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FB 60 All-Weather

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FB32 - FB60
FB32 – FB60

A record-breaking motor launch for fast rescue.

Engineer Fabio Buzzi has designed and built in his FB Design establishment in Annone Brianza a vessel with innovative features exploiting his past experience in offshore racing and the technology of several patents he owns.

“Historia magistra vitae,” said Cicero. Fabio Buzzi has adopted this Latin expression and explains how his great experience as an offshore pilot and in fast motorboats generally taught him how to build boats. “The design of the boat is tested in the race: if it wins, the design works.” But paradoxically, he also underlines, without shame, how he sank four or five times and how this experience too was extremely useful.

The motor launch

The FB 60 All-weather came from a precise desire to produce an SAR (Search and Rescue) motor launch that was modern and efficacious, able to carry out rescues in any conditions. Efficacious means seaworthiness and speed, because the time it takes to reach a wreck exponentially increases the chances of successful rescue. The dimensions of the motor launch are significant: 18.2 m overall and 4.3 in the beam, and it can rescue 60 people but in real emergences can carry more than 100.

The primary characteristic demanded of a vessel of this kind is safety: the hull was built to be unsinkable thanks to Structural Foam technology patented by FB Design in 2006. The boat is made up of the moulding of the hull and the counter moulding of the floor, laminated with fibreglass and vinylester resin. Inside are a series of stringers that create independent watertight compartments which are filled with foam according to the patent in several points with 65 kg/m3 closed cell polyurethane which makes up the sandwich structure. This patent evolves and optimises an old idea of Boston Whaler which in the past distributed Buzzi boats in the American market. The shape of the hull is designed for great seaworthiness (it has been tested in conditions up to sea state seven) and has a deep V with a dihedral of about 21° at the stern. Beneath the turn of the bilge the hull has to spray rails on each side and a specially positioned transverse step. Forward the deep V reaches an angle of 55°, a kind of knife blade that cuts through the waves making for smooth sailing. This feature, which makes the hull look almost like a wave piercer, could be counter-productive in very high seas because it could dive down into the wave: this is why the bow has a particular “Fethry Duck” configuration. Buzzi gave it this name because it re-calls the beak of a duck which could be this Walt Disney character. Giving the forward part of the bow (an area which in ordinary conditions is out of the water) a big buoyancy reserve prevents it diving into the wave.

This shape has become over the years a distinctive element, a kind of stylistic feature of FB Design boats. The FB 60 is designed to be self righting; in the case of roll-over it automatically writes itself. And when heel reaches an angle of 50°, the engines switch off automatically.

On board, everything is made fast so that it doesn’t move: if the boat capsizes, any free object in the cabin could cause damage; a fire extinguisher could kill a man.

The engines

The FB 60 All-weather has two MTU diesel engines of 20 L each, giving 1620 hp. They are extremely reliable.

On July 12, 2016, with Buzzi at the helm, the FB 60 All-weather set a record for Monte Carlo-Venice (1170 nautical miles) with a time of 22 hours five minutes and 42 seconds, an average of 52.3 kn (about 97 km an hour). Thanks also to the lightweight of the engines, the boat has an excellent power/weight ratio. In the configuration used for the Monte Carlo-Venice record, it was 6-6,5 kg/hp.

The boat, which can be handled by a reduced crew of two, has a top speed of about 60 kn and a range of more than 300 nautical miles at 35 kn.

The transmission system with Zf Trimax 3500 surface propellers is fixed (trimmable, but not directional) and is integrated with the hull. Buzzi guarantees that it is efficient and reliable and, together with the rodders astern of the propellers, is an optimal configuration both the directional stability and for avoiding dangerous spin outs.

He will also produce a V-drive transmission system with submerged propellers if very high speeds are not required.

The rodders are fixed, but have a safety mechanism and if they strike the bottom or a floating body rather than sacrificing a life can swing up without suffering damage. Once the broken bolt is replaced they will work perfectly again.

The patented 3TAB system that trims the boat consists of two lateral trim tabs and a third, central one. The latter, fitted on an appendage below the hull, is placed well astern, giving it much more efficiency than the lateral tabs.

The system is automatically controlled by a GPS sensor that autonomously adjusts the angle of the trim tabs to give the best trim according to the speed of the boat. In particular conditions, for example with the wind on the bow, the trim tabs can be adjusted manually.

The trim tabs are controlled by electro-hydraulic actuators and the system, which is perfectly integrated into the hull, houses and protects the actuators inside the hull.

The FB 60 has a rubbing strake in very strong plastic material that runs right round the perimeter of the boat and protects it when coming alongside other vessels. A gangway at the bow makes it possible for people to come on board both from other vessels and from the water.

The deckhouse houses the command station. The windshield has a characteristic reversed shape that reduces reflections of the sun during the day but, above all, avoids reflections from instrumentation on the glass at night. The cabin has six Tecno G12 seats, another FB Design patent. These seats, with a structure in carbon, absorb vertical stress of up to 12 G while pounding the waves in high seas and offer various positions with occupants held tightly in by safety belts.

The instrumentation of the motor launch also includes an evolved system for night sailing and a vertical acceleration metre that records the number of stresses of more than 10 and 15 G so that technicians can evaluate the state of stress on the structures.

The sofa in the cabin is in fact a ready inflated foldable rescue inflatable. Some sections are pneumatic, others filled with polyurethane foam: divided into four separate floating elements, it can keep afloat 100 people.

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