Sealegs 9.0m Hydrasol RIB Reviewed
The 9.0M RIB from Sealegs is a beast of an adventure platform both in and out of the water
Lionel Ritchie had it right. When you go from complex to carefree, it's "easy like Sunday morning."
Say goodbye to boat ramp congestion, tidal considerations, launching locations, and limited landing opportunities. The possibilities are vast with the Sealegs 9.0, and best of all, it's a beast of an adventure platform to go places. Whether you fish, dive or love exploring, the options for amphibious explorations in Australia are epic.
We've just done a run-up to Jumpinpin at the top of South Stradbroke Island in no time at all. By strapping a whopping 425hp, 5.7L Yamaha V8 engine on the back of this well-crafted RIB, you get rocket ship performance to go places in a day that few boats could achieve with the blistering speed and supreme comfort that the Sealegs 9.0m Hydrasol delivers.
The 23-degree deadrise of the aluminium hull length handles the building southerly with ease. There's minimal effect on the ride, including running into a 20-knot wind on the way back. We're doing a modest 40 knots with ease, and unless you're turning, you don't even notice it; the top speed is around 50 knots, so if you want to set off for distant locales, offshore fishing, diving, or exploring, there’s plenty of choices on the table.
You could share this boat with anyone and know they'll be safe and comfortable. We're so used to standing and using our bent knee suspension to absorb the bumps from ripping along at high speed, but once you've tried these Joltrider suspension seats out, you'll be so impressed and feel as refreshed at the end of a journey as if you've been in a lay-flat bed on a long haul flight. Set the seats to your height, no matter your leg length, and get ready to be converted. It's a beautiful sensation — like cruising on an undulating country road in a car from the 50s built for comfort. The slow rise and fall are phenomenal, and they will extend your range of tolerance for sea states and time spent travelling.
When you find the place you want to go ashore, it's a quick transformation to amphibious mode. There are some pre-flight steps to take, but watching Michael from Sealegs Australia do it was smooth and coordinated. Driven by an inboard 35hp Briggs & Stratton motor, we rose out of the water, cruised along the beach up to 7kph, and lowered ourselves down like a kneeling bus. Covered by an impressive T-top built by Black Marlin Towers on the Gold Coast, it is a classy addition that makes the boat much more usable both on land and out on the water.
Sealegs has been around a long time and have a proven record of their technology being a favoured adventure RIB on superyachts and with search and rescue operations. Their vessels are popular with recreational users who live by the water looking for the convenience of climbing aboard and driving off for a fish or accessing their island home without building boating infrastructure. The utility of Sealegs’ boats is evident, and the ability to get in and out of the water with ease is unmatched. Before and after, aspects of boating have changed too. There's no lugging gear forward and back from the boat to land or vice versa. This one's going in a purpose-built boat garage, part of home right by the water on Moreton Bay. It's as convenient as jumping in the car and going for a drive, but if you want to load some gear, the boat can lower and rest on its hull for easy loading and unloading and washing down. Easy like Sunday morning.
Compared with the usual boat ramp shuffles and procedures with trailers, we drove straight out of the water up the boat ramp at Gold Coast City Marina at the end of our run. We took a left, a right and another left to get to the shed for a wash down and store before you see this one at Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show 2022.
Specifications: SEALEGS 9.0M HYDRASOL RIB
Length overall (wheels up): 9.15m (30ft)
Hull length overall (not incl. wheels): 7.9m (25ft 11in)
Height: 2.52m (8ft 3in wheels down), 2.12m (6ft 11in wheels up)
Beam overall: 3.13m (10ft 3in)
Draft (outboard trimmed up): 0.40m (15 3/4in)
Hull (deadrise at the transom): 23 degrees
Hull plate: 5mm (3/16in) marine grade aluminium
Displacement: No fuel
2240kg (4938lbs) single outboard / 2400kg (5280lbs), twin outboards
Max payload (incl. passengers): 500kg (1102lbs)
Max passengers on water: 12 people including the driver
Top speed (land): 7.5kph (5mph)
On-land power: inboard petrol engine, Briggs & Stratton 35HP (26kW) 4-stroke, air cooled
Drive (land): All wheel drive, permanent with standard momentary diff lock