RIBCO 100 G2 X – Twin DF300AP Suzuki’s
RIBCO 100 G2 X – Twin DF300AP Suzuki’s
RIBCO Seafarer 36X - Twin Mercury 5.7L V10 400hp Verados
RIBCO Seafarer 36X – Twin Mercury 5.7L V10 400hp Verados
By Thomas P.

ZEN marine has quickly managed to create a very strong brand on the market, synonymous now with adrenaline, seaworthiness in rough seas, particularly low consumption as well as robust and very good quality construction.

We have found about all the above in the first test of the cabin version of the ZEN 39 (ZEN 39 – Twin 4.6L 300hp Verados) which has been done in particularly bad weather conditions, leaving us impressed with the ability of its knifelike hull to perfectly manage the high waves even when we were developing high speeds, without rattles and vibrations, even keeping the spray away from the occupants.

In fact, after completing that test, I had expressed my desire to the manufacturer that I would very much like to test it with higher horsepower engines, and especially with the Mercury 450R which I think will be the ultimate weapon.

With great pleasure, I accepted the invitation to test the new open ZEN 39S, which was powered by a pair of the beastlyYamaha XTO 425hp outboards, although I will not keep it a secret that I was quite concerned about the heavy weight of the engines, as I was afraid that the weight distribution of the boat would be negatively affected.
Fortunately, that fear did not turn into reality, but remained as an emotion,due to the corresponding study and rearrangement of the weights by the manufacturer.

It was an adrenaline rush when the engines' 850 horses were unleashed, with the ZEN 39S flirting with 60 knots while its hull clearly proved that it could safely handle even higher speeds.

On deck

ZEN 39S may have been designed to have the most aggressive lines on the market and be a pure inflatable boat, but that doesn't mean itlacksofspacewhile it provides a large tent-style cabin under the aft sundeck.

A very elegant hard nose is formed at the junction of the air chambers, while beingin perfect harmony with the aggressive character of the bow, which allows easy entry or exit from the boat.
Further back, and a few centimeters higher than the rest of the superstructure of the bow, it is placed the large hatch which, divided into two compartments, accommodates the windlass with its electrical installation as well as the chain of the anchor which is adjusted externally, in the stainless steel socket located on the bow entrance.

Immediately after, there is the main bow storage space which can accommodate a lot of luggage as well as all the necessary equipment of the boat.

While placing the cushions, which are made of high-quality upholstery, a large sunbed with a length of 2.28 meters and a maximum width of 1.28 meters in the foot area is beingformed on the bow sundeck.

The console begins at a distance of 80 cm further back, thus forming a very large free space which we will appreciate very much as it provides us the freedom of movement.

The front part of the console, which is centrally located, has an integrated double seat and is raised to reveal the particularly large and comfortable space that houses the toilet of the boat with dimensions of 1.66m x 1.20m x 1.90m.

The floor of the toilet is covered with teak, while on the back side there are several plexi hatches which lead to small and useful storage spaces and also to the electrical installation of the cockpit.

The passageways to the port and starboard of the console are quite narrow for the size of the boat, with a width of 25cm.
The dashboard, on the other hand, is particularly wide to huge and can accommodate large-sized navigation screens, while at the same time providing full protection to the captain and co-pilot from wind and spray.

What really impressed us is the wonderful perspective towards the aggressive prow that the aerodynamic windshield gives you in combination with the height of the seats, which raises your adrenaline and challenges you to keep the throttles down permanently.

The driver’s and co-driver’s seats are independent, as they are also equipped with a height-adjustable mechanism and of course provide full lateral support allowing the operator to have a high sense of security when traveling in bad weather conditions or when attempting sharp maneuvers at high speeds.

They are fitted to the forward side of the polyester structure which hosts a two-seater sofa facing the stern, under which the boat's refrigerator is placed.

Between the two-seater sofa and the four-seater sofa of the stern there is a huge free space which, with dimensions of 2.10m x 1m, which provides great freedom of movement and can be turned into a comfortable dining room when the conditions require it.

The aft sundeck forms a large sunbathing and relaxation berth, measuring 1.45m x 2.30m, under which there is a huge storage area that can be converted into a comfortable tent-type cabin with the dimensionsof 1.38m x 2.04m and can comfortably provide sleep two adults.

In the photo above you can see how beautifully designed the aft cabin is, having several hatches that provide the necessary access to the boat's electrical installation, water separator filters as well as the aft anchor’s windlass.

The manufacturer’s demands were simple. “The boat needs to “exhale” dynamism and superiority, which have to be accompanied with its character and its riding ability”.

The T-top is a significant feature of great study of the boat andcomes in two versions. One with windshield and wiper and one with more sporty and lighter construction. Of course both versions can accommodate a solar panel of 150W, Radar and a Thermal camera if required.
AKONI Design Studio is responsible for giving this identity to the boat.

Also evident is the excellent quality of the equipment which goes from hand to hand with the high level of construction of the boat and with the manufacturer's philosophy which is none other than attention to the last detail.

In the right photo you can see the hatches on the back of the toilet that lead to small but very useful storage spaces, the bench that hosts the faucet and the sink while there is plenty of space without anything to disturb our stay in which complete freedom of movement is ensured.

At sea

It's really a great challenge to be behind the wheel of the ZEN 39S which with the two Yamaha XTO 425hp outboards on its transom constitutes an explosive combination.
It is the aggressive prow that challenges you to nail the throttles and feel your adrenaline flowing in abundance as the knots go up in an instant.

Within a few seconds the mileometer climbs to 40 knots, your back sticks to the bucket seats and the wind starts to become very noticeable, ruffling your hair.
Feeling in total control, withthe boat constantly challenging your senses, you keep pushing the throttles as the speed rises to 50 knots in a matter of seconds.
The hull of ZEN 39S seems to cooperate perfectly with the 850 horses of the beastly engines, while the air chambers are already high enough above the surface of the water without participating in the riding.
The Rib runs steadily and is being supported only by the stern sections of its hull, continuing to challenge you to nail the throttles.
The throttle levers are alreadytouching the instrument panel and we are now flirting with 60 knots, with our adrenaline bar rising beyond its limits.

Without any desire to slow down, we continue our frantic course feeling in absolute control as the hull carves the sea with great stability, filling us with confidence and a high sense of security.
I don't remember forhow long we were runningwild as we all seemed to enjoy it despite the 288 liters per hour the engines were gulping down.

Sometimes I throttled back to 4300 rpm and with the engines set at about three-quarter trim, as if stopped, we continued to travel leisurelyata cruising speed of 40 knots with the adrenaline still there as well as the smiles on our lips.

Having the control of a very well weight-balanced and perfectly straight riding war machine, I couldn't resist and re-nailed the throttles. This time I wanted to understandthe behavior of ZEN’s 39S hull as I maneuvered at high speeds left and right. At no point did I notice the hull lose its water and so it is not sliding or taking on dangerous inclinations.
The Rib faithfully and immediately followed the helmsman's orders, showing exceptional directional control.

It was an adrenaline’s rush that none of us wanted to interrupt. Clearly captivated by the wonderful driving sensation left by ZEN 39S, we concentrated on recording our measurements.

With 350 liters of petrol, a crew of4 people and full equipment, the Rib was standing on plane at low rpm due to the large diameter propellers of Yamaha engines and thus we maintained a speed of 13 knots at 2300 rpm.

We were jumping on plane in just 4 seconds, while the boat accelerated to 30 knots in 8 seconds and reached 40 knots in 12 seconds.

At 3000 rpm we were traveling with 25.5 knots recording the most economical consumption of 2.5 liters per nautical mile. An amazing number for the size of the boat that without any doubt ranks it as the most economical in its class.
But even at 3500 rpm, where we developed a speed of 31.5 knots the fuel consumption rose by only 0.2 liters per mile while at 4000 rpm we were running at 38 knots burning 2.86 liters per mile.
So we can maintain cruising speeds between 25 to 40 knots, depending on our desire, and keep consumption below 3 liters per nautical mile.

At 4500rpm, the mileometer showed 43knots with a consumption of 3.34 liters per mile, while at 5000rpm we were running at 48.5knots consuming 3.9 liters per mile.

At full throttle we saw 58 knots with the engines revving to their maximum limits, which demonstrates an excellent set-up.

You can see our detailed measurements

Taking a deeper look at the numbers we have recorded, we will find out that the slip values are maintained at a very good and low level throughout the range of rpm, which leaves us completely satisfied without the need for further experimentation to increase the already very good performance of this particular combination.

The XTO is a four-stroke naturally aspirated V-8, 5.6L engine that debuted just 4 years ago with a host of new features and many outboard industry firsts.
Of course, what stands out at first glance is its superb aerodynamic design, as well as how clean the transom area is without all those cables and hydraulic lines, due to the first-ever integrated electrical steering system it features above its mounting bracket.

But in addition to the electric steering system, XTO is also pioneered in another industry first for a four-stroke including direct fuel injection technology which, combined with the 12.2:1 compression ratio, maximizes performance not only in terms of speed but also fuel economy.
Also for the first time, it became possible to remove and replace thegearcase lube at sea, i.e. without having to take the boat out of the water.
By using the new XTO propellers, which range from 16 to 17 1/8 inches in diameterwith a 15- to 25-inch pitch range in two-inch increments, the surface area of the blades has been greatly increased so that the huge reserves of torque can be converted into thrust. It is characteristic that with the new propellers a greater reverse thrust is achieved by 300% compared to the Yamaha F350, while they offer 28 percent more blade area than the Saltwater Series II props designed for the F300 engine, a fact that makes them able to push and lift heavy boats.

During our test in which the engines were also set, we had the option of adjusting the speed and the hardness of the steering wheel as well as the convergence of the lower units through the 5-inch LCD screen.

And this I consider to be a huge advantage of XTO engines, because we are able in a few minutes and without the need to use tools to achieve the most suitable convergence (toe in/toe out) to get the maximum possible performance of our combination.

It is also worth noting that the convergence we achieve makes real sense, due to the absence of micro-oscillations ensured by the electromagnetic brake of the electric steering system, which really "locks" the engines and keeps them stable even at the enormous pressures they receive their lower units especially at high speeds where the resistances multiply exponentially.

...keep Ribbing!             
  • Overall length: 11,40 - 12,00 m
  • Beam: 3.27 m
  • Weight (hull-deck): 3200 kg
  • Deadrise at transom: 25.5 degrees
  • Tubes diameter: 57-66 cm
  • Fuel capacity: 670 lt
  • Max power: 2x450 hp

Τel: +30 6945 550 661
e-mail: sales(a)zenmarine.gr

Read more Rib tests

ZEN 39S – Twin 425hp XTO Yamahas
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