Review: SACS Sport 780

By: Kevin Green, Photography by: Kevin Green

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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Stylish with plenty of practicalities, the SACS Sport 780 RIB (rigid inflatable boat) is a great dayboat and more, thanks to that all-weather rigid hull and fantastic performance.

I must confess that a quality rigid inflatable is my favourite type of powerboat, because a low centre of gravity makes them so stable, while the deep-vee hull cuts, rather than slams through seas.

I’ve enjoyed using these sturdy craft in all sea states, sometimes as a rescue diver and other times as a safety boat skipper during yacht races. So, looking over the SACS Sport 780 didn’t really feel like work and I soon realised this RIB wasn’t exactly a workboat, either.

She’s sturdy enough to be one though, thanks to 10mm teak floorboards and large diameter (61cm) neoprene-hypalon sponsons. The Sport 780 fairly bristles with equipment, making for an ideal dayboat; and with a 300hp Mercury, there’s plenty power for water toys, too.

 

SACS SPORT 780

SACS Sport 780

The SACS Sport Class 780, to give its full name, is one of three ranges which also comprise the Top Class Striders and the Individual Class. Fully optioned up for its role as a display boat, the SACS S780 was well equipped. Starting at the centre console, a high screen gives shelter to the analogue engine dials, hydraulic steering wheel and electronic throttle. Sturdy hand rails run either side for support and there’s lean-to seat. The only obvious question was where to put a plotter or fishfinder on the console.

 

LAYOUT

Folding table on SACS Sport 780

Moving forward, the grippy teak flooring is best enjoyed in bare feet before you arrive at the bow, where a deep locker stores plenty of gear and this has a thick sunpad to slot on top.

Looking aft on the SACS S780, picnics can be enjoyed at the teak table with bench seating portside, plus the double transom seat, so creates a pleasant eating area, especially if you choose the  optional bimini.

The bimini is part of a sturdy stainless steel arch that nicely elevates the LED navigation lights, but could also probably house antennas or skis if you desired.

The table stores in one of the two side lockers, along with its large alloy leg and locker space is so plentiful that the SACS S780 didn’t feel like a RIB at all.

Yet another good feature is the transom walkway, giving easy swim access or retrieval of a skier, via its folding ladder. In front of the outboard, a deep well has large drains and the aft bulkhead is tall enough to prevent most wash from splashing over.

 

RIGID INFLATABLE HULL

SACS Sport 780 rigid inflatable

The SACS S780 hull build is solid fibreglass, with enough stringers to give rigidity, while on the outside, longitudinal mouldings are intended to help tracking.

The deep-vee with flatter sections aft is a classic RIB design, which allows both displacement motoring and planing.

The squared-off bow is set high and most usefully has two sets of handholds on the outside, so the S780 can be easily winched onto a trailer.

The air tubes have six compartments, so plenty of inbuilt safety, and are manually inflated. The neoprene-hypalon, a material only used on the highest quality RIBS, has neatly constructed seams that are cold glued together so the finish on the S780 is very good.

 

ENGINE

SACS Sport 780 on the water

Engine choices for the SACS S780 range from the maximum rated 300hp outboard motor fitted to our review boat, down to 200hp.

But a wise option for offshore would be twin 150 outboards, which if run from separate fuel tanks would offer good safety. Our 300hp Mercury Verado (rated to 6500rpm), proved incredibly quiet and vibration free – which Mercury has created by using what it calls an AMS cylinder head system that is mounted separately from the engine block.

The four-stroke inline six cylinder (2.6lt displacement) also delivered power smoothly. Yet another good feature is twin water inlets, so the dreaded plastic bag jammed around the gearbox shouldn’t end your day. For battery charging, the Mercury has a 70amp belt-driven alternator.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

SACS Sport 780 ride

Turning the key brought only a muted response from the big Mercury Verado outboard motor and I had to listen intently to hear if it was actually running (it was purring away happily). We moved off the dock and past the throngs of breakfasting diners at Woolloomooloo wharf.

A refreshing change from enclosed- cabin motorboats I’ve steered recently, the open console gives visibility all round, which proved essential for this highly manoeuvrable 25ft RIB.

Pressing down on the electronic throttle brought an instant response as I increased speed, pointing my bow to Bradley’s Head, before tweaking the engine up a few clicks to level the hull as we went on the plane (at about 15kts).

We accelerated cleanly to a comfortable cruising speed of 30kts – not that you’d know it, as there was virtually no slamming or jarring from the hull and spray was deflected easily by the big sponsons.

SACS Sport 780 view from helm

Rolling into a few S-turns was done effortlessly, the hydraulic wheel requiring minimum persuasion as I spun it from lock to lock before bolting towards the wash of a ferry.

Slamming into a two foot wave brought no complaints from the S780 and hardly wetted our teak decks, before I turned away for a clear run at Shark Island and Rose Bay beyond, reaching 47kts top speed as the Mercury maxed out at 6030rpm.

No fuel monitoring was fitted, however a similar boat tested by Mercury showed consumption to be 113.6lt/h at 6400rpm, but that slightly heavier model only managed 41kts.

For cruising speeds (about 30ks at 5500rpm) Mercury’s figures show 64lt/h which would give you a reasonable three hour range with a good safety margin.

 

THE TRADE-A-BOAT VERDICT

SACS Sport 780 in Sydney

Not that I dwelt on this for long, as I was too busy simply enjoying the ride, while wondering if I could attach a ski rope to the stainless bimini. This package clearly has plenty versatility, performance and fun built in.

 

HIGHS

  • Performance
  • Build quality
  • Handling and general functionality

 

LOWS

  • Console space limited
  • Aesthetics of bow-anchor setup

 

 

SACS SPORT 780 RIB SPECS

SACS Sport 780 RIB price: $139,000 (price as tested)

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Teak decking, anchor windlass with anchor and chain, Fusion stereo with remote, 36lt Inox fridge, foldable stainless steel roll bar, bimini top, Stern GRP platform with teak decking.

 

PRICED FROM

$116,213 (with 200hp Mercury)

 

GENERAL

LENGTH 7.8m

BEAM 3.06m

DRAFT 0.48m

WEIGHT (no engine) 1200kg

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 20

FUEL 300lt

WATER 80lt

AIR COMPARTMENTS Six

TUBE DIAMETER 61cm

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 300 hp Mercury Verado

TYPE Inline-six cylinder outboard motor

RATED HP 300

REC. HP 2x 150 to 300

ENGINE WEIGHT 288kg (dry)

 

SUPPLIED BY

SACS Marine Australia

Sydney, NSW

Phone 02 8336 6333

Email info@sacsmarine.com.au

Web sacsmarine.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #468, August / September 2015. Why not subscribe today?

 


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