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Cobra 8.6m RIB

9th May 2008

She's got Bite

Robert Bateman is smitten by the Cobra 8.6m RIB.


When I was invited to test Picton Boat’s Cobra 8.6m rib by sole Irish importer Sean, little did I realise that it would be during the warmest April on record and on a day without a puff of wind. This 8.6m luxury rib was indeed a revelation. My initial view of the boat was in the Rib Centre in Cork, sitting on its trailer beside its 7.5m sister. What a difference 1.1 metres makes – the enormous size difference of the hull was immediately apparent. Given that my rib experience started out many years ago with something around 5 metres in length, where you were considered lucky to have the luxury of a seat, the Cobra was something of a revelation.

The boat as tested was fitted with a 315hp Yanmar diesel and this is a similar power plant to that of the Toyota Land Cruiser. Could one ask for anything more dependable? This drives a Bravo 3X stern drive and the throttle is flyby wire control. Mounted just under the steering wheel on the starboard side is a trim control that can be used without taking a hand off the wheel.

Luxury upholstery is used around the bow area and there’s a jump seat in front of the consol. The engine compartment is covered with teak decking complete with upholstery, allowing for its use as a sun deck. The driver position is behind the consol with space for another person and these seats can be pushed into a bolster-type position if you want to stand while driving in heavy weather conditions.

Heading out Kinsale harbour, Sean opened the throttle and the boat showed us what she could do, reaching some 46 knots. Unfortunately, we didn’t experience any rough water conditions on the day but I feel that, given the underbody shape and the very solid feel of the craft, that her performance would be impeccable.

There is an abundance of locker space and an engine compartment that opens up with the aid of hydraulic struts. This allows easy access to the engine bay for maintenance. Should any water come aboard, whether rain or sea, there are two large draining wells passing through the engine compartment that discharge through the transom.

The Rib market is hugely competitive with many manufacturers vying for business and Picton Boats has been developing this luxury but functional craft over many years. The Cobra 8.6m is a shining example of this progress, combining glamour and confidence and suitable for family enjoyment in all conditions.

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