- A good set of features in a nicely styled package… What’s not to like?
- … running the face of the rollers showed no hint of yawing or the bow digging in.
- Instead of seeking the last half a knot, the hull gives a soft ride in the chop and adequate performance…
With RIBs being so popular, especially from other Italian boatbuilders, Ranieri have been a long time bringing one out. But has the wait been worthwhile? Simon Everett gives us his thoughts.
Anybody who has even the slightest interest in boating, including those new to the scene, can’t fail to have noticed the upsurge of RIBs in the marine leisure industry. So for a company with the market placement of Ranieri not to have any boats in that popular sector seems strange. But the Ranieri family do not do things by halves – when they decide to produce a model, or in this case a range of models, they want to do it right, which is why the Ranieri RIBs were kind of late on the scene. However, given the state of the marine industry over the first few years of the second decade of this century, maybe it was fortunate timing. The new Cayman RIBs have been deliberately aimed at the core of the RIB demand and come in at highly attractive prices.
The Cayman 23s is the longest of the three hulls on offer at the moment, with 19 and 21 feet as alternatives with similar styling and layout. Together they form the basis for extending the size range offered, especially in the Mediterranean, where anything short of 8 metres is considered small. We Brits have always been less size conscious – even back in the days of Nelson our naval fleet consisted of smaller, more manoeuvrable craft that proved their worth.
Following on the tradition of the Ranieri family sports boats, the Cayman 23s has a sporty rather than a racing-style hull. Designed to give a soft and predictable ride, the deadrise angles chosen are quite aggressive, but these are tempered by a broader beam and larger-diameter tubes to ensure solid stability at rest and secure handling at speed. For the family boater, these attributes go a long way to ensuring that youngsters and other less confident passengers enjoy their time on the boat.
Powered by Suzuki’s new 200AP outboard, the 23s achieved over 46 knots in a rolling swell and the south-westerly breeze against the falling tide at the entrance to Salcombe harbour. The engine was brand new, with less than 3 hours on the clock, so it should spin more freely once run in. For most people, the DF150 will make a perfect complement to the boat, with enough power for the easy-planing hull to give a good turn of speed with a useful saving on the initial purchase cost. If a bit more load-carrying capability or extra speed is required, then you might like to meet halfway with the DF175, which should still give 44 knots and excellent fuel economy. The 200hp turned the 23s into a frisky sports boat with rapid acceleration that will satisfy all but the thirstiest of petrol heads.
With more than a nod to the Mediterranean lifestyle, the bimini covers the entire aft cockpit, throwing everything from the bench seat to the console into stylish shade and turning the boat into a floating patio. The good thing about the bimini is that it is well enough supported to leave up when running, within reason.
The aft backrest has three positions: bolt upright, relaxed and laid out. With the seat back, laid flat, there is a ready-made changing platform. The access to and from the water is unobstructed on the port side, with the stainless A-frame high enough to provide walk-through headroom and good handholds to make the transition easier.
The forward sun area is similar to many others, with the use of the entire foredeck once filled in. The attraction is obvious. What is less in your face are the two upright mouldings, with a choice of consoles for the 23 hull in either the slimline Sports or chunkier Sports Touring version, where the console volume is increased forwards to house a possible heads compartment with a lifting door for access.
The Suzuki 200AP is the newest version of Suzuki’s lean-burn range, with fly-by-wire control and their new security system that causes total immobilisation through the sophisticated and well-thought-out electronic keyless fob. Once the engine is activated by the fob coming within 1 metre of the sensor, the engine remains ‘live’, so there is no possibility of being stranded offshore through the loss of the fob. To secure the boat, one simply presses a button like locking a car. Once shut down, it is impossible to re-energise the engine without the fob, so a stolen engine is useless other than for breaking for parts, because the entire engine control system needs to be replaced. Upon purchase, numerous fobs can be supplied, which is ideal for fleet operations where crew need access to different boats. They can all be synched to run off the same set of fobs. It is quite nifty when you see it action.
The graphite-coloured tube goes well with the black engine to create a visual effect from afar. Closer inspection reveals flexiteek decking throughout and stylish stainless cleats of Ranieri’s own design, embossed with the name. One graces either side of the bow step with its recessed anchor warp run to the chain locker tucked away right in the stem. This arrangement prevents any chance of tripping over a mooring line if boarding over the bow. There are similar cleats astern, again outboard and clear of the boarding steps aft.
It would seem that most practical situations have been given due consideration and acted upon. That goes for the performance and handling too. Instead of seeking the last half a knot, the hull gives a soft ride in the chop and adequate performance, but more importantly, early planing and economic cruising. For the leisure boater with family and friends aboard, those are far more useful attributes than sheer speed.
We did have some rolling swell to test her mettle, and found some white tops too. I have to say that while she will play the airborne game quite happily if you want to, taking the conditions at a speed to suit provided a very confident and safe ride. The bow profile is unusual in that it is a departure from the normal steep rake and looks as though it would cause a bit of bow steer, but in reality, running the face of the rollers showed no hint of yawing or the bow digging in. The wide collar carried all the way forward keeps her head up, although I am sure an inattentive helm could get water over the bow – but it would need some effort, or lack of it, to do so.
While the boat coped with the rough stuff pretty well, that leaning post seat isn’t quite wide enough to take four buttocks, and the room at the console is a little cosy. The helm position is well protected, and provided you fight for your space on the leaning post it is a nice position to steer from. I prefer to stand at the wheel in any case, so this arrangement suits me, but I can’t help feeling that just another 10cm on the width of the seat module would have been beneficial, despite making the walkway narrower in the process. Extending the upholstered section to the very edges might be sufficient – that would be a case of trial and error, but wouldn’t be difficult.
The overall effect of the Ranieri is positive, though – good manners at sea, a healthy turn of speed with economical cruising, and family-orientated layout with excellent over-stern access to the water. A good set of features in a nicely styled package … What’s not to like?
- LOA: 7.10m
- Beam overall: 2.85m
- Tube diameter: 0.60m
- Chambers: 5
- Dry weight: 700kg
- Fuel tank capacity: 205 litres
- Max. persons: 15
- Max. power: 1 x 250hp
- CE category: B
- RPM Speed (knots) Litres/hr
- 600 1.6 0.76
- 1000 3.4 1.9
- 2000 7.4 6.8
- 3000 20.0 12.1
- 3500 26.1 17.0
- 4000 30.9 21.2
- 5000 39.8 36.7
- 5900 46.3 46.9
- Ease of boarding access to/from the water over the stern
- Bow step with recessed anchor warp run
- Handling and sea manners
- Economy of cruising
Reddish Marine Limited
T. +44(0)1548 844094