Rayglass Protector 12.5m
Rayglass' Protector rigid hull inflatables (6.5m to 18m) are designed to handle harsh conditions. But they are infinitely versatile vessels, and when equipped with serious horsepower, they offer electric performance.
So what happens when someone wants a vessel that can handle the harsh conditions, but also wants to use it for the full spectrum of family-oriented activities – wake boarding, water skiing or just cruising when the weather is grand?
Step into a custom Protector SL built for all these requirements.
This sleek vessel looks very workman-like, with large, black hypalon tubes that are both UV- and petroleum-resistant. Each is equipped with 12 separate chambers (with individual valves) and grab rails that run the length of the tubes. There are also several heavy-duty Velcro straps forward and aft for docking.
Most noticeable, however, are the two large powerplants snuggled up to the transom – a pair of Yamaha's new 5.3litre, 350hp V8s. They're positioned further apart than a standard twin-rig configuration, which offers enormous control on the boat at low and high speeds. Between the two outboards is a large swim platform for divers/swimmers/skiers, and entering/exiting the water is a breeze. In case there was any doubt that this boat is equipped for family fun, note the two ski poles (one behind each outboard).
Step aboard and you can't fail to be impressed by the huge cockpit area, with more the enough space for two or three families to enjoy the day. The transom's packed with watertight storage, and supplemented by two, big gear lockers built into the hull. A large, movable sofa-style seat has additional lockers. This sofa can be positioned to take best advantage of sun bathing or protection from the wind.
Fitted to the side of the cabin is a set of outrigger bases (the outriggers themselves had been taken off the boat at the time of the test as they were being moved to a new position to make better use of the cabin's walk-around design). The lounge chair is movable, and can be removed from the boat to reveal a flush-mounted game chair mount in the centre of the cockpit. This turns the vessel into a super fast, very stable inshore or offshore sport fishing vessel.
This boat is the first of the larger Protectors with the cabin size/position adjusted to offer to a full walk-around design – and it's great for getting to the bow area. The bow area features a small, step-up platform with a large stainless bollard and a large, storage locker for fenders, ropes, and a spare anchor. A neat Maxwell winch can be operated from the helm or the deck, and the anchor fairlead is neatly flush-mounted and fitted to the high part of the hull. This leaves good clearance from the hull itself, minimising any chance of damage to the gel coat from an incorrectly secured anchor.
Back at the cabin and helm station are two rear-facing seats (port and starboard) behind the helm and main passenger seat. Helm and passenger seats are both mounted on heavy-duty, gas-operated posts, offering good comfort.
The helm's loaded with the electronics flush-mounted into the dash. They include a Raymarine C120 multi-option sounder/GPS/radar, a set of electronic Yamaha engine management gauges, a VHF, stereo, and a switch panel. Throttles are handily located and easily operable from both standing and seated heights. Both helm and passenger seats have sliding windows for ventilation – definitely required on hot days.
Down in the cabin are two large squab seats – not ideal for lying fully stretched, but certainly comfortable enough to snooze away on an action-packed day. Both squabs have good storage underneath for safety and wet weather gear. Neatly located behind the stairs is a fridge and further forward (behind a swing door) is a toilet and shower. This area has good head room. A large hatch in the ceiling provides ventilation.
Time to throw the lines and see what this big girl could do. A nudge of the bow thruster eased the bow from the jetty. The thruster's not really a necessity, but it's a neat add-on offering a little more control for what is a substantially-sized boat. Throttles and thruster offer exceptional (and very simple) manoeuvrability and we were soon making for the open ocean – north of the Bay of Islands.
Electronic controls give good, positive response from the outboards. Their power and torque offer effortless performance, and we were quickly cruising past the Black Rocks at 40mph (at just over 4100rpm). The vessel was approximately half full of fuel. Power steering provides an excellent, positive response in the helm, and even throwing it into hard turns, the Protector was easily handled and manoeuvred. The deep V and long chines dug in and provide full control in all movements. It's a superb ride
Fully rung out on the lazy, half-metre swell, the RIB returned 53mph at 5600rpms – not bad for a 12.5m vessel weighing just on six tonne. At 4100rpm (40mph cruising speed) the twin V8s are using around 164 litres/hour of fuel. With 1100 litres in the tank, that equates to fast, long distance runs to remote spots, giving you more fishing time when you get there.
This style or boat may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they have a lot going for them, especially if you are looking for an all-round safe boat. Key attractions include the vast amount of space for cruising or diving the coast with family and friends, or if fishing is your game, it's a fast, manoeuvrable vessel that will get you to your favourite fishing spot in double-quick time.
Ultimately, the boat is much like its name: it offers protection in harsh conditions and provides superior comfort and safe boating. The Protector's popularity speaks for itself.
Specifications Rayglass Protector SL 12.5m (Price as reviewed $600,000)
Engines: 2 x Yamaha 350hp V8s
Fuel: 1100 litres
Water: 200 litres
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