jones (shown above on Wind Horse during hurricane Irene). Michael and June are cruising buddies who have become collaborators.


Michael has the most critical eye of anyone with whom we have worked, picking out details both large and small that need fine-tuning. His energy and enthusiasm know no bounds, and periodically, one his “crazy ideas” hits the bulls-eye. We should add that Michael never gives up on an idea he thinks worth pursuing. There is a large part of Michael’s soul in the Wicked FPB.


Last, but certainly not least, this writer wishes to acknowledge the contribution and patience of his long-time collaborator, Linda Rae Dashew. Not only has she offered her usual sagacious commentary on various design elements, and been a constant sounding board for what might, after 45 years, have become boring to others, but she has also put up with major disruption in family plans while this Wicked project came to life. The Wicked FPB 97 would not have happened without her unfailing support, love, and good cheer.

And now a shout-out for the technology that has made this collaborative process so efficient. The Wicked FPB team members span 12 time zones, ranging from the UK, to central Canada, Seattle, and all the way to New Zealand. We spend hours each day in direct and conference calls, all facilitated with the communications software marvel known as Skype. Now, not only voice but also computer screen-sharing is helping us through the design process.

The power of software such as Rhino 3D and Orca, coupled with the amazing computers we have today are other invaluable facets. Imagine being on screen-sharing with Ryan working through the foredeck hatch impact on structure, while chatting with Circa on Skype in New Zealand about their 3D drawing just received via e-mail, while Todd Rickard is in Seattle on a third Skype line. It is a wonderful world in which to play with boats.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 7, 2012)

18 Responses to “The Making of the FPB 97 – A Wicked Team Effort”

  1. Don Dahl Says:
    Steve, You have given each of your readers an incomparable gift. Many of us (most?) will never have the financial ability to purchase an FPB. No matter. Through your posts and generous responses to questions and comments we have all been included in the design and construction process of the FPBs. As I get older, and time becomes so precious, I have reached a keen understanding of opportunity cost as it relates to how we spend our given time. I truly appreciate the remarkable choice you have made to spend the time and effort to keep your loyal readers “in the loop”. I sense that you derive great joy in this sharing. As you wrote so eloquently, “It is a wonderful world in which to play with boats.” Indeed it is, my friend. And your generosity is one of the primary ways we have to enjoy this wonderful adventure. All the best, Don

    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Thanks for the kind words, Don: We feel we’ve learned so much from others over the years that it is only fair we give back a little. Besides, there is way too much BS in this business, which includes trying to keep things secret (good and bad).

  2. Alain M Says:
    Hi Steve, Nice to finally see your core team. A hell of a team for a hell of a boat! 😉 Regards Alain

  3. Gerhard J. Says:
    Q: What about the mast walls? They look vertical at bow side and sloping to stern. For me it looks like falling to bow … Can you turn this? Rising from bow should look more faster 😉 OK, there may be reasons to do it this way.

    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Eye of the beholder, Gerhard: There have been countless hours spent on this subject. This is the one that we like the best, although we did do a reversed angle as you have suggested.

    Scott Evangelista Reply:

    They said that about the Mooney airplane’s verticle stabilizer too…and it beat everything in site off the production line for speed:)

  4. Alain M Says:
    Hi Steve, I see some interesting variation in the design 😉 Regards Alain

  5. David Guest Says:
    I would second Don Dahl’s comments. You are most generous, your writing is clear and delightful, your knowledge endless, and your sharing incredible. Thank you for the FPB series and the most marvelous blog on the internet…

  6. David M. Says:
    Steve, Enjoying the posts on the development of the FPB 97 but would love to see pictures of the progress on FPB 64 hulls 5 through 7. David

    Steve Dashew Reply:

    We’ll have a big update next week when the schedule eases up.

  7. Carl Nostrand Says:
    Thanks too all the talented team members, builders, owners, family members, designers, and to the likes of me, passionate observers. I love this open Wicked boat design! I’m starting to feel better about myself, after seeing this talented team that has helped you give such stunning visuals and personal contributions. To me, this is a remarkable evolution in boat design. Go Team! For a while I was thinking that Steve and Linda had a connection to the higher powers. One that us normal people could not access. I was ready to drink the cool aide. I have spent my life playing around with boats. I’m still at it….. With big wicked dreams….. Wu li Wa Carl

  8. Scott Evangelista Says:
    Steve, does Sarah live near Chapel Hill NC? I pulled up behind a Subaru the other day and it had plates that read “WNDHORSE”. If that was her, tell he the guy on the Motorcycle is harmless…he was just trying to confirm the plate;) Your project was an incredible feat on so many dimensions and it turned out beautifully. Sadly, way above my pay grade I expect, but I look at the lottery a bit differently now:)

    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Scott, she does not live in NC.

  9. Justin Says:
    And maybe, as a result of your thousands of hours of work and your willingness to share it with the world, other yacht designers will gradually come to adopt the principle of building safe, seaworthy boats with reliable systems and slippery hull shapes. I hope so, anyway.

    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Thanks for the kind words, Justin, however I doubt anything we do will affect the industry. On the other hand, the capsize of the sixty meter yacht, Yogi, might get folks to thinking.

  10. David Says:
    Just curious about the business of yacht building. Do you start these projects such as the 97′ with a client already signed up or do you “invest” in the design hoping the buyers will show up?

    Steve Dashew Reply:

    We almost always wake up in the middle of the night with the compulsion (need?) to get started. Occasionally this is triggered by discussion with a prospective client, but we do not have a specific client in mind with any of these, other than what would we want ourselves. This approach – a luxury really – allows us to develop the basic design on first principles.

  11. Michael Jones Says:
    Info for Scott. http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamvandenberg/115652909/lightbox/