Pure Yachting’s Josh Trout (at helm) chauffeured photographer Tim Wilkes around in the 730 at Key West 2010 presented by Nautica.
For someone who likes to sail, watching Key West Race Week from a spectator boat is a cruel form of torture. While covering the event for SW last week, I did, however, get to ride on some pretty cool crash boats. I spent a few days on a souped-up center console Chris Craft and another day thumping through the waves on a 16-foot Protector, but the real treat came Friday, when I took a spin on the Rolls Royce of RIBs-Pure Yachting’s 730.
Photographer Tim Wilkes put me in touch with Pure Yachting president Josh Trout and directed me towards the boat. “Just look for the RIB with all the carbon fiber,” he said.
On a waterfront crawling with RIBs, the 730 was easy to spot. The 24-footer’s bare, grey tubes, dark-green paint job, and bright, teak flooring stood out from the crowd, and the carbon-fiber center console confirmed that I had come to the right place.
“When we set out to build this boat, the prime concern was to build something that wasn’t just pretty,” says Trout. “Everybody makes a pretty boat. We wanted to do better than pretty. We made this boat functional.”
The 730’s carbon-fiber hull makes it light, fast, and fuel efficient. Trout was foolish enough to let me take the reigns for a quick buzz around the harbor. The 730s digitally controlled throttle and power steering system gives the boat video-game handling. Nudge the throttle, the boat leaps onto a plane; cut the wheel, you don’t feel the tug of steering cables, just rail-like stability as the knuckle-shaped bow track through the chop. A single, 225-horsepower Mercury outboard had the 1,200-pound hull pushing 60 mph effortlessly.
Trout and Co. didn’t spare the details, either. Lockers in the console and stern provide ample storage, there’s plenty of room in the bow and side decks for loading sails on and off, and a refrigerator mounted beneath the bench seat keeps beverages cold. Right down to the rub rail, they’ve considered the impact of every detail. “A lot of inflatables have a black rub rail on the outside of the tube,” says Trout. “That can leave skid marks. We use a white rub rail that doesn’t break down in the sun, so it won’t rub off on the boat you’re pulling up alongside.”
What makes the 730 the perfect luxury tender, however, is what’s not there. No live wells, no fishing-rod holsters, no superfluous graphics or unreliable handholds. It has the look and feel of a hot-rod coupe-everything’s smooth, the hatches close with a reassuring click, all complexity is concealed beneath a sleek finish. “The boat is definitely an eye catcher,” says Trout. “But it’s not until you lift up the console-with the gas struts-and see what’s underneath that you understand what it’s all about. All the electronics are carefully labeled, access to the fuel lines is super easy, everything’s just right there.
“I don’t know who builds most of the inflatables out there,” continues Trout, “but they obviously don’t live in the real world. For example, when you’re bashing around the racecourse, you want to be able to walk past the console without having to climb onto the tubes. When you go to service the boat, you want to be able to get at the fuel filter, for instance. This boat has great aesthetics, but, in the end, we’re building something for people that just want a superior product.”
Pure Yachting markets the 730 as an all-purpose RIB-tender for a luxury yacht, coach boat, family runabout. While its $140,000 price tag ($170,000 all-up, says Trout) may be beyond the budget of most junior sailing programs, for the big-boat campaign that has everything, the 730 warrants serious consideration. It’s priced in the same ballpark as a similarly sized Protector, but in terms of one-upsmanship, it’s simply in another league.