Simon Everett braves the chill to bring you the low-down on the latest and greatest of the Stingher line-up, the enviable 900GT Custom.
Stingher have made a big impact on the RIB scene, with hundreds of happy customers enjoying their experience of ownership. This new 900GT is an enlarged version of the extremely successful 800GT, and the extra length has been utilised well – it allows for a larger console, and an extra pair of shock mitigation seats to be slotted in without compromising on the remainder of the deck space.
You still get the Stingher stern seat framed by the fibreglass raked radar arch that supports the bimini, a solar panel on top to keep the batteries topped up and a stylish Stingher badge cut into a carbon-fibre panel. On the twin engine version you lose the bathing platforms, but that is offset by the greater manoeuvrability and hole shot, and an extra 100hp over the single 300hp.
To overcome the water access issue there is a very natty, side-mounted, stainless steel ladder, which complements the polished anchor hanging under the stem. To maintain that look of dignity and purpose, the 900GT Custom Sport is furnished with a pair of polished stainless gull wing cleats from Aqualine aft, mirrored by custom steering wheel spokes, gauge bezels and porthole surrounds to complete the overall aesthetic appeal.
The bow has retained the familiar stepped deck with a sunken cockpit that is equipped to support the picnic table and has a lifting sole to permit access into the hull. The seating level is split into three sections, down each side you get forward-hinging lockers that are long enough to take waterskis, and then in the main section, as is the Stingher trait, there is a generous locker with superb details in the substantial stainless steel supporting struts and almost flush, flat hinges on each hatch lid. The chain locker is under the next deck lid forward and houses a well-protected electric windlass, which certainly takes the drudgery out of putting the parking brake on.
It goes without saying that there is a comprehensive suite of cushions available, in the upholstery of your choice, to pad out the entire forward area as a sunbathing deck. The flexiteek decking throughout complements the boat beautifully and seals the hallmark of Stingher quality as well as providing comfort underfoot.
The console is a new, enlarged design incorporating a carbon-fibre dash that accommodates a Garmin 7412 display and VHF together with Mercury digital multifunction gauges, a comprehensive set of switches on a separate panel and, new to the 900GT Custom, easily accessible isolator switches on the underside with the start buttons and kill switch. The claw-spoked steering wheel adds that touch of class to cement the key elements of the new helm.
Being sat at the port-side wheel, which in itself is refreshingly correct as boats pass port to port, is like sitting on a flight deck. The chart display is positioned right in front of the helmsman, unobscured and unhindered by the stylish claw-spoked wheel, and there is plenty of room to get a meaty-sized hand to the Garmin touch screen for making adjustments to course or chosen display. The instrumentation is set slightly to one side, ahead of the throttles, again within an easy glance of the helm so as to enable a watchful eye to be kept on engine parameters and fuel. The bank of 12 rocker switches line up below the dash panel on the navigator’s side, with the most commonly used closest to the helm, for ease when running solo. The clean, unfettered layout is stylishly simple, yet seamanlike at the same time.
The biggest difference to the 800GT is the additional seating astern the enlarged console; in the case of the 900GT Custom this comes in the form of four shock mitigation Scot seats. Other seating options are available, including electric drop bolsters, and of course you can select your own fabrics to suit your tube colour choice. For an all-weather cruiser of the 900’s capability, the Scot seats offer supreme comfort even when the going gets tough. The deep-vee hull of the Stingher GT series is so accomplished that with the Scot seats it is difficult to imagine the sea state that you would need to make life afloat untenable.
Talking of untenable situations, when the need arises, the console is designed to house a proper sea toilet and has a step-down plate to make access easier. Once inside it isn’t exactly lavish, of course, but there is room enough and the positive aspects of privacy and convenience far outweigh the disadvantage of the confined space – a room without a view, one might say! The interior also makes a useful, and genuinely dry, space to put some hooks on which to hang life jackets and foulies when not required.
We were blessed with the only day of doldrums-like weather in a period of gales and rain. I would have preferred a good blow with some scudding clouds providing spotlights of sun to illuminate the wave tops and the boat as she carved through the maelstrom. Instead we had to make do with the Isle of Wight ferry and the pilot’s launch to provide any kind of water disturbance, which the accomplished Stingher hull contemptuously refused to be upset by – crossing the washes at 50 knots was child’s play. Even the venerable Neil Holmes was hard-pressed to get some animation into the pictures, such is the planted stoicism of the Stingher hull. With twin Verado 200s on the transom, the rig is nicely balanced and has the low-down grunt to carry more weight than a single 300, although that would be an alternative if your budget was being stretched.
When it comes to putting the 900GT into a fast turn, those substantial Hypalon tubes come into play and restrict the angle of heel into a comfortable, controlled manoeuvre that is sure to appeal to your passengers and their sense of well-being. To get the Stingher out of shape would take a bit of doing – the wide beam and support of the tubes provide such a degree of stability.
The Stingher isn’t a race boat or thrashing machine, although she is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination. The 900GT is a refined, fast cruising RIB that will stand scrutiny in any circles and will appeal to those in need of more seating and room than the well-established 800GT provides, or as a fast tender for a large yacht.
RPM Speed (mph) Fuel consumption (litres/hr)
- 700 3.6 1.5
- 1000 5.7 2.9
- 2000 9.5 8.4
- 2200 12.8 10.8
- 3000 18.5 15.2
- 3500 27.8 18.0
- 4000 36.0 26.2
- 5000 47.1 50.0
- 5900 56.5 70.4
- 6000 57.3 76.1
- LOA: 8.80m
- BOA: 3.00m
- Dry weight: 1900kg
- Fuel tank: 360 litres
- Max. power: 476hp
- Tube diameter: 42–66 cm
- Compartments: 6
- Max. persons: 12
- CE cat: B
- Accomplished performance
- Solid quality
- Stylish stainless fittings
- Restricted access to the water
From: £89,950 with single Mercury Verado 300hp (inc. VAT)
As tested with twin Verado 200hp, 4 x Scot seats and extras: £114,700 (inc. VAT)
Tel: 02380 335333