On the Warpath

When a com­pet­i­tive sailor de­signs a ‘fast-cruis­ing’ mul­ti­hull, you can guar­an­tee his def­i­ni­tion of ‘leisurely sail­ing’ is prob­a­bly dif­fer­ent to ev­ery­one else’s. So it is with Apache.

Boating NZ - - Contents - BY HANA HEILKAMA

When a per­for­mance-ori­ented sailor opts to re­fur­bish a cata­ma­ran, chances are good the re­sult won’t wal­low in any­one’s wake.

Renowned New Zealand yacht de­signer Mur­ray Ross’ 16.6m per­for­mance cata­ma­ran was the per­fect ex­am­ple of this.

Built for speed while be­ing spa­cious and com­fort­able to live aboard, the boat (orig­i­nally named Isis) with bright red hulls was launched in 2004 and re­garded as a build ahead of her time, show­cas­ing nu­mer­ous at­tributes of a de­signer keenly in tune with high-pro­file rac­ing yachts of the day.

Four­teen years on, long-time friend and fel­low Whit­bread and Volvo Round-the-world and Amer­ica’s Cup sailor Erle Williams adopts ex­actly the same opin­ion of ‘cruis­ing’ with the need to have a boat that’s light, strong and easy to han­dle short­handed – not to men­tion the abil­ity to sim­ply sail fast.

As the new owner of the Ross-de­signed cata­ma­ran, Williams has just project-co­or­di­nated an ex­ten­sive six-month re-fit at Blue­fix Boat­works in Opua, fol­low­ing the boat’s re­turn to New Zealand from Fiji where it had sat at Vuda Ma­rina on the hard stand for some six years.

Now re­named Apache and sit­ting in her new home at the Bay of Is­lands Ma­rina, the boat stands out with clean rig­ging, sleek grey paint job, matt-black mast, and state-of-the-art elec­tron­ics and hard­ware.

As Williams ad­mits though, it’s taken a mam­moth amount of work to get to this point through a com­plete in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal re-fit.

The boat had pre­vi­ously com­peted in a hand­ful of Coastal Clas­sics and cruised through­out the is­lands with Mur­ray him­self at the helm, as well as be­ing run as a char­ter busi­ness.

But the last few years out of the wa­ter and weath­er­ing sev­eral hur­ri­canes had taken its toll on the boat, which meant there was much work to be done when she docked into Opua.

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