REVIEW: BRIG NAVIGATOR 610

By: JOHN FORD, Photography by: JOHN FORD


BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 BRIG NAVIGATOR 610
BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 04 BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 04
BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 05 BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 05
BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 07 BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 07
BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 08 BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 08

The Brig Navigator 610 rigid inflatable might be the no-frills model of the Brig fleet, but it’s still a cut-above its utilitarian design.

It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the workers in the Brig factory these days. 23 years ago they found themselves abandoned by the Soviet government when the Eastern Bloc was dissolved, but they managed to turn their factory around from making parts for the USSR’s space program to a successful rigid inflatable boat (RIB) factory as part of Ukraine.

From those humble beginnings, Brig built a reputation on making innovative, high-quality boats. Its workers have been able to convert skills in aerodynamics to an understanding of hydrodynamics and the result is hulls that have a soft ride in rough conditions and a remarkable turn of speed in flat water.

The common thread across the years has been the use of Hypalon in both the space program and in the tubes of the inflatable boats.

 

BRIG INFLATABLES

BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 INFLATABLE

Brig uses the French-made Orca version of this strong and durable material in its Navigator model, because of its higher UV and puncture resistance than the PVC used in cheaper inflatable brands.

Like most rigid inflatables, the Navigator has tubes attached around a deep-vee fibreglass hull. The rigid hull’s sharp entry cuts through waves and its flatter rear section helps to plane more easily.

Hypalon is said to be as strong as 3mm aluminium in its resistance to puncture and if there was ever a problem, you’ve still got five separate air chambers.

While the Navigator series is the workhorse of a range that includes the more upmarket Eagle and Falcon, it still looks sporty and well-finished. Being the more utilitarian model in the fleet, the Brig 610 Navigator layout is fairly simple. It has a generous payload of 10 people or a maximum carrying capacity of 1300kg. With seating for seven, the rest need to sit along the sides where the soft air tubes make for a comfortable ride.

 

SEATING AND LAYOUT

BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 LAYOUT

There’s more seating in front of the console and both the base and backrest flip up to access storage in the seat base and console. The simple starboard side console is designed to create maximum deck space and its clear screen deflects wind overhead of the driver. A sturdy grabrail around the perimeter assists movement around the boat and helps protect the screen from damage.

The twin helm seat is set on a narrow moulding and has a 27cm forward/aft adjustment for different-sized drivers. Its bolster style allows different seating positions and also leaves plenty of space at the helm to stand when driving.

Forward of the transom is a full-width seat and, yes, there’s even more storage below again. This seat could accommodate three at a pinch on short trips but it would be more comfortable for two on longer voyages.

A bar across the back of the helm seat offers a handhold for passengers who might like to stand there – during spirited driving over rough water this would probably be a popular place to travel.

Over the transom, a simple steel arch supports navigation lights and a high mount for wakeboarding, highlighting the Navigator’s dual roles.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

BRIG NAVIGATOR 610

We started off with a crew of guests by touring around the desirable waterfront properties between Rose Bay and the Opera House.

The Navigator proved itself a roomy platform for six people and it easily manoeuvred among the nearby yachts. The tubes also made a great buffer for a soft approach to the wharf, where we unloaded some of our guests before heading out for a more spirited blast across the harbour to Chowder Bay for a swim.

Sydney Harbour had the usual mix of ferry wash and chop and the Brig made short work of it right through the rev range. With two onboard the Brig pulled strongly out of the hole and was planing at just under 12kts on 2500rpm. From there it accelerated quickly to a cruise of 25kts sitting on 4000rpm.

The Honda seemed to really enjoy the spot between 4000 and 5500rpm and it scorched the Brig to 39kts. Top end was 42kts at 6000rpm and across the harbour chop the Brig was getting a bit twitchy. No drama, but I could feel the hull moving from side to side with the air tubes resisting any major movement, but letting me know that it was getting up high on the hull.

Into turns the boat feels like it’s on rails, moving smoothly and predictably through wide arcs and staying flat, even in sharp manoeuvres with full power. Steering was light and responsive through the Sea Star hydraulic steering system.

BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 HELM

In the protected waters of Chowder Bay we nudged the boat up onto the sand and with the motor clear of the water the Navigator 610 floats in only a few centimetres and is easily dragged around. In the deeper water of the bay the crew jumped in for a swim and although there was no ladder fitted, they found it easy to clamber back onboard. We less-nimble folk might splash out for the $400 optional ladder that mounts along the side.

To round off the day we headed out past the heads and along the coast towards Bondi. The Navigator revelled in these conditions becoming airborne over some of the bigger swells and landing like it was on a cushion of air (which it is, sort of). In this environment the combination of solid glass and soft tubes demonstrates the true strength of the design because the ride is sensational and safe.

 

THE VERDICT

BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 TWIN AIRBAGS

The Navigator 610 would make an ideal dayboat for people with waterfront properties, while lifting points mean it can also be used as a tender on larger boats with a davit. However, more and more families are also discovering the benefits of inflatables as easily-handled and safe trailerboats that don’t need a monster tow vehicle to move them around.

 

BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 SEA TRIALS

Single 135hp Honda outboard

RPM

SPEED (KTS)

1000

4

1500

6

2000

7

2500 (on the plane)

12

3000

18

3500

22

4000

25

4500

29

5000

33

5500

37

6000 (WOT)

42

* Sea-trial data supplied by author.

 

BRIG NAVIGATOR 610 SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

$60,230

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Fusion radio and trailer

 

PRICED FROM

$54,130

 

GENERAL

TYPE Rigid inflatable boat

MATERIAL Fibreglass and Hypalon

LENGTH 6.1m

BEAM 2.3m

WEIGHT 570kg  

MAX PAYLOAD 1300kg

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 10

REC. HP 75-150

FUEL

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Honda 135

TYPE Four-cylinder four-stroke, 16-valve

WEIGHT 217kg

DISPLACEMENT 2354cc

GEAR RATIO 2.12:1

 

MANUFACTURED BY

Brig, Ukraine

 

SUPPLIED BY

Sirocco Marine South

79-81 Cawarra Rd, Caringbah, 2229, NSW

Phone (02) 9524 8288

Web siroccomarinesouth.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #453, June / July 2014. Why not subscribe today?

Find Brig boats for sale.

 


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