We’ve been inundated with year end paperwork Read the rest »
“Against the Wind…With his new powerboat design, world cruiser Steve Dashew continues a lifelong pattern of challenging the status quo.”
I have just returned from a very productive week in New Zealand and wanted to share some of the photos taken while on the ground at our builder, Circa Marine. There was much covered during the trip – here are a few of the latest details surrounding the FPB 64 program. Read the rest »
From some of the most difficult uphill conditions we have ever seen to extremely powerful rain squalls, the past 52 hours have afforded us a wide array of conditions. The uphill sea states previously discussed gave us valuable insight into hull shape optimization for minimizing discomfort, and while we have an excellent handle on this with Wind Horse, the FPB 64s, and the Wicked FPB 97, we are always looking for ways to improve.
“Against the Wind…With his new powerboat design, world cruiser Steve Dashew continues a lifelong pattern of challenging the status quo.”
Since launching, Wind Horse has comfortably chauffeured us well over 50,000 miles.. Read the rest »
We’ve put together a live web view of Wind Horse‘s “vital stats”, to track how she is doing as Hurricane Sandy passes by while she is hauled out at Triton Marine in Beaufort, North Carolina. This data comes from the Maretron N2K View system via their Cloud Server.
When we started with the solar panel project on Wind Horse, we were 100% certain we would use the panels only in flat mode, unless they were in storage configuration at the dock (in the past we have always thought that tracking was not worth the effort). We have previously reported that substantial increases in output were recorded when the panels were squared to the sun. Now, with the Maretron N2K view data available on our iPads, we can play with tilting/angling the panels and see results as we adjust.
Nope, I’m not talking about the movie – beautiful blue color in the above shot by Carol Parker notwithstanding. As a matter of fact, your genial author couldn’t make it through the unbelievably tedious sci-fi re-telling of Pocohantas. No, we here at SetSail are big fans of The Avatar Logs, the blog and photo site of Carol Parker and her adventures with husband Mike aboard FPB 64, Avatar. Read the rest »
We’ve been out the past few days, testing the latest NAIAD stabilizing software on Wind Horse. We’ve had 20-to-30 knots blowing straight into Narragansett Bay with opposing and slack current, so a variety of sea states: from steep to “holy cow, look at that!” As you can see by the track above, we have been taking the waves at all angles, from dead ahead, to on the stern, and everything between. At the end of this post there are a couple of short videos.
At Dashew Offshore our goal has always been to build the perfect cruising yacht; delivered on time, within budget, without surprises, resulting in a contented client.
To make this unique approach to the yacht building business successful, we have to purposely limit our sales, something that many would find counter-intuitive given the demand for FPBs.
Most of the Maine windjammers don’t have an engine, which is the way things should be in the best of all possible worlds. They maneuver in and out of some very tight harbors–Camden comes to mind–fitting their unwieldy hull shapes and tiny (in scale) rudders into some surprising situations.
For the most part they maneuver with the aid of their long boats, most of which are used pusher fashion, as you would a tug on the seen of a barge.
We are anchored in Rockland Harbor, Maine, it’s blowing near gale force and raining of course, courtesy of what’s left of hurricane Issac. A speck on the horizon grows rapidly in size, as a schooner fore-reaches towards shelter. Outer and inner jibs drawing, main and foresail taut, gaffs beautifully twisted off, she is a sight to behold.
We were cruising down Maine’s Eggemoggin Reach, having a Skype conversation with New Zealand regarding the exhaust system on the FPB 97, when we noticed a cool looking roach profile heading towards us. Having just spent several invigorating days watching working schooners with gaff rigs and topsails, an early platform not too far from the most modern high roach mainsails, we thought “Wow, look how similar these are.”
As the profile drew closer it turned into a rig we knew well, the Sundeer 64 cutter. This was the yacht we’d earlier noticed moored in Smith Cove, a sistership to Raven.
With all the excitement about the start of construction on the first FPB 97, it is easy to forget about the four FPB 64s currently in various stages of construction. We’ll start with FPB 64-6 and then move on to the other boats. Shown above is the fresh water pressure pump setup: twin pumps, so when one quits (probably mid-shower) it is easy to bring the pressure back online.
We’ve got high pressure to our west generating northerly winds, so the solar panels are facing south, an ideal situation for a little angle on the panels. With the sun due to arrive over the equator in a few days we eyeballed 45 degrees. The results were immediate and positive.
We have been witness to wonderful sunsets over the past 35 years of cruising. From Cocos Keeling in the Indian Ocean, to Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas, Prince William Sound in Alaska, to Greenland’s Disco Bay, we’ve been thrilled, chilled, and awe struck. But nothing compares to what we just experienced here in prosaic Smith Cove, in the state of Maine, USA.
Hurricane Leslie is forecast to give Maine a wide berth, and make a direct hit on the eastern corner of Newfoundland. But keep a weather eye peeled. This is a complex weather scenario and it would not be unheard of for Leslie to shift course more to the west.
We have a stack of work to do for the FPB 97, an article due today for a magazine, our accountants need data from us with which to take care of taxing matters, and we are faced with a dilemma. When we should be hard at tasks on the critical path, the light is distracting us from our responsibilities.
It is a lovely Saturday evening in peaceful Pulpit Harbor. There are a few folks out for a row, two kayaks are paddling nearby, and a trim cutter has dropped her hook to windward of us. Although there is 100% overcast, the sun has created enough illumination to cast a golden sheen on the calm water, with just a hint of ripple from the dying breeze.
And then there is this “Picnic” boat blasting out of the harbor, throwing a substantial enough wake to roll Wind Horse, and really get our smaller neighbors going. This is exactly the type of behavior sailors expect from powerboat drivers.
Of course there are a few other things under the heading of bad manners, or perhaps lack of knowledge, that get more polite mariners exercised. Now, we know that no SetSail visitor would fit into this category. But you may know someone who does, so in an effort to educate the lower classes of yachting, we offer the following suggestions.
We are at anchor, it is quiet, just three other cruising yachts in this bay, and the sun is shining for a change. With the sun now dropping towards our neighbors in the Southern hemisphere, or the earth tilting if you prefer being accurate, the sun’s angle to our flat solar panels is less than optimal. But is it worth adjusting the solar array angle?
We are anchored in Roque Island Sound, a large, almost enclosed bay with a long beach, about which guide book writers and locals enthuse. But for us it is the sunsets and sunrises more than the beach that get the juices flowing.
If you look carefully, you will see short bits of red wool attached at various places around the aft end of Wind Horse. We are using these to give an indication of air flow when apparent wind is on the bow, and to see if the air flow can be modified by angling the solar array. Although we were using woolies 40 years ago on our sails and superstructure as flow indicators, and more recently on glider wings, we didn’t think about this for the boat until last week.
It is no secret that one of the things we enjoy most about cruising are the wildlife experiences that come our way. Having become temporary inhabitants of Pulpit Harbor, we have taken more than a passing interest in the efforts of the osprey parents to get their chicks into the air. Several times a day a parent would land at the rock nest which guards the harbor entrance, and vigorously flap its wings, setting an example for their progeny. There had been no takers, until today. We have now had the immeasurable pleasure of watching a young osprey experience the joys of aviation for the first time.
We’ve been fascinated by–and worried about–lightning strikes onboard since we saw the aftermath of a strike on an almost-new yacht in New Guinea. It had a piece of hull blown out below the waterline and lost most of its electronics/electrical gear.
This is not an easy subject to discuss, and there are many different opinions on preparedness. What follows are our thoughts after more than a few years of inquiry and observation. It is certainly not expert advice! We suspect that amongst our SetSail family there exists more specialized know-how, and we invite comments to educate us all on this subject.
One of the most difficult design aspects to get right is an underwater exhaust. Powerboat builders and designers have been wrestling with these issues for years, and nobody–let us repeat that, nobody–has a pat answer. With conventional motor yachts, there is so much horsepower involved in propulsion that exhaust noise is a major issue. Add in engine rooms that are almost always near the center of the vessel, and the need for–and difficulty with–an underwater exhaust multiplies.
In our case the options are easier. We have very small power requirements, so noise and vibration are minimal. The engine room is all the way aft, so the noise is isolated from the living quarters. The aft location coupled with small engines and big rudders makes it possible to place an underwater exhaust, if indeed it is warranted, behind the prop(s) and rudder(s). This eliminates the inefficiencies that occur when you are injecting exhaust, and the related turbulence, ahead of the propulsion/steering foils.
In the case of the FPB 97, we have a scale model in Wind Horse with which to experiment, which is what we’ve been doing of late. We have set her up with extra payload, so that hull immersion forward and aft is closer to the FPB 97. In the case of the underwater exhausts, this affects the imersion of the exhausts, and how they sound during various sea states.
At the same time, this gives us data on the behavior of the canoe body in unusual (for Wind Horse) load conditions. There are some factors we’ve been studying that point us in a certain direction, and we are testing to see how these work. Changing the trim, moving fuel/water forward or aft to immerse or raise the stern, allows us to get an idea of how the FPB 97 might react.
We are a ways from finalizing things…there are still some configurations to test, but we are zeroing in on a decision.
In the meantime, we’ve made a short video, taken going uphill against a 4-to-7 ft (1.2/2.1 m) sea.
Pulpit Harbor, Maine is one of those destinations that can catch you in its web. There is room to anchor, it is well-protected from all but one direction, wild life a-plenty is in residence, interesting boats to study come and go, and there are friends new and old with whom to discourse. Add good communications to the outside world, and big city life in Camden and Rockland an hour away by boat, and you have an optimum cruising destination.
The big question with our solar power calculations has been: what would we see in the real world? The 320 Watts per panel (of which there are four) is the theoretical maximum. You then degrade for shadows, less-than-perfect angle of panel and sun, dirt on the panels, and clouds. We have assumed Maine would be an interesting test with its summer fog. The data has been surprising, and how it relates to the FB 97 assumptions even more so.
Wind Horse is at anchor in Pulpit Harbor, Maine. This is a lovely spot: a few other yachts on moorings, room to swing for us, calm enough for the rowing dink, and an osprey nest at the entrance. It is less than an hour from “civilization”, as in Rockport or Camden. We could sit here for a long time if the communications were sufficient for us keep us up with our responsibilities. But given the spotty 2G reception from both Verizon and AT&T, we’d be hard pressed to spend much time prior to this season. However, now we have this costly Pepwave router, and we’re glad we made the investment.
If there was ever a test for the re-modeled pilot house aboard Wind Horse, it would involve piloting in thick Maine fog. Between navigation, keeping watch for other vessels, and dodging lobster pots, it is essential for crew, visibility, and electronics to work efficiently together.
We’ve got a few photos (from the hundreds we get every month) to share. Assuming you have seen much of this before (or can if you go back in the archives) we’ll concentrate on a few unusual details, beginning with how to remove a prop shaft without dropping the rudder. The first two photos are of FPB64-7.
You will recall we added temperature sensors to the raw water pumps on the engines, and to the exhaust water injection elbows. The concept was that this should provide early indication of a cooling issue. With a five degree F delta shown above, we decided to check the port engine pump.
We’ve been hanging out on the hook in Nantucket, a bit to the north of the summer mob scene. In spite of dreadfully slow internet service on both AT&T and Verizon, this is a lovely spot. The sunrises, as you can see above, have been wondrous. And by getting up at 0445 for the start of the morning twilight show, internet bandwidth is available.
We’ve just completed our first passage in what seems like forever: Beaufort, North Carolina to Nantucket Island off the coast of New England. This gave us a chance to work with our newly installed NMEA 2000 (N2K) information system and Maretron’s software, as well as try out the newly enclosed flying bridge. The screen shot above was taken after rounding Cape Lookout, heading for Cape Hatteras, and doing a little surfing, which is always good for the soul after a long hiatus in the boat yard.
Mother Nature has been sending us a not-so-subtle message. “Enough with the boat testing and fine-tuning” she seems to be saying, “it is time to move on.” Having now completed a vigorous sea trial, and checked things back at the dock, we have a date with US Customs for clearance.
It turns out that Rigid had some quality issues with their first batch of marine LED spotlights, so ours have been replaced. This gave us the opportunity to change from the Rigid spots to floodlight design, as our initial testing indicated we wanted more light in close to the bow, and there was sufficient throw to be useful in lighting up an anchorage shoreline.
With the move to underwater exhausts, we have no visual indication of water flow in the exhaust system. We do have an electronic flow alarm on each engine, and temperature alarms on each injection elbow, but not seeing the water flow has made us uncomfortable. Thanks to Mark Fritzer we now have an answer.
We are still tied to the dock, fine-tuning new systems, playing with the exhaust, experimenting with new motor mounts, and delving into various and sundry minor electrical/electronic upgrades. When we started this last fall we were just going to do a bit of preventative maintenance, with what we thought was a perfect cruising boat. Then we got ambitious, and decided to trade a bit of cruising time for an enhancement in cruising effectiveness later on. We would never have gone down this road if it hadn’t been for the pleasant folks with whom we have to work, and the beautiful surroundings.
When FPB 64-5 owner John Henrichs mentioned he was getting a Pepwave Router that would combine and/or select from a variety of Internet sources we were intrigued. With the need to be reliably available for Skype and e-mail traffic for the FPB production cycle, and cruising the East Coast of the US where connectivity is not always guaranteed, it seemed like it might be the right tool for us. But the price, somewhat less than 1300 US$, was a put-off. Still, from a business perspective, if it worked, it would be worthwhile.
We chatted with the techs at Pepwave and ended up with a Pepwave Max HD2 to test. Cory McMahon at Triton Marine Services did the install for us.
We have lusted years for a depth finder aft to compliment the transducer forward. But we were not willing to take the risks associated with this hole in the engine room hull bottom. With the swim step extension added as a separate compartment, there was an option to fit the aft transducer in a sealed compartment. Now that we have used it for a few days it is hard to imagine how we survived all of these years without.
Yesterday afternoon–the intrepid Triton Marine crew is caught delivering the first of our two panel solar arrays. Rick Goode is leading the way, the boss, Corey, is hiding, and Casey Weires is bringing up the rear. These 145lb/66kg assemblies were duly lifted onto their transom mounted masts, and the wiring process commenced.
Given our morbid fascination with sea states other than benign, the following note from Bruce Farrand at Circa regarding an offshore testing day last week may shed light on what we covet in capability.
Quick rundown on our most recent sea trial on Tiger on 5th of June: It was a good day to get plenty of water on to Tiger’s deck. Forecast for the day was GALE FORCE WARNING IN FORCE, North to NorthWest winds, 40 knots, easing to 25 knots in the evening, sea becoming very rough for a time. Northerly swell of 4 meters.