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, the very waters that birthed her in 2013.

And from there, in January of 2018, we sailed her onto the flooded deck of a Dockwise Yacht Transport vessel for passage to Ensenada, MX. We met her there and sailed her to the Point Loma Marina in San Diego, CA. Where we put our beloved Buffalo Nickel on the market for sale.

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.

12 thoughts on “Our Big News

  1. Hi Valerie and Stan,

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

  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!

  3. I just came across blog and can not get enough….. I have been looking for the last year at supposed (quite a few I would not trust) ocean crossing ships that me and the family can handle… Just wondering if you had any reservations about moving up a size and if the two of you would be comfortable on an even larger ship… It might seem a silly question but I just want to get an idea on how big a boat I should get… Large family and want all the space I can get but terrified of being overwhelmed…. Once again great blog and I am really liking the concept of your boat…

    1. Hi JP, and thanks!

      About the size question, on these particular boats we did not have any reservations about moving up in size. We will be as comfortable handling the 70 as we were the 64. I think the trade-offs, which are minor, come in other areas: namely, when cruising internationally, larger slips in marinas can be harder to come by, so as you increase your boat length you increase likelihood of running into a lack of berth availability when you want it, or haul out facilities, etc. Again these have been minor problems for us but something to keep in mind, in addition to the overall difference in price for a bigger boat, of course.

      95% of the time it’s just the two of us aboard, and you want to be realistic about how many staterooms you need. Unless we are talking about younger kids who are definitely traveling with you wherever you go, most people overestimate the number of people they want their boat to sleep, as any yacht broker will tell you. If not for the priority of allowing our two adult daughters to visit us simultaneously with spouses, which we know will only happen once or twice a year, we would have stuck with our 64. Both are designed for a couple cruising together, but worth noting that the second 70 is being built for a 64 owner who is single and sometimes single-hands! The 70 offers more latitude for either number of simultaneous guests, or ability to have a crew member aboard in addition to a guest (or a couple.)

  4. Thank you for the prompt and detailed response. Great points and the berth availability is something that I am constantly learning requires as much planning and thought as the other many details needed to make such trips.. I admit that my excitement sometimes clouds my rational thought when wanting to get away!! A common affliction I am sure…. Once again thanks for the response and can not wait to read more on the 70…

  5. with steve and linda being retired and the fpb-program closed, could you give us an update on the progress of your 70 …?

    1. Great timing, as our 70 just splashed a couple of days ago! You must have been a fly on our wall. I have been waiting to post pics, because Circa has had everything so covered up that they wouldn’t have been very meaningful. But now that most of the protective coverings have come off, updating this poor blog has shot very high on my list. I promise an update (the first of many) on our 70 within a couple of days.

      1. buzz, buzz, lol — I’ve been so immersed in the fpb-program since Wind Horse splashed that my biological clock can almost feel the timing of the launches. Speaking of great timing, your and Stan’s going for the first-70, which has turned out to be the next-to-last fpb, is spectacular in itself.

        It’s wonderful that she’s finally launched — after almost-2yrs of aching to get back to cruising, “soon” is none too soon, yes?! I’m so excited to see how she looks! And i can sure appreciate your anticipation to experience cruising on this new baby — like a 64 perfected, with its extra solar-panels and 2nd engine and stateroom.

        After the sea trials are completed, what’s on your list for destinations…?

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