by Steve Lague

The Navigator series is regarded as the all-purpose model in the Brig Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) range sitting between the sportier Falcon and luxury Eagle models and is the model most recommended for those who want a utilitarian boat that can be used for watersports – wakeboarding or skiing, scuba diving, fishing or all three.
It is a solid structure with remarkable stability, both under power and at rest, making it an ideal bluewater boat for exploring the coast and finding hidden coves or hard-to-access beaches.
The latest model in the series is the top-of-the-range 700 that has been developed with a lot of input from Australia.
If you ask long-time WA Brig representative, Mark Mawby, it is a boat that has been designed specifically for the tough WA conditions where we tested the boat and with a waterline of 6.7m it can be registered as a tender in WA, giving it an enormous advantage over its 7.0m rivals.
The tender classification enables the boat to be tied alongside a bigger boat on a mooring at Rottnest Island, WA’s most popular boating destination.
This makes the Navigator 700 an attractive proposition for anybody looking for a “utility” boat that can be used to go fishing, diving or pull cray pots, all extremely popular past times for regular visitors to the island, without the hassle, or expense, of having to put it on its own mooring or in a beach pen.
The large 58cm hypalon tubes that contribute to its utilitarian standing, enable the Navigator 700 to carry up to 12 passengers, something very few boats of this size can match and another important attribute for a good Rotto holiday.
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Brigg 7000 3WHAT YOU GET
When you look at the list of standard features that come with the hand-built Brig 700 it is a very short read. What you can expect to get is a well-built deep V fibreglass hull, with a recommended power range of 115-250hp, that has a non-slip, self-draining cockpit with storage lockers forward and aft and a 350-litre under-floor fuel tank and 50-litre water tank. A console is fitted so that it sits flush against the port tube. This purposeful offset design makes it a lot easier to move around the boat, especially when it has the maximum 12 passengers on board. If it was centred the aisles on both sides would be very narrow, so this way there is a comfortable walkway down the starboard side of the boat. To compensate for this offset placement the steering wheel has been positioned on the left side of the console placing the skipper right in the middle of the boat.
Everything else on the boat, including the motor, is an optional extra enabling individual owners to customise the boat to suit their needs.
In WA, a lot of that customisation is done by Mr Mawsby who kits them up specifically for local conditions. He also believes owners should be able to explore the full performance capabilities of the hull so high-powered engines are the order of the day. The boat we tested was highly specced with a 250hp Suzuki four-stroke engine sitting on the back.
A large black T-top, with a bimini to provide the driver and passenger with shelter from the sun, covered the centre console. There is a seat at the front of the console that will accommodate two, rather snuggly, with extra storage space underneath it. A bench seat is built into the T-Top for the skipper and one passenger while the base of the seat is divided into two and flips up so it can be used as a back support for those who prefer to stand up and drive. The divided base enables the passenger to remain seated, if they like, even when the skipper chooses to stand. There are also four rod-holders across the back of the bimini.
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Brigg 7000 14The console on the test boat was well equipped with a 12-inch and 7-inch Simrad Electronic packages that were both connected to the Suzuki’s engine management system. The dual set-up provides the skipper with almost countless set-up configurations to suit their needs. It also had a built-in sound system making for a very impressive set-up.
There is another bench seat across the transom of the Brig 700 with more storage under the seats. There were two more rod holders behind the seats with cup holders, next to each.
All the seats on the boat are finished in a very hard wearing upholstery that not only added to the comfort of the seat but gave the whole appearance of the boat an upmarket feel. The test boat also had a built-in fresh water show enabling you to wash the salt off after scuba diving or going for a swim.

POWER
The Suzuki engine, with an electronic throttle system that provides a more immediate response to any input on the accelerator and eliminates any throttle slip, gets the Brigg 700 up and going in a hurry. It not only has the 6.7m hull up on the plane in the blink of the eye but would throw unsuspecting passengers off their feet. The top speed we achieved on a choppy ocean was 40 knots with the engine spinning at 5200rpm and using 93-litres of petrol an hour. Dropping the revs back to 3000rpm we were cruising at a much more comfortable 20 knots and using just 19.3L/hour.
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Brigg 7000 12ON THE WATER
Once the realm of police and rescue services, inflatable boats have become part of boating’s mainstream and you don’t have to spend long behind the wheel of the Brig 700 to understand why. Yes, it is an extremely practical and versatile boat, but it is the power and performance of these vehicles that excites prospective buyers most. While the conditions on the test day were well short of horrendous, there was enough chop to provide a solid test of its performance. At full revs it did start to get a little skittish as it bounced from one tube to the other. But as soon as the accelerator was pulled back just a fraction it settled down immediately and handled the conditions with aplomb. Even pushing it into hard turns at 30-35knots it gripped beautifully. In straight line driving the sharp entry carved its way through the chop and swell like a knife while the big tubes kept it flat and stable. There was no other way to describe the test drive other than fun.

ON THE TRAILER
The Brig does not come standard on a trailer but you can order one. With the 250hp Suzuki on the back it weighs just under 2000kg, depending on what options you fit, so it could be towed with most medium-sized SUVs but with an overall width of 2.8m, you would need to get a permit to tow it.

OVERALL
Brig is the biggest seller of rigid inflatable boats in the world and for a very good reason. The finish on these boats is impeccable, the ride smooth and comfortable and, providing you put the right motor on the back, the performance invigorating. They are on the expensive side but, I think, still a good value for money proposition, considering what you are getting.
Brigg 7000 11POSITIVES

  • Versatility
  • Smooth ride
  • Outstanding performance

NEGATIVES

  • Need towing permit

NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price: (from) $98,000 (as tested) $125,000
Length Overall: 7.0m
Length on Water: 6.7m
Beam: 2.8m
Boat Weight: (hull only) 700kg
Maximum Power: 250hp
Recommended Power: 225hp
Maximum passengers: 12
Fuel capacity 340-litres