This 1989 Blackfin 29 Custom Combi, “Split Decision”, is highly customized with many upgrades. This iconic classic sportfish has been completely re-imagined by her owner, one of the most experienced and skilled “Artisans” of yacht optimization in the industry, Mike Gable of Gable Enterprises. The upgraded Split Decision has been completely “Gable-ized” with a focus on maximized storage, efficiency, low maintenance, ease of cleaning and open layout throughout. As one of the foremost experts in custom fiberglass fabrication and repair, with a history of world-class racing sailboat optimizations, her owner successfully reduced the Blackfin 29’s weight from over 12,200lbs down to 9,920lbs dry. The streamlined shafts and under body, carbon fiber struts, fiberglass oversized trim tabs, and class 1 DQX 4 blade nibral props help the upgraded boat cruise 21kts at 3000 rpms with a WOT near 29kts and a range of over 350nm.
BRAND NEW RADAR DOME AND BRAND NEW ADR SEARCH LIGHT AND REMOTE SWITCH!
The subject vessel was stripped to the bare bones, re-manufactured and upgraded to contemporary standards. The targeted elimination of weight was achieved through numerous major modifications including re-engineering the interior layout, replacing all interior plywood with weight saving Poplite, remanufacturing the entire cockpit sole with a removable component weighing in at only 73 lbs. and remanufacturing the swim platform with a new component weighing 47 lbs. Further modifications were done to reduce drag through the water including stepped down shafts, redesigned and custom fabricated shaft struts, covers on the prop shaft exit slots, custom machined through hull fittings and a bottom finish that is smoother than most other hull topsides. These enhancements resulted in the intended positive effect on both fuel economy and increased range allowing Split Decision to cruise through the length of the Bahamian chain without having to carry an extra drum of fuel on deck. Additional upgrades to this respected design were made to bring the interior layout, the systems and the components to today’s standards.
The Blackfin 29, a popular model
built in fiberglass from production molds was introduced in 1983 and remained
in production through 1998. It was also
built in a limited production run by Salt Shaker Marine from 2001 through
2003. The Blackfin 29 was described as
“hands down the most expensive sportfisher around” in an article in Sea
Magazine back in 1997. Carl Herndon who
had worked at Bertram Yachts saw both Bertram and Hatteras, the two leaders in
saltwater sport fishing boats abandoning the smaller end of the market to build
larger boats. He came in to fill the void by founding Blackfin and producing
high quality sport fishing boats in twenty foot plus and thirty foot plus size
ranges. The Blackfin 29 was successful
in taking over from the iconic Bertram 31 as is evidenced by the success and
longevity of this model. Even David
Pascoe, noted marine surveyor, author and boat reviewing curmudgeon gave the
Blackfin 29 his highest marks.
Split Decision is an example of this Blackfin 29 that is owned
by, has been re-manufactured by and has been upgraded by Mike Gable, owner and
operator of Gable Enterprises, one of the premier custom fiberglass fabricating,
repair and manufacturing operations in the Tampa Bay area. Mr. Gable and Gable Enterprises have been
involved in boat design, construction and repair since 1980 with an
overabundance of notable projects on their list of accomplishments and an enviable
list of clients. A check of the Gable
Enterprises website shows projects that range from resin infused skateboards to
world class racing sailboats. Mr. Gable
has a high degree of expertise in state-of-the-art composites including carbon
fiber, Kevlar, S-glass, E-glass, vacuum bagging, resin infusion and has
employed these methods, materials, techniques and skills in both construction
and repair. This is mentioned in this
report to help explain why a 1989 Blackfin could and would have such a high
level of custom and costly modifications.
As his personal boat it has been done to an extreme for his own benefit
and as an example of his capabilities to maintain and bolster his reputation in
the marine community. He has also used
his connections in the marine industry to obtain custom parts and equipment
used during the modification and outfitting process. Mr. Gable reports over $162,000.00 in
expenditures for material and subcontract labor were spent on this project as
of May 2019 and with his own labor factored in at a modest $40.00 per hour the
total project cost would go to $310,000.00.
Added custom 35 gallon Live well with live well glass, led lighting, and bait cutting station from the hinged lids.
Original cockpit design required midship drains and was a bad design. Entire cockpit sole was removed and redesigned to drain aft through large scuppers. This also allowed for the removal of a lot of unnecessary panels and wood trim resulting in a significant weight savings, easier cleaning, and a much neater aesthetic that is more modern.
Remove aft IGU splash in cockpit (75 plus lb weight savings plus tons more room now), sand and fair out exposed laminate inside prime and paint to finish with Awlgrip Snow White. Installed and changed floor height and slope of floor to improve drainage.
New upgraded cored 2 piece removable floor. Old floor weight 195 lbs, new floor weight weight with larger sealed hatches 85 lbs.
The original Blackfin reverse diamond nonskid and wood trim was hard to maintain. They removed ALL of the wood, diamond nonskid and went to a user friendly Chevy White Awlgrip satin smooth deck non-skid. This ads to the overall modernization of this classic Sportfish.
Original hull was very stiff. The refit team focused on reducing the weight and lowering the center of gravity to improve the pitch, roll, and sway characteristics.
By updating materials and moving needed gear down closer/lower to waterline improved these features. They trimmed weight from tower, removed cockpit aluminum headliner, lowered deck lights, etc.