The category of 6 to 7 meters rigid inflatable boats may be the most popular and most important of all, since that category of meters constitute a size milestone in the nautical course of most of us.
Do you remember the era during of which we were navigating near the coasts with much smaller ribs, while our gaze was often stuck in the open sea and our thoughts were travelling over the horizon?
Somehow so our desire to obtain a 6 or 7meter inflatable boat that would satisfy our need for sea wanderings and long trips began.
The ribs of this size bring together all the advantages of the smaller vessels without having to bear the disadvantages of the bigger ones, such as their difficult transport with the trailer, harder launching, increased fuel consumption, the often demanding of twin engines as well as the increased purchase and maintenance cost.
So without having all of the above disadvantages, most of the medium-sized Ribs have the necessary space to store the supplies we need, are also capable of travelling comfortably to destinations of our dreams, and with the proper modifications they can easily be converted into «floating» homes for our overnight stays.
The Olympic 7.20 Rib has all the above features and although we can say that it does not belong to the class of luxury boats, there is no doubt that it is a value for money rib for all around use.
As pointed out by its manufacturer, Christos Karyofyllis: «it is a Rib with a clear offshore orientation, aimed at the lovers of the nautical camping, built on a hull that is able to travel softly and dry in the tough Aegean Sea».
It is worth mentioning that Olympic 7.20 is a historical model with which Olympic has dynamically returned to the market of inflatable boats.
Over the years, the deck of the Olympic 7.20 has undergone many modifications and improvements in the upholstery, console and roll bar, while the accessories that accompany it are the same as the larger models of the yard.
It is worth noting that the beautiful colour combinations, and especially the upholstery of the boat, which were made by Olympic company itself, attracted the eyes of all those who were present in the rib test.
The bow area is dominated by the big hard nose, which has comfortable and clean surfaces for our unobstructed entry into the boat. Its fiberglass configuration has greatly exploited the interiors created and so we can see three very useful cabinets on its back surface. The middle one of them houses the windlass and the anchor chain, while on both sides they hide particularly large storage spaces where we can place the entire necessary equipment of the boat.
Further back, the bow sundeck has a length of 1.50 meters and a maximum width of 1.32 meters, which with its smart extension reaching the front seat of the console forms a very long berth of 1.85 meters in length. The extension is supported by hinges on the rear surface of the bow superstructure and relieves us of its removal process at a time, while saving valuable precious storage space.
The two independent lockers of the bow provide many litters of free space, the largest of which is hosting a very large tank of fresh water with 140 litter of capacity.
We particularly liked the design of the elegant console that with no doubt fits perfectly with the character of the boat. It is centrally located, leaving large passageways right and left for the comfortable movement of occupants, reaching a maximum width of 39 cm.
Its front part, which has a built-in seat, is lifted up and offers access to its interior, which constitutes a huge storage space, while it offers a very easy access to the electrical installation of the dashboard allowing us to work or check every part of it with great comfort.
The steering wheel is centrally positioned, at a proper height especially when driving seated. To its port we come across board switches and just above the instrument panel that comfortably fits a medium-sized navigation device and engine instruments.
The double helmseat is like a bench that stands up and offers support when riding. It has a small storage area at the top, ideal for storing small items, as well as a larger one lower with access from its rear.
Undoubtedly, one of the strongest points of Olympic 7.20 is the smartly designed sundeck of the stern, which is at the same time the stern sofa of the boat. The forward-moving backrest, with one move, comes in a horizontal position, constituting an extension that increases its dimensions, and if we include the side gunwales that are on the same level, a comfortable bed with a width of 1.85 meters and a length of 1 , 25 meters is formed. Underneath is the largest storage space of the boat that really impresses with its size and can easily host anything that brings a family for a long time holiday.
The wide gunwales to the right and the left of the aft sundeck facilitate our easy access to the engine area, without having to go over the very elegantly lined cushions. On the outside surface of the gunwales the elegant stainless steel roll bar leans, which is very cleverly designed so that we do not need to bend each time we head to the swimming platform.
In front of the engine there is the large and particularly comfortable swimming platform, which with dimensions of 140cm x 65cm offers great, and most of all without obstacles, freedom of movement with the ladder «drawing» very nicely on the bottom surface.
Our test Rib was equipped with a Suzuki DF 300hp engine which with a 2.08: 1 gear ratio was turning a 16" x 21.5" 3-blade stainless steel propeller. The sea was calm, we were three people on board and we had 100 litters of fuel and 50 litters of fresh water in our tanks.
It was obvious that we had an overpowered boat in our hands, a real «rocket» with astonishing accelerations. Despite the 50 horses in excess of the maximum horsepower recommended by the manufacturer, this set-up can not in any case be characterized as dangerous.
The Olympic 7.20 hull showed that it could safely manage the extra power on its transom and the tremendous torque of 300 hp Suzuki.
Although the conditions of our test were excellent, all seemed that the rib was robust and seaworthy with a very good construction quality, able to travel safely to distant destinations even when the sea did not «wear» its good face.
Its deep V-hull and the transom deadrise that exceeds 24 degrees guarantee soft rides, while the small «pad» on which the keel ends up increases stability and offers additional stern lift with a positive effect on fuel consumption.
The throttle response was explosive with the planning speed being less than 4 seconds, while the boat reached 30 knots in 8 seconds.
After a short time of raising its bow, Olympic 7.20 was standing on plane at 2300 rpm, keeping a speed of 11 knots. This in itself is a very important performance that we will especially appreciate when travelling in heavy seas.
At 3000 rpm our speed was 22 knots with a fuel consumption of 1.1 litters per nautical mile, while at 3500 rpm we recorded the most economical cruise speed running with 28 knots and burning 1 litter per mile.
At 4000 rpm we were running with 33.5 knots consuming 1.04 litters per mile and at 4500 rpm we reached 38 knots burning 1.13 litters per nautical mile.
It is remarkable that the rib was holding excellent riding angles throughout the whole rpm range, even at very low ones.
At WOT, the engine reached its maximum limit and so at 6300 rpm we recorded a top speed of 52.5 knots.
Our analytical measurements can be found in the following table:
It would be very interesting to take a look at the slip numbers that are really impressively low. At 3500 rpm the slip percentage was just 5.7%, at 4500 rpm it dropped to the astonishing 0.5%, while at WOT it was only 1.8%.
These figures show that we get the maximum performance of our propeller, while at 4500 rpm where our speed was 38 knots the propeller achieves almost all of its theoretical speed. These impressive slip values are the result of the high horsepower of the engine coupled with its high (numerically) gear ratio and the large diameter propeller that was turned by its propshaft.
Without a doubt, we had an excellent set-up with the engine reaching exactly the maximum suggested rpm limit by the manufacturer. If we are looking for even higher speed, we can either match a longer Suzuki prop without the risk of falling lower the middle of the engine's maximum rpm range or even switch to a 4-blade pro-finished propeller that will improve the performance even further as well as the quality of our ride.
As we mentioned above, the Olympic 7.20 hull was managing perfectly the 300 horses on its back, quickly gained our confidence and so we were able to drive it safely even at WOT or when we attempted sharp turns.
We can therefore undoubtedly suggest the above engine-boat combination, not only for the high top speed we recorded but also and mainly because we can stay on plane at extremely low speeds, load it as much as we want without affecting adversely its behaviour while at the same time our cruise speed will remain high with the engine operating at very low rpm.
Tel.: +30 22960 22002
North Greece’s dealer:
Dynamic Custom Boatworks
Apollonos 3 – Pylaia – Thessaloniki
Τel: +30 2310 489 008