- This is a boat that will have you yearning for rough weather.
- It is as tough as it looks, and for its size, keenly priced.
- The Hybrid is not designed as a tight-turning sports boat, but she is far from lethargic in this area …
- She is pretty quick off the mark and clearly has been propped perfectly.
- I found it hard to get the boat to slam, though much of this was down to her solid construction making light work of the angry sea.
Humber’s new 10.5m Hybrid is the latest in a 50-year line of tough no-nonsense RIBs that this Hull-based yard has become renowned for. Greg Copp reports on a craft that relishes big seas …
As its robust black appearance suggests, the new 10.5m Hybrid from Humber is aimed at the security and armed forces, though no doubt some hard-core RIB jockeys will be drawn to her. Unlike some commercial designs that have a top-heavy appearance, this version of the Hybrid, with its moderate open aluminium cabin, has achieved a sensible balance between crew protection and open deck space.
As its name suggests, the Hybrid is in effect a form of crossbreed between a hard boat and a RIB. The sponsons sit quite a bit higher than normal, and though they do not give the appearance of an ungainly add-on, they represent a contrast to Humber’s long-standing Attaque range. Like all Humbers, the Hybrid is built on the principle of low weight and high strength. The GRP construction is hand-laid, and the sponsons are heavy-duty 1600gm Hypalon. The tubing has no less than nine inflation chambers, all fitted with overinflation valves and thick wear patches, and a virtually bulletproof double-D fendering wraps around the exterior. Internally, a 4in rubbing strake protects the inside of the tubes.
Though the boat does look slightly naked compared to some contemporaries, due to the lack of raised deck lockers, under-seat storage and topside GRP mouldings, its hybrid design does in fact afford vast hidden storage. An aft aluminium heavy-duty hatch opens to a huge rear under-deck storage cavity, while forward a second aluminium hatch provides even more space. This is because the deck is higher than on a conventional RIB, which means more space below. This may not be ideal for storing the everyday cruising junk that gets taken out for a day trip, but this is not a family dayboat. It is built for big weather far offshore, often with an ever-cascading torrent of water running into the large-capacity Ventura draining system at the transom, so any storage needs to be secure and dry. All mooring is courtesy of some serious Samson posts, one in the bow and one on each stern quarter, so there are no tube-tugging warps.
The aluminium T-top-like cabin works very well with this boat. It is just the right width and length to provide four crewmembers with the protection they need, while enabling plenty of access and visibility. You could argue that this boat could have a larger cabin appendage, which it can be offered with, but this set-up works well. The forward weather protection is 100%, and being aluminium, though more costly than a GRP top, it is light. It also has fold-down zip-up side panels, enabling it to be fully enclosed, and the essential luxury of twin drinks holders. On the forward external face you have a life raft housing under the windscreen. The screen itself is kept clear by some large fast-acting wipers. The helm is designed on the principle of having the navigation electronics, engine displays and controls on the dash, with the primary switches and fuses overhead. It works well as it provides an uncluttered dashboard with space for a large plotter, in this case a 12in Raymarine Axiom Pro. The test boat was fitted with a Raymarine Quantum 2 Q24D radar, which along with the VHF radio, plotter and NMEA 2000 interface made up the £7,743 electronics package. Seating comes from Scot, in the form of four extra-wide shock-mitigating S2J seats with 150mm of travel. I particularly liked the side wings as they keep you where you need to be on a lively day. They are adjustable for height, and being mounted on deck runners you can set them up for perfect helm ergonomics.
Fitted with two 440L stainless steel fuel tanks, this boat has a formidable range of around 240 miles with a 20% reserve from the twin DF300s. They are also supplied with emergency shut-off valves, and a changeover facility should one tank be contaminated. Engine options are varied, though the minimum recommended is a single 300hp motor. Humber have actually tested this boat with one engine raised and disengaged and the other running, which produced 30 knots, so a single central engine would easily exceed this, though it would always be working quite hard. You could fit twin Yamaha F425s, though the ‘recommended’ maximum is twin Suzuki DF350s, which would give a good balance of power to weight. Most people will opt for twin 300s, as quite apart from the cost saving, it offers enough grunt for this big RIB. With Mercury’s new 300hp 4.6L V8 starting to become available, this would also be a good choice, as its low-down power delivery is hard to beat, as is its low weight. The smallest twin rig suitable would be twin 200hp engines, though nobody has considered this yet.
Driving the Hybrid
The Hybrid is a big beamy RIB, and I was expecting a big beamy ride, but that was not the case. She is pretty quick off the mark and clearly has been propped perfectly. She has Humber’s new multi-chine deep-vee hull, which is an efficient design, giving plenty of dynamic lift with little evidence in the transition from displacement to planing. The boat runs relentlessly up to 46 knots, and then takes a bit of squeezing and a touch of trimming to get the last 3 knots. She sits perfectly composed at wide-open throttle, which, considering her length and relative lack of engine weight on the transom, is to be expected. I initially judged her to be a 45-knot boat due to her size, but she is not overweight, and importantly she is sharp enough to deal with the sea states for which she is designed.
Andy of Humber was keen to take the Hybrid out for a serious sea trial from Seawork, so we left the flat sea of Southampton Water and set off for the Needles. It was a rapid passage, but once past Hurst Castle things started to get interesting. The sea heaped up past the Needles lighthouse to a point where the 6m photo boat was nearly unworkable as a photo platform. Life on the Hybrid was a different kettle of fish, as wide though she is, her forward entry is sharp, and the 22-degree transom deadrise angle of her hull makes light work of rough weather. The old adage that there is no substitute for hull length certainly runs true with the 10.4m Hybrid, as she just bridges the troughs, and what hits her forward sections is barely felt. I found it hard to get the boat to slam, though much of this was down to her solid construction making light work of the angry sea. Her tubes, being mounted high, do not provide that security that RIBs benefit from when turning in rough water, but she does not need it as her beam makes her unusually composed. One thing I will say is that hard turns into sharp chop can produce some chine slap, which all things considered is unavoidable. The response from her HyDrive 211H bullhorn hydraulic steering system, built as it is for big-horsepower commercial applications, is sufficiently powerful to make driving this big boat fun. The Hybrid is not designed as a tight-turning sports boat, but she is far from lethargic in this area, and being very stable you quickly gain the confidence to push her hard.
This is a boat that will have you yearning for rough weather. It is also a boat with some serious cruising legs, and consequently will appeal to the commercial and military sectors, as many of its smaller siblings have done in the past. It can be had in various variations, including passenger RIB and as a cabin RIB with a heads compartment. It is as tough as it looks, and for its size, keenly priced. It may not have a wet bar and a sun pad, but I suspect that anyone who buys this boat will be too busy nailing the throttles into a head sea to consider such irrelevant luxuries.
What we thought
- Responsive steering for a 10.4m boat
- Soft-riding hull, especially considering its beam
- Good performance
- Great seats
- Solid build quality
- Practicality/safety on deck
- You have to pay extra for that all-essential black hull
Fuel figures for current test boat with twin 300hp Suzuki DF300s
RPM Speed (knots) LPH Fuel consumption (NMPG)
1500 10.5 12.8 3.7
2000 12.0 18.2 3.0
2500 14.6 30 2.2
3000 21.0 42 2.3
3500 26.0 52 2.3
4000 32.7 72 2.1
4500 37.5 97 1.6
5000 42.0 118 1.6
5500 45.0 146 1.4
6000 (WOT) 49.1 187 1.2
- LOA:10.4m (34ft 04in)
- Beam: 3.15m (10ft 05in)
- Transom deadrise angle: 22 degrees
- Power options: From single 300hp outboard to twin 425hp outboards
- Fuel capacity: 880 litres (96 gallons)
- RCD category: B
- Test engines: Twin 300hp Suzuki F300s
- 49.1 knots (2-way average), sea conditions moderate, crew 3, 200 litres of fuel
- 0–30 knots: 8 seconds
- 0–40 knots: 14 seconds
As tested: £152,000 (inc. VAT)
Hull HU2 8AH