Shearwater RIBs 860

A top-drawer performance RIB with a useable cuddy

The Isle of Wight-built Shearwater is one of the best handling RIBs – or boats, for that matter – that MBM has ever tested.

Add in the overnighting possibilities offered by the narrow cuddy, and you almost have the perfect RIB. Almost because creature comforts are just a little too sparse on this boat.

We like our cabin RIBs with a toilet and at least the possibility of preparing a basic meal – and this is where the Shearwater falls down.

But boatbuying is all about compromise, and what you get in exchange is simply blistering performance.  Rarely have we experienced an engine (300hp Mercury Verado outboard) and hull so in tune with one another.

The 300hp Verado pulls beautifully, taking the Ring-designed hull to a top speed that easily hits 48 knots.

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But it’s the helm feedback lower down the rev range that almost impresses more.

The rear wraparound bench seat offers plenty of protection to your guests when cornering at breakneck speeds, and there’s even a seat forward set into the helm console.

We like to call this the ‘Jesus Christ seat’.

Why? Sit here at 50 knots to find out.

Tested September 2009


  • Overall score:


  • Awesome handling


  • Limited cabin options

Price as reviewed:



This is the perfect RIB for those who don't want to grow up or trade down. A pedigree performer, with a smart cockpit and useful cabin.


Top Speed: 48 knots
Cabins: 1
Beam: 8ft 10in (2.7m)
Length Overall: 28ft 3in (8.6m)
Engines: 300hp 4cyl Mercury Verado outboard
Boats for Sale: Find a Shearwater 860 for sale
Reprints: Buy the full review

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