- As a sports boat, the Q5 pretty much ticks all the boxes.
- It is very fast off the mark, with a blissfully smooth power delivery complemented by a smooth ride …
- The ride is soft, as unlike many family sports boats it has a deep-vee hull with a transom deadrise angle of 20 degrees.
Boatbuilders have a habit of using proven past designs, as Rinker have done with their new Q5 sports boat. Greg Copp went to find out how things have changed …
This bowrider rides on the old Captiva 232 hull ‒ a great sports boat I know, because long ago I owned one. It was also Rinker’s best seller, which not only looked great but drove pretty well, and could squeeze in two for an overnighter. However, the Q5 is a different concept, though it has the same moderate deep-vee hull, which is just as effective as it was with the Captiva.
It is a big water sports platform, typical of this type of American boat, though not often found in a 25ft guise this side of the Atlantic. Tastes seem to have changed in recent years, as big bowriders have become more popular, in the same way as big outboard-powered boats are eating into small diesel boat territory. I can see the logic, as this type of boat is inevitably bought by someone wanting to take out a big complement of family or guests, and a 25-footer can comfortably cut the mustard in this department. This is helped by Mercury’s recent generation of purpose-built V8 marine engines. Apart from being built with the same approach to service ergonomics as an outboard engine, they are more compact, lighter, more efficient and perform in a way that their previous automotive-based counterparts did not. Consequently, the Q5’s 300hp V8 MerCruiser is literally squeezed. You could not have fitted one of Mercury’s earlier-generation V8s in the engine bay. As a result, if you want to access the front of the engine to tension the serpentine belt, you have to remove a panel located under the aft cockpit seat. However, the service ergonomics of the engine are such that the top cover literally slides off to access all the ignition components, and a service guide sits on the top front of the engine. It is easily seen, as are the other service points like the dipstick and power steering, etc. It is not perfect but it works. I suspect that as this boat is also offered in outboard form, Rinker may have launched this stern-driven version without wanting to compromise the big-cockpit concept with a long engine bay.
The cockpit rightly is the focal point of this boat. It can easily seat six, and more if needed, and it has the option of a sun pad. The big bonus is the extra bow space, which, weather permitting, enables that wind-in-your-face bow ride for those that want it. As has now become the norm for any self-respecting day/sports boat, it has a heads compartment. It is a cassette chemical toilet, but this crucial luxury, unlike many other features of the boat, is standard. Storage has not been neglected as it has two deep-lined, under-deck, self-draining ski lockers running from the helm into the bow section, as well as under-seat storage in the cockpit. The ski lockers are big enough for a deflated ringo or such like, so if you choose to have the optional £5,333 wakeboard tower (with bimini), your Q5 will be able to cater for all water sporting tastes.
The bathing platform is designed so that when at rest it sits just above the water, enabling people to sit with their legs immersed. Rinker cover the platform with what they term a ‘marine mat’ ‒ a form of thick synthetic teak. It is soft and designed to be cool and comfy for bare feet. I could not put that fully to the test, but it is soft, and our American cousins rate it in hot weather. It is also offered as an extra in the cockpit for a reasonable sum of £1,098. What I like about it in particular is that it is held in place by press studs, so it can be easily removed for deck cleaning. This is a great idea, as sand, dirt and dog hairs often get trapped around the edges of any fixed decking surface.
I certainly liked the helm set-up. The wheel and throttle come to hand well, and there is a convenient ledge to rest your throttle arm on. There are no sharp edges ‒ even the dash surround has a padded upholstered lip. The dash itself has been designed for more electronics than most people will want to fit on a boat this size, as our test boat fitted with just one 7in Simrad display looked slightly underdressed. Really it needs a bigger chartplotter, a Mercury VesselView display and a VHF radio to finish off its modern appearance.
Driving the Q5
It is very quick off the mark, thanks to the bottom-end grunt of the 300hp 6.2L V8 MerCruiser. There is an outboard-powered version of the Q5, which has been pitted against the stern-driven Q5 in the US ‒ and against expectations, the heavier stern-driven boat easily beat it in a drag race. This proves the old adage that ‘there is no substitute for capacity’, especially with today’s fuelling and ignition technology. Also, the 6.2L MerCruiser, being a purpose-built marine engine, has all the practicalities that go with such a motor, as well as being comparatively light for its capacity. There is little doubt that this engine produces maximum torque around 3200/3300 rpm, as reflected in its fuel burn, which means it has superb pickup – great for waterskiing. It is also hardly lacking in top-end power as it screams up to a redline of 5000rpm, virtually in a blink of an eye. The ride is soft, as unlike many family sports boats it has a deep-vee hull with a transom deadrise angle of 20 degrees. Running through the overfalls off Old Harry was a much smoother process than I was expecting, and having a degree of forward flare and a high freeboard for a 25ft bowrider, there was not much spray making its way on board. It has a clear low-end sweet spot around 24 knots, at which point the engine is spinning at 3200rpm and returning a very impressive 3.6mpg. Push her up to 30 knots and things still feel relaxed and composed, with the Q5 remaining relatively frugal. Of course, few will buy her for eating up sea miles on a straight course, as she is a brazen sports boat with razor-sharp steering. On this topic, I will say that she steers very quickly, so you need to get in tune with this. Driving through a twin-prop Bravo 3 sterndrive, she will grip the water and make exceedingly tight turns. Providing you do not overdo it, this is fine for water sports, but you could end up throwing crewmembers about with heavy-handed use.
Running flat out in mild conditions, just short of 43 knots, you feel quite happy tucked in below the windscreen as she sits fairly steady at this speed, with just a small degree of trim out on the leg required. Our test boat was fitted with manual trim tabs, a £1,300 extra that I had no need for. The Q5 has good natural fore and aft trim, so she does not need tabbing to get up ‒ or run on the plane at low speed. With a constant beam sea they could come in handy, but a quick-reacting automatic trim tab set-up, as developed by Mente Marine, would be much better for a lively boat. One thing I would change if this was my boat is the helm seat. It needs to be taller to see over the windscreen and the bow, otherwise you tend to stand most of the time, which is not always ideal considering how sharply this boat can turn.
As a sports boat, the Q5 pretty much ticks all the boxes. It is very fast off the mark, with a blissfully smooth power delivery complemented by a smooth ride, which will entice you to use the boat’s performance. In base form it is very well priced at just over £70K, but a list of the extras including CE certification pushes it up to just under £90K – though this is still fairly reasonable when compared to some similar-sized RIBs.
What we thought
- Cockpit space
- Soft synthetic teak decking good for bare feet
- Large sun pad
- Soft ride
- Rapid performance
- Good helm ergonomics
- Good price
- Helm seat could be taller
- The steering is very responsive – you need to come to terms with it before driving hard in the turns
- Engine access is a squeeze
Fuel figures (Mercury fuel flow meter)
RPM Speed (knots) LPH NMPG
1500 7.4 10.5 3.2
2000 8.7 17.2 2.3
2500 13.7 23.5 2.6
3000 22.3 27.7 3.6
3500 25.8 37.4 3.1
4000 31.0 48.4 2.9
4500 35.7 66.0 2.5
5000 (WOT) 42.6 91.5 2.1
- LOA: 7.67m (25ft 2in)
- Beam: 2.54m (8ft 6in)
- Displacement: 1950kg (with 300hp MerCruiser V8)
- Draught: 1m
- Power options: Single 300hp V8 MerCruiser petrol or single V8 350hp MerCruiser
- Fuel capacity: 276 litres (60 gallons)
- RCD category: C for 10
- Test engines: Single 300hp MerCruiser V8 with Bravo 3 sterndrive
- 42.6 knots (2-way average), sea conditions moderate, crew 2, fuel 50%
- 0–30 knots: 7 seconds
- 0–40 knots: 10 seconds
From: £72,700 (inc. VAT) (300hp V8 MerCruiser)
As tested: £89,119 (inc. VAT)
Gibbs Quay Boat Sales
14–17 West Quay Rd
Dorset BH15 1JD