BOAT REVIEW Assault Vesta 380 RIB

July 2017 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words by John Eichelsheim Photos by Bryce Taylor
OUR RATING
4 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Assault Vesta 380 RIB
BUILDER Assault RIBs
CONSTRUCTION PVC tubes
PRICE AS TESTED $13,500
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 3.8M
BEAM 1.75M
DRAFT 0.4M
ENGINE Yamaha F25
FUEL CAPACITY 25L
Weight on Trailer 280 kg
Max Horsepower 30hp
Passenger Capacity 5 people
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rides and handles well
  • Dry ride
  • Troll function is useful
  • GRP hull is a quiet runner
OBSERVATIONS
  • Too bid and heavy to manhandle aboard as a tender
  • Basic boat
  • Light to tow
  • Good match with Yamaha F25

Exclusive to Family Boats in Auckland, Assault RIBs are manufactured in eastern Europe with GRP hulls and top-quality, seam-welded PVC tubes. They are well priced and strongly-built.


The Vesta 380 is a more basic craft, supplied on a simple, easy-to-tow road trailer. It would suit inshore fishing and diving, family fun boating and tender duties. With its generous proportions and solid hull, it’s too heavy to manhandle aboard, but fine if your vessel has davits, a crane system or a suitably-sized dinghy garage.

Assault 2 (Small)

The Assault Vesta 380 impressed as a fun, capable little boat that gets along very well indeed with the new Yamaha F25 on the back. The layout is basic: essentially the 380 is a dinghy, but with a nicely moulded flat-floored hull liner complete with non-slip, and a moulded anchor locker in the bows. The PVC fairlead on the bows has an integrated jam-cleat – simple but effective.

The hull is moulded GRP and the Vesta’s tubes are the same high-quality German PVC material as the larger Adventure 610. Like the bigger boat, all the seams are welded not glued – even the handles are welded on.

Seating is courtesy of a pair of vinyl covered plywood thwart seats, or you can perch on the tubes which are well supplied with the grab handles and ropes most small RIBs are furnished with.

1Q8A9036 (Small)

This RIB is a lot of fun to tool around in. The new F25 has plenty of poke to get the 380 up and running, whether driving solo or with one or more passengers in the boat. This was a tiller-steer version of the F25 with a nicely-positioned gear change lever near the end of the tiller handle, adjustable throttle resistance and the handy troll switch function close at hand.

The troll switch alters the engine speed in small increments from idle down to 750rpm and up to 1000rpm, for optimum lure action when slow trolling, say for trout.

Yamaha’s simple stainless-steel friction control adjusts how much effort is needed to steer the boat; stiffening it up made it less tiring to helm the 380 for long stretches, especially since it’s not set up to helm while sitting on the tube. The manual tilt function is simple to use, though the lever is a bit fiddly to reach, and offer shallow water drive and fully down settings, with lock or kick up options when.

1Q8A9046 (Small)

While the F25 doesn’t need a battery to start or run, you’ll be happy to know there’s a really beefy alternator – 16 amps at full throttle and a healthy 12 amps at 1,000rpm. With fish finders, GPS units and other high-powered electronics making demands on the battery even in small boats, a decent alternator is a real plus.

For a small boat the Assault Vesta 380 rides and handles very well. It’s pretty quick: we estimated we were scooting along at around 25 knots with a bit of throttle left over, a figure confirmed by the chase boat. It’s a blast to throw around and nice and dry, too.

Welded not glued

Assault RIBS are constructed using high-quality German manufactured Mehler/Heytex PVC fabric that’s then welded rather than glued for the strongest possible, most durable joints. Thermal welding results in a permanent bond that is stronger than the material it joins.

Mehler/Heytex PVC fabric is highly resistant to ultraviolet (sunlight) damage and more resistant to abrasion than Hypalon and PVC tubes are easily repaired.

The Vesta 380 has three airtight compartments and a carrying capacity of 700kg or five people.

New Yamaha

The Vesta 380 has new generation Yamaha F-series four-stroke outboard, a tiller-steer F25.

The Yamaha F25 is a new addition to Yamaha’s range of four-stroke outboards. It’s a lightweight unit with electronic fuel injection engineered to exceed the performance of Yamaha’s veteran 25N two-stroke, a reliable, strong-performing outboard model that’s been popular for many years.

1Q8A9041 (Small)

In addition, the new F25 improves on the existing F25 four-stroke, with better fuel economy and sharper performance.

An exciting feature of this engine, and new to the Yamaha four-stroke range, is battery-less fuel injection. This technology allows effortless one-handed pull-starts from a seated position while careful calibration of the EFI settings provides strong acceleration and impressive performance.

Yamaha has achieved a weight reduction of 20kg over the outgoing F25 model, achieved by redesigning the engine bracket and refining the drive unit. The F25 now offers the weight and balance benefits of a two-stroke outboard but with the advantages of the latest Yamaha four-stroke technology.

Engines in this size range are typically used on tenders and small RIBs, or small sport fishing craft. For fishers, the F25 has some very useful features, including Yamaha’s variable trolling switch. This lets you vary engine speed in 50rpm increments between 750 and 1,050rpm for optimal lure presentation when slow-trolling. Trout trollers will welcome this feature.

Like larger engines in the Yamaha range, the F25 is compatible with Yamaha Command Link digital gauges and a comprehensive range of NMEA2000 electronics. Electric-start models offer Yamaha’s YCOP engine immobiliser, an anti-theft option that prevents unauthorised start-ups.

The F25 is available in manual start with tiller handle, electric start forward control and electric start forward control with power trim and tilt. Two shaft lengths are offered and an additional kit is available for anyone wanting tiller-steer, electric start.

 

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