Amazing feeling, absolutely soft ride, top class!
Sometimes the ride quality fascinates you so much that really makes you indifferent to care about performance and sterile numbers.
That's how I felt when I pushed the throttle forward, trimmed the bow high and let the hull of Ultimeight 28 lead us steadily, flying from wave to wave against the wind at its maximum speed.
As far as I could see the Seafighter Ultimeight 28 hull on the trailer, I realized that certainly it had something very interesting to show us. To be honest, however, I did not expect to admit that it is one of the most well-designed and incredibly seaworthy hulls I have ever tried, which without any dose of exaggeration excels at the points even from some very famous and quite well-known hulls of its category.
First of all, the manufacturer deserves congratulations, since he has offered us such a wonderful Rib that is raising the bar of competition far high.
With a 58-degree bow entry and a 24-degree of deadrise at transom, the Ultimeight 28 hull is characterized by the presence of three ventilated steps with particularly intense and rigorous design features which as they proved they “work” excellent in every condition.
On each side we can see four spray rails that end up to the transom of the rib where we observe the formation of a narrow pad, 5 cm wide, running along all three steps.
The chine starts with a height of 19 centimetres on the stem and gets the maximum value of 27 centimetres at the beginning of the first step, ending in the transom with a negative inclination.
Although, according to the manufacturer, Ultimeight 28 does not appeal to the nautical camping enthusiasts, however a slight elevation of the bow sundeck so as to reach the height of the anchor’s locker would create a large bed which in combination with the large storage spaces and the particularly large aft sundeck could comfortably accommodate a family of four.
In the bow area, there are two lockers that are not on the same level. The smaller one houses the windlass and the anchor’s chain, while behind and slightly lower the bow sundeck is formed under which a large storage space is located. If the sundeck was a little higher, at the level of the anchor’s locker, a very large bed would be formed with a length of 2.30 meters and a maximum width of 1.38 meters.
Another feature of the bow is the absence of a hard nose which can be a disadvantage in terms of access to the boat, but it definitely fits perfectly with its aggressive character constituting an authentic as well as “purebred” inflatable boat.
On the front part of the console, which is centrally located leaving comfortable passageways to the port and starboard of the 33 cm wide, a door is formed that leads to the interior.
With a length of 104 centimetres, a width of 96 and a height of 1.47 centimetres, it is a very large space that can remain as a storage room or be converted into a comfortable bathroom with nautical toilet and sink. On its back, of course, there is a hatch that gives access and allows inspection of the electrical installation of the instrument panel.
The instrument panel has unlimited space and can accommodate even large screens and navigation devices. The steering wheel is mounted on the left of the console, the engine's control in the centre, while on the right there are two very useful stainless steel cup holders.
Below the cup holders there is a stylish handle for the co-driver and just lower a glove compartment, which will be particularly useful for the placement of small objects or mobile phones. Inside the glove box there are USB ports for charging our gadgets.
The helmseats are independent, they are adjustable in height and equipped with hydraulic suspension mechanism. They provide excellent lateral support and allow us to experience sharp turns or manoeuvres with great safety while one of their main advantages is that they occupy a minimum of space on the deck thus ensuring the greatest freedom of movement.
Behind the helmseats there is the aft sofa that can accommodate four adults measuring a width of 1.75m. In its middle section there is a separate detachable cushion which, if removed, reveals a very useful step that leads to the 30cm wide passageway of the aft sundeck ensuring comfortable access to the engine area.
The dimensions of the aft sundeck measure 1.75 meters wide and 1.10 meters long and hide underneath a really vast storage space that can fit any equipment or even turn into a comfortable overnight area with dimensions of 1.83m x 1.30m.
Further back, around the engine, large platforms are formed, one of which hosts the auxiliary engine with its base while the other one two stainless steel handles with the ladder between them. With no doubt, we would prefer the ladder to fit the bottom of the platform so as to ensure unobstructed entry and exit from the boat when we dock with our stern to the floating platforms of a marina.
Our test Rib was equipped with a 4.6L V8 Verado 300hp engine which was hung on a Bob's machine 12-inch jack plate and with a 1.85: 1 reduction ratio was turning a 16" x 19" 3-blade ECO Enertia stainless steel propeller.
We were three people on board and we had 100 litters of fuel and 50 litters of fresh water in our tanks.
Heading from Anavissos towards Sounion, the sea was quite good and I was steadily holding the throttle lever at the point where the tachometer was showing 3500 rpm. Running for a few minutes at these rpm, with Seafighter 28 already achieving an ideal riding angle, I immediately realized the enormous potential of its hull.
However, I held back and slowly returned the throttle lever to its initial position in order to start recording the measurements because the weather signs were showing that the sea would change her sweet face after Sounion Cape.
The Rib was standing on plane at 2700 rpm, maintaining a constant speed of 12 knots. Planning speed was 4.7 seconds and acceleration time from 0 to 30 knots was 9 seconds. These numbers are definitely impressive and they state by themselves that we had in our hands an excellent boat-engine combination.
At 3500 rpm, the cruise speed was 20.3 knots with a fuel consumption of 1.45 litters per nautical mile while at 4000 rpm we were running with 30.2 knots burning 1.29 litters per mile.
The last one was also the most economical cruise speed we recorded, with Ultimeight 28 standing high in the water, which means reduced wet surfaces and limited slippage, elements that prepared us for strong accelerations and thrills.
At 4500 rpm, our speed was 36.3 knots consuming 1.4 litters for each nautical mile while at 5000 rpm we were running with 39.3 knots burning 1.65 litters per mile.
At WOT, the engine reached 6000 rpm and our top speed 48.5 knots.
Our analytical measurements can be found in the following table:
If we pay attention to the slip values, we will see that they drop below 10% after 4000 rpm to reach their lowest percent at 5500 rpm, where our propeller lost only 4% of its theoretical speed. These figures can largely be attributed to the characteristics of the ECO Enertia propeller which’s excellent stern lift has the effect of reducing the Rib wet surfaces, as well as to the steps’ design of the Ultimeight 28 hull, which facilitates the propeller to show its capabilities.
It is characteristic that the Rib was holding an excellent riding angle across the whole rpm range, even at very low ones, and showed that it is extremely balanced, a crucial parameter which plays a very important role especially in the stepped hulls.
Its stability was excellent, with no signs of chine-walking even when it was pushed to its limits, which confirms the excellent geometry of the hull that takes great advantage of the less water that retains in its last part at high speeds but also the correct mounting height of the engine.
The throttle response was immediate, while the overall set-up of the boat is considered excellent in terms of engine mounting height-propeller-loads, with the engine reaching exactly the maximum recommended rpm limit by its manufacturer.
After Sounion cape, with our bow showing Macronissos Island, a fresh 4bf wind was welcoming us creating ideal waves in height which were the best we could meet so as to be able to evaluate the potential of the Seafighter Ultimeight 28 hull.
Knowing already that I had an ideal set-up in my hands, I instantly pushed the throttle totally forward releasing all of Verado's horses, and the Rib ejected like an arrow without having the time to raise its bow up.
I trimmed properly the engine and let it galloping on the waves. The sensation I had was really amazing in every respect. Ultimeight's hull was generously offering me enjoyable and unique moments as well as a wonderful experience.
It was enough, just a few seconds to gain my utmost confidence as it was engraving the crests of the waves perfectly balanced, maintaining a straight course even when the propeller was coming almost out to the water surface, offering an incredibly soft and dry ride and showing at the same time its robust construction, without poundings at all or even some annoying reverberations.
In this short powerful ride, I saw 47 knots of speed on the GPS screen and the only thing I was focusing on was the “reading” of the upcoming non periodic waves, since Ultimeight's hull was managing on its own and with absolute certainty and safety not only the waves but also the enormous torque of the 8-cylinder Verado as well.
With our adrenaline striking once more in red, I lowered the engine rpm and turned my bow to the east, putting the weather on the boat’s side. We were riding enjoyable with 35 knots at 4500 rpm, playing with the waves, taking advantage of the most of the boat's excellent flexibility and manoeuvrability for a long time. It is remarkable that our ride was absolutely dry and we saw only a few drops at the back of the aft sundeck.
But even when I turned the bow to the south, putting the weather on our stern and running in following waves, the Rib showed excellent behaviour and was travelling very pleasantly at the midrange rpm, with the hull gliding lightly on the back of the waves and passing effortlessly over their tops without any tendency of burying its bow.
Seafighter Rib - Karamichalis Petros
5th klm Varis-Koropiou Ave. – 19400 Koropi
Tel: +30 210 89 72 720 - 6944 65 50 76
19th klm Thessalonikis- Michanionas, Airport area - 57019
tel.: +30 23920 92298