Renegade are a new name in the RIB market, having been going, from a standing start, for just two years …
About the same time that the Renegade 10m was being planned, the all-new concept of the Caudwell drive unit was being unveiled to an unsuspecting public. It was met with mixed reactions, with many diehards saying it wouldn’t work. Other people, Mark among them, saw the design in a different light, and instead of likening it to an unsupported sterndrive, they prefer to see it more as an enclosed and inclined outboard, an approach which makes the whole concept more understandable to the likes of me. If Yamaha can get people to accept putting two V8 outboards on the back of a RIB, and the new Seven Marine can get people to play with a Chevy V8-based outboard of 550hp, then there should be little resistance to the Caudwell drive, with its vastly lighter powerhead and the weight split between either side of the transom. By inclining the unit the weight distribution is better balanced and is carried lower. So the new Renegade 10 m was penned from the outset to accept the Cauldwell Axis drive system.
It must have been a big decision to make, not only gambling on a new 10m RIB, but upping the stakes by designing the world’s first production boat to accept the all-new power plant too. This first boat has the marinised V6 turbocharged Nissan engine from the 350Z sports car, but there is an even more powerful version on its way and Mark has started to put together a London–Monte Carlo race entry using it. This will give you an idea of the level of commitment that is behind the Renegade brand. The greatest benefit of the decision, though, is that there is no competition; there simply is no other RIB with the Caudwell Axis drive system fitted from the design concept with the transom designed at 45 degrees especially for it. Other boats are running the Caudwell drive, but every one of them has been modified from a conventional upright transom.
The Renegade also benefits from the weight distribution figures, having been calculated with the Caudwell from the outset, which means the whole is a properly balanced rig – and doesn’t it show. When you first set eyes on the Renegade 10 you can see that it is aimed at the high end of the RIB market, with its clean, refined lines and uncompromised build quality. The sleek, rakish lines leave the viewer in no doubt as to its intent of providing refined, stylish speed over the water. We have come to associate long and low with fast and controlled, and so it is with the Renegade, thanks to the Adam Younger-designed hull which remains planted and unfussed even in some confused and testing water at speed.
The power available was only a single 350hp, but there is room to fit a pair of the more powerful, supercharged engines at 450hp apiece, which is the plan for the Monte Carlo race boat. The hull is up to the task, of that there is no doubt. It sports a simple and practical layout to provide good seating comfort while under way, and lounging areas for sunbathing. The console is very sporting, with the fly-by-wire carbon-fibre throttle and gear control taking centre stage. The clean, simplified dash panel doesn’t overpower – it fits within an elegant whole and suits the refined nature of the concept. The seating is well appointed and the stainless steel framework with polished welds adds to the sense of style while giving superb support. Around the forward end of the console is a high, raked and curved screen with an air dam along the top that pushes all the wind blast well clear of the forward positions. In the console there is space to fit a heads unit with basin, if required, and the seated headroom necessary. There is insufficient length to create berths, though, and it is more of a useful gear stowage space than a cabin.
Standing proud from between the seats is the curved, oval-section, stainless steel mast with cross trees which support the navigation lights. It is a bold statement and one that is used elsewhere in the performance RIB market to good effect, first being seen on the Hunton 9m. The foredeck is teak planked and provides a dedicated anchor and chain locker, with a separate dry locker with the hatch cover supported on two heavy-duty gas struts. If a customer wanted a fixed anchor in a hawse pipe with windlass and stainless steel protection plate, that is perfectly possible too.
Driving the Renegade was a revelation, especially through some big seas where the swells were building over the Needles ledge and standing up to 2m tall before breaking – we could run through at 35 knots and the boat didn’t flinch. Running harder had her airborne, but with poise as the boat is so well balanced that she landed softly and square in complete control. The feeling of security was total as the boat is quite heavy and so remains planted on course, the shape of the hull cutting a swathe through the turmoil over the ledge. Keeping the power on is definitely the best way to drive the boat – she can cope so well that easing back is unnecessary and only requires you to get her going again. Putting the helm over had her heeling nicely, and the shape of the long, raked bow still cut into the waves even when presented at an angle, removing that slamming that takes place on many boats when hitting waves in a turn, and no doubt the weight of the boat has a bearing on this with everything remaining stiff and rattle-free.
She really does cut a dash and the Caudwell drive deserves to be taken more seriously. The angled transom helps when going astern as the angle takes the edge off manoeuvring astern, a small matter but one that helps to make boating more pleasurable – and that, after all, is why we do it.