Written by Scott Alle
Photography by SACS
A combination which seeks to combine the best qualities of both could easily go awry but in the case of the Rebel 47, the opposite has occurred. And accordingly, the result can be either the ultimate super-yacht tender or a stand-alone RIB that possesses the rugged capacity to meet the owner’s desire for the beaches, reefs and bays less frequented.
Though RIBs have an undeniably practical role, their aesthetics don’t necessarily have to reflect this singular purpose. In the words of the 47’s designer this maxi rib “neither conforms to convention nor wishes to.”
I was fortunate enough to be invited on-board hull #1, which stood out, even among the uber-glitzy GRP and carbon creations adorning the pontoons at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September. The medium grey hull with reverse bow and ribbed chines exuded strength, reliability and powerful down-the-line speed. The boat’s fiberglass sides, handrails and full walk-around teak decks conveyed a purposeful offshore capability matched to a luxurious fit-out and finish.
The so-called Limousine layout version maximised the boat’s 14.1 metre (46.2 feet), length, with boarding via a very spacious hydraulic swim platform, a feature of the stern drive configuration. In the case of this first example from the highly innovative Christian Grande design studio, the grey hull was complemented by an array of plush burgundy lounges and two expansive sun basking areas.
The ‘D’ shaped hull tubes are made of solid, moldable foam and impact-resistance plastic.
They are covered with Hypalon fabric, a synthetic rubber based material, widely used in RIBS due to its extreme durability, chemical resistance and stability.
The additional useable beam created by the tubes, allows the side decks that extend all the way to the bow, where there’s a lavish double sunpad, plus two ergonomic chaise-lounges. Bow-riding has rarely been more comfortable or stylish.
A tapered windscreen shields the twin helm seats and wraps all the way around to the guest seating area in the cockpit. To port is a full wet bar and outdoor galley concealed in furniture-like paneling. Like everything on the Rebel 47 though, this can be configured to the owners’ wishes, with an ice-maker or extra fridges. The sunpad on the stern lifts-up to reveal a very substantial locker to store all manner of water-toys, and there’s useful sized stowage lockers in the floor and under the lounges.
There’s ample room in the 2.45 metre by 3 metre cockpit, including a L-shaped dinette around a height adjustable teak table, to cater for the boat’s stated day capacity of 16 guests. The swim platform has room for suitable water furniture, and a storable ladder.
And there’s no need to leave that deserted anchorage if there’s a smaller, select group of four on-board. A discreet companionway with two offset steps leads to a lower saloon with dinette, separate head and shower, with a master stateroom forward and VIP cabin aft.
Natural light is provided by the lateral windows sent into hull. The VIP cabin boasts a generous double berth, and the same superior level of décor.
As we waited for the inter-connecting swivel sections in the Cannes marina to move aside, the unmistakable rumble of the twin Volvo D6s duoprops, each developing 400 hp, gave a hint of what was to come when the Rebel was opened-up out on the bay. The hull’s decent deadrise angle of 24 degrees meant it should run at faster speeds with reduced pounding. That proved the case, with 10 passengers on-board the 47 got on to the plane quickly, demonstrating a carefully engineered balance of performance, speed, stability, handling, and comfort. We saw 35.5 knots but you can opt for two 550 hp Cummins for upwards of 50 knots. The ride was exhilarating, the boat nimble for its size, dry, and easily driven through the sloppy chop out on the Bay of Cannes.
In 4.4 seconds, the boat surfed and hit maximum speed in just 28 seconds. In terms of consumption, at a 26-knot-cruising speed fuel consumption was an acceptable 90 litre per hour.
The SACS yard in Milan, which makes the Rebel 47, has been at the forefront of transforming RIBS from wet, bone-jarring workhorses into custom conveyances which are stylistically on par with their immaculate motherships. The 47 is undeniably Italian, oozing panache and unashamed swagger. This is a boat which demands attention, and delivers a memorable performance.
It was then, with some regret we returned to the dock. The process of getting back into a relatively tight pen made straightforward thanks to the bow thruster and the Penta joystick. The helm panel houses a top-shelf Raymarine electronics package including two GPS ES128 Hybrid touch screens with depth finder module, with engine data interface on the GPS. The adjustable Isotta wheel with black leather stitching and polished silver spokes was functional, as well as eye-catching.
What makes SACS RIBS different says Colin Wilcox from SACS Marine Australia is that the boats aren’t simply re-worked old formulas. Each boat can be individually tailored to the customer’s specifications. “They are much sleeker and streamlined, characterised by Italian flair and precision craftsmanship, designed to be a statement boat,” he says.
According to Wilcox, there is significant local interest in the muscular Rebel 47, and even larger variants of 18 and 19 metres.
“These boats offer up to three cabins and all the luxuries of a much larger boat. Their top speed is around 40 knots, and they only burn 180L of fuel per hour at 32 knots, making them a highly compelling choice compared to buying a traditional 60-foot boat.”
SACS’s use of the very latest CAD/CAM techniques and interfacing software allows each boat to become an individual project. In the case of the 47, there’s another cockpit layout offered which has triple seats behind the helm; or a hardtop which provides protection for diners around the teak cockpit table. There’s a range of choices available in the hull colour, deck gelcoat, and wood interior finishes.
Three different engine packages can be installed; outboard, with three 350 hp Mercury Verados; a choice of stern drives, the Volvo D6 400’s (the boat we were on), or two Mercury 8.2 HO MPI DTS 430’s, and the max power option, the inboard Cummins 550 hp.
It’s no surprise that the SACS range of luxury custom tenders and chase boats have found a swathe of admirers in Australia and New Zealand. Their combination of versatility and hull integrity make them a practical choice. Add dynamic looks, impressive levels of comfort and décor and you have a highly desirable package that perfectly complements our multi-faceted boating lifestyle.
SACS Marine Australia offers a RIB range spanning 12 upmarket models from seven to 20 metres in length. The seven to ten metre category is the most popular in Australia.