Buffalo Nickel is an FPB 70, designed by Steve Dashew. Our last boat was also an FPB, a 64, and her adventures are chronicled in this blog as well. To watch a video about the FPB concept as it relates to design, click here. To learn about the FPB directly, click here.
Steve and Linda Dashew have been cruising together for over 40 years. After designing several legendary cruising sailboats, they finally came over to the dark side with Wind Horse, an 83 foot, long range motor yacht and prototype for the FPB series. It was at this point that we began following their blog, fascinated by the revolutionary design and the performance profile that emerged over 37,000 miles logged. She was safer, faster, leaner-and-meaner than a traditional trawler-style power boat, and also afforded a more comfortable ride whether wave piercing uphill or surfing happily in following seas.
Dashew partnered with builders Circa Marine and Industrial in New Zealand to bring Wind Horse’s more compact (68 feet) little sisters to fruition. Our first Buffalo Nickel, the 64, was the the seventh yacht in the series, out of 11 hulls. Our 70, in many ways the pinnacle in terms of expression of the FPB concept, is the first of two made before the Dashews retired. There will be no more built. We have devoted numerous blog posts to Buffalo Nickel the Elder’s various systems, spaces and design features. We will continue to intersperse these among our travel related posts with her younger sister. So follow along. Or, choose the category called ‘boat stuff’ at the bottom of the page to see those posts.
But in the meantime, what about the name? We are often asked why we chose Buffalo Nickel, which has no apparent connection to us, to FPB’s, to boats in general or the ocean? Something that will prove challenging for non-English speakers to either understand or pronounce? Hardly any non-Americans (or young Americans, for that matter) seem to know what a Buffalo Nickel is. And how many times before we get good and sick of spelling over the VHF radio “bravo-uniform-foxtrot-foxtrot-alpha-…” Probably not too many.
The Buffalo Nickel, also known as an Indian Head Nickel, was a five cent coin minted in the U.S. from 1913 to 1938. For more history and information about it, click here.
Just so you know, neither of us was ever a coin collector. But both of us, as children, were fascinated by this uniquely American-looking coin. We each remember getting a thrill on those rare occasions when one would find its way into our bus or candy-store change, and would set it aside so it wouldn’t be casually spent. Most coins have some long-dead head of state’s bust on them, or an unfamiliar mythological figure, maybe some imposing piece of architecture. But Buffalo Nickels were special. They were the wild west. Cowboys-and-Indians. Silver spurs and saloon doors. And somehow, despite our shame over our actual record as a nation with both the American bison and the Native American peoples, both symbols remain dear to us and represent a small slice of American culture.
As we focused on a name for our new aluminum-hulled FPB we gravitated toward metal themes. When Buffalo Nickel came up, it just hit both of us as fitting, and it stuck. We discovered that this nickel is a kind of totem for us, in addition to its uniqueness among coins paralleling the uniqueness of the FPB among boats.