Zar 79 SL
9 mins read

When Piero Formenti invited me to test the new Zar 79 SL, I was delighted to accept his proposal. The hull of this boat is legendary: it indeed kitted out the Zar 75 Classic, one among the most successful models of this shipyard, famous for its extraordinary seaworthiness.

This hull features a very sharp stempost and a highly deep “V” which crosses the entire length of the craft to the stern with a very evident dead rise angle.

Zar 79 SL, sternBut analogies, however important they may be, end here because the Zar 79 Sport Luxury has a completely new design and has broken into the new Zar Formenti’s SL line which, in its turn, is characterized by sophisticated elegance, beauty and attention to details.

After the worldwide success of the Zar 85 SL, which we tested just a few months ago, the Zar 79 SL shows up at the test in white livery and powered by a Suzuki DF 300 APL whose matching grille contributes to enhance the overall beauty of this boat which leaves us speechless as soon as we lay our eyes on it.

Zar 79 SL – Sea Trial

Zar 79 SL sea trial on Lake Maggiore

We’re in Ispra, in the province of Varese, on the shores of Lake Maggiore. This is an excellent starting point to sail to the ​Hermitage of St. Catherine​, Stresa, Baveno and nearby islands, all places of extraordinary beauty, little pieces of heaven where time seems to have stopped.

Zar 79 SL navigationThe Zar 79 SL swings quietly on the waters of the basin that hosts her, gently shaken by the motion of the vessels entering and going out of the dock. The trees framing the entry channel seem to bow out of our way while, with the engine at idling speed, we steer and leave the port slowly.

The 300hp outboard which the boat is fitted with represents not only the maximum power which can be installed on this RIB but also the best option for this craft. The light weight and the generous spaces in the stern section, as well as the performance/fuel consumption ratio, make me prefer the single-engine power option to the alternative one, with twin medium-power engines. Especially if the hull is so maneuverable like this which, as soon as we move, slices through the water and gains directionality, which is an additional value when steering within the narrow summer marinas.

Out of the port, we start to speed up progressively;Zar-79-SL-Navigation 2 the Zar 79 SL  doesn’t get perturbed and never looses her balance. Then, at about 9 knots (yes, you’ve heard correctly, just 9 knots!), we perceive a sensation of light slipping and the boat starts planing. It’s not an ordinary plane, since the RIB is perfectly stable and the wave is clear.

The longitudinal stability is striking, only the speed has increased and, with no acceleration, we have already touched 12.6 knots while the Suzuki DF 300 rumbles quietly at 2,500 rpm and with a fuel consumption of little more than 18 l/h.

Intrigued by this balance, I speed up a little more and the 79 SL starts to uncover all her properties, delivering every single horsepower which the DF 300 is capable of. Nothing is lost, frictions or strange longitudinal moves are completely absent and we feel like driving a sports car on a route: acceleration is great.

Running at 30 knots and little less than 4,000 rpm, I just need to “trim” a little to make the Zar 79 SL run at 32/33 knots, with a fuel consumption of just 36 l/h. I have to double-check instruments to believe that. Using little more than one liter of fuel per mile is an astonishing result and having a 350-mile range, at this speed, opens up new horizons for unthinkable itineraries.

The gas throttle is not totally down and I want to see how far this boat can go. So, I pull down my throttle and I receive another push backwards, the RIB accelerates, always well-balanced. I trim at the best and the GPS displays 48.3 knots. We’re running at 6,150 rpm and we’re using 96 l/h.Zar-79-SL-pilot console

I slow down and I stop for a while to metabolize these performances, I have to test them on the reverse course and I take the opportunity to test acceleration. As soon as the GPS displays 0.0, I pull my throttle down. Within just 3 seconds, the boat planes; on the eight second, I read “30 knots” but the Zar 79 SL goes on accelerating and we touch 40 knots very quickly; finally, the growth rate slows down and the boat makes the chronometer stop at 25 seconds: we are running at 47.8 knots!

I slow down again and, at 30 knots, I decide to test some turns. I start with small variations in order to test precision and the boat responds very well. Even in tighter turns, the Zar 79 SL is perfectly stable. I try to put the boat into difficulty with sudden speed changes but it doesn’t get perturbed. I realize that I can go further, so I turn and counter-turn but nothing…I feel like I’m on a go-kart.

Zar-79-SL-navigation Lake MaggioreNow is time to come back and, unwillingly, I put the bow toward the port. I know that politeness would require less pretentious evaluations but the Zar 79 SL is a really extraordinary boat and it would not be correct not to say that. So, if you can, run and test her: you’ll love her, too.

Zar 79 SL – Performances

rpm knots L/h L/nm Noise
700 3.6 2.5 0.69 58
1,000 4.7 4.5 0.96 65
1,500 6.8 7.2 1.06 69
2,000 8 11 1.38 70
2,500 12.6 18.6 1.48 76
3,000 18 21 1.17 76
3,500 24.5 31 1.27 77
4,000 32 37.8 1.18 78
4,500 35 53.7 1.53 82
5,000 38.1 65 1.71 83
5,500 42 78 1.86 83
6,000 46.8 93 1.99 84
6,150 47.8 96.6 2.02 86
Acceleration Seconds
0 – Plane 3
0-30 knots 8
0 – 47.8 knots 25

Test Conditions: 2 passengers on board – calm sea – no wind – 300 liters of fuel

Engine : Suzuki DF 300 APL – 16×20 three-bladed propeller

Zar 79 SL – Description

ZAR-79-SL-top side

ZAR-79-SL-galley table
Zar 79 SL galley+table+sofa
ZAR-79-SL-astern hatch
The astern hatch leading to the two bathing platforms

As many of you know, Zar models represent the connecting line between RIBs and boats. Equipped with a real fiberglass “body”, they offer spaces and fitting solutions which are second to none of the solutions currently offered by yachting market. Deck spaces engineering is indeed the hallmark of the Zar 79 SL which is therefore capable of unthinkable transformations.

This way, the stern can become a four-people sofa, a dinette where guests can have lunch in the shadow of the awning (which appears only when necessary) or a huge sun pad. A small yet luxury hatch – exactly like on ordinary boats – opens and offers a convenient access to the two bathing platforms situated on each side of the outboard.

The bow offers the same transformation possibilities as the stern and, thanks to its fiberglass body, provide passengers with comfortable upholstered backrests and a comfortable area where they can chat with both the pilot and the other guests sitting on the sofa located in front of them.

With a length of about 8 meters, this boat is 2.88 meters wide (when tubes are deflated) and can accommodate 12 storage compartments where you can really stow anything you want.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

Cooking on a boat: pressure cooker for (nearly) gourmet sailors

Next Story

From Palma to Barcelona on board a Privilege 6 . A 130-mile-long sea trial