|Engine||63hp Yamaha Jetdrive|
Avon have an enviable name when it comes to the manufacturing of smaller sports RIBs. Their little 3.45 sports tender with back to back bench seating and forward helm console, has been a great hit with the motor cruiser fraternity who were quick to recognize its good looks and suitability for being a davit-hung multifunctional craft. A similar thinking in terms of design, but coupled to PWC styling and waterjet technology, has now led to the launch of Avon’s new 3.46 Jet RIB.
Waterjets have obvious advantages over propellor driven craft, depending upon your requirements of course ( shallow water use, high manoeuverability, safety, etc.) Such qualities are well suited to a craft with a high leisure application.
Powered by a single 63hp Yamaha inboard engine and drive unit, the Jet RIB advances onto the plane quickly and once fully underway, is quoted as capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots. Quite fast enough in my opinion to please most tastes, bearing in mind the size of this RIB and one’s close altitude in relation to sea level! The motor on our test boat however tended to be somewhat on the noisy side, particularly in the mid power/RPM range, but then its after all only a 2 cylinder engine and quite an achievement in terms of power to weight ratio at that.
The jet’s reverse gate facility provides the helmsman with a good degree of handling at low speeds but with a waterjet one has to remember to employ the opposite lock when going astern. The electric start button and throttle trigger are conveniently located on the handlebars with the latter being of a sensible size and tension to make for comfortable and easy control of the craft.
It’s a pity in my opinion that she hadn’t been designed with a slightly deeper vee to her hull. The ride, though very stable, also lacked that extra degree of lift. This was partly accentuated by the jet propulsion not causing a typical propellor driven, bow up, stern down attitude. Nevertheless, I felt that the boat could be improved marginally if the hull had a greater deadrise to assist in making the ride just that little bit softer, plus more accentuated rails or chines to give greater lift when under way.
In terms of overall balance and trim, the 8.8 gallon (40 litre) in-console fuel tank ensures that in conjunction with the position of the helm, most weight is correctly centred amidships.
As regards handling, the Jet RIB’s handlebar helm control and throttle lever on the right grip suit the craft down to the ground. Though she won’t heel as if she had a set of wheels, there’s something about a pair of handlebars that definitely brings out the biker in you. It sure brought out the worst in me – but I confess I loved every minute of it!
Being somewhat of a mini people carrier, in addition to the single driver’s seat the RIB features two stern seating positions just ahead of a moulded unit which incorporates a small bathing platform. There is also a seat to the forward dry locker unit in the bow. Good webbing strap hand-holds are located along the hypalon sponsons which feature colour coordinated wear patches and straking.
In addition to these, rubber cleats are provided at four points for making fast etc. when coming alongside.
Besides the standard equipment, optional extras include a full davit lifting kit, davit strops for extended arm davits, passerelle davits and single arm davits. Also available is an overall cover, additional colour trim for the rubbing strake, a seat cushion for the bow locker and hull support chocks.
With clearly a lot to offer within its 3.46 metre LOA, this new addition to the Avon range is well placed to fulfill a substantial need for small tender RIBs and further act as an ambassador to an international market that continues to readily accept the many advantages of the rigid inflatable boat.
Avon Inflatables Ltd.
Tel. +44 (0) 1554 741155