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Old 14 April 2021, 08:45   #1
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Too much boat for a beginner?

Hi all, I am a new member but have been lurking in the dark for the last few months!

About 10 years ago I took the equivalent of my RYA Intermediate in Sydney, Australia. I didn't use it apart from two day-charters. Having just tried to apply for my ICC to charter on an upcoming holiday in Greece, I realised the school I used went bust very shortly after my course and there is no record of me. The Groupon deal was too good to be true....

I am now signed up to take my RYA L1&2 in May and am increasingly interested in buying my own RIB. Most likely to keep in Plymouth as my in-laws live close by (and I know the area from my uni days when I would sail around the sound). Trailering the RIB would require B&E certs which I would like to avoid for now.

I have seen a couple of listings online for Cobra 7.5's with 150-250hp outboards. These setups seem like they would suit pleasure usage as they have plenty of space and comfortable seating to take out decent-sized groups.

Is this too much boat for a beginner though? I don't want to buy something overpowered or hard to manoeuvre for a beginner, but I know that I would outgrow a 4m with 40hp pretty quickly due to lack of space.
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Old 14 April 2021, 09:12   #2
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A 7.5m RIB with 150hp is only modestly powered, and even 250hp isnít over the top. You donít need to drive it flat out anyway, so with a bit of care youíll be fine.
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Old 14 April 2021, 09:15   #3
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A 7.5m RIB with 150hp is only modestly powered, and even 250hp isnít over the top. You donít need to drive it flat out anyway, so with a bit of care youíll be fine.
Fantastic, thank you. I wanted to make sure buying a 250hp RIB as a first boat wasn't like learning to drive in a rear-wheel drive 500hp sports car!
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Old 14 April 2021, 09:18   #4
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Sometimes the smaller boats teach you the most and are the most fun. My first boat was 21ft with 210hp. Then 7.5m, then 8.1m 70mph boat. I learnt loads in my mates flatacraft force 3 a few years ago, due to the size of the boat, crossing a mile or so was an epic challenge.

I wouldn’t say a cobra with 200hp was too much. You don’t have to go flat out or hit the sea in storm force 8, but you might not learn some of those small boat skills which translate into BIG bigger boat skills.
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Old 14 April 2021, 09:21   #5
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Sometimes the smaller boats teach you the most and are the most fun. My first boat was 21ft with 210hp. Then 7.5m, then 8.1m 70mph boat. I learnt loads in my mates flatacraft force 3 a few years ago, due to the size of the boat, crossing a mile or so was an epic challenge.

I wouldnít say a cobra with 200hp was too much. You donít have to go flat out or hit the sea in storm force 8, but you might not learn some of those small boat skills which translate into BIG bigger boat skills.
That's an interesting perspective, what are the small boat skills I might be missing out on? I'm wondering if borrowing/chartering something smaller for a day or two would help?
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Old 14 April 2021, 11:22   #6
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I think your L2 course will help with the base skills, as other have said, build up you knowledge of the boat before really pushing her.

I'm often out of Plymouth and would happily come out with you initially to see how she does, help you in gently
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Old 14 April 2021, 13:30   #7
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Iíve had a Cobra 7.5 with a 275hp, excellent choice but a bit of a super car compared to the boat youíll train in. Just take it gently to start with and youíll be fine!
Big fun!
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Old 14 April 2021, 13:37   #8
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Just out of interest, in an SR4 for instance, you do learn how to handle waves/wash/bars etc. much faster but a couple of days wouldnít help much.
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Old 14 April 2021, 13:40   #9
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Can't help notice your name & location.
Which ferries?
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Old 14 April 2021, 13:48   #10
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You’ll be fine with a 7.5m boat. It’s no different to driving a smaller one.


I think the quality of PB2 courses varies a lot depending on where you do it... some you learn a lot on, some you learn very little. You will learn fast when you go out on your own!
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Old 14 April 2021, 13:59   #11
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I think you'll struggle to find a boat much bigger than a 6.0m that can be pulled without a BE licence.

As for size as John Kenneth says a 150hp 7.5m might be underpowered.

For context the 7.4m with twin 115hp I use tops out at 40kts with just me, and 28kts with 13 fully kitted divers and me. The hull is rated for 240hp. The boat on trailer is 2.6t.

Additional context, a 6.4m with 150hp 2 stroke, tops out at 35kts, and cruises with 10 fully kitted divers and me at 23kts.

Additional context a 5.4m with a 90hp 2 stroke and 6 fully kitted divers and me will still cruise 21kts and tops out at 28kts (its propped for weight not speed)

As others have mentioned I think you'd learn more and have a greater challenge with a smaller boat 5.4-6.5m range and would be less likely to run into requiring a BE licence.
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Old 14 April 2021, 14:04   #12
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As per the above.

Don't over think it, just do it. Take it easy, choose your place/time/weather
The practice you get back on the L2 will be an adequate refresher.
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Old 14 April 2021, 14:29   #13
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Can't help notice your name & location.
Which ferries?


No actual ferries, I joined the RN from P&O Cruises and was named instantly!
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Old 14 April 2021, 23:00   #14
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Definitely - go for it!
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Old 15 April 2021, 08:54   #15
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I bought a 7m Vipermax/225 Honda just over 3 years ago as my first powerboat - brilliant boat and no regrets.

A 7m boat will cope more comfortably when the conditions deteriorate, and there is plenty of space to move about.

Downsides are mainly to do with when the boat is not in the water, i.e storage and manoeverablity. As with most things nautical, the bigger it is the more expensive it is, but add that to your running costs and don't lose sleep!
I have a "motor mover" on my twin axle trailer for tucking it into the space on my drive, other than that, towing is just a matter of confidence and experience.

I did powerboat II and a refresher before buying and found that gave enough practical advice to cope with the handling and the power on tap, after which it is common sense and experience.

Tim
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Old 16 April 2021, 01:59   #16
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Originally Posted by IamSam View Post
That's an interesting perspective, what are the small boat skills I might be missing out on? I'm wondering if borrowing/chartering something smaller for a day or two would help?
I found the small flatacraft a mini adventure. It was my mates and I drove it in appalling conditions from calshot to warsash on one occasion. I was up and down waves, on and off the throttle, the waves looked like houses, I was testing my ability to be at the edge of the boats limits for throttle control and angle of attack for the waves., I even stuffed it with my big boat skills of keep pushing on. Man and machine v the elements 😬. Reality was it was a wind over tide mildly blowy day. Great fun and a steep learning curve in very average weather. That sort of experience in a 7.5m would have to be quite filthy weather.

None the less you will be fine. It was mooring that became more of a challenge when I went from 6ish to 7.5m, same again when I moved up to 8m. Even after +20 years experience I am never fully relaxed mooring my single engine rib.
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Old 16 April 2021, 03:21   #17
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I was in your shoes 12 months ago. Completely new to RIB's. I did the RYA L2 and then went for a 8m rib with 350 engine. My decision was totally because I was going to be using the boat off Cornwall, and I knew there would be times when the conditions would be wild'ish, and I decided I did not want to be out there in anything smaller. For me, it was totally the right decision and the boat is awesome and has handled everything thrown at it. I rarely go out if its forecast over force 6 anyway or moderate sea. So watch the Inshore forecast and you will be fine.
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Old 16 April 2021, 09:04   #18
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Originally Posted by oisin.higgins View Post
I think you'll struggle to find a boat much bigger than a 6.0m that can be pulled without a BE licence.

As for size as John Kenneth says a 150hp 7.5m might be underpowered.

For context the 7.4m with twin 115hp I use tops out at 40kts with just me, and 28kts with 13 fully kitted divers and me. The hull is rated for 240hp. The boat on trailer is 2.6t.

Additional context, a 6.4m with 150hp 2 stroke, tops out at 35kts, and cruises with 10 fully kitted divers and me at 23kts.

Additional context a 5.4m with a 90hp 2 stroke and 6 fully kitted divers and me will still cruise 21kts and tops out at 28kts (its propped for weight not speed)

As others have mentioned I think you'd learn more and have a greater challenge with a smaller boat 5.4-6.5m range and would be less likely to run into requiring a BE licence.
Unfortunately/fortunately, I am of an age (34) where my driving license doesn't allow any towing at all without taking more tests!
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Old 16 April 2021, 09:08   #19
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I think your L2 course will help with the base skills, as other have said, build up you knowledge of the boat before really pushing her.

I'm often out of Plymouth and would happily come out with you initially to see how she does, help you in gently
I really appreciate that, thank you! Do you tow or keep your RIB in Plymouth?

I live in Gloucestershire but have in-laws with plenty of space in Gunnislake where I can store a RIB, so may very well decide to take my BE test so I'm not just limited to Plymouth. We enjoy holidaying in Port Issac and Padstow and I would love to explore the area by boat without having to charter at £600+ a day!
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Old 16 April 2021, 09:11   #20
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Originally Posted by hyndlandguy View Post
I was in your shoes 12 months ago. Completely new to RIB's. I did the RYA L2 and then went for a 8m rib with 350 engine. My decision was totally because I was going to be using the boat off Cornwall, and I knew there would be times when the conditions would be wild'ish, and I decided I did not want to be out there in anything smaller. For me, it was totally the right decision and the boat is awesome and has handled everything thrown at it. I rarely go out if its forecast over force 6 anyway or moderate sea. So watch the Inshore forecast and you will be fine.
This sounds a lot like me! I want to explore Cornwall, but having been a surf instructor and beach lifeguard at Sennen (with PWC training) many years ago, I have first-hand experience with how bad it can actually get... I also LOVE the idea of longer cruises when I'm capable and qualified
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