|Price inc VAT||£12,950|
|incl. 90hp for first 12 - 7 already sold|
|Subsequent RIBS will cost||£14,450 inc vat|
|The Tohatsu 6 One Design represents a breakthrough in terms of commitment to RIB building and an opportunity for an entire one-design race class to be made readily available and affordable to a whole cross-section of the RIB buying public. This, as the brochure might say, is a "first time" chance to get your hands on a sea going vessel not only built to sensibly cruise offshore, but one that's able to offer, potentially, the most exciting racing money can buy. |
At £12,950 including VAT and engine, it's worthy of consideration I think you'll agree. Firstly then, let's get down to the matter of specification and what exactly you get for your money.
A punchy Tohatsu 90hp ELPTO provides the power on the stern end and represents a `no nonsense' strongly made 2 stroke engine well suited for offshore purposes. It may not represent the absolute latest in outboard technology, but it is nonetheless a tried and tested breed which comes at a very keen price. Plus, coupled to this economical degree of fuel burning horsepower, the savings in capital outlay become very attractive indeed and make a lot of sense.
A 35 gallon stainless steel tank sited under deck gives the craft a theoretical cruising range of somewhere in the order of 200 miles. Having this item located below deck keeps the central point of gravity as low as possible thus assisting in the stability of the boat when underway.
A stern light and antenna mast, a move away from the traditional A-frame, is quite sufficient for most needs and is an appropriate design well suited to the rigours of racing. Hydraulic steering is a real bonus for a boat in this price category. Good positive helming and no feedback by means of this system make the driving of the Tohatsu 6 a pleasure. This isn't the only unexpected extra you'll find on this boat either, the addition of an automatic electric bilge pump to the transom well coupled to her `elephant trunk' scuppers, makes good sense also.
Full engine instrumentation to the face of the console is fitted as standard, plus other items like footstraps and the inclusion of a compass, indicate Tohatsu Marine possess a responsible attitude in selling a boat they claim is ready for sea.
The larger items on the RIB include the main helm console and the main crew seating for 4. The console, like the rest of the boat, is finished to a high degree and its design is a good one, not only respecting space and functional use, but also from an aesthetic point of view. I do view the screen to its upper section to be a danger in its present form though raked aft and stylish, it equires its edging to be protected by means of some form of stainless rail or other device. Several accidents have occurred in the past when a boat has stuffed its nose into a heavy sea, at speed, throwing the navigator towards the screen and injuring his face in the process.
An extending arm on the starboard side of the console to accommodate the engine controls would be of benefit, especially when in racing or cruising mode when the positioning of the throttle needs to be just so.
The 4 side by side seats set aft of the helm point are all of the same design. You will note from their deep squabs and traditional jockey styling that these are continuing a popular theme. Though practical, I do think their styling could be improved with the aim of providing better support to rest is a bit square with a small surface area. The buffeting one takes whilst racing demands good back supports.
An extra seat comes in the form of an inset bench unit to the front face of the helm console. Even though it lacks an upholstered backrest it still remains comfortable, though the adding of a pair of stainless grab handles would be prudent!
A good amount of internal space is afforded the boat by means of its relatively open and useful foredeck. Bearing in mind this RIB will need to be multi-functional, to the extent it could be raced, cruised, or used as a first time family boat, space in all these situations is going to be a valuable commodity.
The Tohatsu 6 features a deep-vee hull with full length spray rails which wrap upward in relation to the high sheer of the boat's bow. This hull design enables the RIB to have a striking turn of speed along with good handling characteristics that suggest it would perform well in adverse conditions. She certainly gave a very comfortable ride on the day of test, her tubes rising clear of the water once up on the plane but remaining at a suitable distance to provide lateral stability when required. Concerning the tubes to this RIB, it's worth mentioning they are of Henshaw origin, well made and attractively tapered, they also come in a variety of colours.
My criticism regarding the performance of the prototype was centred around her overall balance, to the extent she had to climb dramatically to get up onto the plane. The prototype's console, seats, and underdeck fuel tank, all were located well aft thus causing this pronounced attitude at transitional speed. Since our initial findings, I understand Tohatsu have adjusted the positioning of these fundamental items, thus resolving this problem.
With two crew up on the day of test in the Solent, we clocked 54mph exactly, swinging a standard aluminium 21" pitch prop. Plenty of performance then to satisfy the needs of those wishing to enter BIBOA's Formula 3 race classes. At RIBex'98, it is planned that the first of the One Design Races will be run, therefore allowing you the opportunity of seeing these new craft live and in action. Further to that, like all the ther boats on the water at the show, you'll be able to test drive the new Tohatsu 6 and judge for yourself whether our summing up has been a fair appraisal of what we consider to be a very exciting addition to the UK RIB market. See you there!
Tel. +44 (0) 1590 670787