They like to do things big in Western Australia.
Like an RIB ‘tender’ that’s 7.3 meters long and pushed by a Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard.
“Let me tell you – doing 56 knots at 7,000 rpm, that’s a whole new experience!” laughed Dave Johnson from Jet Torque in Fremantle.
Dave and his team create Gemini Elite RIBS – custom crafted rigid inflatable boats to suit any purpose.
“Most of our clients are after a tender for their larger vessel. These big boats tend to stay among all the offshore islands we enjoy here in WA, so they use their tender to do all their boating activities to avoid the hassle of having to move the mother ship.
“Tenders here have to do everything – cruise, run around, go fishing, check the cray pots – and they have to be fairly big to handle the rough weather.”
Some, like Jet Torque’s new creation, also go very fast.
Weighing in at 2,000 kilos with 300 litres of fuel aboard, the RIB in testing on smooth waters off the WA coast reached 56.2 knots (104 kph) at 7090 rpm. At 5,000 rpm she was cruising comfortably at just 39 knots (72 kph) and using 59 litres of fuel an hour.
At a staggering 153 horsepower per litre, the all-new Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard is the most powerful consumer outboard ever produced by Mercury and provides the highest power-to-weight of all other four stroke outboards in its class.
“Obviously, this is a thoroughbred motor so when we built the boat I wanted to optimise the motor and hull performance. So we fitted larger trim tabs and a hydraulic jacking plate so we can instantly change the engine’s position to optimise performance,” Dave said.
“In my time I’ve installed and used all sorts of engines, but this one stands out for being so quiet and smooth, and the power is amazing.
“Combined with our 7.3 meter hull it makes a stunning combination.”
The boat is not only impressive on the water, it’s also turning heads in the showroom.
“Just today I had someone walk in and it just grabbed him. We talked and he’s very keen, not only for the boat but for a Mercury engine as well after I told him how the 400 performed,” Dave said.
Of course, good looks matter as well and the team at Jet Torque go that extra yard to make sure their boats are visually stunning.
“When we decided to install the Mercury 400, we did a lot of work on optimising the styling and trim, designing it around the engine cowling so that when the boat was finished everything blended together.
Dave went so far as to make sure the helm seats, imported from Scotland, were embroidered with black and red stitching to match the Mercury livery.
“I’ve got a lot of positive responses about how the boat looks and performs. I’m really happy with it and I’m not sure I want to sell it!” Dave said.
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