Before starting the “Guppy in the Goil” threat..perhaps it is worth adding a quick summery of my first impressions. Do keep in my ..its only my opinion.. and is based on my own particular requirements .. and experience with small boats.
I debated with myself before the purchase.. on whether to get the smallest of the F-Rib range (275) ..or the next size up (330)..which would understandably handle bigger seas. There is not much difference in price..but the weight concerned me a little at 36kg(275) against 43kg(330). I am now very happy I went for the smaller size. I can lift it and carry it very short distances myself. I personally would have struggled with the 43kg boat. Being able to move the boat myself was a number one priority. Both boats would fit in my car no problem. They do take up slightly more space than a rolled up inflatable of similar size.. but that is off set by the size of outboard required for reasonable performance. I have plenty room in the small size too...but I am alone.
I was delighted to be able to plane at 11 MPH with my Mariner 3.3HP . The outboard is a two stroke and 10kg.. so can be lifted with one hand.. and stored in a small space in the car. I did 20 miles trip using 4 litres of fuel.
I couldn’t get the F-Rib to plane at the start of the day.. simply because I carry a fair bit of gear with me.. it happily went 6 Mph on half throttle of the Mariner 3.3. That will be my normal operating speed..as I don’t want to thrash my engine.
I then unloaded the boat ..so only myself..anchor.. fuel ..and outboard were left in it. It planed every easily at WOT and came out the hole in around 10-15 meters.. I was sitting forward..but there was no need for precise balance. I didn’t try trimming the outboard ..so performance may improve slightly with tweaking.
It was a calm day.. although the wind freshened in the afternoon. The highest waves were only around a foot high..and as is the manner of waves in a sea loch..close together..some waves were just showing a tip of white on their crest. In a following sea..the boat didn’t notice the waves. Beam on..I was impressed with the stability of the boat..but it is a wide boat for her size (1.6m) so not a surprise. Into the waves..it nodded gently..it certainly didn’t slam like the slat floor did. I will report on performance in rougher conditions when I encounter them.
I was very impressed by its handling and turning capability.. at displacement speed .. shove the tiller to 90 degrees and the boat spins on it axis ..no side slide whatsoever. I have not had a small light boat do this before...so am delighted with that aspect. At speed..if you call 11 mph speed..it felt that it was on rails ..no flinching or swerving..no cavitation ..and no transom splash back.
It appears to be a very dry boat..well.. except when you discover its rear compartment half full of water. Yup..that happened..because I accidentally knocked the rear bung out.. it definitely needs a modification there ..but no big deal.
I guess that is all I can say at the moment..until I start pushing her to her limits. Im happy with 3.3hp power for my use..but will possibly look towards a 6hp next season. I think a 10hp may be a bit much for my normal usage.. if I want speed..I have my Quicksilver 4.3m and 25hp engine.
Would I recommend the F-Rib ?.. so far.. I am delighted..and would have no hesitation recommending them.. no boat is perfect..but this puppy is 150% perfect for my coastal inshore and sea loch use...when Im on my own