Charlie Jack, Lismore, Scotland UK.

As many here will know, I was suckered into buying a Chinese manufactured RIB which was marketed by Piranha Ribs Ltd, and shown at the London Boat Show. It was called a P550 Club Rescue, and was advertised almost entirely falsely in respect of its vital statistics. That boat has now been disposed of, effectively for scrap and the engine (Evinrude 75 etec), has been fitted to a Rib-X XP535. This allows me to compare the two fairly.

The Rib-X is 120 kgs lighter than the Piranha as weighed empty, on the same public weigh bridge, on the same trailer and with an identical fuel load. Both boats have the same overall length, but the Rib-X hull is 30cm longer, the tubes on the Piranha being massive in comparison and overhanging the hull at the stern by 90cm.

The difference on the water is startling, like night and day. The Rib-X feels light, lively and responsive. It achieves 32 knots with three up and a full fuel tank (90 litres). The Piranha struggled to do 27 knots with one up. The Rib-X rides high, whereas the Piranha stayed low in the water with at least two thirds of the side tubes staying on the water when under way.

I am so pleased with the Rib-X and it was such a bonus to be shown around the Rib-X factory by Colin Baldwin and see the construction of the boat in detail. Colin takes great pride in his products and it is obvious that he really knows his stuff, where designing and building boats is concerned.

My advice from bitter experience will always be, don’t take the chance on a Chinese RIB, chances are it will be poorly built and possibly, as was the case with the Piranha that I bought, unsafe.