You have to throttle back a lot of smaller powerboats in rough water, but RIB builder Protector says its Center Console 25 is not one of them.
Its deep-vee fiberglass hull, surrounded by wave-absorbing Hypalon inflation chambers, allows the helmsman to run at a good clip even when the wind and waves kick up, says Ralph Silverman, sales manager for Oakland, Calif.-based Protector USA Inc. “Most people use their boats when it’s sunny and flat out,” he says. “This boat in rough water can perform almost as well as it can in calm water.”
The company has introduced a new version of the 25-footer with a redesigned transom that allows it to be powered with a single outboard, Silverman says. With a 250-hp Mercury Verado, the boat cruises at 34.5 mph and gets about 3 mpg. That’s about a half-mile per gallon better than with a twin 150-hp setup. Wide open, the lightweight RIB tops out at 56 mph. “With the redesign, it’s now a more fuel-efficient Protector, and it’s a better dive boat and swimming boat,” Silverman says.
Both boats ride the same hull, with 23 degrees of transom deadrise and a 60-degree entry, and the company will still offer the twin-engine version.
Silverman says the RIB is a good fit for someone who uses their boat a lot and has a purpose for it, “whether it’s getting to an island or serving as a tender or running long distances. It’s really not a boat you use to lay out in the sun.”
The five Hypalon tubes not only soften the ride but also add stability and flotation, Silverman says. “What ends up happening with Protector owners is they realize they’re making the same crossing they used to make but in much less time because the boat is so comfortable at speed,” he says. “So they end up using the boat a ton more.”
The boat comes with a removable stainless-steel and canvas T-top, a trailer, a stainless tow/ski post, an aft-facing cockpit seat, waterproof electrical panels, twin-engine batteries and one house battery. A windlass, teak decking, boarding ladder and freshwater washdown are optional.
Built by New Zealand-based Rayglass Boats, the Protector Center Console 25 sells for $121,850 with the single 250-hp Mercury Verado. Contact: Protector USA Inc., (510) 261-3200, www.protectorboats.com
LOA: 26 feet, 6 inches
BEAM: 9 feet, 6 inches
DRAFT: 2 feet, 1 inch (engine down)
DISPLACEMENT: 4,100 pounds with single outboard
HULL TYPE: deep-vee
TRANSOM DEADRISE: 23 degrees
SPEED: 56 mph top, 34.5 mph cruise
TANKAGE: 84 gallons fuel, 30 gallons water (optional)
POWER: single or twin outboards, gas or diesel inboard
This article originally appeared in the August 2011 issue.
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