Infanta is a South African company building inflatables for the many forms of boating that there are out there. With their resounding success in the recent Trans Agulhas, winning or taking top sports awards in all categories, Infanta certainly knows how to build a boat that can handle the harshest conditions. Their website says that the 7.5 is the biggest, best and fastest in their range – but does that make it a worthwhile purchase? We take an Infanta 7.5 into the Bay of Gordon’s to see what she offers up.
The Infanta 7.5, as you see in the pictures, isn’t the standard model – it has in fact been custom fitted with a couple of smaller modifications. Dave Hoets, dealer principal at Honda Marine Knysna, has identified a slight gap in the market and wants to fill it – with something that’s light to tow, big enough for a family and easy to handle, but versatile for your demands and social for those onboard – thus came the 7.5 which you see.
For starters, this custom model has a reversed helm seat which allows two passengers to face rearwards, back to back with the skipper, and either watch the action in the wakes or socialise around the removable table. The helm console itself has been moved slightly back – allowing a generous sized bow and a more sheltered stern. Now, the bow is lengthy but it only measures 1.5 metres at its widest – meaning that leg room in the bow is a little limited. The 7.5 is said to be certified to carry up to 15 passengers; but realistically, we’d be looking at a maximum of 11, mostly due to the aforementioned reason. Still though, 11 is a big family size – just don’t invite the neighbours.
The bow has also easy-to-remove filler cushions, held down by velcro. It’s a three-piece set so you can choose just how much of a fill you want – and they’re smaller in size than what you usually see, so you are able to store them easily should you want more or less while out on the water. A fourth cushion upfront is also removable, and like the side cushioning which hinges, you will find storage compartments for concealing slimmer items.
Bow cushioning on the 7.5, in my personal opinion, is a bit too slim. I would want something just a little more forgiving on the posterior since the bow is the part of the boat that feels waves and wakes the most; and I think it would go a long way to giving the boat an overall feeling of being soft and as comfortable as it could be.
A neat built-in seat on the front of the console is also present, giving extra space for those that like the thrill of being in the breeze. Built into the deck of the bow, just forward of the second position to install the cocktail table, is storage for lifejackets and other safety gear. Moving towards the stern, you’ll find that the stern area is also well designed to maximise on space. Here, seating for two is found just forward of the outboards and offers plenty of support. Below the seating and built into the deck is additional storage – and all in all, this craft has plenty of packing space, especially for an inflatable.
The helm area is a superb place to be, giving great visibility all around the craft. The standing position is comfortable, but our review craft was possibly made for someone skinnier than myself. Most will find that they have to “push and pull” the wheel to turn, much like doing a current driving test, since you can’t really hold the bottom of the steering comfortably – but Dave Hoets says that the helm can be moved two inches for those that require it; so make sure you check out if the fit is good for you.
You may notice that the gauges on the console are set on a horizontal surface. This didn’t seem ideal to me at first, but I actually ended up preferring it in the end – it means they’re not hidden behind the steering or cramped up against the throttles, and since you’re standing anyway, you do get to read them accurately enough. The benefit of this is that it allows space for a chic Garmin chart plotter or echo sounder, should you desire one.
The standard option Infanta 7.5 is said to weigh just 450 kg’s when empty, which is pretty light and means you shouldn’t need a particularly heavy-duty car to tow her. Our review craft was fitted with twin 90 HP Honda 4-Stroke outboards. Honda says these engines are the lightest in their class. Packing plenty of power, these outboards feature the same technology available on their bigger engines, such as BLAST, V-Tec and LeanBurn Control.
This hotchpotch of systems comes together in a blend which results in easy starting, good acceleration, and frugal sipping from the fuel tank – which holds 120 litres in total. On the back of the Infanta, you’ll find that these motors are ideally suited. Their power-to-weight ratio means you get enough from the throttles without throwing the craft out of balance, while providing a strong pull throughout the entire rpm range. The 7.5 got out of the hole in just under 3.5 seconds and motored onto a top speed of 75 km/h. Crisp and clean, she cut through the swell just fine and was comfortable on the knees, even when giving it her all. This 7.5 is stable, making her as good for a spot of fishing as she is for towing a skier.
The 7.5 would probably ride best if she is fitted with a pair of counterrotating outboards – but that means you’ll be looking at a set of Honda 115 HP’s. My suggestion: opt for a pair of 60 HP’s – you should still have plenty power and you be saving cash over and over again.
Infanta has come a long way from just a few short years ago. The team really has stepped up to the plate and hit a cracker of a shot since I really do feel that this 7.5 is one of their best quality boats they have ever produced. The standard option of the Infanta 7.5 is a nice boat, but the approximate R30 000 of extras are what makes it really great. As always, being a South African builder, they would be open to hearing what you’d want, so do ask about other extras when placing your order. When all is said and done, you’re looking at a package price of around R320 000 for what you see in these pictures. For it, you’ll get plenty of action on the water and a lifetime of happy moments with the family. For more information, contact Honda Marine Somerset West on (021) 851 7710 or Honda Marine Knysna on (044) 382 4090.