REVIEW: BRIG EAGLE 10

By: JOHN FORD, Photography by: JOHN FORD

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

The new Brig Eagle 10 RIB is a luxurious and versatile dayboat that will launch you into the seafaring stratosphere.

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HIGHS

  • Exceptional ride and handling
  • Safe and stable for a big range of experiences on water
  • Overnight accommodation
  • It’s fast

LOWS

  • It’s not cheap

REVIEW: BRIG EAGLE 10 priced from $299,700

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If I remember correctly, a couple of years back we rated the Brig 780 among the softest riding and most exciting boats we have ever tested. Hold the phone. The new Eagle 10 blows that model clean out of the water, not only in performance, but also in luxury and versatility.

In something of a coup for the local importer, Neil Webster, the latest addition to the Brig fleet was released in Australia when company owner Slava Rodionov flew into town to unveil the sleek Hypalon beauty at the Sydney International Boat Show.

According to Webster, the Sydney show has grown into a world-class event with many cashed-up overseas visitors wanting to experience the latest and greatest. When I spoke to Rodionov at the show he explained that Australia is an important market for his brand, boasting the lion’s share of inflatable boat sales across a range that includes knockabout 3m tenders through to the 10.2m flagship.

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Brig was born 25 years ago when a high-tech Ukrainian aerospace factory started looking for new horizons after the Russian empire folded. Turning their expertise in producing Hypalon and fibreglass components for re-entry capsules for the space programme, the engineers converted their aeronautical skills into designing and building inflatable boats.

Over time, Brig has become the biggest manufacturer of these versatile vessels in Europe, building as many models as all the other builders combined and is now the biggest builder of inflatable boats over 10m in the world. It seems the workers took to capitalism with a vengeance.

BRIG IS BETTER

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Perhaps learning something from the mistakes of the Russian car industry along the way, Brig has embraced the need to innovate and keep reinventing itself. According to Webster, they listen to the market and the market said it wanted a bigger, better RIB.

The trend to larger boats can be seen on Sydney Harbour where 10 years ago a 6.5m RIB was maximum, five years ago it was 7.8m and now it’s bigger still. Part of the reason is that as more boaties take to RIBs the more they are exposed and accepted. A blast in a quality inflatable is enough to convince potential buyers of the inherent safety, huge carrying capacity and incredible ride.

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Following a two-year design and testing process, the Eagle 10 presents as a serious dayboat with overnighting ability, and it does this without losing marks in the fun-factor score. With up to 700hp strapped on, it even picks up a couple of points.

According to Webster, the new 10 metre’s design and functionality is a game changer. Well, he’s the importer so he would say that, but he maintains there is nothing in the price bracket that comes near it for features and performance.

While maintaining a similar style to other Brig models, the Eagle 10 manages to look even sleeker and sportier. With a larger centre console than the 780 and without that boat’s standard Targa arch it appears to hug the water more tightly. I’m told the designers experimented with an arch for the new boat but decided it didn’t look right when the optional T-top was installed.

WHITE NOISE

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There are a number of tube colours from which to choose and photos of the black version look gun-running sinister, but the all-white version that greeted us in Rose Bay looked stylish and practical for Australian conditions. Matched with a pair of white Mercury Verados, the rig redefines ultra-cool.

The finish on tubes, upholstery and fibreglass is impeccable and the colour options on the seats is set to match high-end motor yacht brands.

Hypalon tubes – the inflatable part – wrap around a fibreglass hull – the rigid part. The tubes on the Eagle have a new carbon fibre finish, but without any carbon in the construction. Manufactured by Orca, this Hypalon is recognised as the best in the business and with the greatest UV and impact protection.

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The tubes are divided into seven separate compartments, but even in the event of damage to all the chambers the boat will still float on the fibreglass hull. The deep-V hull is designed to perform well in rougher conditions and combined with the air-filled tubes, the boat has a carrying capacity of up to 20 passengers in enclosed waters. With a CE rating of B it’s rated to carry 10 in offshore situations with 40kts winds and 4m seas.

With such a large capacity most of the deck space is open with a compact console in the centre. Seating in the aft and bow create two separate socialising and travelling spaces. Down the back a ladder and grab rail helps swimmers on board where a freshwater shower awaits.

EIGHT IS ENOUGH

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Here seating for eight surrounds a removable picnic table with ready access to an entertainment hatch moulded into the rear of the helm, which comes with a two-burner gas stove, Dometic fridge and a sink.

In the forward section of the helm console is a compact cabin with port side entry where I found an electric flush toilet with holding tank and a double bed.

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Forward of the cabin are a day bed and lounges that convert to a huge sun pad. Alternatively, with cushions removed, the teak-style SeaDek might be a more practical play area for boisterous youngsters swimming, diving and jumping around.

A raised moulding in the bow has a step and also houses the remote anchor.

At the helm is a twin bolster seat with the steering position set to port behind a tinted and raked windscreen. Thankfully, it directed wind well overhead when under way. Along with a readily placed switch panel, the black dash houses a 16in Simrad screen with all chart and sounder options as well as engine data.

RIDE ON TIME

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Sydney Harbour mid-week had just the right mix of ferry wake and wide open space to safely give the big Brig the berries and see how it shaped up. If you want the short version let’s just say it’s truly amazing.

A glint flashed in Webster’s eye when I asked him to run through the rev range to wide open throttle so I could record fuel figures. Hang on then he suggested. When we hit 52kts he apologised that the T-top robbed the boat of around 7kts. I should add that on many occasions it’s hard to read my writing after a boat has been bouncing around at full tilt. On this occasion the ride was so smooth it’s perfectly legible.

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I prised the wheel away from Neil for my turn on the throttles. Acceleration is scintillating. Editor Tim doesn’t yet trust accelerometer readings from phones so I can’t tell you the digital result but I can say in analogue terms we were planing before I could count two.

There’s no denying the Eagle is fast. What is uncanny though, is how safe it feels at speed with the hull shimmering and shaking below us, charging into insane chop and backwash around the shoreline.

A small swell was running offshore so we hightailed it to South Head – purely for research purposes of course. Trimmed-in, the boat hugged the swell with a soft ride and sure-footed steering. Trimmed-out we found enough air to confirm landings were soft and, importantly, safe.

SHOCK ABSORPTION

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The air tubes act as buoyant pontoons in turns, to keep the hull flat, and over wake to absorb the shock. Heading back into the harbour we found a section of close to 1m chop at the headland that in most boats you would have to back off. Held wide open at 50kts we sailed over it without a jolt.

Is there a downside? Well maybe for the wallet challenged. At 5500rpm fuel usage jumps to 170Lt/h, at 6000rpm it’s 219Lt/h and wide open its 234Lt/h. That’s about a $300 run from Sydney to Pittwater and back at 50kts. Hey, that’s cheaper than a track day at Phillip Island and probably more fun.

Cruising around at a more sedate 24kts fuel use is 44Lt/h for a range of 265nm.

Maybe emphasising the enjoyment of speed this boat can deliver in bulk isn’t the right way to define the new Brig. There’s more to it than just a Costco-sized adrenalin fix.

For many owners, a big inflatable can be their ultimate dayboat and the big Brig offers family time on the water relaxing, towing water toys, swimming, diving, fishing and lunching in a favourite bay. There’s no need to be precious about it either. Spill a drink and deckwash it away. And compared to a big cruiser the fuel bill is considerably less as long as the Verados aren’t kicking the rev limiters all day.

Price as tested with the T-top, Simrad, Fusion sound and big Verados is $299,700, which may sound expensive but compared to similar-sized centre consoles with twin engines it stands up well. 

SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

$299,700

OPTIONS FITTED

Engine upgrade, 16in Simrad, VHF, Fusion stereo

GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP and Hypalon

TYPE Rigid Inflatable

LENGTH  10.2m LOA

BEAM 3.4m

WEIGHT 1910kg (hull only) 3176kg (as tested)

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE  (Enclosed waters) 20 (CE-B 10)

FUEL 580lt

WATER 90lt

HP RATING 400-700hp

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL TYPE Twin Mercury Verado 350hp

RATED HP 350

DISPLACEMENT 2.6lt

WEIGHT  303kg

GEAR RATIO 1.75:1

PROPELLER 22in

MANUFACTURED BY

Brig Ukraine

SUPPLIED BY

Sirocco Marine South

79-81 Cawarra rd

Caringbah 2229

Ph 02 9524 8288

Ph 0410 13 14 38

liam@siroccomarinesouth.com.au

www.siroccomarinesouth.com.au

Check out the full review in issue #499 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.

 


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