New Skipper 4X 90 RIB – Twin 250hp 4.6L V8 Verados
If you are among those who believe that concepts such as high speeds, a hull designed to head offshore and generous interiors are incompatible and can’t coexist without adversely affecting each other, it may be probably time to rethink your views.
The Skipper 4X 90 has managed to combine the above concepts in the best way, featuring a comfortable and functional deck that is built on a racing hull with offshore orientation. This rigid hull inflatable (RIB) will be appreciated by the nautical camping lovers who are addicted to the adrenaline of high speed and long distance trips. She’s designed to provide powerful emotions for owners, filling them with strong feelings relaxing in its spacious sundeck enjoying the sun or running at speeds exceeding 63 knots causing a serious adrenaline rush.
The Skipper 4X 90 is a RIB that stands out for its intense sporty lines and runs on a deep V stepped hull designed to achieve high speeds even with the use of one outboard engine. What is most noticeable and visible at first glance is the tall chine that reaches a maximum height of 17.72” (45 cm) around the helm seats and console area. The reverse design of the tubes indicates an aggressive high-performance character.
Underneath, the bottom has three steps, the last of which is approximately 11.81” (30 cm) longer than the others, and the configuration of a 3 ½” (9 cm) wide pad in the transom area. Three spray rails start from the bow area and continue to the first step, while from there and back only the two higher ones continue reaching the transom of the boat.
With a construction quality at a very high level, the Skipper 4X 90 offers full freedom of movement on its deck and two huge lockers that can be easily transformed into spacious tent-type cabins. With a length of 6’10” (2.08 m), a maximum width of 5’9” (1.75 m) and 2’3” (0.69 m), the bow sunpad can accommodate more than two people for sunbathing. Underneath is a single storage room that can be easily converted into a tent-type cabin, sleeping two adults comfortably.
The front of the helm console has a seat with a backrest. It opens to reveal the private head. The interior has dimensions of 5’7” (1.70 m) x 3’9” (1.15 m) x 3’1” (0.94 m) and is fitted with a marine toilet, sink, shower and a glovebox.
The steering wheel is positioned to the port with the engines’ controls to the starboard next of which is a small but useful compartment for storing small items, gadgets and mobile phones.
The twin helm seats, also made of carbon, are independent and mounted on the front surface of the wet-bar. They have a mechanism that a captain drive seated or standing.
Abaft the helm seats, the wet-bar is centrally located 14” (35.5 cm) wide passageways on each side. Elegant and lined with dark plexi doors, the bar has a sink and a large stainless steel fridge and there’s space for an optional gas stove.
It is worth noting that we had four people on board and we were moving about with ease around the console and wetbar. Deck height in the aft cockpit was 28.3” (72 cm), thanks to the high chine and the convex design of the tubes.
Just 24.8” (63 cm) abaft the outdoor kitchen is the four-seat sofa that is 5’11” (1.80 cm) wide, behind which the aft sundeck extends having dimensions of 6’6” x 3’3” (2.00 m x 0.99 m).
Underneath is the largest storage space of the boat which can be transformed into a second tent-type cabin that measures 6’1” x 6’1” (1.85 m x 1.85 m) and can sleep two adults comfortably. Beneath the floor of the rear cab there is also space for the installation of batteries and storage of all lifejackets.
The swim platform is is one of the most functional parts of the boat. With dimensions of 5’3” x 3’4” (1.60 m x 1.00 m) ensures great freedom of movement for both our maritime activities and easy access to the boat.
The useful glovebox in its center, where the stern anchor and stern lines can be accommodated, as well as its perfectly clean and without obstacles surface, are elements that will certainly be highly appreciated by the boat owner.
Our test boat was fitted with two 250-hp 4.6-liter V8 Verado engines mounted on a 20” (49 cm) long polyester bracket. They turned 15 ¼” x 25” (38.74 cm x 64.5 cm) 4-blade Bravo I FS stainless steel propellers through 1.85:1 gear ratios.
Test day brought calm conditions, so we could not evaluate the behavior of Skipper 4X 90 though we have run previous tests. The sharp bow entry, the 25 degrees of deadrise at transom and the 4.5 to 1 length-to-beam ratio of its waterline are three important features of its hull that guarantee a soft ride.
We did, however, have the opportunity to record acceleration and speed at rpm and evaluate her handling and high-speed behavior. The Skipper 4X 90 has a friendly feel at the helm with a great deal of flexibility and we had a strong feeling that we were driving a fun machine much shorter than 29’6” (9 m) long.
Although the features of the propellers we had do not favor immediate throttle response, acceleration felt strong even at low rpm, while the ride angle of the RIB was excellent throughout the whole rpm range.
Even when we drove it to its limits, the hull felt “locked” in the water, mainly due to the propellers. It was obvious that she could handle much higher speeds, filling us with confidence and a high sense of safety.
It is worth noting that in an earlier test of Skipper 4X 90 with two 250hp Optimax XS outboards, we exceeded 63 knots and the lower spray rails defined the ride level and offered stable traction ensuring great stability.
The result was that no effort or corrective movement of the steering wheel was required, so we had the comfort of enjoying with all our senses the pleasure of the instantaneous change of our position in relation to time.
With 300 liters (79.25 gals.) of fuel and 4 people on board, the Rib was standing on plane at 2200 rpm with 13 knots, accelerating from 0 to 30 knots in less than 6 seconds and reaching 40 knots in 8 seconds.
It is characteristic that it started off being almost on plane, with no discernible raising of the bow, while a slight lag that seemed momentary was clearly due to the characteristics of our propellers.
At 3000 rpm our speed was nearly 25 knots with a fuel consumption of 1.78 liters per nautical mile. This is also the most economical cruising speed we have recorded, giving us 168 miles of autonomy when we have 300 liters of fuel in our tanks.
At 3500 rpm we were traveling at 33 knots burning 2 liters per mile, while at 4000 rpm we were running with 37.3 knots consuming 1.98 liters per nautical mile.
At full throttle, the engines reached 6000 rpm and Skipper 4X 90 at 55.7 knots.
Skipper 4X 90 Performance
The slip values we estimated throughout the rpm range are high, but they are expected due to the specific characteristics of the Bravo I FS propellers so there is no reason to look for ways to improve them. All we can do to lower the slip numbers is to reduce our loads since these propellers "prefer" to run with as few loads as possible.
The numbers of our measurements, the handling of the boat, the throttle response and the exceptional acceleration across the whole rpm range as well as the fact that the engines reached exactly the maximum rpm recommended by their manufacturer, showed that we had in our hands a great set-up for all around use.
Of course, the mounting height of the engines, the propellers’ distance from the transom and the overall behavior of the RIB led us to conclude that with minimal impact on low rpm, we could raise the engines two holes higher and match the Bravo I FS propellers two inches longer thus increasing by at least 3 knots our top speed while maintaining the same rpm at WOT for our engines.