The whole boat starts to fl y, adopting that magical loping gait with the nose gently rising and falling as it skims across the wave tops

Body-hugging seats look and feel superb, whether you’re seated or standing

trim a few notches higher and it seems to fi nd another gear. The engine note hardens, the hull lifts noticeable higher out of the water, the speed shoots up and the whole boat starts to fl y, adopting that magical loping gait with the nose gently rising and falling as it skims across the wave tops. I clock a top speed of exactly 50 knots with the engine burning 113 litres per hour. Drop this to 38 knots and the burn rate falls to 70lph or 2.4mpg. If this still proves too thirsty for you there is an option to swap outboard petrol power for either a 260hp or 370hp inboard Mercruiser diesel.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT That’s also the reason why even our outboard-powered test boat had a full width sunpad and bathing platform at the stern rather than the usual outboard engine well. Instead, the Verado is mounted on a jack plate several inches behind the transom, leaving more room for watersports enthusiasts and swimmers to access the water. Unusually for a RIB there’s also masses of storage – under the aft sunpad, where the inboard engine would be, under the forward sunpad and in the centre console. The latter can also be fi tted out as a heads compartment. For those who want the option of sleeping on board, a proper cuddy version is available with a surprisingly big vee-berth. The fi t and fi nish of these below deck areas isn’t quite as slick as

system is wonderfully light and the electronic throttle controls ensure the engine clicks smoothly in and out of gear. The only fl aw in the helm’s otherwise excellent ergonomics is the positioning of the throttle to the left of the wheel – not a problem in itself but the trim button is clearly set up for right-handed thumb use. Once free of the speed limits, the hull rises swiftly on to the plane

and settles into a rapid canter. With no hull steps to fl atten its running angle, the bow hovers above the water while the aft section of the deep-vee hull (24° at the transom) stays securely planted. Turn sharply and it will lean quite a long way over but it never feels like the tubes are dragging in the water or the chines are going to lose their grip. It’s not as quick and edgy as a Pascoe or as smooth and unshakeable as a Scorpion but it strikes a good balance between driver involvement, secure handling and a soft ride. Lift the engine

the parts of the boat that are permanently on show. The bilges are painted out with a self-healing silver coating, the locker lids are mostly marine ply with exposed screw heads and the cuddy is trimmed in fairly basic vinyl and carpet. It’s all very tidy and we rather like the emphasis on simplicity, durability and accessibility rather than aesthetics, but it doesn’t quite live up to the sophistication of those super smooth exterior lines. Then again, given the price that’s a sacrifi ce we’d be happy to make. This is a very well judged boat that will satisfy the demands of families and speed demons at a price that belies its superboat looks. Contact Bembridge Marine. Tel: +44 (0)1983 872817 Web:


SPECIFICATIONS LENGTH 29ft 2in (8.9m) BEAM 9ft 0in (2.74m) WEIGHT 1,900kg (dry) ENGINE 300hp Mercury Verado TOP SPEED 50 knots PRICE from £89,499 inc UK VAT

All-digital helm would benefi t from analogue fuel and temp gauges

Open boat still has this large storage or heads compartment

More storage and a separate anchor locker in the bow

Cuddy is fairly basic but surprisingly large and very handy

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