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Boat Reviews


Zodiac Hurricane 630 OB RIB
Review by Paul Mahy

In the Drivers Seat
A centre stand-up console provides housing for the instrumentation and controls, which like the 600, are ergonomically well placed. Support for the driver is in the form of a padded bolster bar, which does its job in sterling fashion. Powered by a 150hp Volvo AD31P-DPE turbo diesel duo prop, this RIB sits well on the water at rest and at low speeds, a crucial factor when its job is the safe transfer of people on the water (and I would imagine in various states of sobriety)

The Right Set Up
The circuits carrying all the power to the vast array of equipment must also be carefully thought out, screened cables reduce radio frequency interference, as does the correct siting of receivers and transmitters. There are two individual batteries and systems, as there are fuel tanks, two separate 182 litre tanks on two systems.

The real meat in the sandwich though was how she handled, thanks to careful consideration for the driver and crew, the seating was secure and comfortable, a small knuckle at the rear of the seat base stopped you from sliding off the back, along with footstraps, non slip deck and well placed hand rails there is little excuse for anyone on board to become unstuck.

The Feel
The wheel and throttles were placed perfectly so that I could operate the RIB without stretching or leaning at all, thus allowing my back to remain straight reducing injury should I be in a big sea. I opened up the throttles and she got up on the plane straight away, a smooth transition and thanks to the Hondas, a quiet process.

The steering was finger light, she was quite a pleasure to helm and it wasn"t long before tight turns and wake jumping was on the cards. In turns I found that the only way to separate the hull and the sea surface, was to go hard over in a disturbed area of water, but even then there were no bone jarring skips - more of an occasional slip.

Leaving the harbour I was treated to a quick along at 45 knots as if it were 20. The balance and feel of these RIBS really is something and it was a pity that there wasn"t more sea around to play in. After returning to the quay we left the patrol craft and headed up river to see some of the areas they regularly find is subject to a lot of poaching.

Taking Her Out
We drove up through the centre of Newcastle dodging tree branches and other such object washing downstream, under the bridges and further on up the river where the river banks grew more and more sparse of population and the river narrowed slightly until there wasn"t much but trees, derelict buildings and discussed bridges. This was one of the
poachers" favourite haunts.

On one occasion a man was found with a drift net running from bank to bank, after he was arrested and his gear seized, his net was found to contain 81 salmon. It wasn"t until I looked through some of the evidence back at the EA headquarters that it really hit home about the type of people they were dealing with.

Evidence had been collected containing correspondence between poachers in another area and in that letter he was asking if there were any "Black and Whites" in his area. This wasn"t poacher slang for the Old Bill, but for the sets of badgers this particular sick individual and his pals were looking to bait.

Other evidence was found of foxes and cubs being tethered for the purposes of training hounds for general sport, probably the same type that would approve of boxing match where one opponent has his hands tied behind his back. The area the Agency has to cover is quite staggering, at least now they have a craft that will do the job in comfort and safety.

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