Nuova Jolly is an Italian boat manufacturer that specialises in rigid inflatables. Its founder, Domenic Aiello, built his first RIB in 1961. Over the past 56 years it has developed a reputation throughout Europe for high-quality boats suitable as tenders for super yachts or as day use platforms.
All Nuova Jolly hulls are fibreglass and use cross directional fabrics to improve rigidity. The tubes are made from Neoprene-Hypalon, a material that is hard-wearing and UV resistant.
Luxury boat specialist, The Boutique Boat Company, has the exclusive rights to distribute Nuova Jolly in Australia. It is initially offering four models, the NJ530, NJ550, NJ585 and the Prince 21.
BoatAdvice was last week invited to test the Prince 21, the entry-level model in the Prince range.
WHAT YOU GET
The Prince range is positioned as a high-end RIB. With that in mind you would expect it to be highly spec’d and the Prince 21 certainly comes with myriad of features. The finish is also exceptional with high quality materials and fixtures used throughout. But the one noticeable absentee for a boat that is designed specifically for entertaining is a head. You need to step up to the Prince 25 before that is available.
What the test boat did have was a small fridge, something I have not seen in a RIB of this size before, built into the back of the helm seat. It also had a fresh water shower, teak decking and more storage space than I have seen in a 21-foot centre console. There also is an electric anchor, which, for me, is fast becoming a must have item regardless of the size of the vessel.
The other feature that is going to win plenty of support is the three-quarter-length bimini that covers from the stern to just in front of the centre console. It not only makes a lot of sense in our summer but it folds neatly up against the fibreglass roll-bar at the back of the boat when not needed and it takes just a few minutes to set up or neatly store away.
The bow of the Prince 21 is primarily reserved for a large sunbed which, depending on whether you are entertaining or just relaxing enjoying the sun, can be set up with a table at the end or extended to take up the entire bow area. For those times you are entertaining there is also a fold down seat on the front of the console. Under the sunbed is a massive storage area that can be locked for security.
You could also turn this area into a casting platform for a bit of light gear or fly fishing by simply removing the cushions. The top of the storage lockers has a non-slip finish for just this type of use. It would also be ideal for pulling craypots but I would be getting a cover made for the pontoons and floor if it was my boat.
The u-shaped lounge in the aft of the Prince 21 can be used as a second sunbed, with the addition of an infill. A table can also be fitted in this area and with the fridge easily accessible from this seat it is the ideal entertaining area. It is also the best place to sit while the boat is underway. There is also additional storage under the seats. Access to the water is via a teak-covered walkway and swim platform on the port side of the boat. There is also a stainless steel swim ladder here and it’s where the fresh water shower (with 65-litre tank) is located.
The centre console is positioned slightly forward of the centre of the boat and has plenty of space to walk around on either side. The layout of the dash is very clean with plenty of room for your electronics to be flush mounted. The guys at the Boutique Boat Company leave this area bare to allow customers to choose their own electronics package. The test boat had the Yamaha Command Link Plus digital electronic controls, which come standard with the latest 200hp Yamaha fitted to this boat, positioned on the starboard side of the dash with the port side left free. All the engine switches were in a long line above the beautifully finished stainless steel steering wheel that was wrapped in a white leather.
The helm seat is more like a leaning post designed to provide support while you stand to drive. For someone who prefers to stand while driving I found it very comfortable and it provided good support. The small windscreen at the front of the console provides any protection you may need from the elements.
The test boat had a white hull and dark grey pontoons with light grey highlights and orange trim. The cushions used the same colour pattern. It was a smart combination that added to the premium look of the RIB and it is just one of many colour combinations that are available.
The Boutique Boat Company fits Yamaha four-stroke outboards as part of the standard fit on all Nuova Jolly RIBS. The test boat had the latest 200hp model on the back. It uses an in-line four-cylinder engine and is 50kg lighter than its predecessor built on a V6 platform. The new four-cylinder design has enabled Yamaha to make the outboard, smaller, lighter and more efficient without losing out on power or performance.
On the test day there was very little wind but the seas were choppy which can tend to make life a little uncomfortable at times.
During the test we did manage to get the big Yamaha close to WOT with it spinning at 5500rpm which had us skipping across the water at 40 knots and using 60-litres of fuel an hour. In ideal conditions you should be able to extract an additional 500rpm from the 2.8-litre engine, which should give it a top speed of close to 45 knots.
ON THE WATER
Nuova Jolly hulls are renowned for their deep vee and large reverse chines that ensure they slice through even the roughest waters. On the test day we did not exactly get to experience its rough water capabilities but as I said earlier there was an annoying chop on the water between Fremantle Harbour and Rottnest Island. The Prince 21 has a very sharp entry into the water so it was not surprising that it cut through the chop with ease. With the large chines it also lifted onto the plane quite quickly but I also found that in these conditions it had tendency to get a little skittish at faster speeds. This could be partly rectified by adjusting the engine trim.
That said, the Prince 21 sat and rode superbly, whether we were running into or across the chop when you pulled back on the throttle a little. For me, it was at its most comfortable at 25knots, a speed where all of your passengers could relax and enjoy the journey. Conversation was also much easier at this speed with little engine or wind noise. At 25 knots the big Yamaha was ticking over at a relaxed 3900rpm and using 25-litre of fuel per hour.
Like most RIBs the Prince 21 remained nice and flat and well balanced through turns and the hydraulic steering ensures it was easy to manoeuvre. We did experience some cavitation during tight turns.
The most impressive aspect of the big centre console was how dry it remained throughout the test. Any spray we did manage to create was pushed well wide of the cockpit.
ON THE TRAILER
The Prince 21 does not come standard with a trailer but can be ordered with one. The Boutique Boating Company has set it up so the dealers in each State will use local trailer manufacturers. The only thing you need to be aware of is the beam is 2.7m which means you may need to obtain an over width permit. The regulations vary from State to State so it is advisable to contact your local authority for information on the requirements in your region.
If you are looking for a RIB there are certainly plenty of options available with an equally wide range of prices. The Prince 21, which has a starting price of $79,000, certainly sits at the higher end of the market but so does its fit and finish. It is licenced to carry 12 passengers and has enough seats to cater for all in comfort. The ride is soft and, equally important, dry and there is more than enough storage space for anything you may need or want for pleasant day on the water.
Test boat supplied by The Boutique Boating Company, Fremantle.
- Ride and handling
- First class finish
- Lots of storage
- Good shade
- No toilet
- Over width for trailer
NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price: $109,900 (as tested)
Overall length: 6.8m
Dry Weight: 610kg
Recommended HP: 115-200
Engine Fitted: Yamaha 200hp four-stroke