AGAPI 950 TEST REPORT
The Agapi 950 offers a new slant on the big RIB. Greg Copp samples the delights served up on this floating Scandinavian smorgasbord..
This Swedish yard might be relatively new to the game, having been around only a decade or so, but already Agapi have clocked up a few international awards. Their construction plant in Poland has 25 years' experience of produc1ng high-quality GRP craft, built for demanding use in Baltic waters. Consequently it was with no surprise that upon stepping aboard the 950, I found myself surrounded by high-quality fittings and mouldings, all topped by a carbon-fibre composite T-top. Without a shadow of a doubt, the devil is in the detail with this boat. Sitting in the helm seat you enjoy a superb view down to the bow. There is a clinical neatness about the Flexiteek-covered foredeck, embellished with inset guard rails, a flush-fitting deck hatch and a deck windlass running an internal anchor chain through a stem tube. Being typically Scandinavian in design, the guard rails are tall enough not to be a low-level trip hazard, while providing a stooped handhold if need be. They also serve the purpose of providing somewhere to hang fenders, which th is boat needs with its comparatively high forward topsides.
However, the conceptual design is really felt at the helm, where the combination of various components and materials reveals a level of detailing not often found in boats this size. The ergonomics are no less impressive, as the moment I plonked myself in the seat everything fell to hand as it should. The carbon dash is laid out with a 12in Simrad plotter under your line of sight, with the primary switches beneath. The engine display and the learn VHF sit next to the Simrad, thoughtfully complemented by a waterproof Scanstrut USB phone-charging port beneath.
The double seating arrangement has a flip-up bolster, which I put to good use standing to drive the boat, with my feet securely wedged against the forward bulkhead. Alternatively you can sit with the bolster down with your feet on the stainless foot rails. Agapi have done a good job in providing the helmsman with enough height to get a good view over the bow when seated - it's just that little bit better when you stand.
This boat has a big social dimension, which starts with the versatile aft Silvertex upholstered seating set-up. The seat back can move backwards and forwards to convert the seating into either a huge sun pad or a large double bed. Under the helm seat is located a drawer fridge, and above it a cleverly designed fold-out gas hob and sink. With the optional T-top, drop-down covers and its Eberspacher heater, this boat quickly turns its cockpit into extra living space. On top of the T-top sit twin compact spotlights, and a long 60W solar panel feeding the leisure batteries. This is capable of supplying the voltage drain of the fridge during daylight hours. Under the rear seat is a huge storage space in which sit four batteries, fuel filters, the Eberspacher, and bags of room for cruising supplies and water sports kit.
For many, the biggest appeal of this boat
is the below-decks accommodation. You actually get one moderate double berth in the forepeak and one wide single amidships. It has an electric sea toilet and a very stylish glass bowl sink in the heads compartment. It is hardly flybridge accommodation, but considering the convertible cockpit facilities, this boat has some serious RIB cruising potential.
Driving the Agapi 950
To be honest, I initially viewed this craft with a degree of scepticism. It is a luxury multipurpose RIB that aims to tick as many boxes as possible - for maximum family appeal. With a lively sports boat this sometimes blunts its edge, but that is certainly not the case with the Agapi 950.
The power-to-weight ratio with twin 300hp Yamaha F300s is spot on. The F300 has a great power delivery all the way across the
spectrum, and with twin engines the Agapi 950 can plane as low as 14 knots at 2ooorpm. Impressively it maintains a constant fuel burn rate, returning 2.3mpg all the way up to 32 knots at 3500rpm. The problem with this, as I found, is that unless it is shockingly rough, you will have problems being so restrained in driving it.
The Agapi hits 40 knots from a standstill in just over 10 seconds, and before you realise it, it's knocking on the door of 50 knots. The ride is deceptively smooth from its deep-vee nonstepped hull. Running at 40 knots into some short confused chop off Hurst Point was easy work for the 950, as was cutting through the steep wake of the photo boat nigh on flat-out. What I soon discovered is that keeping the engines trimmed in until one bar is showing on the gauge further improves the ride when running into any degree of seaway. This boat is deceptively fast, enhanced by its typically Scandinavian rock-solid build quality that utters not a single complaint. Probably the most exciting aspect of the 9S0's handling is how she steers. There is nothing better than a sports boat where somebody has bothered to set up and fine-tune the steering system - in this case fitted with electric power steering. You can easily throw her into one-handed, white-knuckle, full-power turns, and then power out without a hint of cavitation. She steers very quickly, and then centres herself again after you exit a turn without any degree of overreaction. She does heel into hard turns, but without the slightest hint of hull slide. Something I later noticed when looking at line diagrams of the hull is that the engines are actually mounted about 2ft aft of the transom, a trick that many powerboat racers use, courtesy of a stand-off bracket, to enhance performance.
Once south of the Needles we had bigger rolling seas to contend with, which, though far from rough, gave me a chance to feel how she drove in a following sea. Looking at the design of the boat, you can see she has quite a bit of forward buoyancy, which works well with the weather on the tail. With only a moderate amount of trim out on the engines, you can run fast downwind with the b.oat displaying no tendency to bury hernose. She is also very dry, helped by having tall forward topsides, and at no point did I need to use the two-speed wipers.
The Agapi 950 is a very exciting and easy boat to drive fast, with a capacity to deal with choppy conditions at speeds that
some similar boats would find painful. It is exceedingly well designed, inside and out, and from stem to stern. You get the impression that no stone has been left unturned, and no space wasted, especially below deck. It does not have a modest price tag, but then it is certainly not a modest boat, either in terms of build quality or features.
By Greg Copp, Powerboat & RIB.