Peter Loder and his family love nothing more than exploring the beaches and anchorages of Moreton Bay, Brisbane.

Yachties since 2000 when Peter and wife Sharon enrolled their daughter, Bec in the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron junior sailing program, they have been heavily involved in volunteering and crewing ever since.

“Bec has been involved in sailing since she was eight years old,” Peter explains. “She’s now 27 and coaching on Sydney Harbour at Rose Bay and with the ‘Little Tackers’ program. It well and truly took hold of us all.”

Peter, a sparky by trade, works in asset management in the mining industry and says he’s been in more RIBS over the years than he can count. When it came time to buy one, they had a list of “Must Haves”.

“We spend a lot of time on friends’ boats, and while we’re not ready for a motor yacht of our own, we decided we needed an ‘A to B boat’ we could hop from boat to boat and enjoy the beaches and anchorages in the south of the Bay.

“We previously owned a 5.25-metre tinny with a 2-stroke engine and we used that until it burnt out,” he says.

“This time, it had to be a RIB, not a tinny, as there’s too much banging. It had to have a fibreglass hull, be at least 5-metres and trailerable. We only needed room for the two of us, or three when Bec’s with us. It had to have good range, capability and power to get out of trouble and handle all conditions. Plus we were looking for value for money.”

Peter and Sharon headed down the M1 to the Gold Coast where there is a large array of RIBS on display at dealerships from Tweed to Coomera.

Zodiac 5.5 Open is a durable, smooth riding RIB crop


They dropped into the Sirocco Marine Queensland showroom – a massive superyacht shed at Gold Coast City Marina – to pick the brains of Ryan Slater, who runs operations and oversees the dealership with 300 RIBS on offer, spanning the world’s leading brands.

“He’s a marine engineer and knows his product,” says Peter. “There were so many boats, a container load had just arrived and Ryan was bust making space for them. He let us make our way around the showroom and look at all the RIBS. We had done our research online and knew all about the various brands. We gravitated to the Zodiac models.

Sharon and Peter on board their Zodiac 5.5 Open, T6


“The final RIB we inspected was the 5.5 Open, which was heavy duty and chunkier than the Medline, which seemed like more of a Broadwater day boat. The 5.5 Open had real presence and plenty of space.”

The couple chose the Zodiac 5.5 Open centre console RIB, in grey and opted for a bimini for added protection. This model has ample on board storage space for all their gear, and delivers excellent seaworthiness thanks to its deep V-hull.

Sharon and Peter Loder on Moreton Bay


They plan to spend their first weeks aboard cruising around South Stradbroke, dropping into the bays near Tangalooma to beach their Zodiac, which they called T6 (Thunderbird 6), and set up their gear for beach barbecues, and just relax on the sand as the sun sets.

“She cruises at around 20 to 25 knots at around 4,500 revs, which is ideal for a 100hp engine,” says Peter.

“We’re looking forward to heading down to the Gold Coast to explore the island system and around The Bedrooms, then maybe down to the Clarence River up to the Nymboida River Junction – all the places that are better by boat.”

At SCIBS 2023, Sirocco Marine will be located on Masthead Way, displaying 20 Zodiac models, along with three of the latest model Williams Jet Tenders, the impressive 8-metre Northstar Orion 8 performance RIB and several RIBS from the Sirocco range – both aluminium and fibreglass hulled.

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