The first rigid inflatable boat (RIB) based on the popular Sunsation 288 hull has been completed and sea-trialed in Greece. According to the Algonac, Mich., company’s president, Wayne Schaldenbrand, the builder’s dealer in Greece, which worked with a local vendor to marry the air chambers to the hull and design and install the deck, spearheaded the project.
“We sent a 28-foot hull over there about two-and-a-half years ago,” said Schaldenbrand. “They did all the modifications on it—they would call us to let us know what they were doing as they went along—and built their own tooling from it. They have to pay us a royalty on each one they build. The second one is in production.”
The modifications to the original hull were substantial. They included extending overall length to accommodate the outboard engine—a 200-hp Yamaha—adding a “non-functional” cosmetic step and reducing the pad on the bottom from 16 to eight feet.
“They shortened the pad to improve the ride in rough-water,” said Schaldenbrand.
With the air chambers added, the overall length of the boat is 30 feet. Top speed is approximately 50 mph.
Schaldenbrand said the dealer has ordered a 32-foot Sunsation hull for its next RIB project, which will end up as a 34-footer with the chambers installed.
“We’ll ship them a bare hull and consult with the on changes to the hull the same way we did with the 28,” said Schaldenbrand.