Speedy, sea­wor­thy and, dare we say, sexy, this new Rinker de­liv­ers much to rec­om­mend it.

Boating - - CONTENTS - —Jeff Hemmel

This out­board run­about is built well where it counts, with ameni­ties you need.

its boats. Prob­a­bly be­cause they use them a lot them­selves.

That prac­ti­cal knowl­edge and at­ten­tion to de­tail is re­vealed through­out. Check out the in­te­rior. For­ward, the bow cock­pit in­vites a crew to so­cial­ize, or just a pair to stretch out against the gen­tly slop­ing seat backs, but it’s the depth that im­me­di­ately caught my at­ten­tion. Even at its low­est point, there’s still well over 3 feet of in­te­rior wall en­velop­ing pas­sen­gers. That depth sinks bow oc­cu­pants be­low the cap­tain’s sight­line to main­tain a safer view. It also of­fers se­cu­rity for crew (and peace of mind for par­ents), es­pe­cially in the open, rougher wa­ters this boat can read­ily call home.

Step through the walk-through wind­shield into the main cock­pit and the same se­cure feel­ing con­tin­ues. Cap­tain and mate get twin bucket seats, each with en­velop­ing sup­port and a flip-up bol­ster. Aft, a 5-foot-2-inch-by-4-foot L-shaped bench awaits to star­board; to port, a 4-foot-10-inch couch com­pletes the so­cial ac­com­mo­da­tions. Like the bow seat­ing, each fea­tures a stream­lined

pro­file, with sup­port­ive pad­ding, min­i­mal­ist ac­cent strip­ing, and a carved-out in­wale for stor­age and the req­ui­site cup hold­ers. Stain­less-steel grab han­dles are lo­cated above all seat backs so that no pas­sen­ger is left want­ing for a hand­hold. Be­hind the helm, the afore­men­tioned re­fresh­ment cen­ter in­cludes a sink, stain­less-steel faucet, and plenty of solid-sur­face counter space. Add the side-mounted pedestal ta­ble and the op­tional elec­tric fridge fea­tured on our test boat, and the drinks and hors d’oeu­vres are ready to take cen­ter stage.

At an­chor or nosed into the sand­bar, that cock­pit crowd will likely spill onto the aft plat­form. Here, Rinker de­sign­ers mixed form and func­tion with a unique take on an out­board’s seat­ing and swim plat­form. Rec­og­niz­ing that pas­sen­gers would most likely trod over a cush­ioned rumble seat, they main­tained the padded seat back but re­placed the bot­tom with an ex­tra-thick layer of EVA trac­tion ma­te­rial, fin­ished with a soft, brushed tex­ture. With the padded back­rest, it makes a suit­able perch when cov­ing or gear­ing up for wa­ter­sports but also of­fers a smart way to nav­i­gate around the out­board mo­tor when board­ing or dis­em­bark­ing from the stern. Dual swim plat­forms flank the bracket-mounted mo­tor and pro­vide a spot for skiers and board­ers to gear up or swim­mers to come aboard via the three-step stain­less-steel lad­der.

Dig deeper into the boat and the not-soob­vi­ous de­tails con­tinue to im­press. Rather than the typ­i­cal open cav­ern, the space be­low the helm is cleanly fin­ished with com­pos­ite lum­ber and fea­tures ded­i­cated stor­age for both the 25-quart Igloo cooler and cock­pit ta­ble, as well as a shelf and deep cylin­dri­cal trash can, which can be mounted to brack­ets on the door’s in­te­rior. The 3-foot-10-inch-by-2-foot-2-inch-by-2-foot10-inch head com­part­ment within the port con­sole fea­tures a fiber­glass liner, for both show­room ap­peal and low main­te­nance, a fid­dled shelf and stan­dard port-a-potty. The stowage space be­low most cock­pit cush­ions is cleanly fin­ished with low-main­te­nance roto-molded tubs. The clean dash swaps out mul­ti­ple gauges for a sin­gle Simrad GO7 touch­screen dis­play; lighted rocker switches with re­set­table break­ers are ar­rayed be­low. To the left of the Gussi wheel re­sides the Kicker KMC10 head unit with Blue­tooth ca­pa­bil­ity; to the right is a padded ver­ti­cal mount to se­cure your phone.

Our test boat was pow­ered by a Mer­cury 300 Ver­ado Pro, a pow­er­ful, quiet mo­tor mounted off the tran­som on a cus­tom bracket. It pushed the boat onto plane in 4.8 sec­onds with sur­pris­ingly min­i­mal bow rise, and passed the 30 mph bench­mark in 8.3 sec­onds. Top speed peaked at 53.9 mph. Econ­omy? Most ef­fi­cient cruise oc­curred at 22 mph, where the en­gine burned 8.5 gph. The hull han­dled our test day’s light chop with con­fi­dence and banked smoothly into turns, hold­ing its line with­out hic­cup.

Over­all, it’s a de­sign both sim­i­lar to yet dif­fer­ent than Sea Ray’s nearly iden­ti­cally sized SDX 270 OB ($104,593 with Mer­cury 300 XL Ver­ado Pro out­board). Both craft fea­ture sim­i­lar pro­files and in­te­rior lay­outs. Sea Ray squares off the bow to en­hance in­te­rior room in the for­ward cock­pit, opts for dou­blewide helm and pas­sen­ger seats with flip-over back­rests, and sac­ri­fices space in the main cock­pit in fa­vor of an aft sun pad and full-width swim plat­form. The head com­part­ment in­cludes a sink, pull­out sprayer and open­ing port­light, but Rinker’s stan­dards list in­cludes the Simrad dis­play, Bi­mini top, and the wet bar with sink and faucet. And yes, one very cool blender that will make you a hit at the sand­bar.

The Q Series run­ning sur­face is based off the for­mer Rinker Cap­tiva 232, the best-sell­ing model in the com­pany’s 75-year his­tory.

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