FPB – The Concept in Reality

Traditional thinking has held that you need a sailboat to cross big expanses of ocean, and that this be done slowly downwind.

A few trawler type yachts occasionally attempt long distance cruising, but they do so typically laden with on deck fuel supplies, going no faster, and often slower, than sailing yachts. 

But what if you could cross the longest stretch of ocean at 9+ knots upwind or downwind, with minimum motion, consuming relatively minuscule amounts of fuel while maintaining a comfortable ambiance, without ever running a generator? 
This was Steve and Linda Dashews’ concept when the iconic sailing yacht designers created their ground-breaking FPB 83 Wind Horse. 

Many have questioned the origin of the acronym FPB to describe the motor yachts conceived by Steve Dashew.  Berthon Yachts, who market the yachts in Europe, prefer Fast Power Boat but they admit that some of the design team prefer Fast Passage Boat given the range and ability to cover distances at very good average speeds. To add to the confusion Dashew himself likes – Functional Power Boat!

The truth maybe a little more based on the designer’s love of purism.  It began as a code name for the initial design stages of the first power boat given to the project by Steve Dashew.  He was at the time, not so sure that motor yachts were for him but was weaning himself off sailing yachts.  He confirms that the last two letters stand for power boat – but as to the first, he has no comment.

In six short years of cruising, Wind Horse accumulated over 60,000 nautical miles, with just a crew of two, ranging from her birthplace of New Zealand to 80 degrees north, 600 miles shy of the North Pole. 

In the last four years, nine FPB 64s have followed in Wind Horse’s wake, with over 70,000 nm of cruising among them. While these distances seem unusual, one need only reference the historical cruising mileage of the Dashews’ sailing fleet to recognize that the numbers are no anomaly.

Of the 37 Sundeer, Beowulf and Deerfoot yachts for which there are records, the average cruising mileage per hull is over 54,000 NM.
The Dashews believe that if you optimize for long distance cruising, the boats will go. This philosophy starts with heavy weather capability and includes high average boat speeds. Both characteristics yield a comfortable and quick passage, while minimizing weather risks. 
The recent 2400 nm passage of  Grey Wolf, hull number 6 in the 64 series illustrates this philosophy in action.
Owner Peter Watson is on his way back to his home waters in the UK from New Zealand via Panama, The Bahamas, and Bermuda. The 2400 nautical mile leg between New Zealand and French Polynesia was accomplished at an average speed of 9.4 knots, burning just 19.6 L/5.2 G per hour.

Grey Wolf arrived with sufficient fuel left in her tanks for another 3000+ nautical miles. This out of season voyage was primarily uphill with just a hint of downwind powering.

Leaving New Zealand on the heels of a tropical cyclone, their boat speed allowed for a much easier passage than would otherwise have been the case.