Brig Eagle 340 - report
I recently took delivery of a new Brig Eagle 340 Rib with a 40hp Merc 4 stroke. I'm told it was designed and built for the Australian waters - if true its worked. We will use our predominantly in Pittater (Broken Bay) which for those not acquainted with Oz - is larger than Sydney harbour and one of the most beautiful coastal waterways in the world. Its taken a long time for me to take the decision to buy one and I've had every inflatable known to man (well not quite!) -trying to find a tender for a larger boat - that does everything. They all had shortcomings. Bar weight on the davits (approx 300kgs with fuel and need to allow 500kgs in my view for the occassional wave that surprises) or drag whilst towing - this seems faultless. I cant manhandle it up on to the deck but there again I dont need to.
In Australia, I think they are a bit pricey compared to some of the alternatives (eg Zodiac and Quicksilver) but they are worth the extra investment. I havn't tried Avon but they relatively few of those sold in Aussie waters as far as I know. Would welcome any feedback.
To fault its performance would be doing so for the sake of it. For the money however I think it could come with a decent cover and the lifting harness is only suitable for a single crane lift, not twin davit arms used by most yachts (at least anything smaller than 60ft) - so one would need to invest in a cover and alternate harness.
It gets up out of the hole quickly, gets to around 40mph equally quickly, turns on a sixpence and no "skating" on the turn, is stable in a chop of up to 1m (thats all I've had it in so far) and looks bloody good! With the motor trimmed up a bit its very smooth in a 1m offshore chop if you don't mind a little bit of porpoising to give it a soft ride. In smooth water the ride is "gentlemanly".
The fabric is Hypalon and seams are apparantly hot welded/bonded. I havn't had any problems with any of the well known brands however have never had an inflatable/rib for long enough for the fabric to matter much. Having said that the Aussie sun is very harsh in summer or for that matter at any time of year compared to Europe or the UK.
The Merc 40 is economical, certainly compared to the 2 strokes I've had (mostly mercs)and is very quiet indeed (I am deaf in one ear but the other one makes up for it - that is until Fiona or the children want my attention and I am doing something I want to do!). I did look at other motors but just have a pre-dispositon for Mercs I suppose - no logic there! The fuel tank takes 33 litres (sorry for those that still life in gallons) which is ample for my use. I suspect, but havn't yet tested, that I will get a full day of enjoyment on 33 litres though will carry a spare 5 litre tank in case......
I have two well built teenage sons that both like to wakeboard - the Brig obviously doesnt have much of a wake though I have no doubt about its ability to pull them up - wont be tested until the summer arrives though.
Conclusions - AAA (has to be better than a bank investment at this time).