Based in Athens, the Technohull yard has always produced boats that are unashamedly dramatic in their style, design and purpose adn the Aquavite 888 is no different. In stark contrast to the traditional Mediterranean RIB, with its civilised, cushion-lined internal spaces, quick-fit sunshades and genteel aesthetics, all five craft in the Technohull range are overtly sporting. To that end, whichever boat you pick, you can expect long, rakish profiles allied to splendidly ostentatious ‘Chequered Flag’ graphics, which help make it plain that the Technohull experience is one defined not by restful alfresco lunches but by power, pace and helming thrills.
In the case of the Aquavite 888, the hull shape (which is from the design board of renowned UK specialist, Adam Younger) is very aggressive indeed. In addition to the drag-reduction promised by the triple steps, you get a point of entry as acute as any in the Technohull fleet. Plainly, the intention here is to make the speed of the boat more useable by helping soften the impacts but when you get the boat underway, this laudable softness of ride is tempered by quite a bow-low running attitude. In a bid to tweak this, we trim the engine out as far as the rigging will allow (about two thirds of the way before the front edge of the cowling makes contact with the aft moulding) and this enables us to hit a top end of around 50 knots at 5,800rpm, but the nose continues to stay very low. We also try lifting the engine on the jack plate to help free up the hull and ease the revs closer to their rightful top end of around 6,100rpm, but at no point are we able to substantially alter the running attitude or get much beyond the 50-knot mark.
When you look at the builder’s specifications for the Aquavite 888, it seems we ought to be seeing a top end of 56 knots with a single 250hp outboard, so to fall more than ten per cent short of this figure with the more powerful 300hp motor suggests that there are still some rigging tweaks to be made on the test boat. This theory gathers further credence when you look at the fuel flow. The builders claim a cruising fuel flow rate of 1.3 litres per nautical mile, but the most frugal we see at any point in the rev range is closer to 1.6 litres, so it seems sensible to surmise that the additional drag brought about by that bow-down attitude is one of the key issues.
Of course, even in this performance-inhibited state, with an empty aft fuel tank giving her a more pronounced weight-forward bias, it is very easy to appreciate that the 888 is an impressively secure and soft-riding 50-knot sports RIB. But with a little more development work and on water testing, I have no doubt that there is plenty more performance to come from this boat.
Aquavite 888 on board facilities
Up at the helm, things are every bit as well appointed as you would expect of a high-performance RIB. The Aquavite 888's manually adjustable leaning post provides great support and the dash arrangement is ideal, with a well-placed wheel and throttle and an array of data displays usefully sheltered in a recessed tier beneath the tinted screen. The navigator is treated to an excellent grab rail for additional security and inside the console, beneath the big swing-up frontal section, there is plenty of room for bulky gear or for the installation of a toilet. Here, you can also gain access to the very neat wiring job on the back of the dash via a lift-out, carpet-lined partition. The use of stapled Velcro strips to keep this partition in place feels a little low-rent on a boat of this calibre, but the helm station remains a very comprehensive and effective piece of work.
In other parts of the boat, however, the quality is marred by elements of imperfection. For instance, on the one hand, you get carbon-style trim with clean black topside mouldings, carpet-lined storage spaces, glittering stainless fittings and a deck smothered in gorgeous dark Flexiteek. But on the other, there is evidence of peeling rubber lining on some of the compartment edges and lid braces that have become disconnected. There are also several lockers that appear to be non-draining and the point at which the collar fabric meets the fiberglass moulding is by no means the cleanest or best finished I’ve seen. In addition, the fuel switchover tap (for changing fuel flow from one tank to the other) is quite rudimentary and unlabeled and the big aft storage space is also quite awkward to open, as the catch is hidden in a gap between the cushions. As for the aft four-man bench itself, the cushioned dividers are a great idea, but in this instance, they feel much too soft to offer any genuine lateral support for the passengers. In short, rather like its dynamic performance, the Aquavite 888’s fit-out is currently a tale of a high quality boat held back by the small things.
Aquavite 888: a summary
As a tool for making distance through a lumpy head sea without losing shape, the 888 is about as effective as a leisure boat gets. By happy coincidence, the shape required to produce this kind of performance also happens to make a boat look pretty fantastic. Here, you get all the sleek, tapered aggression you would expect, plus a deep-carved trio of hull steps that pays testament to the sporting heritage of the brand. There is no doubt that the test boat is in need of some further on-water testing and a little extra attention to detail in the finish, but once these issues have been addressed, there is no reason why the Aquavite 888 shouldn’t win its fair share of the UK’s fast RIB market.
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Aquavite 888 specifications
Tube diameter: 0.35 - 0.55m.
Fuel capacity: 400 litres.
People capacity: eight.
Engine: Yamaha F300.
Price: from £82,000 (in July 2013)