Another RIBEX show comes and goes with yet more new RIBs to test for RIB Magazine …
But at this year’s show there was one very special craft that any marine journalist would have loved to have got their hands on – the Technohull 999 Sea-DNA.
Greek RIB builders Technohull are well respected by the Greek boating public and have, for many years, produced and marketed a range of top-quality high-speed craft for the local market. I recall some years ago testing a variety of RIBs at the Athens RIB Show and how one in particular, a new 10 m craft fitted with a couple of Evinrude 250 hp outboards, impressed with its superb handling and top speed of 64 knots with seven people aboard. The craft was the Technohull 10.5 m designed by renowned British designer Adam Younger, but despite its outstanding abilities and sleek modern looks, nothing more was heard of the craft outside of Greece; that is until now.
Respected Belgium-based company Brugge Marine are one of Europe’s most adventurous sports boat and RIB dealers/distributors, and from time to time they have had some interesting/controversial craft passing through their hands. Some years ago they invited this magazine to test a dramatic-looking RIB with a radical multi-stepped hull, but sadly we came away thinking what a shame it was that the performance and handling of the craft did not live up to its dramatic appearance. At RIBEX this year Brugge Marine were once again showing an eye-catching RIB (for which they are northern Europe distributors) with a familiar look to it, and this was the latest Technohull 10.5 m fitted with twin Yamaha 350 hp outboards.
The original Technohull 999 in Greece looked stylish and went very well, but the craft on display at RIBEX was in another league. It was obvious that the manufacturers had upped their game in terms of presentation and finish and the boat at RIBEX looked absolutely stunning.
One of the clever features of the craft is the forward cabin arrangement. At first glance, from the front or side view, it is not obvious that there is a cabin as it is virtually flush with the tubes, but when looking from astern, a glass door set into the forward bulkhead suggests there is more to this Greek beauty than initially meets the eye. Obviously the accommodation it affords is only basic, but there is enough space to comfortably sleep two people, and the well-finished interior felt quite cosy. To port, leading up onto the roof of the cabin, are moulded-in steps, and the cabin top/raised bow section is covered in artificial teak, providing a good no-slip surface.
In keeping with its sports tourer image, the 999 has an attractive streamlined steering console fitted with a big windscreen, and this combination provided good protection for the crew. A ‘suicide’ seat is set into the gas-strut-assisted lift-up front console hatch, providing easy access to a large storage area, but, to my surprise, beneath the flat floor of the locker lurked a proper sea toilet – a clever use of space but a pain if kit has to be removed each time a crew member feels the call of nature! The entire dashboard area is attractively finished in carbon-fibre effect and is properly laid out, with the controls, steering and essential passenger grab rail falling naturally to hand. There is a useful lockable ‘glove’ compartment and an angled footrest for when one is seated, but the mounting of the compass low down where it is difficult to read seemed at odds with the rest of this ergonomically ‘spot-on’ cockpit area.
Four attractive wrap-around seat-cum-leaning posts provided superb support, and I liked the flip-up seat squabs for the helmsman and navigator; these squabs were particularly comfortable but were not fitted to the two leaning posts behind, the crew here having to put up with either standing, or balancing their derrière on a stubby squab! Evidently the more comfortable seat squabs can be specified for all four seats and I would strongly recommend this option.
Right aft is a comfortable wrap-around bench seat with a clever removable ‘walk-thru’ section to port; this facility provides easy access to the stern and to a useful spacious locker (formed by the deep rear-seat backrest) where access to fuel filters and other essential parts of the craft’s running gear are located. There is also sufficient space for fenders, ropes, boathooks etc to be stowed out of sight, plus an adjacent external hatch containing a freshwater shower, and I thought this area a clever use of space.
A stylish raked stainless steel ski-post-cum-light and the liberal use of teak on the decks and elsewhere provide the finishing touches to this great-looking RIB, but it was the two enormous Yamaha 350 hp 5.3-litre V8 outboards that showed that this craft was not just about its looks.
With 700 hp on a relatively light and aerodynamic shape, this craft was never going to be slow, and with one of the best stepped hulls on the market its potential to excite was eagerly anticipated by yours truly.
At low RPM the Yamahas are virtually silent, but as the revs increase they make a unique sound under acceleration; never noisy, they have a distinctive subdued V8 (V16!) beat and provide a relentless amount of thrust as the fly-by-wire throttles are pressed forward. Despite the aft sections appearing to be low in the water, due in part to the significant weight of the engines, the craft went from displacement to planing with no discernible raising of the bow and continued at the same attitude all the way up to its impressive top speed of 65 knots. With seven people aboard we actually saw 68 knots on the GPS but this was with the tide, and when running against it the speed dropped to 62 knots, hence the mean average being given as 65. Bearing in mind this was with seven people aboard, we would expect to be able to get close to Brugge Marine’s claim of 70 knots with just a couple of people on board.
Unlike some stepped-hull RIBs, the Technohull 999 Sea-DNA (the longest model name I know for a RIB) showed no signs of slipping, stepping out or any quirkiness whatsoever when cornering at speed or when heading into, away from or running across the waves.
To sum up: This is one of those rare breed of high-speed RIBs that is well made/finished and beautifully appointed, with impeccable manners, and an absolute joy to drive at any speed. When I first drove an early example in Greece many years ago I was seriously impressed by its amazingly reassuring handling and performance, but this latest version is so much better than that early model and it is equally at home as a practical family cruiser or a highly desirable superyacht tender – a brilliant outfit for those who have the budget to purchase and run such a craft, and a credit to the designer and builders for their efforts.
Knots Seconds RPM LPH
0 to 20 10.2 2400
0 to 30 12.2 3300
0 to 40 14.4 3800
0 to 50 35.0 5000
Top speed 65 6000 120
Technohull 999 Sea-DNA
Length Overal: 10.30 m
Beam Overal: 2.80 m
Length Internal: 9.30 m
Beam Internal: 1.75 m
Hull Length: 9.50 m
Hull Beam: 1.84 m
Hull: Deep V (2 vented steps)
Tube Diameter: 0.35-0.53 m
Fuel Capacity: 490 lt (inox)
Water Capacity: 175 lt
Outboard Engines: 250HP - 2x350HP
Displacement without Engines: 2200 kg
CE category: B
• Max Speed - Max HP(2x350HP): 71 knots
• Max Speed - Min HP(250HP): 46 knots
• Crusing speed: 45 knots
• Fuel Consumption: 1,6 - 2 lt /nm (Crusing speed) 45 knots
Brugge Marine Center NV
Tel. +32 (0)50/31.35.87
Fax: +32 (0)50/31.02.31