Some values are defined as fixed when they remain in the first line no matter how many years pass by. The truth is that no one can deny the fact that Top Line Corsair 29 runs on one of the faster, more seaworthy and finest designed hulls ever constructed in this category.
Corsair 29 is the little “brother” and the single-engine version of the equivalent series of Top Line’s boatyard.
Its unique double stepped hull has exceptional behaviour and excellent performance to demonstrate in terms of speed, fuel consumption, acceleration and, of course, a high degree of ride quality and comfort even when travelling in rough seas.
Having adopted the tested and highly successful shipbuilding features of the “older” Corsair 31 and 33, Corsair 29 is characterized by the presence of two ventilated steps, the first one of which being extended from the helmseats height to a length of 110 centimetres, while the second occupies almost twice this length, reaching 209 centimetres.
With bow entry 55° and transom deadrise 24°, the 9meter Corsair is able of ensuring high cruising speed with great comfort, while achieving exceptionally soft and dry ride.
The chine starts at a very low height from the stem, reaches the higher value of 21 centimeters just in front of the first step and ends up to the transom at a height of 16 centimeters.
Each side of the hull maintains the classic formula of the three spray rails, the lower of which defines the boundary and contributes to the configuration of the well-known 18 cm pad, which characterizes many of the boatyard models.
This pad, which starts from the first step and ends up to the transom, aims at the improvement of very specific parameters, such as direct planning, fast acceleration, steady navigation and achievement of the maximum possible top speed.
In our test Rib we observe two important changes compared to previous models, related to the configuration of the hard nose and the new console, which we consider that emphasize more the sport character of Corsair 29.
The fibreglass bow is a smooth continuation of the tubes, at the junction of which the hard nose is formed where the windlass and the anchor chain are housed.
Its surface is perfectly flat, leaving a great step for the uninterrupted entry to the boat, while the anchor is now exiting beneath the hard nose.
In the area of the bow a large sundeck is formed which with a length of 1.95m and a maximum width of 1.30m can accommodate two adults. The cushions are 14 centimetres lower than the upper surface of the tubes, making it an ideal combination allowing lying down comfortably along the transverse axis.
57 cm behind the bow sundeck lays the new console design, which is very stylish and positioned centrally, leaves larger passageways to its port and starboard right reaching 34 cm of width. In its front part it has an integrated oval seat beneath which a very useful storage space is hidden.
The steering wheel is located on the port side of the console and the engine’s control in the centre, while among them the electric accessory switches are positioned and directly above the engine instruments.
The instrument panel has enough space for installation of navigation instruments, but it is quite vertical and so unhelpful in their immediate inspection when driving in a semi-standing or upright position.
The bucket helmseats are independent and lifted serving the upright driving position. They are very nicely designed and offer very good lateral support and a tremendous sense of safety, which we will notice when travelling in heavy weather conditions or when attempting sharp turns.
In their backs, two large and very useful cabinets are formed, where all items of direct access and use, as well as big bags of clothing, can be protected in absolute water tightness.
80 centimetres behind, in the area of the stern, we come across the classic configuration with an independent four-seater sofa, 155 centimetres of width, under which a large rectangular storage space is housed.
Just aft, lays the spacious sundeck, the pillows of which are at the same level with the side gunwales, thereby dramatically increasing the overall width reaching 223 cm.
Underneath is the largest storage space of the Rib, the capacity of which is impressive and capable of accommodating all our equipment and anything useful for our holiday.
The side gunwales extend to a great length to the port and starboard of the aft sundeck, and with a maximum width of 25 cm they constitute comfortable passageways for our passage to the engine area.
Further back we come across two small but very useful and practical cabinets, the one of which hosts the shower wand and all the necessary accessories for our bath, while the second one can be used for stern lines or positioning of a small stern anchor.
To the port and starboard of the engine are the two fiberglass platforms, extending in length of 89 centimetres and provide the necessary space for the installation of the auxiliary engine and also for easy access to the sea.
Our test Rib had a 2.6L Verado 350hp engine on its back which with a 1.75: 1 gear ratio was turning a 14 5/8" x 23" 4-blade Revolution stainless steel propeller. It was the first time Corsair 29 would run with this engine and we were looking forward to seeing its performance.
After recording several hours of riding at midrange rpm, following the engine's break-in procedure, we slowly began to take note of our measurements.
With two people on board and 330 litters of fuel, we reached a top speed of 55 knots at 5800 rpm. At 3500 rpm we were running with a speed of 27 knots burning 1.48 litters per nautical mile, while at 4000 rpm our speed was 35 knots consuming 1.42 litters per mile.
The propeller got the Rib on plane in 5 seconds while we reached 30 knots at 12 seconds.
Knowing very well the capabilities of the particular hull and the propeller, and taking into account the figures we recorded, the high slip values at the midrange rpm and at WOT, as well as the lack of explosiveness across the whole rpm range, it was clear that we had to make some targeted modifications that first of all would be related to the engine mounting height and the use of a shorter propeller.
So we took the boat out of the water and after the necessary modifications to the engine’s mounting height, we fit a 20 inch Bravo I XC propeller and got back for measurements. We took care to have the same fuel do as to be as objective as possible in our review.
As expected, Corsair 29 was completely transformed and showed us now its true potential.
The accelerations were explosive with an impressive throttle response across the whole rpm range.
The planning speed fell below 4 seconds while the inflatable boat reached 30 knots in 9 seconds. It was faster by three whole seconds.
The Rib was standing on plane at 2200 rpm with a speed of 11 knots.
At 3000 rpm our speed was 19 knots, consuming 1.57 litters per nautical mile, while at 3500 rpm we were running with 27 knots with the engine drinking 1.4 litters per mile.
At 4000 rpm, the cruising speed reached 35 knots, constituting the most economical one we recorded, burning 1.37lt / nm, i.e we have the greatest autonomy of 255 nautical miles when our tanks carry 350 litters of fuel.
At WOT, the engine reached 6000 rpm and we hit a top speed of 55 knots.
You can see our analytical measurements in the following table:
Beyond the impressive numbers we recorded with the Bravo I XC, the ride quality was excellent with the Rib standing clearly higher in the water due to both the propeller’s special characteristics and the engine’s different mounting height. The propeller’s “bite” was excellent, giving us total control in the sudden changes of our direction and sharp turns. The handling of the Rib had improved considerably, demonstrating amazing flexibility and absolute directionality, particularly important elements which, combined with the soft riding achieved by Corsair 29 hull, enabled us to travel at high speeds even under not the most favourable conditions.
The Rib was standing aligned with excellent cruising angle throughout the whole rpm range without even requiring particular effort with the engine’s trim.
Even at WOT, it was safe and absolutely stable without requiring special handling by the driver, certifying that the height of the engine was excellent for recreational use, with the propeller’s lift being limited so that the rear parts of the hull were in constant contact with the water’s surface.
If we would like to compare Revolution 23" with the Bravo I XC 20" propeller, we can see that the cruising speeds they reached were almost the same despite the longer pitch of the first propeller. This is clearly due to the amazing low slip numbers Bravo I XC propeller can achieve.
Indeed, if we take a closer look at the measurements’ table we will see that the slip percentage of Bravo I XC at 4000 rpm is only 6.9% (while Revolution’s one was 19% at the same rpm), having a steady downward course as the engine’s rpm increase, resulting to take its smallest slip percentage of 2.48% at WOT (while Revolution’s one was 12.2%), which means we get almost the maximum efficiency that this propeller can deliver.
These figures by themselves are a very strong indication of the correct combination of engine mounting height-propeller-load, and they should never go unnoticed.
Of course, for recreational use of the above combination, a shorter Bravo I XC propeller is recommended allowing this way the engine to reach 6100 rpm when the boat carries its maximum load.
By this way, we will have an ideal set-up for the particular use, which has anyway room for even greater improvement. Fitting propellers that match even better on Verado's new gearcase and taking care of running at the appropriate height is sure to lead to even lower fuel consumption at midrange rpm and even stronger accelerations, while all show that we can flirt with 60 knots if that's our goal, taking into account among other things that the Rib test was done with the thermometer reaching 40 degrees Celsius.
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