FPB78-3 – October 2015

I am just back from New Zealand and still shaking off the effects of 30 plus hours of travel (even though I arrived back in the US before I left New Zealand – a quirk of crossing the International Date Line). It was, however, a wonderful trip. Steve Dashew, designer and proud owner of 78-1, Peter Watson, owner of 78-2 and FPB64 Grey Wolf and yours truly, owner of 78-3 were jointly on site for a week at Circa Marine to inspect and work thru the details of our respective boats and review the details of FPB 78-1 which is furthest along and due for launch in March of 2016. Can’t begin to explain just how much fun it was being there with Steve, Peter and all the folks at Circa Marine working thru the myriad of decisions that are part of a big project like this.

At any rate, thought it high time to do an update on the new Iron Lady. I’ll start with a picture of 78-2 and 78-3 with FPB 64-11 sandwiched in between – it barely begins to give a full sense of the scale of the 78.

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The 64 – which is no light weight, is dwarfed by comparison. The following is a picture of our boat which is still in the process of primary metal fabrication.

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As part of the inspection process, we have engaged MECAL to survey and inspect our boats to insure they meet the highest standards. This includes radiographic and dye penetrant inspection of various critical weld joints. The red in the picture is from dye penetrant testing.

All the rest of the pictures in this post are from 78-1 which is nearing completion. As such, this was the perfect time for me to see the 78 as it nears completion to work out various details on my 78. So time for a boat tour Beginning with the Great Room.

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This is a view looking at at the galley from the front of the Great Room. Of note is large upright refrigerator – no more on the hands and knees like the 64. Forward of the refrigerator are two freezer boxes. The cook top goes in the open area and the faucet for the full sized, double bowl sink can be seen over the galley counter top lockers. A full size Miele dishwasher will live under the cook top. The locker along the back will house a full sized convection oven. The following is a better view of the refrigeration.

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In front of the galley is the base framing for the settee which will have a high low table that will serve as both eating area and cocktail table in its low position.

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Heading upstairs for a moment, this is a view of a mock up of the matrix deck helm complete with anticipated electronics. A big part of the design process, even thought the boat was designed completely in 3D CAD, is to mock up selected areas in MDF before constructing the actual affair in metal and wood to insure that everything works as anticipated.

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The Matrix Deck, when completed, will have a large “U” shaped seating area, a watch berth, a small refrigerator, microwave and sink. It will also be fully enclosed and have heat as well as air conditioning – all the necessities for standing those late night watches in comfort, hanging out at anchor or entertaining.

Down below on the accommodation deck, there are two guest staterooms – each with queen sized berths, their own head and shub (combination shower and tub), and the master stateroom. The master has a king size berth with a separate vanity area, enclosed head compartment and large shub.

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Off the master in the companionway is a full sized private office for me and a companionway lined with lockers that leads to the forepeak.

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The companionway and master have french doors which dived the two spaces so they can be used separately without interfering with the other or opened to become one large area. The master can be shut off from the other accommodation areas with a water tight door.

Headed down the companionway, a water tight door leads to the forepeak where the washer and dryer are located.

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Various boat systems including the bow thruster and assorted pumps for potable water and air conditioning all live under the floor boards.

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There will also be lots of room for storage – lines, fenders, shore cords, spare anchors and a host of other items. Under the floor boards, there will be nine large totes for storing spare parts. Sounds like a lot but when you are completely off grid, you need to be totally self sufficient. Besides, the only way to make sure that something doesn’t break is to have a spare part in case it does. That is one the corollaries to Murphy’s Laws đŸ™‚

Turning to electrical systems, the main breaker panel is in the great room in an area that is also dedicated to the ship’s general office.

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The breakers on the 78 have been switched to a DIN rail system where the breakers clip direct to the buss – much easier to service than a wired panel. The banks of breakers have been organized so that the first three banks are for major 24 volt DC systems – the first bank covers electrical items required when underway, the second bank is for items normally on when one is on the boat, and the third bank is for always on items like bilge pumps. Further back, the next bank is for the aircon systems and the one aft of that is for other 240 VAC systems and finally the 110 volt AC systems. Overhead, but not in view will be engine gauges, Maretron readouts for key systems, inverter controls and genset.

The next pic shows the office area which will house an iMac and connections to the satellite communications system, SSB, onboard wireless LAN, cellular and WiFi boosters. Most of this will reside behind a panel along with controls for lighting circuits which are visible at the moment.

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Speaking of electrical items, this is a shot of the shorepower control box, inverters and solar controllers which live alongside the stairs from the great room to the accommodation deck.

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The three large inverters supply up to 15KW of power at 240 volts AC. The smaller unit provides 2.5 KW of 110 volt AC. Like its predecessors, all of the heavy duty systems on the boat are 240 VAC and can run at either 50 or 60 Hz so plugging in to shore power around the world is straight forward as the inverters sync up to match the incoming power. The inverters also do charging duty to the large bank of traction batteries along with the alternators on the main engine and solar array.

This is a shot of 6 of the 10 solar panels mounted on the boat.

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Based on experience on the FPB64’s and 97, these arrays will provide up to 12 Kwh per day on a normal, sunny day – this is more then enough to power the boat when sitting at anchor. Underway two very large Electrodyne double ended alternators on the main engines will output over 10 KW so the genset should see little use. To that end, we have a 17 KW genset on the boat that can also be run at 1500 RPM as a 14 KW genet at 50 Hz to save fuel and reduce noise. More about all this in later posts as it is a large subject.

Speaking of the Electrodyne alternators, this is a shot in the engine room and you can see one of them peaking out from under the guard which is under construction- it is red.

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All that power is converted into rectified 24volt DC by these big rectifiers.

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Here you can see the genset behind one of the main engines.

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The grey piping and filter is one of the raw water intakes for engine cooling. The large white item is a lift muffler – one of two mufflers on each main engine so things should be very quiet even near the exhausts.

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While there is a large work room in the lazarette, there is also a nice workbench that will have a sink in the engine room. Further back from the workbench is the reverse osmosis water maker which can output 55 gallons of purified fresh water per hour from sea water.

Finally, a few views of the lazarette which will house a wet head, sink, and double berth in addition to a large work shop and monster stainless tool chest.

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And the robust steering gear which will control the big rudders.

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Steve Dashew’s boat will be the first to launch and he had his 16 foot commercial duty AB Inflatable with 70 HP Yami motor brought up from Auckland – we will be doing the same in addition to a smaller 11 foot beach RIB (again commercial duty with a 20 HP motor). Great boat, but I am not sure about the color – think we will stick to military grey.

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That, along with painting all the electronics up top flat black should enhance our military image. In Cooks Bay in Moorea, they nicknamed our 64 “The Gunboat” – I like it. Think we will take it to the next level on the 78.

More next time

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6 Responses to FPB78-3 – October 2015

  1. Carl E says:

    Hi Pete: Thank you very much for this update: wonderful to see the first one getting close to its final state as a preview to yours. I’m curious about a few things: is the wet head and double bunk in the lazarette configuration, shared by both 1 and 3 or only for your 3? By way of a dumb question given that your FPB 64 cruised the Pacific extensively, but doesn’t the black paint on the antennae cause them to get much hotter inside? (I think Buffalo Nickel went with navy grey?)

    • myironlady says:

      Hi Carl. 78-2 is a full code MC0 vessel intended for commercial charter to the far reaches of the planet. As such, she requires more guest and crew segregated quarters then hulls 1 and 3 (along with lots of other stuff that MCA requires) including a segregated crew area aft with lounging space. While hulls 1 and 3 exceed all the key requirements of MC0 (structurally by large margins), we do not intend to fully certify as we simply do not see the logic behind some of the requirements (bureaucrats at work).

      My boat will have crew quarters aft with a wet head and sink. On the port side, I will have a dedicated workbench, but there will also be some lounging space. Hull 1 will have a pipe berth but no wet head on the stbd side (although Steve may have the plumbing installed to do what I have done).

      Sometimes the way things actually work out is different then what we envisage, so there is some logic to doing less rather then more and then modifying based on actual experience.

      As far as the “black” electronics, all the suppliers have had no objections and we never had a heat related failure aboard our 64 so that is the way we intend to go again.

      • Carl E says:

        Hi Pete,

        Thank you for the information. Is there an all-weather entry/exit for the lazarette underway or is the expectation that either crew will be near the steering positions, or that underway the guest cabin that gives access to the engine room and lazarette, won’t be in use?

        Realising that cruising and schedules don’t mix :), but is there a tentative launch date for your FPB 78?

      • myironlady says:

        The entry to the lazarette on my boat will either be thru the engine room via the stbd stateroom or thru a hatch on the back deck. While not completely protected, the deck hatch is partially covered by the extension to the matrix deck that holds the aft solar panel array. There has been some talk of extending that area over the hatch and adding more solar panels. That is a relatively simple add later so I intend to forgo it for the moment and see if it is warranted after using the boat for a bit.

        Completion is scheduled for late 2016 but there is no way I could blast Mama Bear out of Pittsburgh over the holidays with our children coming home so, realistically, early 2017.

  2. Bruce Tharp says:

    Thank you for the excellent write up. One minor comment on the tool chest. Kobalt is sold by Lowes here. I have a couple. They make a newer model where the drawer handles are recessed and lift slightly to open. Same storage space with out the nasty protruding handles to catch hips and thighs as you go by. Petty I know, but worth looking at. I have the ripped belt loops to know the handles can get in the way on stable ground.

    • myironlady says:

      Thanks Bruce – unfortunately the tool chests were purchased on special for the first three boats so they are all in NZ.

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