High-quality finish and fittings as standard. And a hull that does its job well, so that being an entry-level boat doesn’t mean it is missing anything
by Niccolò Volpati
We slipped moorings from the quay at Nautica Verbella in Sesto Calende, at the southern tip of Lake Maggiore and, before even touching the throttle, I realised that the Coaster 580 Plus challenges a popular misconception. We are used to thinking that an entry-level boat competes on price. And that savings come with a reduction in quality. But here it isn’t the case. I realised as much when I took a look at the deck. The cleats are enormous, and the cushions, fabrics and stitching are high quality. «In recent years we have had a lot of requests for an entry-level RIB, but we didn’t want a buyer’s first experience to be with a low-quality boat. That is why we decided that the Coaster 580 Plus was to have all of the features of its big brothers». Over the past couple of years, many people have decided to take to the water, and all too often low quality has meant the kind of problems which it is always a good idea to avoid, especially for a first-time boat owner. The hull is the same as on the Barracuda 580. That is reassuring because it is the model that Joker Boat made for fishing fans, users who are used to grinding out the miles.
THERE IS A WIDE RANGE OF ENGINE AND POWER CHOICES. YOU CAN DO FINE WITH JUST 40 HORSEPOWER – SO NO NEED FOR A NAUTICAL LICENCE – BUT IF YOU WANT YOU CAN GO UP TO AS MUCH AS 130 HP.
The set-up has been done well and manages to make the most of all of the space available, thanks to the versatility of the furniture.
On the transom, we had a Yamaha that produced 40 horsepower, the minimum power level. It will take as much as 130 hp, which might even be a bit too much, while 115 is recommended. But the test with the 40 hp was interesting because, in terms of an entry-level boat, having an engine that doesn’t require a nautical licence helps to ensure that nobody is left out. The outboard sets me thinking about something that dismantles the day’s second misconception. We often tend to think that somebody without a licence is also someone who has never set foot on a boat. And that is perhaps not always true.
The entry-level boat with its 40 horsepower can also be considered for a yachtsperson who wants ease of handling. As well as an engine that doesn’t require a licence – and keeping on top of renewals – the Coaster 580 Plus can be loaded on a trailer while still inflated. It is easy to store, perhaps in a garage or a back garden. So, this 40-horsepower engine isn’t like a learner driver having an L-plate in their rear window, hoping the person behind them doesn’t start beeping the moment they hesitate. The engine is easy to use, like the boat itself.
It is easy to handle not least because the hull starts planning without any difficulty. You don’t have to force it to find the right trim or even worry about how to handle it. It is perfect for someone starting, as well as for somebody who is looking for a day without any issues.
The acceleration isn’t at all bad. Just 3.5 seconds to plane, and fourteen to get up to top speed. Of course, the planning minimum is 6.6 knots, and the top speed is 15.2, but it is what you need. That is also thanks to the design of a hull that doesn’t need a lot of thrusts to get out of the water. Fuel consumption is in line with these figures. At nearly all speeds, you just need a litre, and sometimes even less, to cover a nautical mile. Only between 4000 and 5000 rpm do you go just over the litre per mile level. The tank is incorporated on board and has a full 110 litres capacity. That means you can do around one hundred miles without stopping to refuel. Just one thing placed a slight damper on the test: the propeller wasn’t perhaps the right one to make the most of the power and indeed the maximum we reached was 5600 rpm rather than 6000. A propeller with greater pitch would have meant we could have got to twenty knots. But that was nevertheless a significant outcome, precisely because it does its job.
It is a boat that has been designed to spend an entire day at sea without any issues, rather than to beat speed records. And of course, anybody looking for more performance can simply increase the power of the outboard. When you think of a relaxing day without any problems, you will appreciate some of the other details of the deck’s set-up. The base version has an awning, but you can also go for the optional roll bar with a bimini attached. Looking elsewhere, there aren’t a lot of accessories, because nearly everything already comes as standard: stern platforms and swimming ladders, for example. The bow roller is excellent and is strong enough to let you get off the boat easily when moored head-on. The sun pads are also very large. The forward one, with an extension, measures nearly two metres. That’s quite a bit, considering that the length of the entire boat internally is not much over five metres. In the aft section, the sofa back can be lowered and it can turn into a second sun pad that is big enough for two people to lie down either along the line of the boat or across the beam. And it is a great boat for hiring out.
The minimum power rating of 40 horsepower was nevertheless enough to plane and cruise without problems. Fuel consumption was in line with this, and so very low.
Luca Macchi and shipyard technical department
LOA 5.85m • Maximum beam 2.54m • Length 5.12m • Beam 1.38m • Tube’s diameter 0.40-0.55m • 6 compartments • Fuel tank volume 110 l • Maximum rated power 96 kW (130 hp)
Yamaha F40 G • Outlet mechanical power 40/70 hp • 4 cylinders in line 16 valves • Swept volume 996 cc • Bore&Stroke 65mm x 75mm • Transmission ratio 2.33:1 • Maximal rotational speed 5300-6300/min • Weight 119 kg
31.000 € (Excl.VAT) As standard – bare boat (November 2022)
(Joker Boat Coaster 580 Plus, the entry level – Barchemagazine.com – November 2022)