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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