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Old 07 June 2004, 12:28   #1
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Country: UK - England
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6.5M - Choice of Three (for now!)

I am in the market for a 6.5M with either a 150 petrol or a Mercruiser diesel. Aim is to gain loads of experience around Isle of Wight and later cruising the south coast before going further out of the Clyde than Isle of Bute (where I was with my 3.2M last week). Have chartered 6.5M scorpion for the day but it was pretty flat calm - wife and I loved it! Not going to be stupid - safety and training are big on our agenda.

Have driven the three boats on my short list, and enjoyed all three. My lack of experience makes it very hard to distinguish between them, and so have problems making the right decision!

Q1 Diesel vs Petrol
Don't want to lag behind the other ribs if we go cruising together – 33 knots top speed - hence worries of diesel vs petrol.

Q2 Which manufacturer?

Have a shortlist of three: Solent, Parker and Coastline. Budget 23K all in. All three are very helpful, kind, and tolerant of my ‘oh so stupid’ questions.

Things I have ‘heard’ about my shortlist. I am trying to be even handed in reporting this commentary, and have no clear favourite at this time.

Much of my concerns focus on build quality and the differences in hull design.

Coastline + Diesel:
* have an ‘old fashioned’ hull design
* are utilitarian
* disappointing
Solent + Petrol:
* are too new
* have cut corners to produce a budget solution
* the old design racing hull will provide less protection in the rough
* don’t marry them with diesel – not strong enough
Parker + Diesel:
* too new
* OK for diesel but slow with petrol
* insecure
* harsh ride

I am confused about the deep V arguments anyway.

As far as I can tell the Coastline and Parker felt quite similar – I probably could judge a bit better where and when the Coastline fell which made bracing easier – but I was standing up on her behind the seat. And weather conditions had changed between the two trips. The evening run back to Lymington on the Coastline was wonderful.

The Solent was definitely exciting but very safe feeling and comfortable.

All three were dry and secure.

I do not have the skill / experience to judge build quality – nor to know what ‘inferior’ build quality (if such exists in any of these three ribs) implies two years in if I try to resell (or if I have been running them hard….).

I did notice that the Coastline and Parker were ‘easier’ to drive. The Solent needed care with the trim, but Kevin quickly showed me how to do that, and it seemed thoroughly intuitive. The Parker and Coastline just seemed to go up on the plane, trim out, full throttle, and smash through anything (aqueous!) in the way.

But was this power related? Was I going much faster on the Solent? Was it outboard vs inboard I was experiencing? Or was Kevin being the perfectionist he is, and helping me scrape the absolute maximum from the boat / engine combo?

This post will probably show me to be the ignorant newbie I am. Perhaps I should stay on my 3.2M 6hp combo!!! But over £20k is a lot to blow on the wrong boat!

Any ideas, helps, advice much appreciated.

Forgive me for not naming sources of the comments / concerns – I really want to be open and honest in my researches and not to cause people to ‘dry up’.

And I have to say that any of these three boats would be wonderful. It is simply the case of finding the very best for my particular needs….

My hope is that I succeed in remaining friends with all three manufacturers, wherever I end up putting my money!

Many thanks.

Bruce
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Old 07 June 2004, 12:43   #2
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None of these three are big brand names, and on current form there is nothing to say which will hold its value best.

For what it's worth I disagree with most of the comments you have listed! Any of these boats will be a good introduction to ribbing.

If you want to go fast, the only option is the Solent. If you want economical cruising then either of the diesel boats should be a fair choice. I haven't looked at the Coastline, but I was imprssed with the finish on the Parker 630s at RIBEX. Andre's a RIBnet trade member too

Do they all have boats available to buy right now? If not, what are the lead times? If you want to use the boat this season this could possibly be the single most important question.

John
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Old 07 June 2004, 13:26   #3
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Quote:
Don't want to lag behind the other ribs if we go cruising together – 33 knots top speed - hence worries of diesel vs petrol.
Its a shame i couldnt take you out for a spin. We will comfortably do 40knots with 3 people on board and 100 litres of fuel. With 3 of us and very little fuel we managed 44 knots and later 47.7knots with the tide. That is with a 6m boat but Lee has seen 40 knots in his 6.5 aswell.

Quote:
Solent + Petrol:
* are too new
* have cut corners to produce a budget solution
* the old design racing hull will provide less protection in the rough
* don’t marry them with diesel – not strong enough
Parker + Diesel:
* too new
* OK for diesel but slow with petrol
* insecure
* harsh ride
I really dont agree with any of this. Solents are not new at all, they are basically a tohatsu which has been built for years and raced competativly in the one design classes.
I cant really see how they have cut corners, can you expand on that one.
They clearly are strong enough for the diesel, Lee was one of the first manufacturas to fit the diesel and has built a shed load of 6.5's with the mercruiser.

As for the Parker they are not particularly new either, shurley the speed depends on what size of petrol was fitted?
Can't comment on the ride because ive never been in one, what exactly do you mean by insecure?
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Old 07 June 2004, 17:22   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simmons0
Its a shame i couldnt take you out for a spin. We will comfortably do 40knots with 3 people on board and 100 litres of fuel. With 3 of us and very little fuel we managed 44 knots and later 47.7knots with the tide. That is with a 6m boat but Lee has seen 40 knots in his 6.5 aswell.
Thank you for this insight. I suppose it is all relative to petrol Solent 6.5M plus 150 optimax!


Quote:
Originally Posted by simmons0
I really dont agree with any of this. Solents are not new at all, they are basically a tohatsu which has been built for years and raced competativly in the one design classes.
I cant really see how they have cut corners, can you expand on that one.
They clearly are strong enough for the diesel, Lee was one of the first manufacturas to fit the diesel and has built a shed load of 6.5's with the mercruiser.

As for the Parker they are not particularly new either, shurley the speed depends on what size of petrol was fitted?
Can't comment on the ride because ive never been in one, what exactly do you mean by insecure?
These are NOT my comments - they are quotes of comments by others, reproduced to give people a chance to disagree

The comment about the Parker is that I have told by an 'independent' that the Solent is faster then a Parker with given outboard....
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Old 08 June 2004, 01:48   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucehawsker
Thank you for this insight. I suppose it is all relative to petrol Solent 6.5M plus 150 optimax!




These are NOT my comments - they are quotes of comments by others, reproduced to give people a chance to disagree

The comment about the Parker is that I have told by an 'independent' that the Solent is faster then a Parker with given outboard....
Bruce

very interesting comment from an "independant" since we have not supplied as yet a petrol Parker 630 to the UK. I wonder how this "independant" came to this conclusion. The majority of our 630's have been diesel due to the demand from the commercial sector on the continent. I cannot comment whether the Solent or Parker would be faster since there has never been any such race but would imagine that if fitted with the same engine and props the speeds would be compatable

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Old 08 June 2004, 03:17   #6
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For a sort of comparison, I ran a Deep Sea 21 with 150 Opti. Top speed was 42kts or thereabouts.
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Old 08 June 2004, 03:54   #7
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Country: UK - England
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This is all most helpful, but something of a distraction since ultimate speed is not what what I am after - just the qualitative difference between a Mercruiser at 33 knots and 150hp outboard at 43 knots.

But, being a scientist by training - I admit to being intrigued. Surely the things that drive flat out speed are:

Engine output
Propeller
Engine set-up

Assume all of these are optimal in all cases under consideration

Then you have:

Hull design (area of contact, water resistance, ?shape of contact area)
Overall weight
Any flexing of the hull changing the water contact

I am assuming these do differ from Coastline to Parker to Solent?

Another question:

Why might someone suggest Yam 4 stroke rather than Optimax for a 150 solution? The traditionally quoted advantages / disadvantages of two vs four in this comparison seem a little irrelevant. Or am I missing something here?

Thanks

Bruce
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Old 08 June 2004, 04:00   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simmons0
Solents are not new at all, they are basically a tohatsu which has been built for years and raced competativly in the one design classes.
I cant really see how they have cut corners, can you expand on that one.
They clearly are strong enough for the diesel, Lee was one of the first manufacturas to fit the diesel and has built a shed load of 6.5's with the mercruiser.
I emphasise these are not my comments, but reflect always what MORE than one person has said. But this is such a small world, and we seem all to feed on rumour!! And there is just a tad of rivalry in the business inevitably (healthily)!

I don't see how Lee has cut corners. Let us face it, I would not recognise a cut corner if I saw one!! But if anyone cares to elaborate on the suggestion that his ribs are built to too tight a budget with obvious consequences, I would of course love to hear (PM me if you prefer).

As to Parker and insecure, I did not detect that at all on my excellent spin with Paul!!
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Old 08 June 2004, 04:13   #9
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Enough already

Bruce,

I think you are in analysis paralysis mode so I'll make it easy for you...

.. ready?

.. Buy a Parker 630. Why? 'Cos build quality looks good - as per RIB International, various rib.net posters who have seen 'em and the fact that Andre seems a decent sort of chap. The hull has been around for a while in the guise of the DS21 and IMHO is capable in all the conditions you want to be in. Its a roomy boat too for the family. Decide whether you want petrol or diesel. Is outright speed or economy the best for you? 33kts top end with a cruise at 25kts will be comfortable for cruises with similar sized boats. Yes you will want to go faster at times when conditions permit. If this is the case then get Andre to build one with a 150hp o/b. Since Andre is a Merc dealer in Poland it'll be an Optimax. I dont think resale will be a problem for either. If you can wait for it the spec a new one. If you want to get afloat sooner then make Andre or David B an offer for their demos.

Or...

Rather than spend 25k now go buy Ray Bradmans Avon 560 Avon 560D - Honda 90 - £10,500 for less than half your budget and go ribbing now and build up some experience. OK its not what you think you ultimately want but it looks like a good solid package which you wont lose money on. Get some Ribbing miles under your belt and you will be in a better position to make a decision in a years time!

All IMHO / FWIW and with apologies to Solent & Coastline!
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Old 08 June 2004, 04:39   #10
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brucehawsker

Top speed, IMO, is a nonsense unless you are going to race. On my boat to increase the speed the last 10-20% means an increase in fuel of 30-40% so what will the boat cruise at is more important.

How often to you drive your car at top speed?

Compare the boats by how dry and smoothness of ride, when they take off & how do they land. Diesel and O/b boats have different characteristics and this effects how they handle. Your gut feel for which boat is best maybe the best judgement

Look at the finish of tubes and fittings.

1) Are there any signs of excess glue
2) How clean does the console/seats fit to the deck, are there any screws that your going to stub your toe on
3) What do the electrics look like were they put in my a 2 year old. Normally RIB builders are rubbish at electrics


Cheers

Mark
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