Sunday 19 April 2015

FPB (Fast Patrol Boat) Concept Vessels the Future for Cruising Sailors?

With the groundswell of debate on FPB's (Fast Patrol Boats) ever rising along with the increasing number of these boats hitting the water, it is a subject all cruising sailors are going to become embroiled in at some point. 

It is a bit of a stretch to label recreational yachts of this design FPB's, also known as Fast Power Boats, Fast Pilot Boats. The more conservative Functional Power Boats is probably more suitable for recreational sailors. Basically designers have taken the FPB concept and scaled it down for recreational craft with much smaller power output units, but to give the cruising sailor a very economical boat with an acceptable cruising speed and a lot more comfort. Boat builders are already labelling them FPB's, so no doubt this term will stick.

Another builder Dickey Boats, labels them LRC which stands for 'Long Range Cruiser' and which I think is a more accurate description.
Dickey Boats Artnautica LRC 58
 With our love of sailing using just the wind for motive power and therefore keeping the use of fossil fuels to a minimum, we pride ourselves on being environmentally conscious in our cruising voyages locally, offshore, or even to circumnavigating the globe. For decades we have cast aspersions on those gas guzzling gin palaces chewing through vast amounts of diesel fuel just to go short distances, let alone offshore cruising, and using fuel tanks with the capacity of a small liner!

We are all set in our ways and many cruising sailors will look in horror at the concept of FPB's as a potential alternative to our lovely traditional sailing boats. Like the debate over renewable energy sources versus fossil fuels most of us would like to move faster in that direction, but resistance to change and cost always becomes a major factor in our decision making process. But as the cost margins narrow, more and more folks begin to look at the alternatives in closer detail. 
Dashew FPB 64
Such is happening now with the growing proliferation of these craft. Another segment of this arena for serious consideration is for older cruising sailors who in advancing years, definitely wish to keep up their cruising life, but find it more difficult to operate their boats and in addition would like a little more comfort. Here, the FPB concept fills this market admirably. 

Here are two boat builders that have entered this recreational boating field already:

Artnautica Yacht Design at and Circa Marine & Industrial at

Here is a video of the Artnautica 58 to whet your appetite and get cruisers of all ages thinking:

Dicky Boats build the Artnautica LRC58 and Circa Marine are building the Dashew range of boats.

At first look these craft certainly have a very radical appearance, but reading various reviews and studying the the whole concept, what these boats can do and where they can go, one begins to see the benefits. Any 60ft vessel that can handle virtually all sea conditions and cruise around 10knots at 1800rpm's, burning 6 - 7 litres per hour has got to be a consideration for a replacement vessel. Adding in the 'voyaging in comfort' factor, one begins to see where open ocean cruising may go in the future.

Images and videos courtesy Dickey Boats and Circa Marine    

You can read much more about cruising and the cruising lifestyle in my book 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise', downloadable from my website