BOAT TEST: ZODIAC YACHTLINE 470 DELUXE
Zodiac’s Yachtline 470 Deluxe makes an ideal big-boat tender but, as JOHN FORD finds, there’s more to this RIB than a ship-to-shore conveyance
One of the great benefits of big-boat ownership is the freedom to visit different locations. It doesn't matter if you travel the world or simply wander round your home port, the chance to experience different places from the water is a real pleasure. But once anchored getting to shore is a problem without a suitable tender.
Enter the exciting new offering from Zodiac - the Yachtline 470 Deluxe. It will certainly get you to land but it is more than a mere conveyance. The boat is a legal jetski, a family skiboat, a harbour cruiser, a dive boat, and an easy-to-drive dayboat all rolled into one.
As the name implies, the 470 is a mere 4.7m long, but with a 2.05m beam it has a nine-person capacity so it's also a decent people mover. The Yachtline is a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) with a deep-vee fibreglass hull attached to an inflatable outer ring for floatation and divided into five individual chambers for safety.
Zodiac claim their material is the strongest available in an inflatable. High-tech Stronglan is coated with the company's exclusive UV inhibiting Sharc coating, said to give the hulls a 12 to 14-year lifespan if stored out of the sun, or seven years if fully exposed to the elements.
Unlike most RIBs that have the pontoon bonded to the fibreglass, the tubes are slid onto the rigid section allowing easy removal for repair or replacement. The advantage of Stronglan is that it can be heat welded rather than glued for repair.
Steve Arranson from Sydney Powerboat Centre, Mona Vale, says it takes a lot to damage the tubes, the equivalent of which would probably hole a 'glass boat. Even with two chambers deflated the Zodiac will still float on the other three aided by the inbuilt floatation of the fibreglass rigid section.
Once aboard, the 470's solid non-skid floor is super stable and there are quality fibreglass mouldings for the various seats and the side-mounted console. There is seating for two at the transom, two more on the driver's seat, two amidships, two at the bow and one in front of the driver. All seats are comfortable and have sufficient padding to absorb any bumps underway - not that there are any with the soft-riding, air-cushioned hull.
Most seats have secure dry-storage underneath and the centre one lifts to reveal the filler for the 85lt fuel tank.
The bow houses the anchoring equipment and navigation light, a stainless steel handrail runs around the bow and there are an additional four handgrips situated at strategic points.
Helm seating is comfortable and sporty, the wheel and controls are well positioned, and the driver has a console that provides some protection from the wind. The dash has a full complement of instruments including tacho, speed, trim and fuel, and the whole helm area has a racy go-fast feel.
To put the Yachtline 470 to the test, it was decided to explore Pittwater, visiting some iconic spots and getting the feel for its intended role as a tender. But first some speed trials.
Once out of the extended no-wash zone, the Zodiac was wound out to full speed. With the 75hp Evinrude E-TEC spinning the 17in Viper prop to 5500rpm the RIB achieved a credible 35.1kts. Sitting so close to the water, it feels much faster and the hull jumps quickly to speed but the ride remains dry.
The Zodiac is designed to be driven from a seated position but can be steered standing and the inflatable pontoon acts as a natural fender.
The sightseeing was taking its toll so we headed to Palm Beach for refreshments. The advantage of being able to get into the beach can't be underrated as leaving a boat moored on the wharf around here can be a problem with ferries coming and going to make things difficult.
Back onboard it was around Barrenjoey Headland and before long we were a couple of miles out to sea. The Zodiac took the swell in its stride riding easily across the waves with the hull softening out the chop.
Back in Pittwater and up the Hawkesbury River to Patonga there was a short chop stirred up by the tide and wind. At 32.4kts the Zodiac skipped across the water and again the hull soaked up any roughness. On flat water we tried some high-speed turns and the hull just loved this sort of attention ? hanging on and snapping around.
Inshore or on the wild blue yonder, as a big boat tender or runaround, the Yachtline 470 Deluxe proved true to name and offered a very dignified ride, as well as some over-and-above deluxe fittings.
FACTS & FIGURES
ZODIAC YACHTLINE 470 DELUXE
The aspect of the 470's hull is quite low making for easy access from a beach, floating dock or the duckboard of your mothership. The hull works best at a steady cruise of 27kts around 4500rpm where the RIB feels like it could sit all day.
PRICE AS TESTED
$45,700 with 75hp Evinrude E-TEC
MATERIAL: GRP hull; Stronglan tubes
LENGTH OVERALL: 4.7m
DEADRISE: 21.5 degrees
RATED HP: 50 to 90
MAKE/MODEL: Evinrude E-TEC
TYPE: Two-stroke w/ direct injection
RATED HP: 75
219 Woodpark Road,
Smithfield, NSW, 2164
Phone: (02) 8786 6800
Fax: (02) 9756 9387
Sydney Powerboat Centre,
95 Darley Street,
Mona Vale, NSW, 2103
Phone: (02) 9997 7797
Let's not be too coy about it, the Yachtline 470DL at nearly $50,000 isn't for everyone. You have to weigh up how often it will be used but that is a big plus for this boat. It's so easy to get on the water and such a pleasure to drive it will win over a lot of people looking for a boat to spend time aboard mucking around, exploring, and performing tender duties.
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