The 880 Sports RIB, first launched in 2010, is a purist driver’s boat, and is typically Ring, insomuch as it lacks some of the bells and whistles that adorn most pleasure boats today. The heritage of the 880’s triple-stepped hull (two full size and one half step forward) is well proven, as Mike Ring built his first prototype stepped hulls back in the 1970s, resulting in his boats sweeping up various championships and speed records in the 1980s. Going forward, this resulted in this company producing numerous craft, both hard and tubed, for pleasure, commercial and military use.
This particular boat is fairly unusual as it has a ‘relatively’ modest 225hp Honda BF225 on the transom. It is good for 40 knots and, with just the weight of one engine on the back, will run with very good fore and aft trim. Though the hull steps will not fully come into their own below 40 knots or so, comparatively speaking this boat should prove efficient. The 880 has what looks like multiple chines, but they are in fact extremely big spray rails that meet at the stem. This feature is also used by other models in the RIB range, and is very distinctive, identifying the brand at a glance. The aim behind such large spray rails is to improve dynamic lift, though I have heard it said that they could harden the ride. What this feature will also do is provide a dry ride, though considering the length of the foredeck I doubt the crew are likely to get wet anyway. It has a deep-vee hull with a transom deadrise of 24 degrees, and when you take a look at the transom you appreciate that this boat is far from beamy, and the tubes sit low at the stern, thereby improving stability. I have not previously driven a Ring but I have driven a Shearwater 890, which, being designed by Mike Ring, has much the same hull. This boat drives very well and with a soft-riding hull, but what I recall most was its uncanny ability to hang on relentlessly in some very tight turns, with a 350hp Mercury Verado often running at wide-open throttle.
The Ring 880 has the race throttle housing between the helm seats ‒ a trademark feature of many of their RIBs. Ergonomically this works very well as the throttle and gear lever fall perfectly to hand, and engine leg trim is courtesy of a lever under the wheel. This boat has been retrospectively fitted out with new electronics: firstly, a 12in Raymarine C12 a few years back, and the latest Garmin GPSMAP 922xs has been very recently fitted. This is a multitasking 9in plotter, capable of displaying Garmin’s latest BlueChart g3 digital charts. It can also show the world beneath your keel with Garmin’s recently released CHIRP, ClearVu and Panoptix ‘all-seeing’ super-detailed sonar. Unusually this boat has no screen, and it looks like it should have one, but that is how it was made.
The seats deserve a special mention because although they look unusually large and virtually armchair-like, they work a treat. They are supportive and comfy to sit back into when seated, or you can raise the base up to make a wrap-around leaning post when standing, giving you pretty much the same security as jockey seats. In the back of the seats and the housing beneath are located three large watertight lockers. The aft triple bench seat is built in the same style as the helm seats, with lockers beneath. You get the impression that the bench seat is an afterthought to the original design, as there is a deck space behind housing the splash well, which in many boats of this type would be enclosed by a moulding connecting the bench seat to the transom. There is/was the option of having two armchair-like aft seats, which works better with the bare transom design of the boat.
The synthetic teak [SB1] may well have been a retrospective upgrade and, apart from needing a light clean, is typically durable. The fit and finish on the whole is on the ‘commercial side’. If you lift the anchor locker hatch you will not find a neatly lined locker; however, this does not take away from the fact that Rings are very strongly built, and not overweight in the process. Most of this company’s RIBs go overseas for military, commercial or coastguard interception, so they need to be tough. They are no-nonsense, high-performance offshore powerboats that due to their virtues and their scarcity in this country have quite a strong following.
Points to consider
The boat featured here is fitted with a 225hp Honda BF225. Having been in production for a while, it is a proven engine, though a touch on the heavy side for a 3.6L V6. Many Ring 880s were fitted with a 350hp Yamaha F350, a 350hp Mercury Verado or a twin-engine set-up, which this boat can comfortably take. These more powerful power options will, of course, come at a price, but this boat is built as a high-performance/race boat, so more often than not you will find the 880 with more than 225hp on the transom.
Not many will consider [SB2] towing this boat on a regular basis. However, it is legally towable with an all-up weight, including a double-axle trailer, of around 2.2 tonnes, so it is a job for a large 4×4.
The big, comfy wrap-around race seats fitted to the 880 do a good job of keeping you in place, but they are also great for trapping moisture and salt water. Unless the boat has been kept meticulously dry when not used, eventually this will take its toll in those hard-to-see places.
This boat features zero-maintenance, hard-wearing synthetic teak, which some other 880s will also have. However, this will not necessarily always be the case, as nine years ago synthetic teak had not become the default setting for a big RIB. Some boats may have a GRP-finished deck, or a rubber Treadmaster decking that after time starts to pick up round the edges.
This boat has no antifouling, which is the way you want it. Apart from the loss of a knot or so in speed to antifouling paint, it can also conceal previous misdemeanours such as stress cracking.
- Year: 2010
- Hull type: Twin-step deep-vee planing
- RCD category: C
- Transom deadrise angle: 24 degrees
- Length overall: 8.8m (28ft 10in)
- Beam: 2.80m (8ft 02in)
- Draught: 0.9m (3ft)
- Displacement: 1.5 tonnes with engine (dry)
- Fuel capacity: 270 litres (60 gallons)
- Cruising range: Expect 180 miles with a 20% reserve at 30 knots
- Current value: £35,000 plus