The warm morning and the evocative setting of the Lega Navale club in Naples ensured the ideal conditions for the sea trial of the MV 27 GT, organised by Motonautica Vesuviana together with Mercury Marine Italia.
The 27-foot Neapolitan Rib has a sporty personality, with the 50-degree hull angle in the bow, which is normal for a Rib designed for rough seas, 23 degrees at the centre of gravity, and the deadrise angle at the stern at 21 degrees.
The hull is produced by Motonautica Vesuviana, which is developed from analysis of fluid dynamics, ensuring very limited fuel consumption thanks to detailed study of the efficiency of the waterlines. It is also fitted with two spray rails, one on each side, that end before the transom so as to leave the water around the engine cleaner.
MV 27 GT feels as if it is the meeting point between smaller boats and those at the top of the range.
The raised position and the good design of the tubes (these two factors leave the hull visible nearly up to the stern), which measure from 42-60 centimetres, mean that this boat has a very small turning circle. This can be useful in case of emergency manoeuvres.
MV 27 GT can offer great autonomy and comfortable cruising. The size of the sun areas and the versatility of the deck layout suggest that the boat could be used as a daily cruising, which is a popular occupation in Greek-speaking countries, where MV is having a presence for years.
The double dinette, in the stern and the bow, is complemented by the elegant small table with a collapsible insert.
It is frequently said that you can never get enough horsepower, but this concept is very misleading, mainly when Ribs are well built.
The truth is that some boats need large amounts of power to produce results that are only just satisfying. At MV they don't see things that way, and this Rib is the confirmation of that.
The space is quite good underneath the console and despite the fact it is not very high, it allows taller drivers to fit their leg while under way.
While I did the test on my own, I thought that this boat can make a long cruise comfortable, with six people distributed between the C-shaped sofa in the stern, and on the seat in front of the console. The closed-cell upholstery, with excellent sky anti-stain treatment, is very nicely done: it feels strong and does not fold under pressure. MV builds its boats using an infusion process and deploys quality resins; the lockers are also made with this technique, linked to that of double pressing.
Vincenzo Nappo, the founder and owner of Motonautica Vesuviana, said: “All the technologies used, such as infusion moulding, CAD-CAM, and the use of selected resins are a sine qua non: they are our starting point, rather than our arrival point […] and we will never get tired of investing in research and development. We show our clients how much sense it makes to buy high-quality materials, as proven by the fact that our boats hold their value when sold second-hand and by their reduced running costs.”
The sea in this part of the Gulf of Naples is never calm; you can see all kinds of sea conditions due to the currents and bottom’s anomalies, as well as unexpected wakes created by the significant commercial traffic of the nearby Beverello port.
I put on my life jacket, attached the kill cord around my leg and got ready.
The console offers a clear view of the instruments and the Vessel View device. The engine control is easily reached and everything looks perfectly set so we can leave and try out this intriguing combination. A 300 hp engine was driving a light 27-footer and with water lines that are normally seen in sports vessels.
Despite having a racing temperament, and having immediately considered turning off the automatic trim control system to open up the throttle, I hold off and decided to try a ride for pleasure rather than competitive use. I went into gear and gradually gave it some gas…
The first thing that I noticed is how incredibly quiet the engine was and the complete absence of even the smallest vibration. The only noise that I could hear was the trim pump that was activated automatically and the sound of the electro-hydraulic steering that this engine is fitted with.
The Rib got on plane at 2000 rpm with 11 knots. I stayed at that speed for around 30 seconds and I noted that the fuel consumption was around 14 litres per hour or 1.28 litres a mile. I was raising the revs by 500 rpm a time and at each step I could easily feel the trim activating and I still couldn’t feel any vibrations. The consumption improvement system was activated and the fuel reduction was seen on the display.
At 3550 rpm our speed was 30 knots, burning 1 litre for each mile in complete silence! The engine was so quiet that it seemed like electric technology.
I pushed the throttle forward at 4500 rpm and the speed climbed at 40 knots with a fuel consumption of 52 litres per hour or 1.4 litres a mile. The Rib was straight on the water and was holding its course very well. I could even turn heavily, and it was following me as if it was on rails.
Both when going in a straight line and when turning, it may be a good idea to use a little bit of trim to get the hull out of the water.
At 5500 rpm, the Rib started to feel the effects of the side wind a bit, but it still kept steadily its course: it was reacting very well to what the driver is expecting. At this speed the active trim was de-activated and so I decided to trim more the engine reaching 6050 rpm. At these rpm, the Rib was running 52.5 knots using 94 litres per hour. The Rib was keeping steadily its course, but naturally going over 50 knots with a single-engine requires careful steering.
At top speed, and with active trim de-activated, a few small corrections are needed since I started to feel the effect of the right-hand engine on the V-shaped hull. The speed display showed 52 knots.
As I did the test on my own, I let myself push the engine/boat combination very close to its limits, and I can say that I was feeling very safe. Note that the boat I was testing had clearly not been set up for racing speed, and the right height of the engine or the most suitable propeller had not been studied yet.
The steering was always clean and soft and even when I wanted to get most of the hull out of the water, the jumps were always smooth and there weren't any pounds. The Rib always was reacting very well with the standard three-blade propeller, the Eco Enertia 16" x 21".
The figures were impressive and they suggest that less power could be used. I would say that from 175 to 225 hp would be enough. It is interesting to note that the time required to start planning was always less than 4 seconds while it needs less than 7 seconds to go from 0 to 30 knots.
We are thus talking about a boat that has very clean waterlines and the highest position of the well-designed tubes doesn't interfere negatively in the dynamic phase. After the sea trial, I would say that the MV 27 GT when fitting with a Verado 300hp V8 has various different cruising speeds: one at 3000 rpm with 23 knots which is completely calm, and another at 30 knots at 3500 rpm.
So, the performance of these well-designed Ribs is most definitely respectable, and it does not lead anyone wishing to have twin-engine installation, which in my modest opinion is often overdone without purpose. Precision handling, stability, low fuel consumption and high cruise speeds at lower rpm are the main features of MV 27 GT.
*Thanx to Francesco Michienzi, Director of "Barche" magazine, one of the most important Italian nautical one
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