- The main role of the Selva 650 is as a family picnic conveyance and relaxed leisure platform.
- The layout is clean and un-fussed, some might say Spartan …
- The boat handled the conditions with ease
The Selva Marine empire extends to more than outboards … Simon Everett tests one of their RIBs, the 650, under the gaze of the mountains surrounding Lake Como.
Flare and performance are what the Italians are known for, in both automotive and marine circles. This is the land of household names at the pinnacle of design, such as Pininfarina and FB Design. When you see the majesty of the Italian lakes it is easy to see why they are so enthused and inspired. It would be sacrilege to despoil these surroundings with ugly vehicles and boats.
The Selva family are firmly rooted in marine industry – they have various branches of ‘the family’ geographically spread from Sicily to the mountains of the north, with boats being built both for the open sea and the fashionable lakes under the generic name of Italboats. The Selva brand is reserved for its own, direct sales through the Selva empire, and this particular RIB, in a different configuration, is possibly better known to UK boaters as a Stingher.
Within the Selva range of RIBs, of which there are 23 models across five separate lines, the 650 sits squarely in the middle ground of the Evolution line, and, as a result, is one of their most popular models, especially as it runs quite spritely on a nominal 100hp outboard. The DS designation in the model badge stands for Dual Sundeck, as both the aft and forward seating arrangements convert to expansive sunbathing areas, while the sporty hull makes short work of choppy seas and gives a performance factor that is the thick end of 40 knots with the XSR100.
The sports deep-vee hull is furnished with two linear strakes to keep the water flow under control and allow for sports entertainment, or as transport for up to 12 passengers gives the owner a chance to throw beach parties, although I think the 100hp might struggle to carry that number of people at any great speed. Thankfully we had a bit more power on tap in the shape of the XSR150, which actually produces a whopping 173hp for no extra weight over a standard 150hp. Consequently it whisked the RIB up to a none-too-shabby 45 knots on far-from-flat water. Having taken the pictures in the morning, the wind funnelled up the lake, after a typically Italian lunch, whipping it into a sea of white tops and rolling swells of 1 metre or more. It was good water to get a feel for how the boat handles, even if it wasn’t comparable to the Portland Race on the ebb. The package with the XSR150 suits the boat beautifully – it is well balanced, and the propping is spot on with a 19″, which allows swift, trouble-free acceleration and tops out in the optimum rev range.
To support the sunbathing and passenger-carrying aspects of the boat, the beam is carried well forward at deck level, without compromising the sharpness of entry that gives a soft and composed ride, helped no end by the low-slung, 60cm inflatable collar at the stern. The tapered tube is still 50cm at the forward end, so there is plenty of tube overhang to deflect thrown water and provide enormous load-carrying buoyancy. Even the aft sun pad stayed dry during our thrashes through the waves – but the swinging backrest did just that through the action of the waves, swinging aft and allowing the sunbathing cushion to blow overboard. It is a small detail and one that Selva have said they will attend to.
The boat handled the conditions with ease; in fact, it would be fair to say it was great fun, especially running downwind when there is a danger of dropping the bow into a trough and suffering wet feet as a result. Keeping her head up and the power on meant we lost no speed and were able to attack the waves in confidence. Comparing notes with the other journalists present on speeds obtained, it would seem they hadn’t treated the conditions in the same way! But they could have, because the Stingher hull, while not the fastest shape, is composed and reliable, while the contact of the tubes aft also keeps everything in check laterally. It makes for an easy RIB to drive.
The livery of the package is uniform, so the engine matches the graphics on the boat – or should that be the other way round, in that the boat graphics have been carefully chosen to complement the standard colour scheme of the engine? It looks smart and unifies the whole visually. The same, clean, understated colour scheme is used right across the range, as is the moulded leaning post with its storage within, accessed through the top. The cushioned pad gives good support to a wide range of people of different heights with its curved section that extends down onto the vertical. It saves weight and space on board and provides somewhere to keep a jacket handy. It is only one person wide, though, in reality. Other forward passengers have to stand to the side and use the grab rail on the side of the console.
For the pilot, the perch pad actually works quite well. It gives good support as a leaning post, with a padded contact area, or on calmer water, perched atop gives a relaxed position with a commanding view. I liked the moulded recess for the throttle lever, rather than having it stuck on the side of the console. It keeps it to hand and protected too. There isn’t a vast amount of dash area for kitting out with electronics, but it is sufficient for the necessities.
The specifications say the passenger limit is 12, but most of them would be sat on the tubes because the dedicated seating is for a normal family – three across the aft bench, one at the helm and one as a suicide jockey ahead of the console. There are lifelines provided forward, but the bow cushion would only be of use in calm water at moderate speed.
The main role of the Selva 650 is as a family picnic conveyance and relaxed leisure platform. The layout is clean and unfussed, some might say spartan, but if you need more refined seating there are other RIBs in the line for that, including the 650’s sister, the 640, with its more conventional seating layout aft, but retaining that sunbathing area forward. For the average family boating activity, it will be a toss-up between the two.
- RPM Knots
- 600 1.8
- 1000 2.7
- 2000 7.9
- 3000 18.6
- 4000 28.0
- 5000 35.1
- 5700 44.7
- Length overall: 6.58m
- Internal length: 6.05m
- Max. beam: 2.65m
- Internal beam: 1.45m
- Tube diameter: Tapered from 50cm to 60cm aft
- Compartments: 5
- Tube material: Hypalon 1300g/sqM
- Dry weight: 590kg
- Fuel capacity: 150 litres
- Max. passengers: 12
- Max. payload : 1350kg
- Max. power: 175hp
- Recommended power: 115hp – 150hp
- CE cat: C
From £26,820 with Selva 115hp
As tested: £30,140 with Selva XSR150
Deep Consultancy on 07831 467416
- Secure handling
- Plenty of stowage