When you experience a sea trial, it is not always easy to not get involved by the surrounding environment. The measurement of objective data related to the conditions of our sailing experience therefore protects us against any assessments dictated by emotions.
But if you fly at 40 knots an board the Nuova Jolly Marine Prince 38, with the Miami skyline just behind you, adrenaline and excitement values inevitably become part of your table of measurements.
So, let’s start from sensations. What we can immediately say for certain is that the Prince 38 is a Rib with the same welcoming spaces than an open. That’s the sensation we felt when we came aboard her at the Miami Marina before heading to the ocean. And there’s a precise reason for that. The rib we tested is, in fact, an update of the basic standard version equipped with an aft dinette instead of the fixed sun pad.
This is a convertible zone which can change appearance in easy fast steps. The shipyard envisages three different solutions. The table can indeed stay in the middle so that the U-shaped sofa can accommodate 8 guests around it at lunch or be lowered electrically to the same level of pillows in order to create a huge sun pad ( 2.10 m x 1.60 m); or, and this is the most comfortable solution while sailing, it can be totally lowered and converted into flooring.
The aft dinette deserves a few more considerations because of more than one single interesting aspect. First of all, stowage volumes. When you sail on a rib of this size, it’s possible to have enough material to stow in proportion with the number of passengers and the type of navigation you’re going to experience, including shoes, clothes, tanks, spare parts and technical equipment.
Under the seats of the three sofas opens an equal number of lockers where to accommodate all the equipment boarded without forgetting that both the bow and the cabin offer as much room.
Moreover, this area, designed to let guests enjoy relax, hosts a small refrigerator, a sink and a nice countertop placed just behind the pilot station.
The comfort level of seats deserves a special mention. Of course, we can take it for granted at berth but a whole other thing is when you sail at 25 knots, when the sense of warm reception and the protection of the cockpit are measured in completely different terms. But we’ll talk about that later.
The pilot station is ideally placed in the middle of the rib. All in all, what stands out is an essential fact: who conceive and design these ribs is certainly a sailor.
Many elements seem to suggest that: seats are enveloping and with a backrest high enough to ensure a great support to the back, which is essential when sailing at high speed; the pilot console offers its instruments in a so orderly arrangement that you can turn your eyes from one to another in a logical way to measure all the navigation data; throttles have a perfect position which avoids any muscle tension; visibility towards the bow is excellent despite the height of the pilot station (due to the presence of a cabin below) which, on the contrary, protects also thanks to an almost invisible deflector that deflects the air flow.
Immediately after the pilot station there’s a second dinette (the fore one), accessible from the cabin whose entrance, when closed, hosts a seat for one single person. It is not improper to define it as a multifunctional space.
In the layout which is more congenial to navigation, the fore triangle shows a classic design and it is furnished with a V-shaped bench which can accommodate up to 6 people and safe handrails fixed to tubulars.
The action of the table plan makes the situation completely different. With no support, it becomes the support of a large pillow which transforms the whole fore zone into a large sun pad. With its support, it becomes a second table where to place food and drinks. Three lockers placed under the fore seats increase the stowage volumes of this rib.
In the middle, there’s the entrance to the cabin. The latter includes a toilet which, when not used, is hidden by a shelf, and two berths. The cabin can be certainly used at night but it seems to be more appropriate for short afternoon naps or stow clothes and equipment.
The Prince 38 is a new-generation rib even in terms of construction. Its Hi Power hull featuring a very deep V is made of ” Rowing Mat” glass fibre and criss-crossed laminated layers for more sturdiness and stability. Tubulars are made of Neoprene-Hypalon, a material which offers a great resistance to UV rays and fuel.
We leave from the dock of the marina which hosts us in Miami in a very sunny windy day. We have two options: to head to innermost waters, opposite Down Town, where our photographer can work with more stability on board the chase boat, or set course to South and Biscayne Bay where sea is more rough and wind is stronger. Our desire for ocean is strong and together with Teo Aiello, Nuova Jolly Marine General Manager, we decide to carry out our sea trial where the hull of this Prince 38 can show its real qualities and limits.
We hook the safety cable to the belt and leave. Out of the shelter of the islet which protects us we find a 15-18 knot southern wind which cause a steep wave of about 0.5 meter.
Under these conditions, we particularly appreciate the pilot seats. Their safe enveloping support certainly makes the difference and even when we steer upright, their support is firm and gives us a great safety sensation.
The 600 horsepower of the two Mercury Verado engines look forward to be released. Our rib is equipped with the Active Trim, an automatic GPS-based control system made by Mercury which automatically adjusts the trim position according to speed. However, for this first part of our test, we decide to deactivate it and work manually.
We start to push the throttles and we reach 3,000 revolutions with a 30% trim. We’re sailing against the wind and waves. Speed is stable: about 18 knots. Our approach with the Prince 38 is gradual. We throttle up a little: at 4,000 revolutions (the range of a fast cruise), our speed almost reaches 27 knots. We change the trim position that is now at 35%.
It’s time to enjoy some turns in order to test the real handling of the hull. We turn some degrees on the left and bring the wave over the bow. Navigation becomes softer and, above all, we always have a great course stability, which is not granted under these conditions. The deep V of the hull fills its role very well.
After about 20 minutes, we feel we have already taken confidence with the boat, so we decide to experience some faster turns. The hull proves again to be excellent and it ensures a quick but soft passage on waves.
We synchronize the gas throttles so that we can use only one and activate the Active Trim. At this point, steering becomes a piece of cake, almost instinctive. It’s time to free all the 600 horsepower of the trembling Mercury engines: at 6,000 revolutions, our speed reaches 45.5 knots. We deeply want to keep on sailing to South. We allow ourselves just few minutes to test planing performances: with 30% negative trim, throttles down, the “Prince” planes in 6 seconds at 10.8 knots.
Conditions of the sea trial: rough sea, 15-18 knot wind, two passengers, 100% fuel.
2 Mercury Verado 300 Hp engines
|Length Overall||11.30 m|
|Interior Length||10.00 m|
|Interior Width||2.30 m|
|Fuel Tank||700 l|
|Water Tank||150 l|
|Engines||2 300 HP Mercury Verado engines|
|Design Category||CE cat B|