These revolutionary Folding RIBs (F-RIBs) have 3-section articulated folding rigid hulls. This makes them much easier to transport and store – taking little more space than an all-fabric boat, whilst retaining the performance, stability and durability advantages of a conventional RIB.
That means you can store or transport a proper RIB where you thought it was impossible, eg. on the deck of a yacht, or in the back of a car. It may also mean you can choose one that’s a size or two larger than would otherwise be possible; that means great carrying capacity, comfort and speed.
The hull sections have interlocking tabs and slots, held together by the pressure in the tubes and bolts. Once assembled it’s difficult to tell they fold. Sailing Today tested the 275 and gave it a 5 star rating:
“Handles just like a standard RIB… more stable than a simple inflatable boat… can carry a greater payload and take a bigger outboard… with a 5hp motor we were making 8 knots with two on board and planing at 14 knots with one” SAILING TODAY Magazine, May 2014
Sailing Today also point out that most sizes of foldable RIB will fit in the back of a car or motorhome etc – impossible with a conventional hard-bottomed RIB.
Assembly of the hull is very simple, once you have the technique… just make sure the lugs are engaged with the slots before fully opening. Here you can watch a video showing how to fold the F-RIB 275.
A review in the January 2017 edition of YACHTING WORLD rated the F-RIB “one of the best bits of kit we’ve bought”, see: YW F-RIB article
If you are used to a floppy-bottomed inflatable, changing to a hard-bottomed folding RIB will be something of a revolution. At the most basic level, it’s very reassuring to “stand on something solid”. And the F-RIB design (ignoring the fact it folds) seems to be unusually stable. And having a solid hull with a defined underwater shape – not dependent on where people sit etc – also makes them a lot better to row (although we’d still much prefer a Nestaway to row!).
However the biggest difference of all will come under power, when you’ll tend to find small engines achieve higher speeds, whilst with larger engines you’ll be able to push along at higher speeds even when conditions are a bit choppy.
Yachting Monthly tested the 275 and found that a Suzuki 2.5 “gave six knots with two adult crew on board, and eight with just one… with a 5hp we made 8 knots two-up and planed at 14 knots with one.” We’ve also tested, ourselves, the 275 with a 9.8hp and, one-up, still had throttle to spare (let’s be honest, chickened out!) at 22 knots. She zipped straight up on the plane and was very smooth and dry at speed, with no sign of movement between the hull sections.
With a Torqeedo 1003 electric outboard on the 275 we got about 4.5 knots flat out and 3.8 at half power, giving a realistic range of at least 4 nautical miles.
The 360 (fast action shot above) with 20hp on the back – and the right propeller – can nudge 30 knots with one person on board. And even with four adults on board, nearly 20 knots (in fact we also had a 4 yr old and dog on board too!).
Enough of us for a moment, it’s worth watching this video – shot on our stand at the January 2015 London Boat Show – by Boats.com:
How can we help?
Call 0800 999 2535 (free from UK landlines and most mobiles) or Email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our online contact form.
We currently offer six types of F-RIB foldable RIB, as follows:
NOTES: – Person Capacity. The F-RIBs are all rated in (RCD) Recreational Craft Directive category C, which is reassuring but more than a lot of users need. If rated in category D (ie for calmer waters) the person capacity would typically increase by 40-50%, so the 275 for example could take at least 4 adults (and does, we’ve tried it, with 5 in fact). – Sailing Versions. F-RIB have been talking about a sailing version of the 460 and 275 for some time, which we have encouraged. However there is nothing that could be called a “production version”, as yet.
F-RIB Prices include as standard: oars; foot pump; hull and accessory storage bags; repair kit; and removable seat or seats (depending on size).
Options include: Bow Canopy (£185 DIY fit see accessory fitting note below); Transom Wheels (£160 also DIY fit): Davit Lifting Points x4 (£120 also DIY fit); Seat Cushions £40 each; Bags that hang underneath seats £30 each; “Comfort pack” – 2 cushions and 1 hanging bag – £99; 12V-powered Electric Pump (£95).
Accessory Fitting Note: Price for bow canopy, transom wheel and davit lifting points are for the items supplied loose for you to fit. All are relatively straightforward DIY jobs, but we can do them if you wish us to. However it does take time, and we have overheads and staff to pay for, so we have to charge for it.
Fitting charges are: £60 for transom wheels; £60 for bow canopy; £90 for davit lifting points.
We are also agents for Torqeedo electric outboards, and Suzuki and Tohatsu petrol outboards. Our recommended motor will depend on which model you choose, what you want to do with it, and of course budget. This is something we’re happy to discuss over the phone or by email, if you want us to supply the motor.
ASSEMBLING F-RIBs IS EASY AND ONLY TAKES 5 MINUTES
A NOTE ON WEIGHT
At first glance, most people assume a hard-bottomed glassfibre RIB will be very heavy compared to one with a rubber fabric bottom, but with the F-RIBs there really isn’t much difference. Rubber is surprisingly heavy, particularly when you use thick rubber (which is advisable for the bottom of inflatable boats!).
Size-for-size, in comparison to the F-RIB 275 (at 36kg):
– a typical high pressure floor dinghy with tube keel beneath is 30-35kg. Also bear in mind the F-RIB is a more efficient hull so will either be faster or can take a smaller, lighter engine to achieve the same speed (total weight may therefore be less).
– whilst even aluminium-hulled (and non-folding) RIBs, specifically marketed as lightweight, are somewhere between 28 and 45kg.
THEY’RE ALL WITHIN A FEW PERCENT. The only way you can really make an inflatable boat much lighter is to reduce the thickness of the fabric. Or buy a smaller dinghy – but that has other implications on factors such as stability, load carrying and performance.
We got hold of our first F-RIB 275 in June 2014 and immediately took it on a week’s trial, as tender to a cruising yacht on the West Coast of Scotland. We were deeply impressed, so we decided to add them to our carefully-selected, specialist range of folding boats.
Some of our feedback has already been incorporated into the production models in stock now. We then co-launched the F-RIB range at Southampton Boat Show 2014 and gave them a lot of space at London Boat Show 2015. We know for a fact that we have sold more F-RIBs than anyone else in the UK and as you may have noticed most if not all of our photographs are unique to us, because we’ve actually used the boats ourselves (and took a camera!).
We’re pretty sure we’ve tried more boat/engine combinations than anyone else in the UK too. If you’d like to come and see or try an F-RIB on the South Coast you are very welcome, and we will even make you a no-obligation cup of coffee while we have a chat! (Don’t expect a Debenhams-style retail showroom though…)
The F-RIB 275, 330, 360 and 375 are all fairly “conventional” RIBs, in terms of performance and handling, apart from the fact they fold up for easier transport and storage. Assembled on the water you would not know they fold up. The 460 is different, longer obviously but also sporting a much more tapered bow and flatter bottom for much of its length, compared with other RIBs. This makes it very fast on flat water – planing is easily achieved with a 3.5hp motor, one-up – but also a slightly “harder” (ie more bouncy) ride in choppy waters. For inland waters it means you will go faster or can use a smaller motor; on the sea you would probably find yourself having to slow down a bit.
The new 430 pictured here is more similar to the smaller boats – ie with a conventional RIB hull form – but with a slightly deeper V (better in waves). And biggest difference of all is that the hull is in four pieces rather than three, so it actually folds up to a similar size as the 375! As a 4.3m rigid hull boat it’s really a very capable piece of kit, able to carry up to 6 adults (max 800kg), yet it still fits in the back of an estate car.