A luxurious maxi RIB which hasn’t lost its DNA. A Zar is a Zar, and always stays true to its seafaring qualities, even when it gets to 13 metres
by Niccolò Volpati
If you were asked straight out what characterises a Zar boat, what would you say? I think that most people, if not everybody, would say it was the hull. The part of the boat that is below the waterlines is what has made these inflatables successful. A lot of people don’t even call them inflatables, but simply “Zar”. And whoever has one is a “Zarist”. All over the world, they are known as stable, safe and perfect on the water, even when it is rough. Could they have turned their back on this reputation for the largest model that the yard has ever made? Of course not. The Imagine 130 has a hull with two side tunnels, three steps and spray rails, designed by Francesco Ambrosini.
The V-bow is very deep and, as is traditional, fibreglass has the dominant role. The tubes don’t actually reach the bow of the hull because they stop three-quarters of the way up the hull. I immediately liked the fact that it is not just a slightly larger Zar. Carlos Vidal, who has handled the project, has managed to give Imagine 130 a sporty style.
The deck and the large hard top don’t weigh down the lines. The top covers and protects, but leaves the areas very open. The supports don’t rest on the bar unit, or next to the cockpit areas, but go straight into the sides. That way the seats for the helm and two co-pilots, the living area and the sofa are easily accessible. You can get around easily on board, without anything in the way. And, going beyond this protected area, there are sun pads in the bow and stern. It is also easy to get to the bathing area, thanks to a central walkway between the two bow sun pads. You shouldn’t take this amount of protection and ease of movement for granted. But Vidal has managed to do it.
The interiors are designed for cruises as a family. The size and ease of usage of the area below the deck allow you to spend a good amount of time on board.
I also liked the way the forward area is set up. The anchor comes out through the hawsehole and so the whole area can be used. Deep in the bow, there is a sofa with seats that look aft, which follow the lines of the sides, and opposite there is a two-person chaise longue that with its extension becomes a single sun pad area. The interior areas have been set up for cruising. It makes the best of the volumes available, making a stay on board really comfortable. The three steps of the stairs to go below lead to a kind of hallway and the three rooms are completely separate, so as to ensure privacy for those on board.
The double cabin in the bow has got good headroom, with a height that reaches two metres at the entrance and then reduces a bit as you go forward. The bathroom is roomy enough with a separate shower cubicle. The only space you miss out on is in the stern berth because it is under the deck. You get to it through a sliding hatch, and it is a space that can only be used for sleeping. But there is room on board for two adults and two children for a cruise, and the size of the wardrobe shows that it is a layout that has been designed for stays on board. Seafaring qualities are something that shouldn’t be overlooked on any boat, but especially for a maxi RIB. Whether you use it for family cruises, or as a day cruiser, anyone who goes for a maxi RIB wants to put in a lot of miles.
As well as what the hull design provides, the performance that the Imagine 130 has comes from the thrust delivered by the two 600hp Mercury V12s. It is a perfect engine for this boat because, as well as the power, it also has a lot of torque, and has been designed precisely to drive boats that are heavy. It displaces 11 tonnes, but the acceleration is more than enough. The hull planes in four seconds and it gets to top speed in 29. At fifteen knots it is out of the water, with 80 litres an hour of total fuel usage. The feeling you get at the helm is more than positive and is also what you want from a Zar. It is always stable, safe, and easy to handle, and while the hull needed a lot of designing, that work has paid dividends. The deep V-bow means you can push through the waves without being affected by them, and the two longitudinal tunnels work to help to plane and keep the hull out of the water, even without using much power.
At 15 knots it starts planning and the feeling you get is that it would be difficult to get back down, even if you had to handle a fairly large wave on the bow. The bow has excellent ergonomics, because everything is to hand and where you want it. There are two 17-inch displays and they are always easy to see since they aren’t affected by direct sunlight. But there is a lot of protection, and that is important given that the ZAR Imagine 130 has a top speed of well over fifty knots. In our test, the GPS showed 52.2 knots, with 384 litres per hour used in total by both engines. The efficiency of the hull has also been confirmed by the figures. Between 10 and 52 knots, litres per mile used only increased from 5 to 7. It hardly changes, with just two litres difference, from displacement mode right up to top speed.
The two V12s are perfect for the Imagine 130 since, despite all the power, they have been developed not for geeks but to power large boats.
ZAR FORMENTI SRL
Vigna della Pace, 2/2
I-20086 Motta Visconti (MI)
T. +39 02 90000788
LOA 13.00m • Maximum beam 4.57m • Tubes diamater 0.76m • 8 compartments • Fuel tank volume 1,150 l • Water tank volume 300 l • Displacement 11,000 kg • Maximum power 1,300 hp
2xMercury V12 Verado 600 • Outlet mechanical power 441 kW (600 hp) • Swept volume 7.6 l • 12 V-shaped cylinders • Compression ratio 2.50:1 • Maximal rotational speed 5600-6400/min • Weight (including propeller) 572 kg
595,000 € (Excl. VAT) – bareboat – as standard (May 2023)
(Zar Imagine 130, going beyond looks – Barchemagazine.com – May 2023)