Shearwater 890 review

The Shearwater 890 has the looks of a superyacht tender at the price of a mainstream boat giving this new 9.0m RIB serious buyer appeal

Bembridge Marine reckons its new Shearwater 890 fills a gap in the market for a 9m RIB with all the style and ability of a superyacht tender but without the accompanying six figure price tag.

The 890 certainly fills the first part of the brief with its glossy black mouldings, tapered hypalon tubes and classy suspension seats, and thanks to a starting price of £89,499 inc UK VAT it satisfies the end part to. But what about the bit in the middle, namely its ability?

A full day out in the Solent putting the deep vee hull and 300hp Mercury Verado outboard through their paces provided more good news on that front, too.

The engine is an absolute peach revving as smoothly and sweetly as a BMW straight six all the way up to a top speed of exactly 50 knots.

Even flat out it sounds and feels so comfortable that cruising at 40-45 knots soon becomes the norm in anything approaching flat water.

Shearwater 890

Shearwater offers cabin and open version with either inboard or outboard engines

The electronic throttle ensures super-soft gear changes when manoeuvring around the marina, although its location to port of the wheel means having to operate the trim button with the little finger on your left hand rather than the thumb of your right hand as intended.

Performance and handling

The 24 degree deep vee hull behaves impeccably, providing plenty of grip and lean without dragging its tubes in the water.

With no steps to reduce drag and flatten its running attitude, it rides with its bow well clear of the water, reducing the risk of stuffing into the back of wave.

The few lumps and bumps we did encounter were dealt with very cleanly leaving the wonderfully supportive semi-suspension seats to mop up the last remaining traces.

Shearwater 890

Suspension seats and an all digital helm but the throttle trim button is a little awkward to use

Plenty of thought has gone into the practical side of things too with a big storage lockers under the fore and aft seating and a surprisingly big void under the centre console, which can be fitted out as a heads compartment if required.

If you want to sleep on board, there is also a cuddy version with a larger console moulding and a decent vee berth inside.

Shearwater 890

Space inside the helm console can be fitted out as a heads compartment

Both models come with the option of either petrol outboard or diesel inboard power and even the former enjoys a full-width bathing platform, making it ideal for watersports use.

Build quality of the Shearwater 890 appears simple but solid with good access to all parts of the boat.

We would like to see analogue gauges for fuel and temperature added to the helm to supplement the digital ones but this aside the driving position works very well.

Contact: Bembridge Marine. Tel: +(0)1983 872 817 Web: www.shearwaterribs.com

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Pros

  • Superyacht tender looks
  • Open and cuddy versions
  • Petrol or diesel power
  • Tidy handling
  • 50 knot performance
  • Sensible pricing

Cons

  • Lacks analogue fuel gauge
  • Basic finish inside bilges and lockers

Price as reviewed:

£89,499 Base price inc engine + VAT

Verdict

This is a very well judged craft that manages to distance itself from the mass-produced RIBs in terms of looks, performance and ability without demanding an excessive premium for the privilege. It doesn’t have quite the finesse of more expensive craft from the likes of Scorpion or Pascoe but at that price it doesn’t need to. The added versatility of open and cuddy versions and diesel or petrol power also adds to the appeal of this impressive new offering.

Details

Length: 29ft 2in (8.9m)
Beam: 9ft 0in (2.74m)
Displacement: 1900kg (dry)
Fuel capacity: 400 litres
Water capacity: 93 litres
RCD category: C
Test engine: 300hp Mercury Verado
Top speed: 50 knots
Fuel consumption: 2.4mpg @ 38 knots

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