John page williams
The following review was written by John Page Williams, Editor-at-large, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. John, senior naturalist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has been a regular contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine for 30 years, specializing in environmental issues, nature, wildlife, fishing and boats. He has been testing new and used boats for the magazine's Time-Tested and New Boat News departments since 1998.
Ribcraft
MARCH 2010
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Length overall  25' 10"
Beam  8' 10"
Draft  18" (engine up)
Deadrise  24 degrees
Weight3,200 lb
Max load 8,465 lb
Fuel100 gal
Base Price  $82,070

The Ribcraft 7.8 (LOA 25 feet 10 inches) is a semi-custom, industrial-strength rigid-bottom-inflatable built to order in Marblehead, Mass. Most production goes to search-and-rescue, law enforcement, and defense agencies, but the boats also serve recreational users well.
 
Ribcrafts are distinctive. The pronounced forward rise in the sheerline helps the sharp bow entry of the deep-V fiberglass hull cleave head seas. The hefty Hypalon tube (21-inch diameter) offers both a shock absorber and two huge spray rails for a soft, dry ride in nasty conditions. Ribcraft attaches the tube to the hull permanently with a reinforced "hinge" that enhances its shock-absorbing capability. At every speed--even wide-open-throttle--the tubes kiss the water at the transom, providing extra stability to counteract the sharp hull deadrise angles.

Our test boat ran well with a single Honda 225, cruising efficiently at speeds in the mid-20s and topping out at 43 mph. Ribcraft offers a wide range of consoles, seats, and other rigging to help a buyer customize the boat precisely to fit a need. Ribcraft, Marblehead, Mass. 866-RIBS-USA (742-7872), www.ribcraftusa.com