HotRIBS - The online RIB Magazine
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RIB Racing in South Africa
by Koos Wessels. HotRIBS member Koos explains the South African approach


At the beginning of 1998 some of our old fully inflatable racers got together and set up a committee to investigate RIB racing. Our committee's aim was to register RIBs as a South African Inflatable Boat Association (SAIBA) class, write our own set of racing rules and promote the class. The final rules are a combination of the SAIBA and BIBOA (GB), adapted to suite our conditions and regulations.

The reason for using the BIBOA rules was to enable us to race internationally and we hope to be at the Cowes Powerboat week in August 2000. At the SAIBA AGM in August

RIB Racing

1998, our RIBs were approved as a national class and the rules were printed in the SAIBA rule book.

RIBs will also be raced at club level at the different clubs around South Africa. The rules also allow for a social class, similar to BIBOA Clubman, so as to draw the average man on the street for a bit of competitive


After a while, SAIBA broke away from Powerboating South Africa (PSA) and are therefore not affiliated to UIM anymore. The fully inflatable racing is very big in South Africa with ± 60 racing boats with very big sponsors and media coverage.

We hope to grow the RIBS to 15 racing boats by the end of this year.


Our series consists of 3 races and, due to RIB racing being a new sport in SA, the races are run alongside the fully inflatable (P750) longhaul series. We will use their existing infrastructure (safety, sponsors, venues and TV coverage) until we can secure our own sponsorships. Each race consists of 2 heats of ± 100 km on one day. The classes are the same as run by BIBOA and we have 11 registered racing pilots.


Toyota Dassen Island Ski & RIB challenge (135 km)

This prestigious race was held in March

RIB Racing

RIB Racing

2000 in conjunction with the offshore ski racing fraternity. It started from Cape Town Waterfront, to Dassen Island and back to Cape Town. This is also the world's longest offshore ski race and draws lots of media attention.

Richard's Bay to Durban challenge (160 km)

This event takes place in May and is in aid of the NSRI. The event drew 41 competitors last year with a formula 2 boat winning overall on handicap. More such events are currently being organised for the future.


Die Burger/Hunter's Gold Trans Augulhas Boat Race

The Trans Agulhas Challenge was run for the first time in December 1988 with an entry of 33 fully inflatable boats. It was intended as a challenge for inflatable boat owners to test their skills in navigation, physical and mental endurance and the capabilities of their craft, which it certainly turned out to be. The Trans Agulhas have since captured the imagination of thousands of spectators along the coastal route of 1000 km and inflatable boat owners alike, and have drawn international attention. The Trans Agulhas is traditionally run after Christmas in the main holiday period from

Keerboomsriver to the Strand a total distance of ±1000 km over 5 days, with a marathon shift every morning and an obstacle race at the beach, in the afternoons. The marathon shift consists of a longhaul of anything between 80 -170 km, with compulsory beach stops at predetermined checkpoints between the start and the finish.

The field is split into 3 classes...

RIB Racing
Fully inflatable P750; P750S and Ribs. The last event drew 67 entries with 11 RIBS taking part. This was the second year that RIBS were participating and we expect there will be more this year.

In this Enduro, men and machine are tested to the limit. Competitors have to be physically and mentally superfit and only the teams who are well prepared make it to the finish. For more details see :

Koos Wessels races a B23 Ocke Mannerfelt RIB with a 150HP Yamaha; he would like to sell it after Cowes this year to avoid shipping it back to SA and he can be contacted through the HotRIBS member's communication centre.