Launched at the London Boat Show at the start of the year, the Navigator 570 from recreational specialist, Brig, is a very handsome boat. To match the striking new ‘black-granite’ detailing, the traditional stainless steel trim has been displaced by thick, matt-black bars, not just on the A-frame, but also on the seat braces and the screen rim. It looks superb – and quite unlike any Brig RIB I have tested before. And yet when you get a little closer, it becomes plain that this is not quite the groundbreaking new model it might appear to be…
The Navigator 570 is essentially a Falcon 570 in disguise and that is by no means a bad thing. The Falcon is an extremely successful boat, helping Brig to become not just the biggest selling brand in Europe, but the number one brand in Australia, Sweden and Holland. It would have been absurd for the designers to ignore their own successful 5.7-metre model and start again from scratch, so here, you get the effective underpinnings (hull and tubes) of the Falcon, but ramped up in a way designed to make the new boat much more effective as a do-it-all family platform.
The Navigator upgrades
The Navigator may be rated to carry ten people rather than the Falcon’s 11, but that’s because it is loaded with far more in the way of seating options than the very open (and rather sparse) Falcon craft. By positioning the helm further forward, you get space for five aft of the console on a pair of jockey seats and a three-man bench, plus seating for an additional four people in the V of the bow. That’s nine in total and for a boat of such compact size with a collar of such generous diameter, that’s a laudable achievement.
Of course, space up front is relatively tight and a combination of the fat tubes, the wide console and the lateral wings of the helm seating means you need to slide your bum along the top of the collar to make your way forward. But with a large locker beneath the aft bench and a great looking new A‑frame over the newly designed splash well, plus ample seating, lovely styling upgrades and far better storage capacity, the Navigator compromises look very worthwhile indeed.
The standard features list is pretty good too, with the anti-skid deck, built-in fuel tank, davit lifting points and ski towing point all finding their way onto the basic package – and yet there are still some areas for improvement. I would like to see the compass provided as standard and the fuel tank could do with being larger (perhaps 150 or 160 litres instead of the current 98) for those who enjoy a committed day of cruising. Access to the storage in the helm seats is also unnecessarily tight and the lids on the bow spaces are rather flimsy, noticeably flexing when you place the full weight of your foot on them. As regards the ubiquitous jockey seats, which win a rather predictable place at the helm, they are a good choice for a keen driver on a small RIB, but a reversible two-man bench and a removable table would be a much better way of making the most of the aft space – particularly on a boat that has been specifically designed to prioritise that section.
Let it slide…
When you pin the throttle, the 570 springs over the hump in an extraordinarily quick 2.5 seconds, before a relatively low-speed plane and a level running attitude suggest some very good things about the way this boat is set up. When you push harder, throttle response is not exactly mind-blowing and with a relatively modest ETEC 75 outboard on the transom you would never expect it to be. But the handling is very user-friendly and so too (surprisingly enough) is the softness of ride.
There is also an enormous amount of slip dialled into the handling of the 570 and that’s a very attractive trait for the novice. It enables you can throw her into tight turns at full speed and execute sideways 180s within no more than about three boat lengths. Of course, the modest power means the top end of around 32-knots is nothing special, but if you really push the trim, you can still get the hull flirting with the idea of misbehaviour. It’s a very enjoyable element of the Brig’s personality – particularly as the communicative helm enables you to settle things back down with no more than a simple tweak on the trim switch.
The only thing I would consider changing would be the engine – and with a power rating of up to 120 hp, there are plenty of options. A simple route would be to upgrade the ETEC to a 90hp version and equip it with a stainless prop. For around £1,500 more, it would add that extra degree of bite to the performance without increasing the 145kg transom weight. And if you really wanted to push things to the next level, you could specify Yamaha’s excellent F115. At just 186kg, it is impressively lightweight, refined and potent – and for an additional investment of less than £5,000, it would easily expand the Brig’s range of talents to encompass the needs of keen drivers and watersports fans.
The Brig Navigator 570 is a very natural step up from the well-proven Falcon 570. With more versatility in the layout, plus more attractive styling and a price that remains very accessible at just under £22,000, this entertaining little RIB is a very neatly judged offering from the family boating specialists at Brig. For details contact Buy a RIB.
Tube diameter: 0.5m
Max people: ten
Fuel capacity: 98 litres
Recommended power: 75-120 hp
Engine: Evinrude ETEC 75
Price: from £21,995