Able Apogee 50 Adventure Awaits
If you keep looking long enough...
Do we have a winner? I think so.
Last week I went down to Brunswick, GA for the survey of Renegade, an Able Apogee 50 which was extensively refit in 2018/2019 by its present owner. His plan had been to sail it around the world with his wife, but unfortunately that plan didn’t work out. It’s always a shame when big dreams melt away, but Jim happens to be both very nice and very philosophical, and was extremely generous with his time and knowledge with regard to the boat and its systems. He is also incredibly meticulous, which meant that the boat is in beautiful condition. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bilge that is so clean, dry and orderly. Or systems, spares and manuals that are so well organized. I keep saying there are some owners you don’t want to buy a boat from, and some you really, really do. And Jim is about as good as it gets.
Renegade was built in 1996 and if there is one thing I have learned regarding older boats with cored hulls (in this case balsa instead of foam), it is that careful investigation is needed. I had high hopes because from the first interaction with Jim I could tell that he takes care of any issues he discovers. Still, trust but verify, as Ronald Reagan advised. So I found myself a surveyor who is an expert in a technology—thermographic imaging—that can be used to better assess moisture if a moisture meter finds anything suspicious. I’ve been learning that moisture meters are not always definitive. And when in doubt, bring on the high tech. Thermographic imaging, which can detect the contrast in temperature between moisture and the surrounding fiberglass and kevlar layup, can be used to create a graphic image of where moisture might be, and even help pinpoint the source of any leaks. I mean, who wouldn’t love a surveyor who looks like this?
Anyhow, the survey went very smoothly, though there are some indications of moisture in the bow area that bear further investigation. The thermographic image of the starboard bow below shows moisture pooling low in the forefoot (by the black square of the jackstand), and coming from a holding tank (the dark area the surveyor thought might be the anchor chain) the original owner had installed.
The question is: how serious is this moisture, and what is the state of the core? Jim went through the same thing when he bought the boat, and a few core samples showed there was no excessive moisture, and that the core was in good shape.
We couldn’t take any core samples on the spot, so I’ll take care of that when I bring the boat back to Annapolis (where the 2018/2019 refit was done) for investigation. I am hopeful that samples will reveal that the core is still good (and tapping the hull indicated it probably remains intact). However, Jim agreed to hold some money in escrow in case repairs are needed. Apart from the moisture question mark, everything else in the survey looked just about perfect.
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In fact, Renegade is essentially a new boat in an old hull, and requires no urgent upgrades.
Some things I really like:
split headsail rig (though more like a solent rig than a true cutter rig)
carbon fiber bow sprit and top-down furling asymmetrical, which will make flying a spinnaker shorthanded easier
900 amp hours of lithium ion batteries
a wide open mechanical space and work area, with the engine and other major systems easily accessible
solar panels on the bimini, and plenty of room on the pilothouse to add more (plus pre-wiring for the easy installation of a Watt & Sea hydrogenerator)
Espar heater for cold weather climes
Something Don Street will really like: Jim keeps aboard a high capacity pump that can be deployed quickly and anywhere in a flooding boat.
Some things I might like, but only time will tell:
a boom-furled mainsail (I am a traditionalist and would prefer slab reefing, but everyone I know that has this system swears by its ease of use, and the benefits of being able to make constant mainsail sail area adjustments)
a washing machine (again, I would never think to install one, but everyone who has one…)
One thing that makes me a little nervous:
the number and complexity of all the systems (my general philosophy is KISS, because the more there is the more there is to break; plus, I’ll have to read A LOT of manuals)
This array of feelings is all perfectly normal for any boat you didn’t design or customize yourself. But one of the great pleasures in life for me is to learn and then adapt a sailboat to my own needs and tastes.
The sale closes next week and I am heading back down to Georgia to deliver the boat north to Annapolis around May 15. Can’t wait.
In Other News…
(More) Sustainable Sails: sailors like to think of our sport as relatively green. And it is in some ways. But all the materials in sailboats are not at all green or sustainable, and modern sail construction is just one example of an area where big improvements can be made. Happily, that is starting to happen:
As consumers, looking after your sails and making them last remains key. But for manufacturers, developing circular economy products should be the holy grail – using sustainably sourced products which can be recycled again to make raw materials. While Dacron, Dyneema, carbon fibre, aramid, Mylar films, chemicals and glues remain the mainstay of sailmaking, that seems a pipe dream. However, we understand, for example, that North Sails has a team working on circular cradle-to-grave recycling for the polyester versions of its 3Di sails that would enable the company to derive raw materials for new fabric from end-of-life sails.
Meanwhile, a couple of large lofts have forged ahead with looking for solutions for high standard laminate sails using greener tech. OneSails is producing sails which can be broken down for recycling after use, while Elvstrom has launched its EKKO range of laminate sails that are made entirely out of recycled materials. (Read more…)
Definitely worth keeping an eye on. And buying sails from any sailmaker that is committed to this goal.
Can We Wake Up?: I am not trying to be alarmist, just relaying the science as it comes in. It’s just that most news about climate and the planet IS alarming. And everywhere you look the evidence that humanity is sleepwalking into disaster is rapidly mounting. The latest? A scientific paper any sailor (actually, any human) should care about, indicating that climate change is threatening mass extinction in the oceans:
On Thursday they published “Avoiding Ocean Mass Extinction From Climate Warming” in Science. It is the latest research that crystallizes the powerful yet paralyzed moment in which humanity finds itself. The choices made today regarding greenhouse gas emissions stand to affect the very future of life on Earth, even though the worst impacts may still feel far away.
Under the high emissions scenario that the scientists modeled, in which pollution from the burning of fossil fuels continues to climb, warming would trigger ocean species loss by 2300 that was on par with the five mass extinctions in Earth’s past. The last of those wiped out the dinosaurs.
“It wasn’t an ‘Aha’ moment per se,” said Dr. Penn, a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton, recalling the first time he looked at a graph comparing those past extinctions with their grim forecast. “It was more of an ‘Oh my God’ moment.”
Sounds like we really, really should avoid that high emissions scenario. But that means things need to start changing now, and fast.
Nature Is As Nature Does: sometimes researchers come across strange business. The above definitely qualifies.
Darwin Award Candidate: never over-estimate the intelligence of the PWC crowd. Or the guilty pleasure that watching this might give you. Click on image to go to Instagram video (sound on for best effect)…
Next week: getting to know an Apogee 50, and then a delivery around Cape Hatteras.
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