RIB’s – the old, the new, the best and the Fest

RIB’s – the old, the new, the best and the Fest

Owning a RIB is expensive – buying a new one is ridiculous! How do these inflatable toys command so much money one wonders?

RIBs have changed so much over the years, from when there was a time that only a handful were available on the market – the trusty grey AVON 5m was one of the first ones I was lucky enough to own. Times have certainly moved on, with RIBs now fitted with teak decks rather than the old orange livery I was used to.

RADARS, AIS, fish finders and GPS/ENAV systems seem to be the standard fit, twinned with big internal fuel tanks that give the impression that you could easily dash across the Atlantic for lunch and be back in time for last orders in the local.

I own a RIB. I did not buy a new one but I had a very clear idea of what I wanted. A deep V hull, high raised bow and enough seats for the family and a few friends; I found what I wanted. It could be classed as a little ‘workey’ but that is exactly what, in my mind a RIB should look like.

So, with an open mind we set out to RIBEX in Cowes to see what the new generation of RIBs, and engines for that matter, had to offer.

My eye was immediately drawn to the HUMBER stand that proffered various sizes of their range, all fitted with air cushioned seats. This seems to be the norm now and I can understand why.

I remember picking up my wife to be – although we did not know this at the time – from Cowes one blustery sunny August afternoon. She had trained it down from London, still in her office suit and caught the RedJet.  I thought the way to ‘Woo’ her was to pick her up in a RIB that I borrowed from a friend. Whilst she has always been a keen horse rider, the experience I subjected her to was a little less than uncomfortable – not to mention wet. Air cushioned seats may have sped up the ‘wooing’ process!

There were, of course, other manufactures that boasted, amongst other things, a small dining/drinks table mounted in the fore part. I did chuckle to myself imagining  the unfortunate owners sitting in the harbour or at anchor juggling their glasses, as the slightest wash or slop would have them upended on every occasion! Not least, this table was all of 500mm in diameter!

We stayed for an hour and after asking to go for a RIB ride – it was obvious to the broker that I did not have a spare £85K to spend – we left without getting a trip out and headed for some lunch, which we found in a very special little deli just round the corner.

A slight walk up the hill had us back where we had parked at a friend’s house. He is also a RIB owner; we then proceeded for the next two hours discussing why our RIBs were the best and the new stuff just ain’t worth it!