78-3 Build Update May 2017

Work is progression nicely in NZ and I thought I would share some of the latest pics from the yard. As an aside, it has been wonderful receiving frequent picture updates to monitor progress. Another technological marvel has been Skype – when questions arise based on the pics I am getting, the yard takes an iPad out to the boat along with the appropriate personnel and we do a video conference to address questions and concerns. Wonderful – and it avoids unpleasant surprises.

I’ll start at the stern which is still under construction. You can see three large lockers running across the transom. The right will be for petrol for the dinks, the center will house the diesel fire control pump and lots of other things given the size of the locker. The left will be for trash and more storage. The stairs from the aft deck to the swim step will come down to the left of centerline.

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Moving to the aft deck, the trapezoidal hatch to the left leads to the lazarette. Forward of the hatch is the built in that houses a sink and the BBQ along with lots of storage. The open area to the bottom of the locker is part on the engine room air induction system which is powered by several large variable speed fans. All engine room air intake and exhausts are protected by fire dampers as well in the event of an emergency.

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The trash compactor and 6 man offshore Solar life raft will live under the stairs to the matrix deck. The locker to the left of this area houses the refrigeration compressors and will also have serve as a day head. the locker to the right is a wet locker and also has houses the dinghy winch for the large dink.

The next shot is looking down into the lazarette thru the hatch on the back deck. Behind the ladder you can see the large stainless tool chest. To the right is a sink/vanity to serve crew when stationed aft – more on this in a bit. Since this area can also be accessed thru the engine room, the ladder folds up against the headliner so it is out of the way when no in use.

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Continuing with the lazaretto, the following is a picture of the aft end and the housings for the massive rudder posts.

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This following shows the tool chest and work bench located along the port side of the lazaretto. I will be making modifications to the sink area to make it more user friendly. Notice the little cubby added by Circa to house all those spray cans we all have aboard.

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Opposite the work bench is a double V berth and wet head for crew so they have their own escape and living space when needed.

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Turning to the engine room, most of the major components have been set.

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Visible in this shot are the 17 KW genset which can be run at either 50 or 60 Hz. Above the genset is the housing for the air induction fans and fire damper. Both exhaust risers for the 6068 JD engines are also visible.

The following shows the black and grey water tanks and in the background is the water maker.

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In this shot you can see the part of the hydraulic system, fuel filtration and manifolds and, in the background, the Webasto heater which provides heating and domestic hot water along with an engine heat exchanger and electric elements – the Webasto being the primary device unless underway and then the engine waste heat will be all that is required.

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The following is a shot of the Electrodyne air cooled rectifiers. With two double ended alternators producing upwards of 12KW, beefy air cooled rectifiers mounted separately form the alternators are required to handle the massive loads. In conjunction with the Victron inverters, all 240VAC, 120VAC, 24VDC and 12VDC loads can be comfortably handled when underway by the alternators. When at anchor, 14 high output solar panels will feed the 1600 amp hour 24 volt traction battery bank so the genset really should not be required very often.

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Lots more to show you but I will save that for next time.


Posted in 78-3 Updates | 2 Comments

Marquesas Slide Show

I finally got around to doing an iMovie slideshow of our time in the Marquesas in French Polynesia. You can access it by clicking here.


Posted in Marquesas 2013 | 4 Comments

78-3 Update February 2106

Its been awhile since my last update on the 78 series. Last October, the owners of hulls 1, 2 and 3 were all in New Zealand to review progress on our individual boats and have a good look at 78-1 which was furthest along. 78-1 owned by Steve and Linda Dashew, the designers of the FPB series is now nearing completion and is tentatively christened “Cochise”. Headed for launch and builder’s trials in March, she will then head to Owner’s trials shortly after.

Tentatively, all three 78 owners, Steve Dashew, Peter Watson (FPB 64 Grey Wolf and 78-2) and yours truly will be back in New Zealand in June 2016 for Owner’s Training on “Cochise” as well as review of progress on our individual boats. Note that Steve Dashew, in ways only his devious mind can devise, has chosen winter in the Southern Hemisphere with all the nastiness the Southern Ocean can drum up for his playground. He was in his glory when we conducted the first open house with launch of the FPB64 when the Southern Ocean dished up a strong on shore gale for the ocassion. At least he didn’t turn off the stabilizers beam to during the open house like he did on our trip from the Bay of Islands back to Whangarei on my newly launched “Iron Lady” – just to “see how she would behave”. At the time, Deb had three large pots of herbs on top of the locker over the range top – they didn’t think much of his experiment and the result was flying pots, plants and dirt everywhere. I will see if I can return the favor on Cochise during Owner’s Training.

Anyway, back to 78-3 and the latest batch of photos form Circa. First, a shot from below decks showing the spill wall around the mechanical room and a manometer set up to pressure test one of the tanks.

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The next picture is looking at one of the cofferdams which encloses the stabilizer mechanisms. You can just see the massive mounting plate and reinforcing around it.

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The next shot shows some of the looms thru the structural framing which will carry the myriad of plumbing and electrical services thru the boat.

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We also chose to put 4 port lights on the boat – one in each guest stateroom, one in my office across from the master stateroom and one in the master stateroom. Circa has a full foundry and the made the molds, poured and finished machined the frames. They are a work of art and VERY heavy duty.

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The following view is form the companionway leading forward to the forepeak. The forepeak will be home for the full size washer and dryer as well as an exercise area and lots of storage.

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Headed to the back dci for a moment, this locker on port side under the matrix deck overhand houses the refrigeration compressors which are both water and air cooled as well as a day head. Looking forward, you can see into the great room where the galley will be on the left with seating and lower helm station forward.

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Work has begun on the shaft logs and the rudder as well. Yo9u can get a sense of how massive things are by looking at the fellow working there. Those stern tubes are designed to house the shafts which are 2.5 inches in diameter.

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This shot shows one of the two rudders under construction.

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And the final metalwork picture is of the forward mast under construction.

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Turning to the Chippies (Kiwi for carpenters), the following shots show the interior cabinetry under construction. We chose a pickled Australian Oak, Rift Cut for uniform grain structure for our interior. The finish will be natural satin varnish.

The first shows the cabinet that goes across the aft end of the galley. The oven has even temporarily installed to check the fit.

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The next three shots show the forward galley area which is “U” shaped. You can also see the counter top garages for storage.

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This picture shows one of the refrigeration boxes. The galley has a large upright refrigerator and two large freezers along the port side of the galley.

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Shown below is the fiberglass enclosure for the master “shun” (combination shower and tub).

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A long way to go but I hope you can get a sense of just how ridiculously strong the 78 is along with the craftsmanship of the good folks at Circa.

Til next time.

Posted in 78-3 Updates | 7 Comments

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 🙂

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

Posted in 78-3 Updates | 6 Comments

Youtube Video of our New Zealand Circumnavigation 2012

Its been awhile and while we are preparing to close on the sale of Iron Lady, our FPB64 and awaiting completion of our new FPB78 in New Zealand, I have been (somewhat wistfully) looking back over our many adventures aboard Iron Lady. For some time now, I have been threatening to do a video and now seemed the opportune time as I reminisced over the thousands of pictures we have taken.

You can get to the video thru the following link here


Posted in NZ2012 | 2 Comments

Iron Lady Gets the Treatment

After 4 years and something over 20,000 miles at sea, it was time for Iron Lady to head to the yard for some well deserved service and preventative maintenance work. I thought a list of the work we did and the cost might be of interest to FPB64 Owners – both existing and prospective. After cruising the Inside Passage in British Columbia for the summer, we arranged for Iron Lady to be hauled at Canoe Cove in Sidney BC in late September 2014.

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The following is a run down of the work we did:

1) Full bottom job including repairs to the barrier coat and three fresh coats of antifoul. Fresh Propspeed was applied to the main prop, Gori get home prop and bow thruster props. Zincs were replaced excluding the large hull zincs as they were still in excellent condition;

2) The main prop was pulled and sent out to be tuned and balanced;

3) The bow thruster props were replaced as the blades on one side had been damaged – apparently some debris was sucked in at some point. Lots of opportunities for that in BC waters!

4) The main shaft was pulled, examined for wear and rotated;

5) The cutlass bearings were checked and the aft bearing was replaced as it showed a bit of wear;

6) The PSS shaft seal was replaced out of an abundance of caution;

7 The Spurs line cutter was replaced in its entirety – note to other owners – replace the the zinc and line dampening plugs every year or two – we didn’t and ended up replacing the whole unit;

8) Replace the drive shaft torsional dampener;

9) Realign the motor and drive train after shaft reinstall – the initial alignment was checked and was well within spec after all that time at sea;

10) Adjust the valves on the main engine;

11) Replace the belt tensioners, idler pulley and belts on the main engine – all the removed parts were kept as used spares as they showed no evidence of failure or wear;

12) Remove stabilizer fins and repair small areas of debris impact damage;

13) Remove fin actuator mechanisms, re-bed and replace “O” ring seals;

14 Replace fin position potentiometers and hydraulic cylinders;

15) Remove anchor chain and reverse, spray galvanize chain;

16) Service and certify the Life Raft;

17) Routine oil changes and raw water pump impeller replacements – main and genset;

18) Change out all fuel filters including polishing system.

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Some of the work was performed by my guys, Steve and Jim, such as the routine oil changes etc and they also worked closely with the good folks at Canoe Cove. Some of the work was really done out an abundance of caution as opposed to required maintenance. The tab for the above was roughly Canadian 25,000 including parts. This was really the first major work we have done in four years of cruising including a circumnavigation of both islands of New Zealand, crossings to Fiji and Tonga and back to NZ, NZ to French Polynesia, the Line Islands, Palmyra and Hawaii and onward travels to British Columbia and the Inside Passage.

All in all – pretty respectable for all that time at sea – and now she is fully conditioned and ready for more years seeing the world as it can only be seen on a very capable trans-ocean cruising machine.

Posted in Boat Details | 10 Comments

Final 2014 British Columbia Post

I know, the holidays are over, we have been home for roughly 5 months and I still have a post to do on last years cruising in BC. I actually kind of saved one of the best for last – while Ron and Diane were with us, we splurged and rented a Jet Ranger helicopter for a day of touring.

Our ride met us at Pierre’s Echo Bay Marina. After a foggy start to the day, our ride arrived and landed on the beach just across from the marina.

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Pretty exciting taking off vertically and departing the marina at over 90 knots just off the water.

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First stop was back Port McNeill for a full load of fuel.

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Then it was off over Vancouver Island exploring. There are literally thousands of miles of logging roads – so many that there are actually maps for those who wish to explore 4 wheel style.

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First stop was on top of a glacier – but the trip in and landing were pretty spectacular. Along cliff faces and waterfalls (no telephoto here – we were that close).

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Our destination.

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A glacial lake below the glacier – no photoshopping here – it was that blue.

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A closer look at our landing site.

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Not the best picture, but you can get a sense of how small our landing area was – not much bigger the helicopter really.

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Just past the heli was a glacial face that fell almost 2000 feet. Behind the picture of Deb and me was a sheer rock wall that fell even further. Our departure was a vertical lift off and then a vertical plunge down the rock wall. Better then any roller coaster ride I have been on.

Next it was off to the wind swept west coast of Vancouver Island and the Pacific Ocean. Rugged and beautiful coast line.

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A beach landing and some time to explore.

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This spot was known as Pirate’s Cave for obvious reasons.

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This was a primitive camp used by kayakers who sea kayak along the coast – not sure I would be doing that given the wind and waves.

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We also stopped by a few mountain streams where Ron and I tried our hand at fly fishing. Unfortunately, conditions had been so dry that the salmon could not make it in to the streams and the trout had departed for deeper and cooler water in the lakes.

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We also saw plenty of wild life from the air including humpback whales, orcas, and eagles.

At the end of the day, a very happy crew.

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I took lots of movies during our adventure, one of these days I will have to add the capability to put them up on the blog as well.


Posted in British Columbia 2014 | 1 Comment

78-3 Construction Update 12/14

Todd Rickard (FPB Team) was in New Zealand recently and sent me the following pictures of our new lady. Not much to see yet but it won’t be long before there is an opening in Circa’s fabrication bay and the parts will begin to take shape.

Cut files are generated directly from the 3D CAD models and the aluminum is cut on a CNC plasma cutter. All of the aluminum plate that is used on the boat is mill certified and is traceable. We have also engaged MECAL (a British Marine Consultancy firm) to monitor progress milestones and certify that all work is performed in accordance with specifications. This will also include radiographic and dye penetration testing of critical welds. While I will not initially proceed to full certification, the boat is being designed and built to meet Lloyd’s MC0 certification – one of the most stringent standards in the world.



Initial fabrication has begun on some of the structural components. Shown below is one of the bulkheads.


I believe this is one of the lower hull section reinforcements.


Part of the matrix deck roof assembly.


The Chippies (Kiwi for cabinet makers) are at work on some of the interior furniture modules. The following is a drawer stack.


One of the hull side locker frames.


And the master berth.


The interior woodwork is a combination of red cedar (drawers and lockers) and the exterior faces are a beautiful, uniform grained Australian Oak. Actual finish has is yet to be decided but our inclination is to leave it close to natural. The FPB team has made a substantial investment in rendering software so after the first of the year, we will be modeling our interior selections to see how everything looks.

More to come.

Posted in 78-3 Updates | 2 Comments