The attention to detail throughout the boat is impressive.
It is… a very exciting boat to drive, and will appeal to the water sports enthusiast.
Its price tag is reflected in its build quality and attention to detail.
Brig 10m Eagle
Greg Copp tests this extremely capable Ukrainian-built boat with a Jekyll and Hyde personality aimed at those looking for something different in the luxury boat sector …
The 10m Brig eagle is a perfect example of the modern high-performance luxury RIB. I suppose it should be with its price tag. However, it should also be noted that this boat is constructed with a zero compromise approach, from the big twin-prop DF350s on its transom to the neatly finished anchor locker in its bow step. It is not built purely as a hard-core sports RIB, which is evident in its blunt bow, discreet cabin and plush seating. Nevertheless, the Brig Eagle is very easy and exciting to drive. Without wanting to take anything away from its soft-riding deep-vee hull, a lot of its character comes from having two very punchy 350hp outboards.
It was my first experience of this recently launched and only twin-prop outboard engine in production. With their broad spread of power, these engines make light work of the 3.4 tonnes that the fully loaded Eagle displaces. The boat picks up noticeably from 2000rpm, and is planing before you reach 2500rpm, with 25 knots coming up in a fraction over 4 seconds. I will go so far as to say that it is virtually unheard of for petrol engines to be getting into their stride so quickly.
In simple terms, the reasons for this are twofold: plenty of torque from a high-compression motor, and twin counterrotating propellers, which give this boat such a responsive low-down power delivery. Twin props give a much greater degree of grip under initial acceleration than a single propeller. This makes this boat ideal for water sports, and well suited to driving in rough weather where you need to punch up and down the waves. Running at 3000rpm the ride is blissfully smooth, and the 26-knot pace is whisper quiet. Among other things, this is thanks to the soundproofing membrane under the engine cowling. However, the DF350 has a Jekyll and Hyde personality that suits this boat perfectly. Inevitably anyone who buys the Brig Eagle will spend a lot of ‘civilised’ time on it with friends or family, but they are also very likely to enjoy its Hyde side.
Pushing up through the power spectrum, the boat is very quick for its size – deceptively so, until you meet the point of ‘critical mass’. At 4800rpm, everything changes, and the Eagle takes off with a unique ‘demonic howl’ that no petrolhead can resist. Some engines scream like a banshee when they come on song, but the DF350 produces a deeper, distinctly powerful tone that makes you reluctant to back the power off. It revs cleanly to 6300rpm without hesitation. Across this last 1500rpm the valve timing is advancing at its maximum, and you hear the bark of a 12:1 compression ratio. I also reckon that someone at Suzuki spent some time tuning the exhaust to sound the way it does. Not surprisingly, you are not doing much for the environment, as the combined thirst of 8.8 litres running towards full chat will empty the tank in 100 miles.
Driving the boat at 40 knots in the calm sea of the day was a pretty laid-back affair. This is the fast cruising speed that most will want to drive at. The Brig returns around 2mpg at this speed, and requires around 40% trim out on the legs. Throwing the boat into tight turns at this speed is reassuringly steady, as it does not really want any trim in on the legs to tuck the bow down when cornering. However, if you want to drive this boat in a way that its twin-props allow, I found that tucking the nose in helped. The boat will turn exceedingly sharply, so much so that you really need to steady yourself by spacing your feet apart against the console, with your backside firmly in the flip-up seat bolster. Do not consider sitting if you intend to go into ‘manic mode’ as you will be thrown around the very comfortable bench seat. Given how the DF350 holds the water, some supportive seating is an option that Brig might like to consider for those that wish to enjoy its full sports boat potential.
I will say that the steering on the test boat was very light, and that the electrical power steering was due to be reset to provide a firmer response from the wheel. This certainly needs to be done, as with such a grip from the twin-prop engines you could overcook it.
Hitting the wake of the photo boat at 50 knots required a touch of trim in to get the hull forefoot down for a ‘slap-free ride’. This was to be expected considering that we were aiming a beamy (3.4m) boat at a sharp ridge of water at speed. If you do not do as I did on the first occasion, you will get a bit of forward chine slap, though I got the distinct impression that it can take this sort of abuse without any problems. If you get the boat airborne, its deep-vee hull with a transom deadrise angle of 22 degrees gives a pretty soft landing. Running at the Brig’s top speed of 56 knots, the boat is very stable, requiring around 70% trim out. If you trim her too far she tells you with a mild chine walk.
Helm ergonomics are very good. In particular, you can either look perfectly over the screen with a good view of the bow when standing, or easily through it when seated. You do not get the screen top in your line of sight. The wind is totally denied you, thanks to what is a big console. The dash layout works well, with the throttles and wheel easily to hand, and the plotter and engine instruments under your line of sight.
Any big RIB nowadays is expected to have some degree of comfort, and with the Brig you not only get a proper sea toilet, but there is also a double berth. The door in the side of the console hints at a toilet within, but the bed under the sun pad is cleverly slipped in, and you would not know it was there from looking at the outside. At best, this only provides weekend overnighting, but it increases this boat’s cruising credentials. Behind the helm sits a galley with twin-ring hob, sink and a fridge beneath. Cup holders and convenient grab trails sit either side of the waterproof Silvertex-upholstered aft bench seat. For alfresco dining, a double table can be inserted in front of the bench seat, which, along with an aft-facing double seat under the galley, provides all-round seating for five. The decking throughout is synthetic teak-effect SeaDek. This teak substitute is one of several on the market, and provides a durable and well-finished effect in various colours.
The detailing behind the scenes is no less impressive as the lined anchor locker with its hidden windlass indicates. Beneath the aft bench seat sits a big storage cavity, which also enables access to the batteries and the various master switches. One aspect I certainly approve of, having been in a superyacht tender that became totally swamped by heavy weather, is the four drainage ducts in the cockpit, running directly overboard. The Orca Hypalon tubes are about as heavy-duty as you can expect in the leisure market, and are available in various colours in either fabric impression or carbon effect. The hull can be ordered in dove grey, dark grey or black as an alternative to white.
This is a very capable boat built by a Ukrainian company with a lot of experience in RIB construction. It is aimed at the luxury sector and will appeal to those who wish to vary or downgrade their boating activities from the traditional hard boat. It is also a very exciting boat to drive, and will appeal to the water sports enthusiast. Its price tag is reflected in its build quality and attention to detail. Though offered with twin 300hp Suzuki DF300s, this boat will lose its appeal and character with anything less than the twin-prop DF350. Fuel consumption (both engines)
Engine speed Knots MPG
2000rpm 12.5 2.6
2500rpm 19.5 2.8
3000rpm 25.7 2.6
3500rpm 31.6 2.3
4000rpm 36.0 2.1
4500rpm 41.9 1.8
5000rpm 45.7 1.6
5500rpm 49.3 1.4
6300rpm (wot) 56.2 1.2
All fuel figures were from the factory-fitted fuel flow meter.
Transom deadrise angle: 22 degrees
Displacement: 3379kg (fuel and engines)
Power options: 2 x 300hp or 2 x 350hp
Fuel capacity: 128 gallons (580 litres)
Water capacity: 10 gallons (45 litres)
RCD category: B for 12
Test engines: Twin 350hp Suzuki DF350s
56.2 knots (2-way average), 90% fuel, 2 crew
From (twin 300hp Suzuki DF300s): £150,000 (inc. VAT)
As Tested: £165,000 (inc. VAT)
The Wolf Rock Boat Company
South Hams Business Park
Photo Credits: Graeme Main