Hi All and best regards to you too Duncan (at No 24 *
big grin). Nice to see you're still on the rib scene.
I see Colin has announced the news about Probond Marine taking up the baton and now building various Carson RIB designs. It's been a while since I posted anything on here, September - November 2012 as I recall.
Until recently Fawley Marine down in Cornwall built the Carson 600, most going to commercial customers and the rest to leisure users. They also built the Carson 900 and keep their own 900 'Pressman' for charter use. Aside from in house build Carsons have also been built by several other companies including Hoyle Marine Ltd., CDC Ltd., both on Merseyside, Northshore Yachts Ltd. in Itchenor, Steelkit Ltd. in Wales (larger alloy hull versions) and others elsewhere including Ireland where it all began in the early 80s. In addition Skuaribs in Derbyshire built their SK6 and RB6 sports ribs on a Carson design(Rib Magazine and other reviewers were extremely impressed). The current Carson 520 and 550 are a newer improved version of the Skuarib. Seastart in Hampshire build the Carson 750 and variants and have several 750s in their own breakdown and recovery fleet, easily spotted with their distinct livery of bright yellow and black. Another 750 variant of interest these days is my own old Quickstep previously discussed on this forum, now almost twenty years old and still going strong. This has a stepped hull and cabin. She is now an expedition boat with new owners and can be found these days in far Northern waters and on their blog papayarcticadventure.
I see the square bow has drawn some comment. This distinctive feature has been a mark of all Carsons from the outset and proved over three decades to offer many advantages. Colin has already pointed out some of the benefits. In practice there are no real disadvantages except perhaps to some traditionalist's eyes. It combines well with some other Carson design features such as the pronounced spray rails carried well forward as can be seen in the photographs.
When I introduced this design feature in the 80s many competitors at first criticised it but without good grounds, then later copied it! Now it is quite a common feature on many commercial and military ribs. Another point to consider is this. With a conventional pointed bow on a rib it consists mostly of a narrowing tube filled with air on a narrowing pointed hull with relatively little reserve buoyancy that arguably is also wasting boat length and space that cost the owner dearly in initial cost and later in storage and mooring fees. As an example, the Carson 420 was primarily designed as a small workboat and later adopted as a small police boat. After extensive trials the Royal Hong Kong Marine Police found this little rib far safer and more able in the rough sea conditions of Hong Kong and surrounding seas than the Searider 5.4s they previously used. Replacing the Seariders with Carson 420s offered savings on deck stowage space aboard their patrol ships, half the cost and able to launch and operate more often in rougher conditions. Little wonder it remains probably my favourite baby out of the range. In addition Carson 600s were carried on their larger ships for longer range patrols off the mother ships with a crew of three in anti smuggling and rescue operations. Again the square bow feature proved very advantageous.
For the future there are a couple of new designs on the way including cabin options and more stepped hulls in larger sizes. Watch this space.
More details of all this can be found on Probond's website with accompanying photos.