Walker Bay stopped counting its small dinghy sales (many have sold through West Marine) at 150,000 boats, which speaks volumes about the company. Its new Generation 525 marks a shift into the luxury market, and Walker Bay nailed it with a delightfully fresh design. For those who haven’t yet considered a RIB for use as a runabout, the Generation 525 would be a good boat to begin with.
For starters, you don’t have to sit on squishy side tubes: The 525 offers comfy settees with backrests on each side. The squared bow not only provides thronelike seating forward but also makes it easy to board from a beach or a larger boat. There are huge stowage bins under each seat (great idea), and each is removable for access to the inner hull.
A bench-style seat behind the helm includes a flip-up bolster so the skipper can stand behind the tilt wheel of the hydraulic steering. We were impressed by the attention to every detail: pop-up cleats, no fewer than six teak steps for boarding, a built-in insulated cooler and an ample number of cup holders. A removable backrest doubles as a useful handrail for safer boarding.
Seven lifting points cover every possibility for hoisting the 525, and the fiberglass finish is impeccable. The forward settees convert into a sun pad, and Walker Bay even provided tidy stowage for the pads, a feature that even some larger boats don’t provide.
We admit to limited knowledge of physics, but the 525 is a puzzlement: It has a straight line for both speed and fuel consumption. At 3,000 rpm, you’re going 20 mph. Add 1,000 rpm, you’re going 30 mph. Add another 1,000 rpm, you’re going 40 mph. And the fuel consumption is a straight line too, and it reflects outstanding efficiency.
Power can be a 90 hp outboard, but most will opt for a 115, which pushes the 525 to 40 mph. We’d opt for the Yamaha 115 — it weighs 100 pounds less than the Honda 115 — unless we liked our Honda dealer better.
Whether as a tender to the Grand Banks, for your waterfront dock or towed behind the family car, the Generation 525 is a real winner. Don’t miss this one.
Comparable Model: AB Nautilus 17DLX