Tricked Out RIB
Euro Inflatables has grown quickly over the last couple of years. Originally, the company specialised in small tender inflatables, but now has launched a series of centre console RIBs for the recreational market. Freddy Foote donned his sunglasses and checked out the bright new Pro Sport Series III.
This particular model is already in the hands of a happy owner, Howick Coastguard member Trevor Taylor. Trevor has been a boat owner for a number of years and a dedicated member of the Coastguard for around 8 years. With that experience he decided that a RIB was what he needed, and settled for the Euro Pro Sport.
“I’ve been using RIBs for a number of years through the Coastguard and I like the way they ride and the practicality that they offer. I came across the Euro range and thought that’s what I need,” says Trevor.
Trevor worked with Chris Kelly at Euro Inflatables to customise his RIB, from the positioning of the helm, to helping with the design of the hardtop, which was fitted just days prior to our test.
On first seeing the boat, one word that came to mind was bright! With that striking yellow tube colour it’s not going to go unseen out on the water! Secondly, the interior was certainly fitted with every possible extra, with an emphasis on luxury foremost.
Aft, a comfortable bench seat stretches right across the boat, and is big enough to seat three adults. Lifting the seat base opens up a large storage compartment underneath.
In front under the floor is an underfloor storage compartment, which extends forward under the helm, and is self draining.
Immediately behind the helm console is an icebox, which is self-draining and is finished with an upholstered lid which doubles as a seat. The driving position is pretty much limited to the standing position, but the unique design of the backrest means that you can move it around, and reverse it so that you can have a back rest for when you’re facing aft, fishing for instance.
Roping encompasses the entire length of the tubes, both inside and out, so when climbing into the boat from the water, you are able to grab the rope on the inside of the tubes, giving more leverage.
Forward of the helm console is a forward facing seat, and further ahead of that is an aft facing seat in the bow of the boat. For’ard of that is an anchor locker and a fairlead is bonded on to the forward tube.
The helm itself was tidy and well designed. Mercury SmartCraft gauges are fitted into the dash, while a Raymarine fishfinder is mounted on a bracket in the middle. Mounted on the starboard side of the console is a CD/Stereo head-deck, which runs a number of speakers throughout the boat.
A 100-litre fuel tank is mounted under the helm, with a reserve 25-litre tote tank that is permanently plumbed under the floor as well. Both of these tanks can be filled separately from the fuel fillers, mounted into the side of the console on the port side.
This particular boat has been fitted with a Mercury 115 OptiMax, a lively combination. The boat was responsive and quick up onto the plane and with the throttle hard down, the Euro hit just over 41.0mph at maximum 5500rpm. If you were buying to a budget and maximum horsepower isn’t on your list of requirements then a 90hp outboard would be more than adequate. Rigged with a 90hp and minus a few of the extras the boat comes in under $50,000.
Harbour conditions were quite reasonable on test day, with an incoming tide and a light breeze; the Motuihe channel had a small chop. I was very impressed with the performance of the Euro – it gave a soft ride and being a light boat, the handling was very predictable. Given the RIB design, the tubes ensured that the boat gave a very dry ride, and I can comfortably say that the boat would handle rougher conditions and allow crew to remain dry.
One thing that I did notice was the positioning of the throttle control. It was a standard Mercury control, which is made in right hand versions only. Basically it meant that due to the centre console style of boat that the Euro is, there is nowhere on the right hand side to mount the throttle, so it has to mounted on the left hand side, meaning that you have to get used to throttling and trimming with your left hand. However conventional side mounted controls in right hand configurations are available.
Other power options include a Mercury jet unit version, which because of the unit’s compact size allows much of the internal layout of the Pro Sport to remain the same.
Trevor has set his boat up with a hard cover, to provide a bit of shade over summer when out on the water. The roof itself is made of GRP and is fixed into position by four poles, which bolt to the floor. The hardtop also features a rocket launcher for additional rod storage to complement the four-rod holders built into the transom aft.
A keen fisherman, Trevor has a cockpit light mounted on top of the hardtop to illuminate the aft section of the boat for night fishing, and a forward light illuminates ahead for navigation at night. A red light is also mounted above the helm to illuminate the helm area as well.
Euro Inflatables also customises a lot of its boats into wakeboard boats, using the range of customised wakeboard towers. The towers have been specifically designed to fit RIBs and having seen one at the Auckland Boat Show, I think they definitely look sharp when equipped with stereo speakers and board racks. The Pro Sport would make an ideal wakeboard boat for budget conscious buyers, their low planing speed and spacious interior a big benefit.
The boat is still what you would call a work in progress, with Trevor fitting a number of extras to the boat as he goes along. Next on the list will be fitting a VHF; he plans to mount it up on the underside of the hardtop, within easy hand reach. A bait board is also being sourced to mount into the transom aft.
There are very few other boats currently on the market in the same class as the Euro Pro Sport, and even fewer from a New Zealand manufacturer. The Pro Sport is a great boat for the amateur wakeboard enthusiast, or those who simply want a RIB with every possible creature comfort. Euro has certainly hit the right niche not only in the New Zealand market, but also in growing export markets, there are more and more Euros heading offshore!
Euro Pro Sport Series III Specifications
- Model: Euro Pro Sport Series III
- Price as Tested: $69,995
- Designer: Euro Inflatables
- Material: GRP, P.U
- Type: RIB
- LOA: 5.9m
- Beam: 2.5m
- Deadrise: 21 Degree
- Hull Configuration: RIB
- Trailerable Weight: 535kg (boat only)
- Height on Trailer: 3.0m
- Engine Capacity: 80-175Hp
- Power Options: Outboard/MerCruiser Jet
- Fuel Capacity: 125L or 150L
- Engine: Mercury Optimax 115