There is a saying that no boat is perfect.. we all have to compromise and settle on a vessel that ticks most boxes for us. I guess thats why I still own 3 inflatable ? boats. I have retired my Seago 260 Slat floor after 16 years of faithful service. She is still going well and would probably last a few years yet.. but because she is so old..her tubes are only 32mm diameter .. and because of the slat floor..a displacement design. Modern SIBs all have at around 40mm or greater tube diameters and have a hull shape designed to plane.
I have pondered over retiring the Seago for well over a year now..my only dilemma was what to replace her with. I still have the Quicksilver 4.3 ..heavy trailered SIB for rough weather and exposed ..open sea adventuring.. so rough water handling was not a tick on the list.
Important ticks were..it must be light..portable ..fit easily in my car .. and be able to be chucked across rocks and barnacled shored. The cheap seago was excellent at this.
I wanted a light outboard to power the boat..Im not too concerned of it being able to plane..as it is to explore close inshore.. get into narrow geos and under sea arches. Therefore weight and small packaging are essential..but the ability to plane with a very small and light outboard was a big attraction.
I did consider everone’s favourite suggestion ..the Aerotec.. but had read it is a draggy hull shape..so I doubt a small.. (and Im talking 4hp engine size) ..wouldn’t plane it ? I believe the wee F-Rib will plane with one ..using a 4hp..in fact..Im hoping my 3.3Hp might just get it going on a flat sea.
I am not a fan of any high pressure air floors of any brand.. as Im kind of rough on my boats..fishing..dropping stuff etc So that took the air floor SIBs..off my tick list.
Im lucky..I recently retired and got a nice lump sum..so money was not an issue. In fact..Im normally a stingy Scotsman..but a recent health scare ..made me worry about leaving money behind..so best spend some while I can.
By a process of elimination.. I arrived at what I think is the perfect replacement for the Seago Slat Floor...
Meet “The Guppy”..yup its the smallest of the F-Rib range.. and its just out the box today.
I ordered it yesterday lunch time..and it arrive from down south..to Scotland..today..yeah.. 100% for delivery promises.
It took me by surprise as when I lifted the box .. wow..it was heavy. Then to my relief.. I found lumps of wood in the box..packing wood to ensure it transport without damage. The boat is 36kg and I can lift it ..easy as the Seago..it was 34kg. ..yeah 100% for good packing..and not opened since shipped from the factory.
It has a thick canvas type bag which holds the seat.. the oars.. the pump.. and a repair kit. .. and a heavy wrapper to hold the boat.
Yeah..I give that lot 100 % too..well..except for the pump. I did try it..but was impatient and threw it to the side. I don’t like foot pumps..but thats just me. My Coleman lilo electric inflator which cost £25 years ago..inflated it nicely..then I finished it off with the Quicksilver double action hand pump. Its the same fittings so everything is interchangeable. No need for high pressure air floor pumps either. It has 4 air compartments on the tubes too.
Its very easy to unfold..the tubes are huge compared to the Seago..so it wont be as wet a boat.. but the thing that really tickles me pink is.. when I stand in it..it is like my hardshell boats.. but then that is not a surprise ..it is a small RIB after all..not a SIB. ..for that.. I give it 110%..
Quality and workmanship is first class..no dings or chips in the hull edges.. glue looks well done..no marks on tubes ..and so far..no leaks
That is my first impressions of the F-Rib 275.. I have still to try her on the water..but research and talking to folks that actually own F-Ribs ..has me very confident that it will suit my needs 150%
In fact .. Im that confident that I will start customising it to turn it into my own needs boat..after its maiden voyage. This may or may not invalidate the warranty..but I strongly suspect the boat will last my retirement years.. with no problems at all.
Forgive me for a hasty written first impression..but Im now going to fill her with hot water..and take a bath in her as I watch TV.. Yup..Im confident the hull wont leak all over my carpet.
Thanks for reading