We take the amazing FPB64 "Grey Wolf" across the Channel and back to see what it's made of

It’s not often we come across an ominously

abandoned rowing skiff floating in the middle of the English Channel. There

again, it’s not often we cross the Channel – twice – as part and parcel of an

MBY boat test. But then the FPB64 Grey Wolf is no ordinary boat.

Recovering the rowing skiff in the Channel

As if to

prove the point, owner Peter Watson had just finished motoring his uber-tough,

battleship grey aluminium boat all the way back from its builder’s base in New

Zealand to Grey Wolf’s home in Guernsey, a journey of around 12,000 miles.

After that epic adventure, bobbing around the Solent for a few hours would have

been an insult to the FPB64’s abilities. So across the Channel and back it was.

The brainchild of legendary long distance

sailor Steve Dashew and various cohorts, FPB is an acronym for Functional Power

Boat.


The view out of the “Grand Room” is spectacular

Although in one sense that is an accurate description of its

brilliant individual component

parts, it is also an undeservedly unromantic name for a motorboat that got under

my skin like no other.

After we tied up at Berthon’s marina in Lymington after

the two day trip, I felt bereft when I stepped ashore, knowing that the

following day I would no longer be onboard Grey Wolf, hoovering up the miles in

an indestructible, unrelenting Terminator like way.

If the FPB64 were no more than an

unemotional mile-munching machine, it would have left me cold.


Launching the tender in Braye Harbour, Alderney

What gives the

FPB64 its heart is its Great Room – the huge deck saloon that encompasses the

enormous galley, the expansive seating and the full width pilothouse area.

All

arranged on a single convenient no-step level, it is surrounded by a

near-panoramic wall of 19mm thick toughened glass that provides a view out that

is only bettered by your greenhouse.

See Grey Wolf’s larger sister, FPB83, in action

As our photos show, we successfully

recovered the rowing skiff, much to the owner’s delight. However, there is so

much more to tell, so keep your eyes peeled for our full test feature in a

future issue.

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