Author : Barry Wiseman
Within hours of the last patrons leaving the 2018 Club Marine Perth International Boat Show in Perth, West Australian, Naiad manufacturer Rob Kirby was booking appointments for customers wanting a closer look at his latest creation.
The Naiad 10m “D” foam composite Centre Console Naiad was a major draw card in itself. However, show goers were in for a not unpleasant double whammy….or should I say Yammy.
The four-day event staged in glorious sunshine at Perth’s Elizabeth Quay and nearby Convention and Exhibition Centre on the shores of the Swan River in the CBD was chosen by Yamaha Australia to publicly release its massive 425hp V8 Extreme Thrust Offshore (XTO) outboard engine….and the Naiad had two of these monsters on the back.
While Yamaha rep Glenn Gibson explained its features to the punters inside the Convention Centre at the Yamaha stand, Rob Kirby and his staff put it, and several other smaller Naiads, to the test on water nearby.
“This 10m is one of the most popular sizes we build but this version is quite a radical departure on what we have previously done. It’s become almost a cult boat; in that people want it as a crossover vessel. By that I mean a great tender plus a fabulous blue-water performer. A lot of people love the 10m Naiad but they say ‘they can’t fish out of it’, to which we say ‘You can and people do’.” said Kirby.
Being the professionals they are and leaders in innovative design, the Kirby Marine team realised more needed to be done to bring this vessel up to another level.
“Our feedback pointed to the benefits of having high sides, more rod holders, somewhere to store the rod during baiting up, having a high freeboard so if you’re fishing deep you need to get into a good position against the sides of the vessel. We realised we needed to do something to fix it.”
“With our design team, we agreed we can do all those things because with the evolution of this boat, it’s no longer an air-filled collar. The upgrade to a “D” foam-filled collar takes us way above the previous soft cushion of air taking the full impact of the water.”
“For all intents and purposes it looks the same and performs exactly the same as a RIB but now the high density foam replaces the air chambers. The vessel still has all the benefits of the RIB, however, this upgrade now gives us the ability to add other features including side pockets and due to the reality of using the D foam collar construction method, we have picked up 200mm each side internal dimensions,” Rob Kirby added.
Because the D foam collar fits externally it means the plate aluminium sides can be built higher, giving more freeboard and greater depth inside the vessel which is a terrific safety feature especially when the ankle biters are on board. The design also gives you traditional gunwales for more rod holders and padded coamings for fishos to lean against when tackling the big ones.
LOVING THE POWER
“The other thing we have known about for quite a while with these boats is they use horsepower amazingly well; to the point we have always made the statement they don’t make engines big enough for Naiads because it’s very easy to find the limits of the outboard engine but not the limits of the hull,” Kirby added.
The 10m Centre Console has a 3.2m beam and fuel capacity of 700 litres and with the 850hp of Yamaha V8 technology on the transom can produce speeds of up a staggering 58 knots.
With a full load of fuel you’re looking around the 4.2 tonne mark with this rig but Kirby says thanks to the advanced technology and economy of these new V8s you need fill only half the tank. He maintains from the sea trials conducted off Fremantle these giants are just as cheap to run as the Yamaha V6 motors.
For fishos the Helm Master control gives skippers the ability to hold the vessel on a given waypoint via GPS positioning to work their favourite lump in deep water. There are multiple power plugs around the vessel to power up electric reels. Thanks to Yamaha’s 90 Amp power generation system the V8s deliver more than enough charge to run the large array of electronics and portable fridge on board this vessel.
A built-in safety feature when these super silent engines are in Helm Master mode, an LED fitted to the transom outer wall illuminates to warn divers or swimmers that the propellers are in action keeping the vessel in a set position or in docking mode. On the review vessel there are two LEDs, one for each motor.
According to Rob Kirby the new unleaded V8 Yamaha engine has the torque of a diesel motor.
“Most outboard motors need a lot of revs. These might only be 25hp more than some of the opposition’s largest engines, but it has the torque of a diesel engine. It pushes very hard and as you can see from the transom, the fit up is very clean. Everything, including your fly-by-wire, power steering, all goes through the rigging tube. The transom on the 10m is made to accommodate all brands of engines,” Kirby added.
“Yamaha has taken engine technology forward, and to where it should be for the next ten years. It’s very frugal and does not use any more fuel than the previous 350hp Yamaha.”
The release of the Yamaha 425 XTO coincided with the completion of this new look 10m Naiad. Sea trials produced a comfortable 30/35 knots cruising, with the WOT privilege going to the owner during a fast run offshore to Perth’s holiday playground at Rottnest Island during which he hit 58 knots. “While that’s a ‘hang-on’ speed, it’s nice to know you have got that power and grunt if you need it,” Kirby said.
Assisting with the performance and ride of this new rig is largely the fact that it is a Centre Console and according to the builder the helm station is located in the ‘sweet spot’. “The further forward you are, the greater the bounce and you get more vertical acceleration. With the CC you’re in the middle of the boat where there’s less lateral oscillation and a lot less vertical acceleration and deceleration.”
Top of the range Lenco trim tabs with tapered and extended blades are fitted to the transom to aid distribution of weight on board and also combat the strong winds and waves synonymous with Australia’s West Coast boating.
“Real estate on the back of a boat is becoming more scarce these day with more advanced electronics and bigger transducers because we’ve got to keep them a certain distance apart so they don’t interfere with the motor’s water intakes and create prop wash,” Kirby says.
“Another major development with the 425 V8 motors is the power generation output. Yamaha is one of the first manufacturers to recognise most boat builders find it hard to get enough alternator or starter-charge out of an engine to power the electronics that are going into today’s vessels. So the 90Amp charger is a great benefit.”
During the build anything to do with electrics is kept out of the hull so there is no chance of fuel fumes being ignited, plus the Naiad is filled with foam buoyancy blocks which occupy around 95% of the hull void.
SAFETY & COMFORT
The foam “D” collar is designed to keep the vessel afloat if it were holed – safety is a high priority on all Kirby Naiads. The shock absorbing seats were designed by Swedish doctor Johan Ullman who served in the navy back in the 1980s and treated many sailors suffering severe back problems after working on rapid response torpedo patrol boats. The seats are meant to be ‘ridden’, rather like a horse saddle distributing body weight and impact evenly. Many of the sea rescue vessels in operation around the massive West Australian coastline are Naiads fitted with these same seats. As they say, they’re not cheap but they work. Each jockey seat is worth about $5,000.
Camo Sea Dek flooring has been laid on the deck and with the Western Rock Lobster season in full swing during the summer months, a Kirby designed pot hauler winch and stainless steel arm slots into the gunwale when required – another major advantage of the “D” collar design which creates gunwale space for such recovery gear, rod holders and sinker wells. Mustn’t forget the portable barbeque.
The “T” top shade awning is made from heavy duty pipework, throwing shade over the helm and large areas of the fore and rear decks. Hella LED Seahawk deck and flood lights illuminate the area, drawing minimum power.
During my closer look at this vessel, Kirby was called away and I was placed in the care of one of his clients. Yet another potential buyer from the boat show bookings had arrived for an inspection. While the slump in the West Australian mining boom has certainly slowed the economy down, there are new signs of a recovery with recent announcements of more projects getting underway. In turn the boating industry will bounce back and it’s good to see renewed interest in the customised product which Western Australia is renowned for. The Naiads are not budget vessels, particularly the review craft, but there’s still a market for them.
- Make & Model: 10m Naiad CC
- Price As Tested: $AU478,000
- Type: Centre Console RIB
- Construction: Alloy hull & D Tubes
- LOA: 10m
- LOW: 8.30m
- Beam: 3.2m
- Deadrise: 23 deg
- Weight: 2950kg
- Test Power: 2 x Yamaha 425hp XTO V8s
- Top speed: 54 knots
- Fuel: 700L
- Fresh water: 70L