- Not that surprisingly, the build quality is rock solid.
- … this boat proved itself hugely capable in some big seas, providing a steady sure-footed ride, with responsive sporty handling to match.
Greg Copp takes a close look at a classic example of the traditional British RIB.
Although the Ribquest 7.8m has a number of variations in terms of propulsion, layout and seating, this particular boat is typically old-school with its six-seater jockey set-up. For the hard-core RIB brigade this is the only way to travel – short of expensive shock-absorbing seats – but for those looking for a family boat, Ribquest also make the 7.8m with an aft bench seat and enclosed splash well behind, as well as the luxury of a toilet compartment.
Developed in the UK, Ribquest are one of the few home-grown yards that build a capable big-sea RIB for a sensible price. Roughly speaking, a 7.8m Ribquest like the boat featured here will cost around £65,000 new. This includes a long list of features, such as a full suite of electronics and synthetic teak decking, as standard. Consequently a lightly used example like this boat represents great value for money. The DF225 on its transom has a good reputation for reliability, and even after 10 years it should retain that quality. These big 3614cc V6 engines have been in production for 13 years or so now and have a good track record, many having done countless hours in commercial use.
The deep-vee hull has a transom deadrise angle of 24 degrees. When tested by PBR in August 2015, this boat proved itself hugely capable in some big seas, providing a steady sure-footed ride, with responsive sporty handling to match. To put Ribquest in perspective, PBR’s editor used one of their 4.8m boats in the Round Ireland event in weather that was hitting force 8.
Not that surprisingly, the build quality is rock solid. This is also evident in the internal mouldings, as the jockey seats and console display none of that ‘budget boat’ flex sometimes found on boats where construction has been outsourced overseas. However, I will say that some of the internal finish of the hull below the tubes is, in places, a bit on the commercial side, though this is no reflection on the boat’s strength. One aspect I love is the wrap-around wingback helm and navigator’s seats on this boat, which was/is an option for all of the jockey seating. Scorpion were one of the first RIB builders to use this simple and very effective feature to keep the boat’s occupants in check. It is also reassuring for those new to the concept of sitting on a GRP box at speed. The upholstery, like the Hypalon tubes, is of a high standard, and this boat, thanks to a very heavy-duty console cover and a life spent in a dry stack, has no evidence of weathering.
The Atlantic double console has a good balance of providing weather protection for two while enabling forward-deck access without having to scamper forward on the tubes. The ergonomic layout is logical insomuch as it puts the throttle on the left of the wheel and the engine/fuel/trim gauges above it so the helmsman can read them easily, while the 10.4″ Garmin 4010 chartplotter paired with a VHF set is located to occupy the navigator. This boat also has the optional Fusion stereo, just to add a touch of indulgence.
On the forward side of the console you could have the option of a forward helm seat, which sensibly this boat does not have. Instead there is a large storage compartment accessed via a waterproof hatch. Apart from attracting all that essential boating kit, this locker enables you to get to grips with all the electrics without having to contort yourself. This particular craft had just a single anchor locker in the bow, though a double locker with a longer raised foredeck was/is an option for the 7.8.
At the stern, as this boat does not have a four-man bench seat, the splash well is covered by a stainless steel hatch. Great idea – it just needs a catch to keep it shut in rough weather. Beneath, in the splash well itself, I was surprised to find just a 600gph bilge pump, which for such a boat is an underkill. This, along with its skimpy outlet pipe, can easily be upgraded to something more suited to a big-weather RIB.
The boat we tested in 2015 was fitted with a 300hp E-Tec motor and it hit an easy 52 knots, so this boat with a 225hp Suzuki will be good for 45 knots, and pretty frugal into the bargain.
Points to Consider
This boat has a 225hp Suzuki DF225, which is a predictably reliable understressed engine. However, as with any outboard engine, service history is crucial, and it is important to know whether it was winterised or used during the previous winter. These boats were also offered with BRP’s 2-stroke E-Tec engine, which has a self-winterising system that the owner can initialise at the end of the season. If you are buying a boat with an E-Tec that has been laid up over the winter, it would be worth asking whether they have taken the precaution of using this facility.
The boat I viewed had a 600gph bilge pump. Though this boat is also fitted with a single elephant’s trunk, 600gph is not really enough pumping power if you intend to use it in the conditions it can handle. Consider upgrading – at least 1100gph would be ideal.
- Year: 2008
- Hull type: Deep-vee
- RCD category: B for 12
- Transom deadrise angle: 24 degrees
- Length overall: 7.8m (25ft 8in)
- Beam: 2.9m (9ft 7in)
- Draught: 0.8m (2ft 10in)
- Fuel capacity: 300 litres (66 gallons)
- Cruising range: With the 225hp Suzuki F225 expect 230 miles with a 20% reserve at 30 knots
- Current value: £30,000 plus