Rigid Inflatable Boats : RIBS and Inflatables
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  # 048
Ballistic to the Balearics
JBT Marine goes Ballistic to Menorca
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Pont-Aven Bridge

Setting off in June, JBT Marine, one of the UK’s premier RIB dealers and a leading distributor of the Ballistic range, headed off on a mission to the idyllic island of Menorca armed with the jewel of its RIB portfolio, the Ballistic 7.8m.

A highly memorable, meticulously organised trip featured a 19-hour crossing from Plymouth to Santander courtesy of Brittany Ferries and its magnificent flagship the Pont-Aven, a breathtaking journey across the beautiful, rugged contours of northern Spain, and an exhilarating RIB ride to Menorca.

Having wisely booked its place on the ferry weeks in advance and received its tickets, JBT Marine departed its south coast headquarters at Thornham Marina in Hampshire in high spirits and eager to begin its adventure.

And it wasn’t long before the adventure began. A mighty puncture to a trailer wheel in Plymouth nearly derailed the journey before it has begun. Only a dash of JBT Marine ingenuity and the strength and agility of its Land Rover Discovery ensured that Brittany Ferries didn’t leave with a lighter than expected load!

  Arriving at the ferry terminal in the nick of time and breathing huge sighs of relief, the stress was quickly relieved as Brittany Ferries’ superb meet and greet service had JBT Marine smoothly and quickly brought on board. Further lowering the blood pressure, and fulfilling a certain RIB dealer’s dream, JBT Marine was invited to the bridge to see the Pont-Aven set sail out into the English Channel.

Manning a control centre that would put the Starship Enterprise to shame, but that still had an old-fashioned ship’s wheel at its heart, the captain and his crew steered the ferry smoothly away from the south coast. The mission to Menorca was truly underway!

Opting for the stylish Le Flora, the ship’s main restaurant, which boasts a panoramic ocean view, JBT Marine indulged in a sumptuous five-course dinner, consisting of superb French cuisine, against the background of a slowly setting sun.

Finishing the night at the equally stylish Le Fastnet Bar, where the bar staff poured cocktails in time with the piano player’s melodies, JBT Marine retired to its cabin for a good night’s sleep.



Dawn on day two brought with it the challenge of a drive across the ruggedly beautiful landscape of northern Spain towards Barcelona and the Port of Ginesta.

After a smooth seven-hour drive, taking in majestic landscapes and clear blue skies, the Land Rover delivered JBT Marine to Port Ginesta.

However, before any adventure comes proper preparation and given JBT Marine’s unwritten motto – proper preparation prevents poor performance – the trip was meticulously organised. Before departing on its trip, JBT Marine had all the essential documentation for its Ballistic on board.

Prominently displayed on the RIB was its SSR (Small Ships Registry) number, with the VAT invoice showing ownership of the RIB, the insurance details in English and in Spanish, and its International Certificate of Competence (ICC) from the RYA tucked away safely in the glove box. In addition, JBT Marine had its Powerboat Level 2 course certificate, its VHF radio operator licence and a long list of essential safety kit on board not to mention an auxiliary


motor and a spare tyre and lighting board for the trailer. It had also secured the RIB cover very securely, tying off all the straps.

And this preparation proved to be essential as getting the Ballistic in the water and away from the marina in Port Ginesta was a lengthy, officious task, kept down to an hour only by JBT Marine’s meticulous organisation. Thankfully, a stay at a delightful, stylish four-star hotel nearby the night before had put JBT Marine in the right frame of mind!

Having secured the six documents required to set off for its RIB ride to Menorca (documents to descend the slipway, store the trailer, to park the trailer and Land Rover Discovery, to ascend the slipway, to depart the marina at end of the trip and to show liability for all of these activities), and radioed ahead to its contact in Menorca, JBT Marine slipped into the mesmerising waters of the Mediterranean, with a full tank and three spare fuel cans, and headed full throttle to its island destination.


Paperwork bureaucracy
before launching was allowed.

With proper preparation, JBT Marine
passed inspections within 1hr!



Deciding to take the shortest route to Menorca, which at 160 miles is still no small trip, JBT Marine cruised smoothly to the halfway point at an exhilarating 45 mph. However, not before bumping into two large schools of dolphin which happened to be rather playful and friendly!

Setting off again after a short rest to check in with headquarters at Thornham Marina in Hampshire using the satellite phone, JBT Marine soon hit choppy waters. However, with the Ballistic taking the rougher conditions in its stride, JBT Marine arrived at its rugged, coastal destination tired yet exultant and vowing to take the longer, yet calmer route leeward of the island next time.

Still, travelling the 160 miles in a little over three and a half hours, the Ballistic had got them there in terrific time.

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Rigid Inflatable Boats : RIBS and Inflatables