Review: SACS Top Class Striders

By: Kevin Green, Photography by: Kevin Green

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

SACS Strider 8 bow SACS Strider 8 bow
SACS Strider 8 console SACS Strider 8 console
SACS Strider 8 marine engine SACS Strider 8 marine engine
SACS Strider 8 wetbar SACS Strider 8 wetbar
SACS Strider 10 cabin SACS Strider 10 cabin
SACS Strider 10 centre console SACS Strider 10 centre console
SACS Strider 10 console SACS Strider 10 console
SACS Strider 13 aft deck SACS Strider 13 aft deck
SACS Strider 13 console SACS Strider 13 console
SACS Strider 13 kitchen SACS Strider 13 kitchen
SACS Strider 13 wetbar SACS Strider 13 wetbar

SACS Marine rigid inflatable boats are stylish boats with Italian flair. The Strider range is the flagship of this classy inflatable range.

Australian and New Zealand distributor SACS Marine Australia put its Euros on the line to import a flotilla of these luxury SACS luxury inflatable boat, such is the confidence of managing director Richard Gazal.

So when I was asked to review these SACS inflatable boats, the least I could do was thrash them around, as I remembered my high-speed days on another type of Italian stallion, a Ducati. And the feeling was not dissimilar, especially on the fastest of the three imports: the SACS Strider 10.

 

SACS Strider luxury inflatables

SACS Strider 10

Twin 300hp Mercury outboard motors pushed the relatively lightweight SACS Strider 10 hull to nearly 50kts on a smooth day. The handling felt surefooted as I spun the hydraulic wheel to push the 32-footer into S-turns and crisscrossed my own wake without cavitation or a squeak from the teak-clad decking.

Fuel data wasn’t available but based on Mercury’s figures with similar boats, it would be in the region of 120lt/h for each engine at around 50kts, dropping to around 70lt/h each cruising at 30kts.

Definitely as surefooted as any Ducati I’ve ridden too and not surprising when you realise it was penned by famous bike designer Christian Grande. But there’s more to the SACS Strider 10 than just brute force when you look at the details.

 

Layout and design

SACS Strider boats range in size from 27 to 60ft, the latter a collaboration with New Zealand’s Naiad, and there’s even an outrageous 72-foot Strider 22 on the cards. Naturally, wanting to emulate the superyachts that they may service as tenders, these RIBs all come with quality neoprene-Hypalon, a material only used on the best inflatables and the neatly constructed seams are cold-glued together for a very good finish.

Underfoot is thick 10mm teak decking which will take a rubdown after a few years and adds comfort and rigidity to these solid fibreglass hulls. The SACS Strider 10’s centre console also has a cabin with a toilet – not that I’d recommend using it at 50kts, of course.

At that speed I was tucked in behind the tall spray visor with my derrière leaning firmly against the comfortable helm seat. With twin electronic throttle controls and trim buttons to hand, I felt well in control. The stylish carbon dash held a Raymarine HybridTouch plotter and readable analogue engine dials, along with VHF and the obligatory FUSION stereo. Only the hidden joystick for the bowthruster brought a frown to my face, as it’s under the dashboard.

Creature comforts on the Strider 10 include a wetbar adjoining the console ahead of a foldout table, so sitting on the surrounding lounges is pleasant, especially if you pull up the optional bimini that nestles unobtrusively around the transom. Also, the drawer fridge is an option worth having for holding a dozen stubbies. Up front, sun worshippers can satiate themselves on cushions, once the anchor is down.

 

SACS Strider 8

SACS Strider 8

For those sailors looking for the economy and low-down torque of a diesel there’s the SACS Strider 8, the Italian’s entry-level model with a 320hp Mercury Diesel marine inboard. Jumping aboard the SACS S8 after the S10 initially felt underwhelming, until I got used to the feel. The 27ft S8 is also available with an outboard, should you want the added performance. But the economy and arguably better reliability of the diesel will be compelling for many (fuel consumption was an economical 22.5lt/h at a cruising speed of 20kts with the engine revving at 2300rpm).

Handling felt as surefooted as the S10, thanks to the deep-vee hull and all that low-down weight, but acceleration and top speed was much lower: 38.8kts tops at a slow revving 3880rpm with two of us aboard and fuel burn 69lt/h.

At the helm the open-top console protected me well enough from the wind, while the PVC double seat is also a comfy perch and instrumentation layout similar to the S10.

The obvious major difference with inboard engines is the space taken up, so the S8 aft deck is a wee bit cramped but there’s enough room to sit around the table that folds out from the wetbar. Plus there’s all that sunbathing space on top of the engine box and even a large swimplatform to idle on.

Up front is an area that could win the S8 fans because the bench seating will feel much more secure when underway and at rest the pop-out table creates a pleasant dining place. Hidden beneath the foredeck is an Australian-made Muir windlass for the through-hull anchor system, so again, all the practicalities you need are on the Strider 8.

 

SACS Strider 13

SACS Strider 13 inflatable boat

For the ultimate luxury experience and for showcasing what SACS can really excel at, is the outrageous 44ft Strider 13 – it certainly turned heads. Nudging the big hull clear of her S10 sister using the thruster joystick that was easily to hand, I aimed this missile to sea and pulled the trigger.

The roar from the twin Mercury Diesel 350 marine engines reminded me that there was plenty of low-down grunt available and I wasn’t disappointed when I pushed the throttle levers down. Feeling more like a Moto Guzzi than a Ducati to my inner biker self, the SACS S13 is sedate but certainly not sedentary.

Enclosed by the fibreglass console I was well-protected from the elements and felt ready for a blast. Obviously the big hull didn’t have the nimbleness of the zippy SACS S10 but the ride was smoother, the wakes from boats having minimal effect on the 6.5-ton S13, and the cushioning from the 55cm tubes further added to my feeling of comfort as I reached 38.8kts at the maximum revs of 3880 with a fuel-burn rate of 150lt/h for both motors.

Throttling back to an easy cruising speed of 19kts brought consumption down to a realistic 45lt/h, so with the 800lt fuel tank there’s a full day’s supply with plenty left over for coastal hops. And when you arrive at your anchorage, the double cabin with sizeable bathroom should refresh you.

 

Cabin

 Cabin in SACS Strider 13

Stepping down below on the SACS Strider 13 reveals a surprisingly voluminous cabin with headroom for the tallest sailor. Along the portside are several cupboards and even a bench, while the double bunk is substantial and felt comfortable when I lay on it.

Lying foot-to-bow should give a pleasant night’s sleep, or during the day open both skylights to let the breeze waft in as you escape the sun for a bit. Just watch your head on the sharp corner of the bench that would be better rounded off. The LED spotlights and easily-clean fibreglass headliners are good practical features. Opening the tall bathroom door brings me into another pleasant space with good functionality, including a retractable shower head with deep teak-clad drain beneath and electric toilet. The wide bench has plenty of room for the sink with cupboards below as well, and when the skipper needs a shave before a run ashore, there’s a large mirror. A cool nautical touch is the stainless steel porthole that lends style and ventilation here plus there’s another one in the main cabin.

More useful features include a pulpit footplate and the same functional anchor layout is used as the other Striders, with large cleats another plus. Simply unfold the teak table and relax around it, or drop it down to create a sunpad. Swimmers have an electric ladder aft to ease them into the briny and the teak-clad transom is big enough for a couple of sundowner chairs if you so desire. For the discerning sun-worshipper the acres of bow space, nicely sheltered by the sponsons, will be the place to read that blockbuster book in peace. The only interruption might be to reveal the hidden hatch beneath them that wisely opens up to ventilate the cabin. Amid all this relaxation the practicalities are also well taken care of on the SACS Strider 13.

 

The Trade-a-Boat verdict

SACS Strider 13

It’s hardly surprising that I’m beginning to encounter more and more RIBs in Europe being used as dayboats. Their seaworthiness is favoured by all sorts of sailors including the famed Barbary smugglers – not that I want to give you a new business idea – but these are a solid class of vessel.

 

SACS Top Class Striders specs

GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP; neoprene-Hypalon tubes

TYPE Rigid inflatable boat

DESIGN Christian Grande & DesignWorks

 

 

SACS Strider 8 specs

SACS Strider 8 price: $176,000 (price as tested)

Priced from: $146,105

 

LENGTH 8.43m

BEAM 3.1m

DRAFT 0.5m

WEIGHT 1800kg (sans engine)

FUEL 300lt

WATER 80lt

ENGINE 320hp MerCruiser

 

 

SACS Strider 10 specs

SACS Strider 10 price: $268,000 (price as tested)

Priced from: $254,000

 

LENGTH 9.9m

BEAM 3.35m

DRAFT 0.84m

WEIGHT 2300kg (sans engine)

FUEL 450lt

WATER 80lt

ENGINE 2 x 300hp Mercury Verado outboard (optional)

 

 

SACS Strider 13 specs

SACS Strider 13 price: $595,000 (price as tested)

Priced from: $539,348

 

LENGTH 13.35m

BEAM 3.83m

DRAFT 0.8m

WEIGHT 5200kg (sans engine)

FUEL 800lt

WATER 170lt

ENGINE 2 x 350hp Mercury Diesel; 2 x 430hp MerCruiser petrol

 

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 #473, on sale December 28, 2015. Why not subscribe today?

 


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