INVERKIP is the new port of call for a leading speedboat company after the village was hand-picked for the firm's first Scottish base.

Ballistic UK is a specialist manufacturer of rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and the firm have branched into Kip Marina.

It is their first dedicated base in Scotland, with the company headquartered in Portsmouth and their eye-catching vessels built in Cape Town, South Africa.

They have teamed up with Inspiration Marine Group (IMG) - one of the UK's leading boat sales companies with an office at Kip Marina - to sell and showcase their range.

To celebrate the launch, Tele reporter Paul John Coulter and photographer George Munro were invited along for an exhilarating, high-speed thrill ride on the Clyde.

Gavin McDonagh, managing director of Kip Marina, said: "We're delighted to welcome such an exciting range of boats to Scotland and particularly delighted to welcome them to Scotland's premier marina.

"The RIBs can be viewed at any time but there will be a particular emphasis put on them at Scotland's Boat Show this year, which is on October 11, 12 and 13."

One of the vessels taken for a spin was the £78,000 Ballistic 7.8 - a 7.8-metre long speedboat powered by a 300 horsepower Yamaha petrol engine.

It can reach speeds of around 52 knots - almost 60 miles per hour.

Ballistic RIBs set sail for Inverkip following an upsurge in boat sales and bosses say Kip Marina is the ideal location for their first Scottish branch office.

Sales director Tom Sanderson said: "With the general economic recovery we've found there's been more demand and we've started to build a worldwide network.

"Scotland is an area we've always had in mind but we were looking for somewhere where the customer feels supported and they want to be looked after and this is a great match."

His colleague, Heather Shepherd, says the Inverkip partnership is thanks to the IMG team and their associates at brokerage specialists, Michael Schmidt & Partner.

She said: "This environment is absolutely perfect and it couldn't be a better collaboration."

A free 'taster' event took place last Friday and Saturday for people to see and experience some of the Ballistic range.

James Stone, of IMG, said: "We're very excited about the partnership with Ballistic RIBs as we are two companies with the same ethos and focus on delivering exceptional customer service.

"The Ballistic range is ideal for Scotland as the boats are superbly engineered to cope with the toughest of conditions and offer the perfect combination of comfort, performance and a safe, dry ride.

"The range from 4.2m to 7.8m in both leisure and commercial specifications means there is a Ballistic to suit any application - from fast cruising around the Isles with family and friends to acting as a dive support RIB."