- The boat responds well to the engine trim and gives a well-balanced ride.
- … the ride the Cayman’s hull gave was very acceptable and possessed a good degree of ‘seakindliness’.
- … while it’s a safe degree of power for a family-orientated boat, at the same time there is nothing ‘ploddy’ about its performance.
- With her white GRP superstructure and flawless, dark-grey, five-compartment Hypalon sponsons, this little vessel not only looks great but is also very functional in terms of colour choice.
Ranieri Cayman 19 Sport
HMS visits the delightful waters of the Salcombe estuary to test a smart, deep-vee-hulled Suzuki-powered 5.95m RIB – part of a family of Italian-built boats now being imported into the UK by family-run business Reddish Marine.
There have been success stories and short-lived disasters in the history annals of companies importing boats into the UK. So much depends not only on the suitability of the product to our northerly climate but also our native seas, which are subject to such niceties as strong tides, overfalls, sandbars and exposed headlands – challenges quite absent down on the Med. No matter where you go boating here in the UK, even if you keep it very coastal, the wave types you’ll encounter vary greatly – from the long, sweeping Atlantic swells found in the west through to the short chop of the Solent and steep waves encountered along the North Sea coast. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, a good number of Continental designs simply don’t translate well to the UK market and what many people are looking for in a boat here.
The Ranieri Cayman 19 Sport is a 5.95m vessel aimed primarily at the first- or second-time buyer seeking a versatile leisure RIB suited to family use. This model is one of several Ranieri craft, both RIBs and hard boats, now being imported exclusively into the UK by family-run business Reddish Marine of Salcombe.
Upon visiting the Reddish Marine facility, located in the heart of Salcombe’s bustling and attractive waterside Island Street, my first focus of interest was the design of the Ranieri hull. Generally speaking, our seas demand a soft-riding hull, and no matter how nice the interior of the craft may be, if a boat’s hull is unforgiving, even hard-riding, then the overall experience will always be marred. In the main, a deep-vee hull with not too many hard chines or spray rails works best, and in terms of RIB design too, if the hull possesses a sheer to its bow, then all to the good. This later attribute helps the vessel recover in a following sea and may even contribute to a dry ride as well. In the case of the Cayman 19, I was pleased to note that she looked promising in both these respects – something that in the past, at least, has been quite rare to find in Italian-designed craft.
So, with a purposeful look about her lines and a hull type that bodes well for our native waters, what does the interior of this particular Cayman offer? In terms of fit-out, the RIB’s design possesses some distinct Continental, ‘blue water’ influences, which include her rounded sponson ends, the upright nature of the helm console and the simple ‘box’ design of the two-man helm seat. Likewise, the padded seat cushions tend on most Med-styled boats – as in the case of the Cayman 19 – to be quite thin and hence offer less shock mitigation as a result. The reason for this would appear to be that most Mediterranean boating folk rarely go out when the seas are choppy, so it would seem that heavy/deep cushioning to the upholstered areas of a boat’s anatomy is viewed as being an unnecessary luxury in the main.
The complementary hardware, such as the stainless steel etc., on a lot of these more ‘blue water’-orientated craft can also be quite lightweight in construction, but here on the Cayman 19 it’s good to see that the stainless steel arch mast, grab rails, screen surround and cleats are all substantial in their make-up and very nicely finished too.
Fit-out and finish
This particular boat features cushioned sunlounging infills to its forepeak to complement the stern lazarette, which can accommodate up to three adults directly behind the helm seat. Legroom is a little on the reduced side here in this stern section, but then again, the manufacturers are trying to squeeze a lot of features into a relatively short vessel. There’s plenty of storage room aboard this craft, however, with each of the seating units offering a good degree of space for clothing, bags and other essentials for a day out on the water. The Cayman’s design also integrates a GRP bathing platform that extends either side of the outboard motor. For a family sports boat of this type it’s a useful feature and also affords good access to the outboard engine and its leg if, for example, you need to trim it up fully to free a fouled propeller. The quality of construction appears sound throughout, and the boat’s finish is professional and of high quality both on deck and within the interior of the lockers. Likewise, the electrics to the boat are well executed and the wiring is finished in a tidy fashion.
Returning to the all-important matter of the Cayman’s driving position, though, I have a few observations to make here. As already mentioned, the console is of an upright design with a high, wrap-around, tinted windscreen. The latter gives good protection if seated, but the fact is that the current helm seat is set quite low, so therefore one naturally wants to drive the boat from a standing position in order to get a clear view over the helm. The double bench helm seat is also set well back from the wheel/steering position, so this means one has to stretch for the wheel and throttle and this contributes further to the need to stand at anything but slow speeds. The wheel being located central to the console means that although the bench seat is designed for two persons, because the helmsman/driver is standing or sitting directly central to the seat, there is insufficient room on the seat for a second person/navigator. Hence, though designed as a two-person seat, in practice it becomes only really suitable for one, i.e. the driver.
As previously mentioned, the padding to all the seats aboard the boat, including the forward console infill/suicide seat, is very thin, and though the upholstery and stitching are well finished, this lack of shock mitigation and overall comfort is disappointing. On pointing this out to Reddish Marine, they did inform me that the spec for this is likely to be upgraded very soon, and even the design of the helm seat itself could well be changed to better reflect the expectations of the UK market.
With such items as navigation lights, stern arch, anchor fairlead, cleats, sun cushions and even an electric bilge pump, the fit-out and specification of the boat are very comprehensive, and save for adding your own choice of GPS and perhaps some mooring warps, the boat lives up to its title as a genuine ‘ready to go’ package. With her white GRP superstructure and flawless, dark-grey, five-compartment Hypalon sponsons, this little vessel not only looks great but is also very functional in terms of colour choice.
Handling and performance
Now to the all-important matter of the Cayman’s handling and performance. I like the fact that this boat is able to power along at a perfectly respectable 30-plus knots with two or three people up while only having a moderate amount of horsepower attached to her tail. The motor in question, a Suzuki 100hp, is of course a very polite, smooth-running, eco-friendly 4-stroke outboard, and quite frankly is as reliable and trouble-free as any of its modern automotive equivalents. Though the hull is rated up to 150hp, the 100hp is particularly well matched to this boat – delivering enough power to propel a sensible payload as well as being capable of delivering some sporty fun. So while it’s a safe degree of power for a family-orientated boat, at the same time there is nothing ‘ploddy’ about its performance.
The boat responds well to the engine trim and gives a well-balanced ride. I drove her hard both into a head sea wave pattern and then back through a following sea, whereupon she neither flew her head unduly nor showed any signs of dropping her nose into a trough. Additionally, the ride the Cayman’s hull gave was very acceptable and possessed a good degree of ‘seakindliness’. It ran level and true and gave a dry ride, and for the purpose for which it is intended, namely leisure coastal activities, it is my view that the Cat B Cayman 19 Sport would handle such in capable style. As the Cayman does not pretend to be a ‘roughty-toughty’, all-weather, 4×4-styled RIB, I haven’t judged her in this light. One criticism I will level, though, is with regard to the type of steering installed on the test boat. In a word, it was ‘horrid’. It allowed the wheel to be tugged continually to port, which not only made the business of helming the craft hard work, particularly when turning to starboard, but it also meant that if the wheel was ever released, the boat would descend into a spin at the drop of a hat! Since making this observation, Reddish have agreed to move the hydraulic steering out of the ‘options’ list and firmly into the ‘included’ section of the vessel’s spec sheet. This will undoubtedly transform the driving experience and the safety of the craft.
There is no doubt that this Italian-built Ranieri Cayman 19 Sport has the potential to be well suited to our home waters. With a few refinements and alterations, this could be a brand of imported RIB that has a real future ahead of it here in the UK – a make of craft capable of giving families and other leisure boaters a lot of fun on the water without the burden of a huge price tag. Furthermore, there is strong appeal, I think, in buying from an experienced and friendly family-run business, a team of people who are dedicated to looking after their customers and delivering a service that extends beyond just the initial purchase. And furthermore, if you’ve never been to Salcombe, then maybe this is a good excuse to go …
- Hull design and profile to bow
- Quality of stainless steel and the boat’s overall finish
- Degree of stowage
- Colour choice
- Quality of the tubes/sponsons
- Depth of cushioning to seats
- Design of helm seat
- Central wheel position
- Type of steering
- Model name: Ranieri Cayman 19 Sport
- LOA: 5.95m (6m) (19ʹ 6″)
- BOA: 2.50m (8ʹ 2″)
- Weight: 500kg
- CE category: B
- Max. HP: 150
- Max. payload: 10 people
- Hull deadrise: 50 degrees at the bow / 20 degrees at the stern
- Sponson material: Hypalon
- Fuel tank capacity: 105 litres
Price as tested with Suzuki 100hp
£31,995 (inc. VAT) (no trailer)
Company contact details
Reddish Marine Ltd