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Comparing XPM-78 Yacht Vanguard vs FPB-70 Yacht

Updated: Apr 17

Vanguard was recently featured in a friend's Video following his trip to NavalYachts. It was a popular video attracting many comments, including a few comparing Vanguard to the successful series for FPB designed by Steve and Linda Dashew and built Circa Marine. Rather than becoming anecdotal at this point, what are the factual similarities and differences between our explorer yacht Vanguard and FPB-70?

FPB 70 - acknowledgement to Circa Marine

Firstly though, there is a confession to make, the owners of the explorer yacht Vanguard (us!) initially wanted an FPB 70 (think Buffalo Nickel). A competent and rugged explorer yacht design capable of being handled by a minimum owner/crew of 2. The only problem is that they will never make another to that design. So rather than roll belly up and opt for the typical US "Down East", we decided to build our own.

XPM-78 under construction at Naval Yachts

XPM - eXtreme Passage Maker future-proof (possibly diesel-electric) portfolio (78, 85)
FPB - Functional Power Boat has been described as a paradigm shift for motor yachting

Enter designers like Nigel Irens or Dennis Harjama, proponents of high "Length to Bean" ratio, efficient ocean-going yacht designs. Of these, Dennis of Artnautica is the most active in the space having plans from 58, 65, 68, and, latterly, 85 feet LOA. Comprehensive data on FPB-70 is sparse. With some digging, these are the comparisons that we can find and the differences we have highlighted.

Vanguard vs FPB-70 Yacht: The Hulls

To look firstly at the hull itself. FPB-70 yacht is the same length (LOA) but slightly wider and has a 20% deeper draft. XPM-78 design uses electrical and hybrid power, and that concept demands the lowest hydrodynamic resistance to achieve any practical range. Vanguard sacrifices internal volume to satisfy this, and the seakeeping is yet to be proven. Suffice it to say; Vanguard is a slightly skinnier hull for the same length. Her forefoot is slightly more pronounced to facilitate mounting the bow thruster forward in the narrower beam. Additionally a small bulwark has been fitted for aesthetics and to help keep the foredeck dry(er). She will carry the same crew and has approximately the same internal configuration, just a little less space in comparison but still large by most standards. Notable, though, is that both designs target MCA Category (0) operating envelope; they will both run in the arctic and antarctic regions in the summer months. Stability is perhaps more a marketing figure than something of practical importance. In theory Vanguard has no angle of vanishing stability and FPB-70 has 140 deg in its specification. Both angles are well past a knock-flat and if you ever find the vessel in that position then rollback may be the least of your worries. Let us agree they are both unusually stable and resistant to flooding. Let us also hope the motions are not too stiff then leave it at that. (I remember once carrying a bulk cargo of finished steel and unable to ballast the wing tanks, horrible motion that went on for weeks.)