A ‘wave-breaking’ multihull RIB

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Ian Taylor has designed and built boats in the United Kingdom, Greece, the United States and Canada, and for such firms as Camper & Nicholsons, Olympic Yachts and C&C Yachts. Now based in Hamilton, Ontario, Taylor’s bringing one of his own designs to fruition — a 28-foot rigid-hull inflatable — with the help of a couple of Maine contractors.

Ian Taylor has designed and built boats in the United Kingdom, Greece, the United States and Canada, and for such firms as Camper & Nicholsons, Olympic Yachts and C&C Yachts. Now based in Hamilton, Ontario, Taylor’s bringing one of his own designs to fruition — a 28-foot rigid-hull inflatable — with the help of a couple of Maine contractors.

The key to the Reflex 850 Spyder is a multihull design called the RAM Mark III tri-hull that uses tall, skinny hulls.

“Basically it’s a cat but with an extra hull in the middle to break waves and create buoyancy,” says Taylor, president of Reflex Advanced Marine Corp., explaining how the center hull extends abaft the transom by 2 feet, beneath the swim platform. “We call it a ‘ride maker and wave breaker.’ ”

The 850’s tunnels compress air to create lift, reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency, according to Taylor. The boat also employs tunnel tabs to adjust trim without having trim tabs in the water. “We get a really good trim adjustment without drag,” Taylor says. And the 850’s design banks slightly into turns rather than leaning outboard, which is common among catamarans. The tunnels flood in a turn.

The 850 is powered by single or twin outboards and has a modular deck layout, with a variety of helm consoles, seating options, a head and forward cabin available. A hardtop and freshwater system are available, and other systems and components can be added to customize the RIB for use as a search-and-rescue, military or harbor patrol boat. Plus, with the foam-filled and inflatable collars removed, the 28-footers nest and fit into shipping containers.

England-born Taylor is a shipyard joiner and master boatbuilder by trade and worked as a yacht designer with Carter Offshore Design in Massachusetts. “Performance craft and the powerboat business came a little bit later, when I started to look at problems with vee hulls and what we could do about it,” says Taylor.

He developed the tri-hull design for commercial, government and defense use, in addition to recreational boating. The company Web site displays several drawings of fast ferries based on the same hull design, and a 40-foot Mark II — powered by twin inboard diesels and equipped with a deck-mounted machine gun — was successfully sea-trialed off St. John’s, Newfoundland, for use as a military patrol boat. The smaller boats also serve as test beds for fast ferry designs.

Reflex Advanced Marine began humbly more than a decade ago. “In 1993 — it was something I did in the basement and the back bedroom,” says Taylor. “It was only about three years ago that we got into a position where we could market the craft and market the design. It’s been a long road.”

Janseneering of Topsham, Maine, did the plug work based on CAD drawings and using multiaxis milling machines. Union River Boat Company built the tooling and manufactures the boats at its facility in Bucksport, Maine. The Reflex hull is built with fiberglass and Kevlar composite construction.

“We’re not trying to go up against the big guys,” says Taylor. “We’re hoping to come in at the bottom end and make a few sales and hopefully catch on.”

UnionRiver was expected to complete hull No. 1 in September. The first three hulls — all for recreational use — are spoken for, bought by clients who themselves are members of the marine industry. Taylor plans to bring the line along using feedback from these industry friends, with plans to build eight boats this year.

SPECS:

LOA: 28 feet

Beam: 8 feet, 11 inches draft: 1 foot, 5 inches

Displacement: 3,505 pounds

HULL TYPE: tri-hull

TANKAGE: 100 gallons fuel

STANDARD POWER: single or twin outboards to 450 hp

SPEED: 46 mph top (with twin 115-hp Evinrude E-TECs)

ESTIMATED PRICE: $140,000

CONTACT: Reflex Advanced Marine Corp., Hamilton, Ontario.

Phone: (905) 690-2179.

www.ramboats.com