This dim photo, taken with available light, turns everything we thought about navigation gear layout on its head. We are in the process of revising the Matrix Deck helm on Cochise, throwing out every design approach we have employed over the past 40 years in the process.
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
~ William A. Foster
This is a difficult post for Linda and me to write. But events in the past few weeks together with the urging of many of our friends and clients (often one and the same) have forced the issue, starting with the William Foster quote above sent to us by one of our owners.
The FPBs are designed with drying out in mind, and like all aspects of seamanship, we think testing the process in controlled circumstances before we actually need to use it makes sense. The following comments are based on a lifetime of avoiding experience with the subject at hand. But the old saying – it is not if you will run aground but when – is as true today as it was a couple of generations ago when we made our way without long range nav aids and few, if any, charts. Read the rest »
For some reason this summer, numerous friends asked us if we’d visit Washington, DC with Cochise. Go 170 miles out of our way to see a city that epitomizes waste and inefficiency? Then we thought, why not. We have lots of friends in the area, it would give us a chance to visit some of the buildings that were constructed with our concrete forming equipment (a very long time ago), and we could catch a few museums. And if we were really lucky, maybe the leaves would turn and we could finally snap a photo that has eluded us over many years. To see how this all turned out (and there is even a free lunch!), read on.
We are supposed to be in downtown Annapolis, on the dock for a few days, doing chores and having a few technicians visit. But then we were uncomfortable after a phone dialogue with the marina dock master – he was a shade too casual about handling our lines in a very tight space with a building breeze – and we decided to anchor.
From the glorious J-class sloops, we move on to the even more compelling fishing schooners, such as Columbia (above). This Sterling Burgess design (he is the creator of Ranger, the fastest of the Js) represents a combination of speed, beauty, and purpose matched in our minds only by Donald McKay’s extreme clippers.
Extensive N2K data systems, like we use in the FPBs, are costly, and take a substantial programming effort on our part. Yes, they provide a lot of information (and you need to guard against info overload), but is the cost and complexity worth it?
FPB 97-1 Iceberg running before a stiff breeze during sea trials.
The post that follows this introduction is a chapter excerpted from the FPB 70 and 78 Owner’s Manual. Everyone who goes to sea thinks and/or worries (or should) about heavy weather, and how their vessel will handle different conditions. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a 25,000 ton container ship, a moderate-sized sailing yacht, or one of our FPBs. We think it is better to discuss these issues openly, rather than ignore them and hope you never get caught. Read the rest »
FPB 78-2 Matrix deck helm
The current America’s Cup spectacle has us entranced: unbelievable speed, maneuverability, and difficult sailing, the likes of which has never been seen before. The design and engineering required to achieve this level of performance is nothing short of astonishing.
The time to study what’s happening in Bermuda in detail is the result of this correspondent’s photography accident (night sky shooting on a dark dock), which resulted in a shattered kneecap and a forced hiatus from summer cruising… Read the rest »
The Next Generation of FPBs is here, cruising even farther, faster, more comfortably and efficiently than their predecessors. With the first two FPB 78s rapidly racking up sea miles, read on to find out how, in a world full of empty claims, FPBs do what they are supposed to do.
We’ve just received some video of FPB 78-2 running through her paces during sea trials down in New Zealand. The owners and Circa team members aboard were lucky enough to find some light weather to enjoy: 35-45 knots of breeze and 16-18 ft (5-5.5m) waves on the bow… Read the rest »
Returning from Biscayne Bay, Florida a few days ago we were reminded that in this age of electronic navigation, command, control, and monitoring, you still need to maintain a traditional situational awareness.
The sink full of marine weeds is a classic example of why this approach is still beneficial. Read the rest »
*Since we posted this article, we have had several comments from readers. Of particular interest was an email from blogger Peter Hayden (MVTanglewood.com). Scroll down to read Peter’s comments on his Simrad experience. We are curious to know your thoughts if you use Simrad, in particular their radar…Please comment and let us know.*
We’ve now had 11,000 nautical miles of concentrated experience with the Simrad Marine electronics suite aboard FPB 78-1 Cochise, and the time has come for an evaluation.
In the pantheon of situations to avoid when cruising, northers in the Gulf Stream are up towards the top. The wind opposing current kicks up a nasty, short seaway, and the warm water mixing with the cool air from the north increases gusts. Read the rest »
Attention SetSailors! Cochise is approaching landfall, ETA at the 17th Street bridge in Fort Lauderdale around 1330 local time. If anyone in the area wants to check her out, say hello, and maybe shoot us a photo, they’ll be sure to wave. Feel free to send any photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Welcome to the USA, Cochise!
*Note: FPB 78-1 Cochise is currently just rounding Cuba, with an ETA at 17th Street bridge in Fort Lauderdale sometime Tuesday afternoon. The following post was written after transit last Tuesday.*
Cochise has just completed the Panama Canal transit and is in the Atlantic Ocean. Of all our transits this was… Read the rest »
Our first visit to Panama was in the same era that the North Koreans first decided they wanted to reunite with their southern neighbors. In those days, our heads were filled with visions of one English gentleman, Mr. Henry Morgan, who exhibited a love for all things Spanish and visited the area twice as a result. Read the rest »
We begin writing this post halfway through a 4,700 nautical mile passage, under power, against the trade winds and prevailing current, between French Polynesia and Panama. The accurate fuel consumption data available with tier II and tier III diesel engines has completely changed our approach to fuel management and the future passages we are thinking about undertaking…
Lots of excitement aboard FPB 78-1 Cochise in the last 24 hours, and a series of milestones. Cochise has seen the 9,000th NM roll under the hull, passed 1,000 hours on the engines, cruised into the sixth parallel north of the equator, and had some lovely downwind passaging weather. Read the rest »
Greetings from FPB 78-1 Cochise, where we have now crossed into the fourth parallel. The big news is that after 4000 nautical miles with the wind dead on the nose it has started to free a bit, having backed to the SE ever so slightly. Now, if the knot of west-flowing current would just go away. Read the rest »
We are threading our way through the Tuamotus and giving the Simrad Halo radar a workout. Both Steve Parsons and your humble correspondent have been highly critical of the Halo radar and its performance with difficult targets, like breaking reefs. But it has gotten better with recently installed upgrades. Read the rest »
FPB 78-1 Cochise is Panama-bound, 4700 nautical miles east from our present location, and the question of the day is when? We only arrived in Raiaitea four days ago, after 1800 miles, and you are probably thinking we are crazy to consider another passage so quickly. Read the rest »
It is the morning of our sixth day since leaving Fiji, heading uphill against the trades to French Polynesia. We have been running for multi-hour periods, recording data from rpm, speed, mileage recipes as sea states, wind, and our displacement change… Read the rest »
Imagine a tropical island with lovely beaches, set in a turquoise lagoon, with windswept palms bending to the trade winds. Then think of the barrier reef, a vertical wall, with a 50-meter face. The anchorage is a shallow patch–10 to 15 meters deep–on this face, with the reef a boat length from the stern. Read the rest »