|With the launch of their latest model, the 715, Revenger are actively seeking to attract a whole new set of potential RIB owners. Being the most affordable model yet built by the company, Hugo Montgomery-Swan seeks to determine how well this new stable mate compares to the likes of the company’s long-standing winner, the Revenger 29.|
when a company known for producing a high end product attempts to address the wider, less expensive end of the market, often the results can be a little disappointing. “You don’t get this, you don’t get that and such and such is produced by another source but it does carry the all-important ... badge”. You know the sort of thing I’m talking about - in reality, a watering down of quality in order to meet affordability.
There are normally three reasons why a company launches a ‘budget’ model. It might simply be the case of course that its fortunes necessitate expansion into the wider market in order for profitability to be sustained. On the other hand, it might identify an irresistible gap in the market which its board members determine, is just too lucrative to allow the competition to continue satisfying unchallenged any longer. Lastly, and though possibly more rare, a company’s motives might be perfectly noble - to the extent it may simply want more people to have the opportunity of owning and enjoying a highly exclusive product that previously was beyond them.
As to which option might have been the motivating force in this instance is unclear, but at the end of the day such matters are of little importance to the end user if the product really stacks up. We hope by the end of this review it will be clear as to whether the product of Revenger’s recent move to address the wider market, namely the all-new 715, really does continue the same high standards the other models in the range have become well known for. Additionally, we’ll also take a look at one of the company’s biggest selling high-end models, the Revenger 29, by way of comparison.
Bearing in mind a Revenger 29, coupled to a turbo charged 315hp Yanmar diesel with Bravo 3 outdrive, weighs in at approximately Ż60K, it would be fair to say such a RIB equates to an investment of some substance - both financially and in terms of the product itself. What then does one get for one’s money from a boat bearing the Revenger badge which comes in at the substantially lesser figure of just Ż11,995? In the first instance, this smidgen less than 12K, represents a package price which buys you all the seating and consoles pictured here plus such items as the RIB’s anchor locker, in-built 25 gallon aluminium fuel tank, moulded GRP self draining deck, under floor cable routing, stainless hardware, in fact, virtually all sea-going necessitates barring the engine. With an overall length of 7.15 metres, this new baby is very adequately powered by a moderate 150hp. That means further savings to you, both in terms of capital outlay as well as in fuel.
It’s important to point out that all the fixtures and fittings of the 715 are of genuine Revenger quality. The deck shell, the helm and seating consoles, the upholstery, the small amount of stainless work, and the 5-chambered hypalon tubes with their pressure release valves, are all the genuine Revenger article. Furthermore, I like to have a good look within the lockers and compartments, for it is here within a boat’s ‘nooks-n-crannies’, that one will sometimes find the best indications as to the rest of the boat’s build quality. How carefully and how professionally has the vessel’s wiring been completed? Are there any rough or unfinished GRP surfaces visible? How have the consoles been affixed to the deck and are their lockered interiors watertight? All such things speak volumes about the boat builder’s thoroughness and methods of manufacture and will reveal to an important extent the overall quality of your proud new purchase. In the case of the 715, I can confirm that all such areas give reassuring evidence of both manufacturing quality and sound design.
Switching from one to the other, I found that there was not a noticeable difference between the 715 and the 29 in terms of comfort, although the latter featured Revenger’s top of the range seating modules. Of course, there is more deck room aboard the larger model and one also is afforded a huge amount of watertight, underdeck storage space. Both models featured generously padded bench style seating but in some ways I preferred the 715’s driving position as the helm console allowed more leg and knee room that on the 29. The only aspect I didn’t like about the 715’s fitout was the swinging backrest to the helm seat. This was for the reason that it could not be locked into place, and therefore when standing taking the photography underway, it would move just at the moment when I needed to brace myself.
As regards internal layout, it’s true to say that because the 715 does not feature a forward seat to the front face of the helm console and is outboard powered at the transom, it amounts to being quite a roomy boat. Importantly, from a leisure users point of view, as in the case of the 29, the 715 possesses lots of dry stowage. Both boats afford a high degree of on-board security thanks to the manner in which the tubes are set high to the gunnels. One safety feature I would like to see integrated in to all Revenger’s models would be a standard grab rail to the leading edge of the windscreen. This would not only provide a useful grab point which I feel is lacking but also protect the occupants from injuring themselves on the screen in the instance of the boat coming to an abrupt and unexpected halt. The screen design to these boats however, was very effective at shielding one’s face from the wind.
As regards the actual matter of the 29 and 715s build, the hulls to both craft feature longitudinal stiffeners. Encapsulated in GRP, they run the full length of the craft supporting the bottom spray rails. The hull is designed around a transverse frame, also encapsulated in GRP and not only supports the hull’s longitudinals but also offers a wide base through which the deck loads are transferred. Like most other RIBs in this class, the use of Lloyd’s approved materials is used throughout the construction of all Revengers.
Performance & Handling
On then to the matter of the 715 and 29s performance and handling. Not surprisingly both these models are distinctly different although both share the same non-step hull design. Firstly, the 715 coupled to the 150hp E-Tec Evinrude outboard, which, while we are on the subject, is a lovely power-pack and well suited to a RIB of this type, has a very respectable best speed of 55mph and a top revving of just over 5000rpm with a 21inch pitch prop.
I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my 715 test. She handled impeccably, responding dutifully to both positive and negative trim and the changing seastate, which at times was quite lively, didn’t even ruffle her feathers. Running directly into the short, steep, chop encountered on the day, I was literally able to plant her nose to the surface of the water. Hence she ran absolutely level without the slightest hint of throwing her ‘head’ - very reassuring indeed - and furthermore this level attitude ensured excellent head-to-sea speed and a dry ride. What’s more, despite being trimmed right in, she still ran beautifully true thus ensuring no landings were ever experienced on the flat of the RIB’s chine.
Running downwind, with the leg trimmed out and a steady finger on the trim button, it was possible to ‘fine tune’ the boat’s performance to the last knot thanks to the design of the Don Shead hull. But not once, whilst ripping along at full tilt working the trim even beyond the optimum, did she become unstable. No chine walking, no erratic movements of any kind. The 715 is a real confidence giver, not least for the fact it is also very forgiving, therefore I would say it’s a boat perfectly suited to a whole range of driving experience and abilities.
This RIB gave one of the best rides I have experienced in its size category. It was, in a word, stunning. No boat of course will be totally suited to every application, hence the design of the 715 may not be the ultimate for all-weather use, but then again it has not been designed for it. Nevertheless, for the whole spectrum of offshore sports boating, the 715 is a real winner.
The 29, coupled to the Bravo Three 28inch four bladed s/s prop, this boat possessed a top speed of just over 45 knots. Both boats handled impeccably throughout all their high speed manoeuvres - continuing to grip the water at all times. With the turbo lag of the Yanmar, it took 25 seconds from standstill to top speed and 16 seconds from standstill to planing point. The ride was wholly stable right through the power band; in spite of its size, the 29, like the 715, was pleasingly responsive to the trim - thus affording the helmsman maximum control and performance at speed.
The hulls to all Revengers are based on the company’s successful hard boat hull of former years. Has this particular design shown itself to have adapted well to use as a RIB hull? Well, I think this review answers that question very satisfactorily.
The tapered tube design, though considered by some to be controversial, has served the Revenger brand well over the years. Let’s face it; it sets this breed of RIBs apart from much of the competition. But for a sports RIB this design works well both functionally and aesthetically in my view, furthermore, courtesy of Henshaw Inflatables, this aspect of a Revenger RIB’s anatomy displays yet more quality workmanship.
As for the 29, it’s clearly a RIB ideally particularly suited to offshore cruising - as I can testify to personally having witnessed its abilities first hand on Round Ireland two years ago. A quality craft indeed, not only in terms of its offshore strengths, but also in terms of its build quality which testifies to the fact that all aspects of its design have been thoroughly well executed.
Thumbs up then to both these craft supplied by Revenger for our test. As for the new addition? I would say the 715’s fortunes look most rosy - wouldn’t you?