FPB 78 #2 GREY WOLF II is an incredible explorer motor yacht, which we know well – having seen her take shape in the sheds at Circa Marine in New Zealand before commissioning in 2017. The first GREY WOLF was an FPB 64, purchased as the order for FPB 78#2 GREY WOLF II was signed, to give the owner some FPB experience. He took this task to its limits by making the long passage home to the Channel Islands from New Zealand in `little’ GREY WOLF. A very experienced yachtsman, his input is evident throughout GREY WOLF II with total focus on safety and endurance at sea.
GREY WOLF II is an astonishing explorer motor yacht designed by Dashew Offshore for serious passage making and she represents the very best of the qualities required for sustained operations in the harsh but beautiful world of high and low latitude cruising. She is part of their FPB (Functional Power Boat) Series. The first FPB 78 was designed by Steve and Linda Dashew for their personal use to allow crew and/or longer-term friends and family aboard. Two more of these yachts were built with GREY WOLF II’s sister for another very experienced yachtsmen, another FPB 64 owner. Although similar in appearance to other FPBs the FPB 78s are a step up the evolutionary ladder. GREY WOLF II is the only one of these three 78s built to MCA MGN 280 Cat ‘0’ and the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 ‘Yachts under 200 GT’. This classification means that GREY WOLF II has passed a MCA stability test in both damaged and undamaged state. This ensures that she is one of the safest boats in her class and in this size band of her type. It gives confidence to her owner and crew that she truly can cruise anywhere.
These three FPB 78s have proven the Dashew Offshore design concept by making a series of remarkable voyages look easy. 7,000 nautical miles from Fiji to Panama with a single fuel stop, whilst averaging 10 knots against prevailing winds and currents is one example. Working with Steve and Linda Dashew, the owner of GREY WOLF II and her sister FPB 78#3 evolved the specifications that would allow these extraordinary yachts to cruise far – fast, and safely.
GREY WOLF II’s MCA MGN 280 Category ‘0’, Maritime Labour Convention 2006 classicisation is in date today. It provides her with the ability to charter without limitation worldwide and is not a rule that most explorer yachts can achieve. Because of crewing requirements for MCA, she has a twin cabin forward of the owner’s stateroom plus heads compartment with sink and again the stern behind the engine room. This layout provides her with three guest cabins and two crew cabins. Her two hull sisters have now been altered to provide the same sort of set up as GREY WOLF II. This solution provides flexibility as well as the opportunity to carry crew and to have a fourth cabin for guests as you wish.
All FPB 78s have built in redundancy on most systems. GREY WOLF II is particularly heavily equipped to comply with MCA MGN 280 Cat ‘0’ and also to ensure that she met the world cruising role envisaged for her by her owner. FPB 78#1 crossed the Pacific backwards and the FPB 78#3 accompanied GREY WOLF II to Antarctica.
She has delivered in every way, making nonstop passages from New Zealand to New Caledonia, Fiji, French Polynesia and onward to Chile to Cape Horn and onto the Antarctic Peninsula twice returning home to Guernsey via Brazil and the Atlantic. She has since visited France, Scotland the Outer Hebrides.
While each of the FPB 78s have the same massive structural underpinnings and mechanical systems, each of them is unique. GREY WOLF II, like the other FPB78s, has been customised to suit the needs and preferences of her owners and is the only one built to cat ‘0’.
She has a unique Matrix Deck design that features a helm station with dual Stidd chairs (one with built in controls in the arms) that is designed to maintain external situational awareness while optimizing the functionality of modern electronics and monitoring systems.
In the aft part of the Matrix Deck there is a ‘U’ shaped table for guests to sit or eat, this also converts into watch bunk or double berth and a bench seat on the starboard side. There is a portable additional helm station, which can be operated from the port and starboard outside wing stations for close quarters manoeuvring. Controls include shift and throttle, joystick steering, bow thruster and stern thruster.
All this while enjoying an outside view of the world in comfort.
GREY WOLF II draws less than five feet / 1.8m so has immense versatility.
Skipper maintained; she is fully in commission, ready for all oceans. She is probably the most complete and competent explorer yacht of this size on the planet today. She has been designed for an adventurer who truly wants to explore the far reaches of earth’s oceans in comfort, safety and functionality. She is able to work internationally without the need for a safe port with her MCA Cat ‘0’ MCL classification.
Name to be retained by vendor.
Tour with Sue Grant, Owner Peter Watson and Harry Shutler
I commissioned the build of GREY WOLF II because I wanted a true bluewater explorer yacht that had the ability to go anywhere at any time in safety and comfort, that could also be a destination for family and friends. She has delivered 100% on these objectives and has been a wonderful platform for adventure and a great friend to me, my family and the guests that have joined us on our various voyages.
I have always enjoyed being at sea. I am a retired Merchant Navy Radio officer and before buying an FPB, I cruised extensively on my Botnia Targa 35 in local Channel Islands waters and up to Norway and the Baltic as well as making a trip to Greenland aboard a friend’s Rodman. When I started my search I had my offshore and Ocean Yachtmasters’ ticket, and in anticipation of GREY WOLF II I studied for and got my Master 200 MCA unlimited and 3000 ton Chief Mate ticket – so that I was ready for FPB cruising!
When I was looking for a new yacht, I researched the explorer market with the help of a close friend who is a Naval Architect and looked at all the possibilities – and there are some wonderful yachts out there. However, I felt that only the FPB 78 would provide the go anywhere requirement with fuel economy, range and the ability to comply with MCA MGN 280 Category ‘0’. GREY WOLF II also complies with the Maritime Labour Convention 2006. There were two reasons that it was important to me that the boat that I built complied with MCA MGN 280 Category ‘0’. The first was about safety and having a boat that was truly able to go anywhere without limit and as this rule allows for unlimited worldwide charter it set the standard I was looking for. I also wanted to have the potential for the yacht to do some charter work outside our programme and she has done this too with some success, although not as much as I originally thought as we have had too much fun cruising with her!
My FPB journey, which started with a new build project, expanded somewhat when I flew to Whangarei in North Island, New Zealand to see Circa Marine the builders of the FPB series. There was an FPB 64 called GREY WOLF in port for sale. It seemed to be a good idea to learn about my new 78 by trying out the 64, so I become the only FPB owner to buy two FPBs on the same day!
FPB 64 GREY WOLF was a fantastic test bed for bigger GREY WOLF II, and we had a lovely cruise in the stunning waters of New Zealand whilst I learned about driving an FPB. It was then that we took the decision that it would be good to have her in Europe and it was not a very big leap to make the decision to bring her back to her new home port of Guernsey in the Channel Islands on her own bottom at the start of the year and out of season. Of course, most people thought me mad, particularly designer Steve Dashew who was sure that little GREY WOLF would make it but was much less confident of the crew! Therefore, in 2014, we started our adventure and you can read all about it if you follow this link https://greywolf.berthoninternational.com/long-voyage-home/. Suffice to say, the boat behaved superbly, and the crew did not disgrace themselves. This trip taught me a lot about FPB and those lessons helped me with the ongoing build of GREY WOLF II. These were the importance of building in effective noise reduction at build, the fact that we needed a yacht with 3 double cabins with 2 further crew cabins on our new WOLF and also that a twin screw set up was a definite must.
In my ownership, GREY WOLF II has cruised far. She has taken us through the Pacific, to Chile and onto Antarctica. Then home to northern Europe with plentiful cruising (apart from a lengthy COVID pause like most bluewater yachts) to Scotland and many points between. During this cruising with family and friends, we have seen and experienced things that we will remember forever – land and seascapes and of course incredible wildlife. The standout cruises for us was our time cruising in company with GREY WOLF II’s sister FPB 78#2 IRON LADY II in Antarctica, a fascinating, exciting, challenging and at times frightening as our two small ships navigated through this beautiful, yet uncompromising place. This was truly an unforgettable cruise. We also loved our time in the Pacific – Tahiti in particular and cruising in New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
FPBs are built for endurance and to spend months away from support so access to systems for servicing and repair is excellent. Their bare metal exteriors mean that there is no varnishing or polishing of topsides – a pressure washer is the weapon of choice. GREY WOLF II’s MCA MGN 280 Category ‘0’ status means that she is inspected annually by a surveyor with a 5-year out of water survey which has recently taken place. This is a very good discipline as it means that all systems, safety gear and the fabric of the boat are regularly scrutinised. She is an easy boat to maintain but she is almost 86 feet and as with all boats of this size, you need to keep up with her. No boat of this size is cost free to maintain but we have found her cost friendly to maintain to the highest standards necessary for unlimited cruising. Her new owner will take delivery of her at that standard.
GREY WOLF II has been a glorious family yacht. We have had great family times, cruising together and she can be handled by me and one other. She offers a great platform for my family, some of whom are novice sailors but who enjoy her as a platform for living well. She has also proved a successful charter yacht. Whilst in Antarctica she was chartered to a couple of superyachts as an accommodation yacht for crew and she also handled most of the transfers using GREY WOLF II’s tenders for both yachts.
I have run GREY WOLF II with crew and with her layout this has worked well. During her build, there was much debate about the fitting of her stern thruster and whether it would offer the needed reliability. It does, and with her bow thruster and her good manners, myself and my son or another experienced hand are easily able to manage GREY WOLF II without crew for family cruises. The flexibility to have the accommodation space for crew when you wish, or to handle the boat without them has been a standout plus for me.
The GREY WOLF project, which began on that day when I became a two FPB owner, has been an extraordinary experience. With over 80,000 nautical FPB miles completed I can say without question, an FPB is the last word in go anywhere explorer yachts. We are putting GREY WOLF II onto the market with heavy hearts, as she has been an essential part of our family since her first plate was cut. However, time marches on and I no longer have the physical stamina for more strenuous adventures, which is why I built her, and the bucket list is completed. Now is the moment to hand her onto her new family and with her the endless possibilities to cruise anywhere on the planet. We have been yachting for over 45 years, starting with a runabout with outboard motors through a selection of cruising boats and finally to FPB 78 GREY WOLF II.
Our voyage to FPB started after reading Steve and Linda Dashew’s books about offshore cruising.
Our first FPB was perfect vehicle for us both to enjoy cruising at a totally new level. During our first big adventure a compression gale, on our way from New Zealand to Fiji and Tonga, threw up following seas of up to 20 feet. Little GREY WOLF and I surfed down the faces at speeds of up to 20 knots with zero broaching and all the while, we had 100% steering control. These conditions would have concerned me greatly aboard any of my previous boats.
Working closely with Steve and Linda Dashew, by now close friends, it was good to see the same massive structural underpinnings and similar mechanical systems that were so successful on our 64. The interior design is custom to us, and GREY WOLF II has her own personality, and we love her. Being the second of the series, we had the opportunity to learn from the first yacht and a lot of updates appear aboard GREY WOLF II as a result.
From launch to 2022, GREY WOLF II has steamed 34,000 extraordinary and life changing nautical miles in some of the most challenging waters on the planet.
Whoever buys GREY WOLF II will be buying the culmination of my yachting experience as well as that of Steve and Linda Dashew. We know that she will serve and look after her new owners as well as she has us. If you would like to read about sister boats the article that appeared in Motorboat & Yachting about the Antarctic cruise that GREY WOLF II and her sister FPB 78#3 took together, written by her skipper and my good friend Pete Rossin, please ask Berthon to provide this information to you.
You can also visit this link to see an interview with me about GREY WOLF II –