How to choose a PROPER Rib Boat of 4 m and larger.

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Guidance in Choosing a Rib of over 4 m


Craft  4 - 5.5m


  Craft 5.6 - 6.5 m


Craft 7 m +

Package Cost; £10 - £20 K   Package Cost; £20 - £35 K   Package Cost; £30 - £50 K + (!)
Trailer Type; Probably Unbraked   Trailer Type; S/Axle Braked   Trailer Type; D/Axle Braked
Ratings (out of * * * * *)   Ratings (out of * * * * *)   Ratings (out of * * * * *)
Towing Ease * * * * *   Towing Ease * * * *   Towing Ease * * *
Water Skiing * * * *   Water Skiing * * * * *   Water Skiing * * * *
Inshore Use * * * *   Inshore Use * * * * *   Inshore Use * * * * *
Coastal Use * *   Coastal Use * * * *   Coastal Use * * * * *
Offshore Use *   Offshore Use * * *   Offshore Use * * * * *

Questions frequently asked about 4 - 5 m Rib and advice in choosing a craft.

What can I do & where can I go with a Rib of this size? All forms of watersports, skiing, "Tubes" etc, Ideal to act as a rescue craft for Dinghy sailing as well as limited "calm water" cruising. However much beyond Force 4 seas you really need to be thinking about a larger craft.
What size motor do I need to Ski with? On any Rib at this size 40 hp plus. Power Trim is a great option if within budget. 50/60 hp will give "good" performance!
How quickly can I expect to go? 40 hp motors give 25-35 mph, 50-60 hp will give up to 45 mph depending on which boat they are on. On these smaller motors payload in the boat does affect the way the craft goes so 3 or 4 people significantly slow the boat.
Is a boat like this easy to tow? Any boat of this size will tow easily behind any car of 1.6 litre and above, braked trailers are not normally required. You need to seek guidance from us though as to whether you do need brakes on the trailer.
Can I have a bench seat rather than a jockey set up? YES! But if you are in a boat on your own and sitting off centre the boat will "list" as it goes along. Rear bench side by side set ups work best as they eliminate list. However weight at the back of the craft does not help sea keeping in the rough. A Bench seat also runs the width of the craft in a boat of this size and that makes moving around in the craft more difficult than if you have jockey seats.
How safe are Rib's of this size in the sea? Can they get punctured easily? Any Rib over 4m will ride the roughest of seas well, though something a bit bigger would give a MUCH better ride if you are in rough seas a lot. All boats have at least 3 compartments in the collar (often 5) and are very hard to damage anyway. So even with the loss of 1 or 2 compartments the boat will still be drivable even with a payload on board
Are Ribs easy to drive, do I need a licence? No licence is required in the UK but in continental Europe they are. These are easily obtained on a weekend power boat course. Ribs are probably the easiest and most forgiving of craft to learn to drive as they compensate for mistakes you make and are not readily overwhelmed even if you get caught in the biggest of seas
What sort of range do boats like this have? Normally these boats have a 25 L tank giving a range of 30-70 miles (or 1-2.5 hours running). An inboard tank or extra 25 L tank can double this. The fuel burn of the engine is a function of throttle setting, so if you are running flat out, 5,000-6,000 RPM you will double your fuel burn compared to running at 1,000-1,500 RPM less
What will it cost on top of the basic boat purchase? Allow £500 – 750  for insurance anchor, mooring ropes and life jackets. The main items to allow you to use the boat are included in OUR packages, straps to hold the boat on the trailer, a light board on the trailer, prop bag etc.
What will the Package include and how much does it cost? We provide packages of boat, motor & trailer that are ready to use. Cost of packages is dependant on spec, and extras like extra seating, Ski Tow A Frames and electronics can add up to a LOT of extra cost. Boat packages do not come with anchors, flares, life jackets etc.

A guide to costs is shown below:
XS 500 / F 50 / Workboat  The XS 500 is more at the serious end of use for a 5 m Rib though it is just as well at home with a family out for a bit of fun as it is in a work boat role in a sailing club.

The cost of this sort of craft will be in the £12-18,000 bracket depending on spec.

BELOW: Family ski boat with a F 60 hp These sort of boats will have the steering towards the front of the craft to help keep the bow down in the rough and free up space in the rear for equipment and passengers, OTHER colours apart from Orange are available !
Zodiac 5 m
The Zodiac 500 is the ultimate in the Leisure style of craft, very stylish with a lot of comfort. This boat will go very well with a 50 or 60 hp motor.
The general layout with the steering at the rear of the craft allows for a table / sun deck forward of the helm.
The leisure style of craft tend to have a higher "basic" price but have less extras that you might want to fit, the leisure craft also tend NOT to be orange !
Ball park cost £15,000 - £20,000
A 4 m leisure craft like the Zodiac Pro 420 will cost from £12,000 - £15,000

Questions frequently asked about 5 - 6 m Rib and advice in choosing a craft.

Can I use a boat like this to go to sea, say in the Solent or off of a West facing coast in Ireland, the West Country, Wales or Scotland for instance? This size of craft with adequate power, 75-115 hp, will be able to cope with more or less any sea. If you do a lot of offshore cruising the longer the hull the better. For any long journey it makes sense for all passengers to be "able" to stand if they have to as this is often the most comfortable way to travel any distance in the rough. Hull length is critical for the ride of the craft as is the distribution of weight in the craft. If you have a rear driving position it will compromise sea keeping compared to a craft with the weight further forward.
Can I ski with a boat like this. Craft like this make excellent ski boats as they will be quick by default given the larger motors that are normally fitted. Normally you tow from the transom U Bolts, you really need to be 5.5 m and larger to start using either ski posts or towing from a ski tow frame. At under 5.5 m the skier will be able to move the boat around too much for it to be safe.
How quickly can I expect to go? At the top end of length and hp (6m - 140 hp) 50 mph + is possible. With 35-40 mph being average. To make a boat go faster takes a LOT of HP, if a 6 m craft with a 115 hp does say 40-45 mph you will need 140 hp to do 50 mph
Is a boat like this easy to tow? Though you need a larger car (2 litre + ) this size of boat presents no real problems when towing, they weigh typically less than 1,000 kgs all up. Most craft in this range will be 2.4 – 2.6 m wide so rear vision is obscured.
How many people can I actually seat in a boat of this size? That obviously depends on the actual size of the craft but with seating on the front of the console, the console well forward and then seating behind at least 6, and on larger craft more may be possible. A stern driving position will actually limit the amount of seats you can get in these craft.
What sort of range do boats like this have? It would be normal to have an inboard tank in a craft of this size, normally in the order of 100 L. This will give 100 miles + (4-6 hours running)
Which is best a single motor or twins? If I have a single motor do I need an auxiliary? Bingo the $64,000 question. The answer to this is a Web site in its own right! A lot depends on where you operate and if other craft are around. When safety is paramount then twins are hard to argue against but for most of us a single will suffice. An auxiliary will get you out of trouble but is unlikely to be a viable get you home engine if you are 10 miles from base. Only one of a pair of motors will do this. With an auxiliary you will still need to call for help. Not all craft will take auxiliary and an A frame will get in the way but not always stop you fitting one. Really the motor needs to be on the back of the boat all the time and typically on craft of this size it will be a 4-6 hp engine
What will the Package include and how much does it cost? We provide packages of boat, motor & trailer that are ready to use. Cost of packages is dependant on spec, and extras like extra seating, Ski Tow A Frames and electronics can add up to a LOT of extra cost. Boat packages do not come with anchors, flares, life jackets etc.

A guide to costs is shown below:
Zodiac Pro 550 Open /  
There are a lot of craft in this size range from very basic console / 2 person bench seat craft to highly fitted out craft like the Pro 550 Open Shown here.

The simpler option like a Zodiac Pro 550 will start at £25,000 with a Pro Open 550 or a Medline costing from £30,000

These sort of craft do not take twins and struggle to have an auxiliary fitted. They do have huge style, often have the option of a big table or sundeck as well as options of Bimini tops, ski poles etc.
XS 600 / F 115

 At this sort of size the "serious end" of ribbing will also have double side by side consoles, and multiple seating. What you get in a craft like the XS 600 shown here are typically Deeper V hulls and higher bows than the leisure craft.

These sorts of craft are built to order so ski tow frames and layouts can be customised to suit how you want to use the craft.

The sharper the point in the bow the drier the ride, a bluff or flat bow when it hits a wave pushes it up in the air and you then drive in to it !

Questions frequently asked about Large Ribs and advice in choosing a craft.

Do I have to have an outboard motor? NO ! But there are not many "off the shelf" inboard Ribs at this size. Diesel is an obvious choice to reduce running costs and we offer XS craft from £45,000. Diesel Ribs are costly to purchase and hugely expensive to maintain. You will not see a return on the purchase cost premium for diesel compared to an outboard in UNDER 600 hours of use.
There are no diesel outboards and no factory supported LPG conversions
Should I have single or twin motor's ? Above 8.5 m you will not have a lot of choice as 300 – 350 are the largest single HP ratings available for an outboard motor and to achieve the sort of performance that these craft can offer 400 – 600 hp can be installed

Up to 8.5 m a single will offer a significant purchase price saving and craft of this size can easily carry a 8-10 hp Auxiliary and that is enough to get you out of trouble but probably will not get you home.
What internal layout can I have? At this size you have the internal room to do whatever you want. There are a variety of companies who offer well designed seating and console units, using these in conjunction with a high quality open boat anything can be achieved.
How quickly can I expect to go? The top end in terms of speed for a leisure Rib will be a maximum of circa 60 mph, beyond this you need "race boat" preparation. To get 50 mph a 225 hp/7m + package will probably be required. A normal 650 boat will give a good 45 mph + with a 150 hp and 60 MPH will be the speed of craft with 300 - 400 + Hp
Is a boat like this easy to tow? They can be if you are used to towing obviously a 6.5 m will still be on a single axle trailer and a 7 m plus PROBABLY on a double axle trailer as the craft gets bigger towing becomes more of an issue, at over 7 m a four wheel drive is probably required under this larger cars can cope.
Are there leisure craft in this size bracket ? Yes there are, The Zodiac Sea Hawk Range offer a very high level of style but are one pre determined layout. Whilst craft like this are an obvious choice in the Med just how much sun bathing are you going to do in the UK ??
XS 850 / F 300

The XS 700 (Shown Right) will carry 6-8 people seated and with a 200 hp cost less than £50,000

Left an XS 850 with ALL the extras can cost anywhere from £60 - £80,000

What you get is sea keeping that will cope with anything that you will want to go in, a range of 200 – 300 miles and seating for 10 –12 people.

You have to go in a craft like this to appreciate just how capable they are.
  In the Leisure options there is as much choice as in the build to order craft like the XS.

All of the leisure craft will centre on style and functionality for leisure use, and the image below sums up what these boats are great at doing.

In terms of cost a craft like the Pro Open Zodiac 650 with a F 150 will start from £35,000 and a craft like the Nzo Cabin Rib will be £70,000 + for a single motor and anything upto £100,000 for a twin motor craft.
BARNET MARINE CENTRE LTD, 14 West Burrowfield, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 4TW.
TEL NOS; + 44 (0) 1707 331 389 - FAX NOS; + 44 (0) 1707 331 383

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