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Our Big News

It’s not new-news, because it’s a choice we made last spring, while we were aboard our boat in Thailand. But the decision did cause us to jettison our plan of making our way to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, via Japan’s inland sea followed by a passage to the Aleutians. Instead, we turned about, scooted down the west coast of Malaysia, past Singapore, eastward through Indonesia, down the Queensland coast against the Trades, and across the Tasman Sea back to Whangarei, New Zealand.

Where we put our beloved Buffalo Nickel on the market for sale in the very waters that birthed her in 2013.

Are we giving up cruising? Not by a long shot. (Come on, we had some of you going there for a second, admit it!) We’ve merely decided to trade up.

Our FPB 64 has been the perfect boat for long range cruising under power for us as a couple, with friends occasionally joining us aboard for visits or to help out as crew on some of our passages. Steve Dashew’s newly designed FPB 70, on the other hand, has all that… plus a second guest stateroom and a second guest head. Our two adult daughters and their plus-ones have long lamented that it isn’t feasible for them to spend time with us aboard the boat simultaneously. That problem will be solved. Happy Kids —> Happy Buffaloes.

The 70 has several other super cool features that we are excited about and will delve into on this blog in more detail as construction progresses. But by themselves, those other features would not have been sufficient to convince us to undertake the substantial added expense, not to mention the long enforced cruising hiatus, that this new FPB is costing us. (We’re not getting any younger, you know!)

Because of our positive experience purchasing and then cruising aboard our 64, and our tremendous confidence in Steve Dashew as designer and Circa Marine as builder, we have agreed to something we swore we’d never do: be hull number one of a new boat. A brief summary of that experience to date would be, “so far, so good!”

We are working with yacht interior designer Sylvia Bolton here in Seattle to help us define our personal input into the interior spaces of the finished boat. She gave us a hand with some décor aboard our first boat, a Selene trawler, so we already knew she’d be easy to work with and a tremendous asset.



Our new Buffalo calf (yeah, we’re keeping the name) is due to splash around the end of this year. In the meantime, we are enjoying the urban experience that our metropolitan Seattle loft offers us, and grappling weekly with 1001 design and systems-related decisions. We are taking the occasional flight to New Zealand to attend to both boats. We feel fortunate that we get to weigh in on choices that will affect us when we cruise aboard this yacht. I truly think we are going to end up with exactly the boat we want out of this process, and with only a few months to go, the momentum is beginning to build.


Computer-guided laser cutting the aluminum plate for our hull at Circa Marine.


Thickness of our hull against Stan’s thumb.


This week’s version of our interior, near the pointy end.


More details to follow about the design and build process. Until then, we will leave you with some numbers and pics of our return passage from Phuket, Thailand to Whangarei, NZ, which included our longest continuous leg underway to date. We did the whole thing solo, with only the two of us aboard. We decided to stop to clear in and then out of Indonesia, just in case we needed to make landfall during the nearly 10-day passage through (we didn’t.) We had to wait for a weather window in Australia to cross the Tasman Sea comfortably, and coming down the Queensland coast in brisk noserly winds was an annoying bash. But outside of that, conditions were calm and we were in our passage groove keeping on keeping on, 4 hours on/4 hours off watch, and both getting plenty of sleep.

Total time taken: 47 days

Days spent underway: 27

Engine hours: 653

Total nautical miles: 6,203

Which makes our average speed: 9.5 knots

Longest continuous leg underway: 230 hours (9.5 days)

Fuel Burn: EPIC FAIL in data recording! We scribbled these numbers in our log book, which is… in a box…. in a shipping container we are using as a storage shed… in New Zealand. If it helps, we are confident that this number was between 5 and 5.5 US gallons per hour. That includes intermittent generator use, and active fin stabilizers engaged while underway.


Indonesia, a calm morning on the Banda Sea.


Indonesia, on the Java Sea.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Carl E. #

    Hi Valerie and Stan,

    Congratulations on your new floating abode to be. Looking forward to your build/design posts!

    May 8, 2017
  2. Great photos! “I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat!” Big Grin.
    We are also involved in a hull #1 adventure with Great Harbour Boats. Much smaller than yours (about 39 ft LOA), but nerve-wracking nonetheless. Fortunately, the water trial went great. Love, love, love following your exotic adventures.Thx for the update!

    May 8, 2017
    • Oh, so you’re already to the sea trial stage? Congratulations! (I’m jealous…)

      May 9, 2017
  3. Michele Goebel #

    So very exciting! Hope we can hope aboard some day!

    Michele Goebel 765-543-8026


    May 8, 2017

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