BOAT TEST: OZ TIGER SPORTLINE 480 RIB
The OZ Tiger SportLine 480 manufactured by Egypt’s Tiger Marine and imported to this country from the Mediterranean by JC Marine looks for all money like a cracker of a tender. A quick spin on Sydney Harbour was in order.
For the life of me I cannot understand why the uptake of inflatable tenders has been so slow in this part of the world. Maybe it's the crocs? In fact there is a growing acceptance of RIBs and with the arrival of the exceptional range of Tiger Marine boats this could gather apace.
All Tiger boats meet the international standard ISO 6185 (the accepted power rating for inflatables) and the European directive for recreational craft 94/25/EC (set limit values for exhaust and noise emissions), and are individually hand built and inspected.
The company has been operating since 1996 and has enough confidence in its product to offer a three-year warranty on each boat and a five-year warranty on the seams, which utilise latest hot-air welding techniques for durability and strength. Tiger offers a wide range of options, sizes and styles in the Tender, SportLine, ProLine, TopLine and Dive Master ranges. Every boat comes with good standard features and can also be optimised to suit the new owner's needs and specifications.
The OZ Tiger SportLine 480 looks to be the ideal boat for leisure cruising, swimming, skiing, fishing and diving. If fitted with winch points the 480 will also work well as a deck tender, but straight off the shelf the 440 would be a better option as they come inbuilt as standard. The 480 has a deep-vee hull shape for a softer ride, and produces little wake at speed for those keen to strut their stuff on a wakeboard or ski.
It's nice to see so many features that others would treat as extras being supplied as standard. There is an inbuilt side console complete with steering system, handrails and hatches, and a double-locker seat with a stainless steel back. All cushions are available in a wide range of colours and finishes and help to make the sundeck a pleasurable place to relax. There is also a bow step with roller, a bilge pump with an electric panel, two small swimplatforms and an oversized storage locker for the anchor and other necessities.
The permutations for the internal configuration and setup of the boat are varied and practical. Changing modes from seating to sunbathing to picnicking with a small table is easily managed. The optional bimini fitted to our test boat is a must and the other non-standard choices featured on the day included an extended-range 42lt fuel tank package, stainless steel swimladder, marine stereo with speakers, power-outlet socket, nav lights and bow cleats. Impressive for a boat of this size there is even a freshwater shower and teak decking! Full marks there.
Our test boat was fitted with a quiet-running 60hp Honda four-stroke outboard. This seemed an ideal package for handling and manoeuvrability, and the two marry well as the agile run proved, although when pulling water skier or carrying the maximum complement of six passengers something with more grunt might be required. Fortunately the hull will accept as much as 90hp. For the leisure/cruising-use setup though the Honda 60hp is more than adequate delivering a stable, dry and comfortable ride.
One criticism of this runabout is that the two-person bench seat is a little narrow and intimate. A possible cause is the specially-bolstered cushion, which would provide a more comfortable helm position if flat - the bolster tends to push one's bottom into an offset position twisting the back slightly.
The OZ Tiger SportLine 480 as tested had nearly everything that could be desired of a boat in this class, including a boat cover, self-draining system and high-quality Dunbier trailer. In Valmex fabric, the purchase price is $35,000, while the basic boat in the same material is $30,000.
Consumer negativity to PVC-coated fabric boats in the harsh Australian sun has been countered by Tiger Marine offering its full range in Hypalon. In fairness, the extra cost may not be warranted with the wax/polishing products now available on the market as a protective agent for PVC against UV damage, but as a protection against general wear 'n' tear, Hypalon is worth its weight
Specifications: OZ TIGER SPORTLINE 480
PRICE AS TESTED
MATERIAL: Valmex; Hypalon (optional)
TYPE: Rigid inflatable monohull
LENGTH OVERALL: 4.8m
WEIGHT: 300kg (hull)
MAKE/MODEL: Honda 60
TYPE: Four-stroke outboard
RATED HP: 60
REC. MAX HP: 90
REC. MAX WEIGHT: 150kg
4 Columbia Court,
Baulkham Hills, NSW, 2153
Phone: (02) 9634 7044
Fax: (02) 9634 7099
From Trade-a-Boat Issue 429, July-Aug 2012. Story & photos by James Nichols.
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