Zodiac Prolux Eclipse
Review by Paul Mahy
It doesn"t need to be explained how long and how much experience Zodiac® have
in the inflatable world.
Regular readers will remember my recent visit to Newcastle and a very satisfied
environmental agency who were delighted with their Zodiac® Hurricane for
use in the defence against poachers, polluters or anyone up to any nonsense.
Personally, I have always been impressed by the performance of these rugged RIBs.
Zodiac® even kept the likes of Dog Phillips way ahead of the field in the
Round Britain 99 Challenge and I"ve always had a beady eye on them at various
shows. But now the people at Zodiac® have taken what they know about their
commercial craft, mixed it up with some new ideas and added a little style. What
they have come up with is a recipe for a very tasty range of leisure craft. There
two examples Sportsboat were able to get their hands on, the Prolux Eclipse
and Medline II.
I had hoped to catch this new RIB sitting smartly on her berth
at the recent RIBEX, awaiting a photo shoot in the sun, but such was
the interest in the craft that I had to try damn hard to pin the thing
down long enough to get the camera out.
This is definitely an up market RIB and intended for cruising around in, what
can only be described as, total luxury. At £30,000 ex VAT, this is certainly
not cheap. But this RIB is really something else.This RIB has been developed
from and inspired by the commercial range that Zodiac® do. Only this time,
the people at Zodiac® decided to build a RIB that had the same inherent strength
as the working range, but without appearing to be a fugitive from a special forces
group and have certainly succeeded.
What they came up with is the Prolux Exclipse. At 5.14m length over all
and possessing a 2.44m beam, she is a handy size and is host to a new approach
by Zodiac in the leisure world. In fact, this isn"t strictly a RIB, as much as
an RBB - Rigid Buoyancy Boat. The first thing you may notice, is that the tubes
are D shaped and are not inflatable. Instead, they are made of polyurethane foam
and this is for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that they are far too difficult to damage when coming alongside
anything. These tubes are highly durable and yet still
soft to the touch. As for the second, they are also far less likely to
mark other vessels and, after all this, still provide a lot of positive
Also, by using these, space can be saved within the boat itself. There is seating
aplenty aboard the Eclipse, nine to be precise. Three people can sit in the bow,
with six more split between two bench seats aft of the console, a forward facing
seat on the console and the rear most bench seat. The test boat was fitted with
an Evinrude, 150hp ficht and could reach speeds of 40mph. Out on the water, the
military "V lift" hull does a superb job of giving a comfortable ride.
All the decks are non slip and all the handrails are positioned for usage and
not for looks, making use of the boat for all on board more secure. The wheel
and throttle are comfortable and, if the wheel doesn"t suit, then don"t worry,
it"s adjustable. The steering is hydraulic and positive.
The Eclipse has all the qualities you come to expect from Zodiac®: good handling,
excellent build and loads of fun. But, it"s only when you take a peek at the
spec sheet of what is provided as standard that you finally see what all the
fuss is about. Although the list is too long to repeat, I will name a few items:
Non-slip decks, recessed deck lifting points, tow point, bow anchor roller, six
mooring cleats for"ad, & midships and aft, console mounted shower system,
cushions, on board courtesy lighting, shore power & charger A frame ( that
can fold down) and much, much more. That is all on the basic boat. The Eclipse
is a smart, hard boat. She offers loads of fun and extras, some of which I would
never have even
considered, but impressive nonetheless.
However, should you still want to own a boat with the good name of Zodiac® on,
but haven"t got the need for all the trimmings, then perhaps the Medline would
be more up your alley.