This new design from Spirited Designs is the ideal starter project for a first-timer amateur boat builder. It fills the gap between the tender size bracket and the trailer-boat range.
The 5.5m Rapid is set up as a centre console configuration with enough deck room for a family or group of fishers. The self-draining deck provides a good level surface allowing access all round the boat. The fuel tanks are mounted below the deck as well as additional storage which are accessed through guttered deck hatches. As with the Ripple range of tender designs, there is a good-sized storage locker below the foredeck which has proven to remain dry for things like towels, extra clothes etc. The back deck is closed off with a full gunnel height wall when underway but there is a useful centre door to access the aft hull steps when swimming or loading. An option for weather protection is a hardtop combined with a Targa design which creates a sturdy one-piece structure.
A difference here with this design over the smaller tender range is that it is powered with twin engines. Not forgetting that this design will be relatively light-weight, the engine horsepower can remain on the lower side. In comparison, the popular 4.2m Ripple tender is powered with as low as a single 20hp outboard with no issue of power lacking. As such the 5.5m Rapid is designed with twin 20hp long shaft outboard engines for a good balance between power and weight. The centre console and fixed seat design can be personalised however as standard this offers good storage and space for the battery and electrics.
As found with the various Spirited models in this concept range, the stability, ride and performance are second to none. The cushioning effect of the twin hulls is well recognised in power cats and come into play with these designs. The hull shape lends itself to super-quick jump onto the plane but experience has also found this hull design to also be very efficient and economical at low trawling speeds. A cat can’t be beaten on stability and this is shown so well with the popularity of the Ripple tenders, where passengers can stand on the gunnel edge itself when boarding. The flat wet-deck ensures safe footing even in a choppy sea way. Floatation chambers are built into the design making it unsinkable in case of grounding or capsize.
Building this design is made as easy as possible with the use of computer-cut parts and easy to follow DIY plans. There are a choice of material options which begin with either Duflex foam or balsa core, plain Divinycell foam core and Gaboon plywood. The Duflex panels are the easiest option and most suited to DIY because they are pre-laminated and pre-jointed along the joining edges. However for those wanting to challenge their boatbuilding skills, the plywood or plain foam core options are a little more technical. As with all Spirited Designs kit packages, an interlocking MDF build frame is included to jump-start the project. The advantage of the kit system is that once your hull panels are ready for assembling the hull takes shape extremely quickly. This system is also quite forgiving for the DIY builder because the parts can be adjusted dry before gluing, enabling the builder to double check fitment prior. Once the hull is complete it is removed from the build frame and ready for all the internal work and fitting out.
For anyone wanting to source their own material at their own pace, building plans are available which include all parts dimensioned for self-cutting.
There’s an old saying, ‘every man loves a project’, or something like that but it is so true. Starting off with a smaller project like this may give you the confidence to move onto bigger and better things …
Weight without payload 330kg
Engines Twin 20hp to 30hp
Estimated build hours 150
Kit package starts at AUD17,500 inc GST ex factory
Check out the full range of designs from SPIRITED DESIGNS