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Marine Resources 2019 - Leaderboard

Ribco – Lunch in 10 minutes, or less!

by John Curnow, Editor, Powerboat-World.com 20 Aug 16:30 PDT
Heaps of fun, and stepped hull of Ribco R28s very evident in this image. © John Cunrow

Now that might sound exactly like a claim from a fast food outlet. It’s not meant to, for the only thing that’s fast here is the boat. Damn fast, actually. As in 60 knots plus, and even beyond… I think the ‘beyond’ is the scary part. So where to next? Beyond, well, ummmmmm, we’ll come back to that point. Suffice to say, it’s a really good thing that training is included in the purchase price.

This all stemmed from talking with Oliver Workman of Ribco Australia about my experience in the aft facing observer seat of a little Labsports 21, whilst we were doing speeds approaching 100mph. (And many thanks to Nizpro Marine for putting that sort of smile on my dial!) So Oliver said why then don’t we get you doing 60 knots facing forward? Sounded suspiciously like a plan, and thus we have the pictures you see here from Sydney Harbour. Mission accomplished, for Oliver got another big grin out of me.

As for the headline, well its genesis is from the fact that you would collect your guests from a pier somewhere, seat them down, remind them that anything extraneous should now be secured in a closed bag, put said bag immediately in a locker, and then hold on. For the next thing you know, you would all be seated at your favourite waterside restaurant for lunch to contemplate just exactly what had transpired. Is teleportation for real? Did Samantha Stephens just wiggle her nose, and now here you are? Yep. Beam me up, Scottie.

The judicious and prudent skipper would have studied the charts beforehand, and known each and every distance to waypoints, so that you could navigate by stopwatch. There would be no time to look at screens, for you have your eyes out of the boat, checking for ferries, flotsam in the water, as well as tiny little Optimists popping out from the moorings, and calling Starboard on you. Your guests will think it was a transcendental experience. You will know better.

The Mercury Racing 400R that powered our Ribco R28s certainly had oodles of power, and impressed me with just how quiet it was. Dare I say it, but it was almost Honda like in that regard. Being a smaller capacity mill, you could say that it just did not have torque for the kinds of cornering that this hull seems to just love and encourage, nee command out of you.

At AUD200k it is an ultra compelling argument, as this super-high performance end of the RIB segment fulfils pleasure craft, large yacht tender, watersports tow craft, chase boat, media/VIP observation vessel, day boat, and offshore express kinds of roles. That’s pretty versatile, and effectively also redefining the whole expression, and the very acronym itself, too.

Now it is easy to talk about speed, because you can put a number on it. What is more challenging is to describe to you the ride, the inherent seaworthiness that instils an air of safety, and the fun quotient. What I found most inspiring was the way you certainly knew how smartly you were travelling, but more how the nasty little chop and confused wakes around the Harbour did not perturb our Ribco R28s one bit.

Yes you want to slow down where necessary, avoid running abeam to the heinous stuff at full noise, and with a bow like this, watch it going down the mine if you were running back in over a bar. Note however, that this is all standard stuff for any high-speed vessel; it is just that you have to remember just how fast you are talking about with one of these. At just around a metric tonne unladen, the R28s is also very efficiently using its horsepower.

• 20 knots from 3000RPM @ 27l/hr
• 36 knots from 4000RPM @ 53.5l/hr – this is your main cruising speed
• 50 knots from 5000RPM @ 115l/hr
• 55 knots from 6000RPM @ 135l/hr
• 60 knots from 6500RPM is like 170l/hr WOT

You have 350 litres on board overall. 250 out aft and 100 midships, so your effective range for this kind of craft can be anything from 150-200nm. It is more than enough for all you will want to do with this craft, as you are never going to be at full noise for extended periods.

That’s all great to know, but it is the surefootedness that you will keep coming back to as the thing you most highly regard with one of these vessels. The ride at stupendous speeds is admirable and safe, which really is something you want to acknowledge because of the aforementioned speed. Clearly the twin stepped hull works well in both a straight line, and again, look at the pics and you’ll see that also applies to during severe turn in.

Ribco have been in Australia for just over a year, but the Greek manufacturer has been building and refining their craft since 1994. As the applications, and therefore market expands for the high-end RIB, they have delivered models into 44 feet. No longer are they considered an adjunct, these vessels are now heavily sought after as stand alone craft. As the price tags have gone on to match what were considered their ‘normal’ rivals, the level of fit out and overall finish has continued to advance to support the inexorable slide upwards.

You can option your boat up even further, with items like additional power, and suspension seating, but the core strengths of brilliant design stemming from real-world applications, to strong, quality build techniques and materials is what shines through. Luxurious items like serious hi-fi, and Hypalon tubes as standard, then heads, showers, overnight cabins on larger models and of course, nearly anything else you can think of to add in to your own boat.

Ribco’s range is as diverse as its quality is self-evident. At the top end is the Venom 44. Notably, the one here in Australia is in 2D survey with a 10-person + 2-crew capacity, and is fitted with three 350hp Mercury Verado engines for 62knots WOT. With triple 400Rs its 68, and triple 450s is also possible to be like a 73 knot vessel. Interestingly, the Venom 44 can also run at full speed with the tubes completely deflated. Might actually check that one out. Won’t look good, but could prove a point!

And then there are refined touches like teak decking, two large sleeping cabins, a large centre console concealing a spacious toilet and shower space, a wet bar and fridge, a Nespresso coffee machine and a top of the line JL audio system. You’ll also appreciate a self-draining deck to keep the bilge dry, seven-bulkhead hull construction, so it can withstand force eight winds, and waves of up to four metres, even if you don’t spot all that first up. It is an AUD750k machine, but you can have this particular one for more like $550k. There’s a new Venom 39 in under that, and she’ll be more like AUD625k.

The Seafarer 36 has been Ribco’s most popular model, and for good reason. She has just been replaced by an all-new model that is around 600mm wider, and probably is more akin to the Venoms overall. The new one is about AUD470k, whereas the older one is $380k, all inclusive of her twin 350hp Mercury Verados and 55 knot top speed, mind you.

She has utilised her space cleverly, placing items under seats and in lockers. The wet bar with sink and fridge is installed behind the helm. Inside the huge centre console hides the spacious toilet and shower space, with a holding tank for the marine head. She even has a sleeping cabin for two out aft, a Nespresso machine for the morning (or is that afternoon), and a top of the line JL audio system. The hand laid, full teak decking, handmade tubes and electric windless with remote control are all standard, so you shan’t go for wanting, me thinks.

Next is the soon to be seen, and also all-new, Seafarer 33, which at AUD340k will be a very attractive proposition. We’ll ask for a go on that as soon as we can, but if that sounds pretty good to you, then you would not be alone. To see any of them, or to make further enquiries, go to Ribco

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