Whether you’re meeting John Vance of Jim Smith Boats for the first time or you’ve known him for many years, you soon realize he is not only a master craftsman but also a historian of the sport-fishing industry. Vance continues the heritage that has kept Jim Smith Boats at the top of its game for many years. That tradition continues with the launch of the new 86-foot Smith, Sapelo. With classic lines designed for speed, economy and comfort, Sapelo has a streamlined look that makes it seem as though it’s piercing through the water, even while sitting still.
You notice a great amount of space in the salon and galley area when you enter. There is a clear view from the salon door all the way into the galley dinette, which gives the salon the feeling of a great room. One of the most gratifying things about the boat for the owner of Sapelo is the level of fit and finish in the interior of the boat. The sofa and seating area sits along the port side of the salon, and all of the seated area comes properly equipped with charging stations for all your personal electronic devices. The star- board side of the salon is lined with cabinetry that is loaded with AV equipment. A 22-cubic-foot refrigerator on the port side leads into the counter, which then connects to the stove- top. This divides the salon and galley, with an entry on the starboard side. The galley was designed for ease of maneu- verability, with an island in the middle, and it has a settee that can seat up to eight people. The starboard side of the galley has a wet bar, ice machine and wine cooler. In the forward part of the galley, a door leads you into the pan- try area. The entire brow of the boat is the pantry, which has a 22-cubic-foot freezer in it, along with a full-size stackable washer and dryer.
The storage in the pantry can accommodate several months’ worth of dry goods, along with all the cooking utensils needed for everyday living. There also are four- drawer Sub-Zero freezers in it for more freezer capacity. Vance says the owner wanted self-sustainability and the ability to carry as many supplies as needed for his trips. The boat will serve as a mothership for all the diving, fishing and other excursions the owner enjoys.
Going down the companion- way on the starboard side, you find a full-beam master stateroom beneath the galley. The master has his-and-her closets and plenty of drawer space under the master berth. The master shower is situated in the middle, with his-and-her heads on either side. Continuing down the companionway, on the port side is the VIP stateroom. The high bow deck gives the staterooms a roomy feeling when you first walk in. The full-size bed has night- stands on either side, and the stateroom has its own shower and head. The starboard-side stateroom has two twin beds, with a third fold- down trundle bed. This stateroom also comes with its own head and shower.
At the bow, two V-berth staterooms divide the boat into halves, with two equal staterooms on both the port and starboard sides. Each room has two bunks, one above the other, and they share one common head and shower in the very forward part of the boat.
In the engine room, you first notice the immense amount of space. Even with twin 2,600 hp 16V 2000 M94 MTU Series 2000 diesels, there is more than enough room. Vance says having the galley over the master stateroom made
it necessary to raise the overall salon deck. This cre- ates an enormous amount of headroom in the engine room. With all this extra room, the extra space on the aft bulkhead is utilized by mounting the ice machine, all the cockpit refrigeration compressors, Acme isolator boosters, fuel filters and the hydraulic reservoir there. Both engines are equipped with hydraulic pumps to run the Quantum Marine bow thruster and the anchor windlass on the bow.
The boat’s batteries are mounted outboard of the engines. Two 33 kw Onan generators with sound shields come mounted on both sides of the pump- room door. Mounted on the aft bulkhead above the generators are two 1,600 gallon-per-day watermakers. Chilled-water systems sit on open shelves, and underneath that area are all the air-conditioning and raw-water pumps needed on the boat.
The bridge console is an island, with walk-around access to the front of the bridge on both sides. There is a teak step up just aft of the console, and three teak helm chairs with cushions mounted on the step. The console is laid out symmetrically, with two full-display engine monitors; four full-size Garmin touch screens, which are completely interfaced with one another; and a Garmin autopilot. Forward of the bridge console, there is full bench seating, with additional seating on both the port and starboard sides of the bridge. In the center of the bridge, there’s a cock- tail table that can be hinged to make it into a two-person lounge chair.
The cockpit is beautifully designed with a teak bulkhead and mezzanine, along with teak covering boards and a teak cockpit deck. The mezzanine deck has one refrigerated drink box that can be used as a freezer, along with storage on the port side of the mezzanine. On the starboard side of the mezzanine is a full-size tackle center with an Eskimo ice machine ice- dump box beneath it. There is one in-deck live-well and a fully insulated transom live-well, which can also double as a fish box.
When pulling away from the dock, Sapelo’s 14-inch bow thruster helps make her extremely maneuver- able in even the tightest situations. By the time the
engines turn 1,100 rpm, the boat is completely on plane as she glides across the water. When she gets to her cruising speed of 30 knots at 1,600 rpm, she is burning only 100 gallons per hour. And with a 3,500-gallon fuel capacity, that gives her over 30 hours of cruising and a range of almost 1,000 nautical miles. The owner’s extremely happy with the efficiency and range and where he can travel. Even with an overall length of 86 feet, at cruise speed she leans into her turns and is nimble and responsive to any steerage.