FB Design patrol boats for Africa and Mediterranean
Italian boat builder FB Design has been busy supplying a range of its designs to clients in Africa and along the Mediterranean coasts.
This builder specialises in performance patrol boats which are all based on hull designs that have been developed from race boat experience. Designer Fabio Buzzi has built and raced boats that have won numerous world championships over the years and this experience is reflected in both the performance and reliability of the patrol boats that the company now builds.
FB Design is unique among patrol boat builders in that not only does the company design and build their boats but they are also responsible for the design and production of many of the fixtures and fittings in the boats. “We have found it difficult to get the right type of equipment that we need on the open market,” commented Fabio Buzzi, “So we have designed and make our own seats, flaps and even propulsion systems. This way we can combine performance and reliability”.
Two of the latest products from the yard have been supplied to Zanzibar. These are both based on the same FB38 Stab hull design with one of the boats equipped as a fire boat for the Zanzibar Fire Department and the other as a fast patrol boat for their Special Forces. The Stab designs feature an inflatable tube along the rear half of the hull, a concept that reduces weight and cost but which still performs like a RIB. The hulls are both fitted with the Structural Foam concept developed by FB Design that serves both to increase the rigidity of the hull and to make it unsinkable.
Both boats have the same power units, a pair of Yamaha 300hp gasoline outboards. On the heavier fireboat these give a speed of 53 knots at full load making this a fast response craft. This 12 metre boat is fitted with the forward wheelhouse to leave a clear aft deck where there are two Zodiac liferafts installed that allow for the rescue of large numbers in the event of a plane ditching or other major emergency. The 40hp gasoline fire pump is also installed here and this supplies water to a fire monitor on the foredeck as well as to portable hoses.
The second 12 metre for Zanzibar features a forward console with extended roof aft which provides shelter for the 10 dedicated seats, all provided with FB Design’s own suspension seating. Like the fireboat, this version has a range of 200 miles and the top speed is 55 knots when fully loaded. Both versions are fitted with Raymarine electronics. The dimensions of these two boats are designed so that they will fit into a standard 40 foot container with the tubes deflated to help facilitate transport.
CUSTOMS PATROL BOATS
Spain has been a regular customer for FB Design and this time the contract was for two high speed patrol boats for the Spanish Customs. These are designed for patrol duties along the Mediterranean in the region near the Straits of Gibraltar to prevent the smuggling of both illegal immigrants and prohibited goods.
These boats are based on the standard FB 39 RIB which is a tried and tested design. They are powered by three 300hp Yamaha outboards and this power package gives them a top speed of 60 knots with a full load. A new design of enclosed wheelhouse is large enough to have an enclosed toilet and a galley and seating for the four-man crew. This seating is the latest Tecnodom seating developed by FB Design. Another innovation is an air-conditioning system again developed by FB Design that is powered by a 20hp power-head from a Mercury outboard so that it can use a compatible fuel to the outboard motors. This is thought to be the only air-conditioning system that is gasoline powered.
These patrol boats are equipped with a full outfit of Raymarine electronics including a FLIR night vision camera. Railings in the fore part of the boats allow for boarding access over the bow.
The four boats supplied to the Turkish customs are a repeat order following 10 boat delivered previously. These are based on the FB43 design which is 13 metres long with a beam of 4 metres. This is a more restrained hull design compared with the normal FB Design concepts and its workboat heritage is emphasised by the forward sloping wheelhouse windows.
Instead of the Trimax surface drives that are a feature of most FB Design performance craft, these patrol boats feature a conventional shaft drive although the propellers operate in specially design tunnels. The power units are a pair of FPT diesels with each one producing 500hp and this gives the boats a speed of 35 knots.
The boats are fitted with the FB Design safety rudders that are designed to flip up in the event of striking debris or grounding in order to minimise damage. Another FB Design innovation incorporated into these boats is an automatic flap system whereby the flaps are automatically adjusted to maximise performance and planing capability according to the boat and engine speed.
Amongst the electronic systems fitted is a Starlight night vision system that has been intensively tested during long distance record breaking attempts. Other electronics include the radar and electronic charts by Furuno and a wide range of radio communications equipment. There is accommodation for the crew of six down below and included is a toilet and galley.
FB Design was initially involved in the high performance leisure sector which was based on its very successful racing boats. Some 10 years ago the decision was made to bring this experience to the military, para-military, patrol and SAR sectors and now FB Design is one of the foremost exponents based largely on their innovative approach to design.
By Dag Pike
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