FPB 78

Maine: It’s About The Light

Painters, photographers and yacht designers have been drawn to Maine for centuries. Between the light and varied subject matter, it can be a visual nirvana.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 17, 2018)    |    Comments (4)

FPB 78-1 Cochise Tests Survival Storm Tactic In Unusual Sea State

Many years ago, while researching ultimate storm tactics for our book Surviving the Storm (free download here), it became clear to us that, whether it was Fastnet 79, Queen’s Birthday Storm, or the 1998 Sydney Hobart Race, heading into the waves is often the best tactic in severe weather.

Because our yachts surf downwind under control making quick passages, and since in all but one of the serious storms we have experienced our natural course was downwind, we’ve rarely had the chance to experiment with truly dangerous seas on the bow. And while this most recent experience is far from what we would call a survival storm, the unusual sea state did give us a chance to test several FPB specific steering and throttle techniques, along with gathering a couple of ideas for improving electronics and night lighting layout.

The notes which follow, although aimed specifically at the FPB fleet, may offer some ideas to others who find themselves in difficult seas… Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 14, 2018)    |    Comments (2)

Tech Talk: “Sure Call” Gives Us A Boost

We’ve tried and discarded several thousand dollars worth of so-called cell phone signal boosters. But when tech guru Ben Ellison and GMC founder and CTO Louis Saltero both said they used “SureCall”… Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 6, 2018)    |    Comments (0)

Pulpit Harbor – Slowing Down

We are re-learning about cruising, slowing down, changing priorities. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 31, 2018)    |    Comments (4)

Let The Good Times Roll: The Maine Event and Unstructured Cruising

Some of our cruising buddies, and most of our land-based friends and relatives, lead structured lives where they have a schedule and a plan. We prefer to go with the flow–letting happenstance dictate our options.  Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 21, 2018)    |    Comments (8)

Matrix Deck Update: Were The Mods Worth the Cost and Time?

At a point in our lives where we want to concentrate on enjoying ourselves aboard, we just finished a long and costly rework of FPB 78-1 Cochise’s Matrix deck. The original was cut up and carted off. And then we went through a steep learning curve involving dozens of changes. Having just completed a couple of passages and done some local cruising here in Maine, we are now in a position to pass initial judgement.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 14, 2018)    |    Comments (4)

Simrad Halo Radar – Now As Good As Any Small Yacht Radar

We have been outspoken in our critique of Simrad’s Halo radar. We felt that its ability to pick targets out of sea clutter was poor, making it dangerous to rely on. We are pleased to report now that after adding Simrad’s Velocity Track software, our Halo is working very well. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 30, 2018)    |    Comments (2)

FPB 78-1 Cochise: Now Running Air Conditioning With Solar Energy


We are anchored at Cape Lookout, North Carolina. It has been a very warm humid weekend, the type of weather that typically finds us in cooler climates. We’ve been waiting for the arrival of six new Sunpower 360 watt solar panels, the most efficient available, and very much in demand. Cory and Angela McMahon’s Triton Marine Team have just completed installation, and we are watching as the Outback Mate controller adds up the day’s power creation.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 26, 2018)    |    Comments (7)

FPB 78-1 Cochise: Ready To Roll

We’ve been out testing Cochise, checking out the many modifications executed for us by Corey and Angela McMahon’s Triton Marine team. There is lots to bring you up to date on… Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 14, 2018)    |    Comments (12)

Anchoring Systems: Refining A Tried and True Approach


We have been having an internal dialogue about the ever-critical issue of anchoring systems, and the fact is that there is nothing like a real blow with a lee shore off your stern to focus your attention on the subject. It will come as no surprise that we like to sleep well at anchor, and by traditional definition this requires substantial holding power. It’s a given that it takes weight to achieve security at anchor, but beyond this simple postulate there are a plethora of choices. What our experience has led us to evolve into may surprise you.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 30, 2018)    |    Comments (5)

A Revolutionary Approach to Navigation Layout

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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 27, 2018)    |    Comments (2)

FPB Feature in CCA Chronicles

The following article by Linda and Steve Dashew appeared in Voyages, Chronicles of the Cruising Club of America, and puts the FPB 78 into a historical context. We thought you might enjoy giving it a read. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 19, 2018)    |    Comments (4)

Life In A Post-FPB World

“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.

Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 26, 2018)    |    Comments (38)

Optimizing for Night Vision

The older you are the more critical it is to design for good night vision. We thought we had this subject nailed down. We were wrong.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 8, 2018)    |    Comments (17)

Maretron N2K View – We Have Seen the Light

Cochise is on the hard at Triton Marine and we periodically check in on the vital signs from the phone, tablet, or desk computer. This ability is just one of the reasons we believe Maretron’s N2K view is a vital cruising tool. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 18, 2018)    |    Comments (0)

FPB Video: The Way

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A new video in which we reveal the secrets behind all those ocean-crossing miles… Read the rest »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (January 16, 2018)    |    Comments (0)

Running Aground As Anchoring Technique

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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 3, 2018)    |    Comments (6)

Photo Speed Test #2

It is that time of year again. There is chaos in the parking lots, everybody seems to be fighting a cold, several major airports are snarled, and we are looking forward to seeing the family…..

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 19, 2017)    |    Comments (23)

Photo Speed Test

You are looking at step one of the new and improved SetSail. This upgrade includes a much faster website connection. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 11, 2017)    |    Comments (20)

FPB 78-3 Launches

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FPB 78-3 launched, and Steve Parsons is well into Builders sea trials…  Read the rest »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (December 5, 2017)    |    Comments (1)

Cochise Goes to Washington

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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.

Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 13, 2017)    |    Comments (3)

FPB 78-1 Video: Windage Versus Stability – Now We Know

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The recent storm that did so much damage along the east coast of the U.S. made for an interesting evening at anchor aboard FPB 78-1 Cochise. With sustained gusts above 75 knots/88mph… Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 6, 2017)    |    Comments (5)

Plans Are Made To Be Changed

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 30, 2017)    |    Comments (4)

The Cruising Mindset

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We are beginning to get into the cruising mindset, at least as far as this concept applies to the two of us. This typically means sitting more and moving less. But Cochise makes this hard.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 22, 2017)    |    Comments (1)

So Ends This Voyage

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The Nespresso coffee machine hisses in the background as Linda makes a change-of-watch latte. The faint glow under the eastern clouds heralds another beautiful morning at sea. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 29, 2017)    |    Comments (33)

Red Sky At Night – Headed to Maine While We Can

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September 22: Red sky at night, sailor’s delight…That is probably as accurate a forecast tool right now as the supercomputers crunching away. Between Jose and Maria, the present risk factors are high.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 25, 2017)    |    Comments (4)

FPB 78-1 Video: Exploring With Simrad Forward Looking Sonar

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We have been critical of the Simrad radar and chart plotting systems. But there is good news as well. The AP 70/80 autopilots are excellent, easy to program and very smart. But that was expected.  Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 19, 2017)    |    Comments (0)

Turning Point

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We are at the top of Cape Breton Island. Plan is–or was–to head to Newfoundland at first light. However, hurricane Jose is giving us second thoughts.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 15, 2017)    |    Comments (9)

FPB 78-1: Time Traveler

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Having barely completed sea trials a year ago in New Zealand, FPB 78-1 Cochise has just surpassed the 14,000NM mark.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 12, 2017)    |    Comments (1)

Time To Travel

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (September 5, 2017)    |    Comments (2)

J-Class Practice Race

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A spectacle for sure, watching these Js being handled like dinghies is a real treat.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 22, 2017)    |    Comments (1)

Maretron N2K Data System – Starting to Make Sense

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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?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 18, 2017)    |    Comments (10)

Going…Going…

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We are now in full-time cruising mode…

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 9, 2017)    |    Comments (3)

Heavy Weather Tactics For Power Boats: Big Waves and Small Details

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (July 12, 2017)    |    Comments (6)

Born To Run: FPB 78-1 in Boat International

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The July 2017 issue of Boat International magazine features a nine page article on FPB 78-1 CochiseRead the rest »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (June 27, 2017)    |    Comments (8)

FPB 70 and 78: A Much “Kneeded” Perspective On The Next Generation Of FPBs

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 16, 2017)    |    Comments (21)

FPB 78: Dream Machine Page Updated

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The FPB 78 Dream Machine page is recently updated, and features multiple detailed interior and exterior photos of both FPB 78-1 and 78-2.  Read the rest »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (June 6, 2017)    |    Comments (1)

FPB 78 The Dream Machine: Reality – Updated May 24, 2017

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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.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 24, 2017)    |    Comments (1)

FPB in the Press: “The Big Picture”

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The June issue of Motorboat & Yachting features FPB owner Peter Watson sharing his reasoning behind “Why FPB”…  Read the rest »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (May 23, 2017)    |    Comments (0)

Spring Is Here And Flying Fast – Update On All Things FPB

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Spring is here and with it the promise of things to be discovered, adventures to be enjoyed, and new lands to visit. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (May 2, 2017)    |    Comments (7)

FPB Video: FPB 78-1 Cochise Experiments With Heaving-To in the Gulf Stream

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FPB 78-1 Cochise is currently headed up to North Carolina for some boat projects. A few days ago, Steve and Linda sent in the following video… Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (April 25, 2017)    |    Comments (6)

FPB 78-2 Video: Come Aboard Grey Wolf II For Sea Trials

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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 »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (April 19, 2017)    |    Comments (4)

Key West – Where It Happens

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We normally avoid tourist destinations, dislike docks, and prefer the quiet of isolated anchorages.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 16, 2017)    |    Comments (4)

FPB 78-1 Cochise: Our Dream Machine and the Conundrum of Where-To

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FPB 78-1 Cochise presents us with a conundrum to which there is no easy answer.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 4, 2017)    |    Comments (20)

FPB 78-1 Cochise: How The Window Film Is Working

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We have finally installed sun-blocking window film on FPB 78-1 Cochise, and the results are excellent.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 29, 2017)    |    Comments (10)

FPB 78: Nordhavn Owners Take a Ride and Report

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James and Jennifer Hamilton, who have circumnavigated in their Nordhavn 52 Dirona, recently took a ride aboard Cochise and wrote a fascinating report for their blog.  Read the rest »


Posted by Sarah.Dashew  (March 22, 2017)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78-1 Solar Energy Update

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FPB 78-1 Cochise has been anchored to the dock in Fort Lauderdale the past five days; we have yet to connect the shore power cord, the genset has not been used, and the batteries remain full.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 20, 2017)    |    Comments (5)

Use Your Senses To Avoid Trouble

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 18, 2017)    |    Comments (12)

Samsung Galaxy 18.5″ Tablet – A Game Changer

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You are looking at a pair of 18.5” Samsung Galaxy tablets, which we think are real game changers on the electronic front.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 17, 2017)    |    Comments (5)

Messing About In Boats

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We’ve been doing a local mini-cruise, occasioned by Spring break for our Granddaughter Emma and her friend from college Julia Stevens. It brought back just how much fun it is messing about in boats.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 15, 2017)    |    Comments (0)

Interior Design and FPB: Thoughts From Designer Denise LaVey

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We’ve worked with many interior designers over the years, but Denise is the first who truly understands what the FPB concept is all about. We think her work for us aboard FPB 78-1 Cochise speaks for itself…
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Posted by admin  (March 13, 2017)    |    Comments (6)

FPB Video: Deerfoot 62 Owners Share Ride Aboard Cochise

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John and Deb Rogers, who own Deerfoot 2-62 Moonshadow, recently published a video of their day aboard FPB 78-1 Cochise when they were in Fiji…

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Posted by admin  (March 13, 2017)    |    Comments (0)

Simrad Marine Electronics: The Correct Choice – Or Did We Make A Mistake? Updated 3/8/17

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*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.

Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 8, 2017)    |    Comments (9)

FPB 78-2 Is Heading For Water

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FPB 78-2 has emerged from the berthing shed at Circa.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 28, 2017)    |    Comments (14)

Simrad Marine Electronics: The Correct Choice – Or Did We Make A Mistake?

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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.

Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 24, 2017)    |    Comments (4)

FPB in the Press: Soundings Feature Now Live Online

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There is a double feature now live in print and online at Soundings MagazineRead the rest »


Posted by admin  (February 16, 2017)    |    Comments (7)

FPB in the Press: Soundings Magazine

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Soundings Magazine has an extensive feature on FPB in their March 2017 issue. They’ve also put together a nice video on the FPB designs for their website… Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (February 9, 2017)    |    Comments (0)

From Our Boat To Yours: End Of Year Slideshow

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The following slideshow highlights some favorites from our first cruising season aboard FPB 78-1 Cochise… Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 22, 2016)    |    Comments (3)

FPB 78 Video: Beating Against the Gulf Stream – Secrets of a Comfortable Ride Revealed

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 3, 2016)    |    Comments (0)

FPB 78 Video: A Very Fine Panama Canal Transit

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Watch FPB 78-1 Cochise transit the Panama Canal, using a unique side thrusting technique to keep the fenders clean…

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (December 1, 2016)    |    Comments (13)

FPB 78-1 Cochise: ETA 17th Street Bridge 1330

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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 sarah@setsail.com. Welcome to the USA, Cochise!
-Sarah


Posted by admin  (November 29, 2016)    |    Comments (5)

FPB 78-1 Cochise Is In The Atlantic

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*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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 28, 2016)    |    Comments (5)

For Lightning Bugs Everywhere

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For those of you wondering if it is worth the hassle of bonding the metal on your fiberglass yacht, we offer a series of photos from one squall in the Gulf of Panama.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 22, 2016)    |    Comments (11)

A Pirate’s Paradise

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 20, 2016)    |    Comments (5)

Using Modern Tools To Manage And Extend Cruising Range Under Power

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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…

Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 18, 2016)    |    Comments (9)

Circa Update On All Things FPB: Posted by Deon Ogden

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It’s the start of summer here, with construction in full swing. The South Pacific-visiting FPB Family is also back en route to NZ for safe haven during cyclone season… Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (November 17, 2016)    |    Comments (5)

Change of Watch

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It is 0545 Friday, November 11th, 2016. FPB 78-1 Cochise is 4700 nautical miles from Raiatea in French Polynesia, 6400 nautical miles from Denerau, Fiji, barely a month after leaving. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 11, 2016)    |    Comments (11)

FPB 78 Cochise: Panama by Morning

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Buenas tardes del yate Cochise.  Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 10, 2016)    |    Comments (1)

Tuesday News From Cochise: Squalls, Data And Details

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 8, 2016)    |    Comments (3)

FPB 78-1 Cochise: Weekend Update

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It is Saturday afternoon, Cochise and crew are chilling, and recovering from a dose of CED (current events depression). Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 7, 2016)    |    Comments (5)

Another First for Cochise: Crossing the Line

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After many attempts over lots of years we are happy to report we did it. We actually photographed crossing the equator exactly on the mark. (Note – we have not yet checked the GPS accuracy by flushing the toilets.) Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 4, 2016)    |    Comments (4)

Cochise Towards Panama: The Tide Has Turned (And Other Momentous Events)

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You may have caught a slight plaintive tone recently. We just don’t like losing 36 miles a day to current, even if we knew in advance it was a possibility. But the tide has turned. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 3, 2016)    |    Comments (3)

FPB 78-1 Cochise’s Solar Array: Even More Valuable Underway

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Cochise’s solar array is saving us substantial quantities of diesel on this passage. Read the rest »


Posted by admin  (November 2, 2016)    |    Comments (12)

FPB 78-1: Greetings From the 4th Parallel (And a Birthday at Sea)

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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 »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 1, 2016)    |    Comments (6)

FPB 78 Cochise: Just 14 days to go to Panama!

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We are into the rhythm now, the quiet pace that can make long passages so appealing. Read the rest »


Posted by Steve Dashew  (October 29, 2016)    |    Comments (2)