Those of you who have been following the blog will know that FPB 64′ GREY WOLF, left New Zealand on 24 March 2014 and sailed 12,600 miles ‘the wrong way’ home to Guernsey in only 3 months. She weathered several storms, enjoyed the beauty of the South Pacific, transited the Panama Canal, came through the Bermuda Triangle and all with the aplomb and panache one would expect of this Dashew designed yacht.
In order to mark this momentous achievement, GREY WOLF came to Berthon to celebrate her journey and have a party with a few friends. Most of us, after that long a voyage, would require a fair amount of maintenance before meeting our public, however, GREY WOLF was ready to be dressed after only a quick wash down outside and a vacuum and polish internally.
At 1330 on Friday 15 August a select group gathered to meet her.
The afternoon kicked off with a presentation about FPBs in general and the thought and detail that goes into their design and construction.
Sarah Dashew started the proceedings relating some of the history of Dashew Offshore, a story she has been a part of her whole life. It was fascinating to hear the sailing history of the Dashew family and how this has culminated in the birth of the FPB series of yachts of which the FPB 83 WINDHORSE was the first. Her little sister GREY WOLF is merely following in her footsteps and in those of the other Dashew designs from Sundeer, to Deerfoot all of which put ocean voyaging very much in their stride. Above all, Dashew Offshore is a family affair and their yacht owners are part of that family.
We were fortunate to have Bruce Farrand the MD of Circa Marine at the presentation, who was with us from New Zealand to welcome GREY WOLF home.
After learning the background and technical information, guests were taken through the Berthon Shipyard to the marina to meet GREY WOLF in person. They were guided by Peter Watson, the owner and instigator of the voyage; the 4 Berthon apprentices who had each sailed on one leg of the journey, Jack Gunstone-Smith, Ben Pearcy, Nathan Smith and Dan Pilcher; the 2 friends of Peter’s who had helped crew the boat, Tony Jones, a marine architect and Jeff Holden, an engineer; as well as Tom Cunliffe, who had voyaged vicariously aboard GREY WOLF by helping the apprentices with their blog.
GREY WOLF sparkled and shone despite the slightly overcast weather. Her engine room is a sight to behold, with its orderliness, systems with redundancy for all major system and total logic and accessibility for all systems. The comfort of the main salon – or Great Room as FPB aficionados will know with its 360 degree vision, large owner’s cabin and good guest accommodation aft. The flybridge or matrix deck has great visibility and the barbeque on the aft deck is a boon for warm water sailing.
The guests returned to the boardroom and then it was the turn of the crew and in particular the apprentices to talk about their experiences on board.
Each apprentice talked about their leg of the voyage and the enthusiasm for the journey and love of GREY WOLF came through despite their bouts of seasickness, passing through un-forecast storms and delays due to packages not being delivered over Easter. They each said that the voyage had changed their life. Jack probably explained the change best when he said ‘before this trip I could not have got up in front of a group and done a presentation, now I can…’
Everyone adjourned to Shipyard House, where GREY WOLF was now docked, and enjoyed a glass of wine with canapés and a further view of GREY WOLF or a tour given by Berthon MD, Brian May, through the collection of historical marine artefacts and pictures from the shipyard & Lymington area.
At 1930 most guests departed and dinner was held for the crew during which Steve and Linda Dashew made an appearance via Skype to join in with the festivities and present everyone with certificates of accomplishment.
Peter Watson, owner of GREY WOLF shares a few stories about the trip, his crew, and thanks Steve and Linda for their commitment to fulfilling owners’ long distance blue water cruising in comfort, dreams!