Wa­ter­front

IF EVER THERE WAS AN EXCEPTIONALLY WELL-BE­HAVED WILD AN­I­MAL ON THE WA­TER, IT’S THE RAF­NAR 11-ME­TER.

Power & Motor Yacht - - CONTENTS -

Ice­land’s Raf­nar 11-Me­ter is a beast on the open wa­ter.

For me, the high­light of last year’s Ft. Laud­erdale In­ter­na­tional Boat Show was the chance I had to drive the Ice­landic-built Raf­nar 11-Me­ter in open wa­ter. As soon as we’d ex­ited South Florida’s Hills­boro In­let at the start of the fes­tiv­i­ties, Raf­nar’s state­side rep Pa­trick Estebe stopped the boat, put the helm hard to port, sug­gested our Dig­i­tal Ed­i­tor John Turner and I “hang on,” panned and scanned for safety’s sake, and then abruptly fire­walled the throt­tles, giv­ing our two 250-horse­power Ev­in­rude E-TEC G2 out­boards the in­stan­ta­neous juice. I was aghast! At­tempt­ing such a wild and crazy ma­neu­ver on just about any other boat—even, let’s say, a sweetly de­signed pick­le­fork racer—would have meant we were toy­ing with catas­tro­phe.

But the Raf­nar? With the side­ways G forces of an amuse­ment-park ride, no blowout or slide, and ab­so­lutely no bow rise, the darn thing made a turn that was as close to a hard-left as I’ve ever ex­pe­ri­enced on a boat. And then, in two heart­beats, we were blast­ing across the four-foot swell at ap­prox­i­mately 40 knots, ac­cord­ing to our on­board GPS. I was speech­less, I gotta say, at least for a mo­ment. And then I got re­ally, re­ally ex­cited.

“You try it,” said Estebe, dis­mount­ing from the Raf­nar’s sad­dle-like hy­draulic helm­seat. What en­sued was one of the most es­o­teric boat-driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ences I have ever had the chance to thor­oughly en­joy. No mat­ter where I aimed the nose of this cata­ma­ran-es­que RIB with its U.S. patented “arc-of-cir­cle” OK run­ning sur­face, whether up-swell, down-swell, or side-swell, she sim­ply zoomed along, never lift­ing her nose from her el­e­ment, con­stantly main­tain­ing the 40-knot top end or close to it, like she’d been sent for.

“Holy Cripes!” I yelled as I pulled the sticks back at last. “This thing’s like a freakin’ tiger on the wa­ter.”

“But a tame tiger,” cor­rected Estebe, who en­vi­sions mod­i­fied Raf­nars as megay­acht ten­ders, “if you’re into tame.” raf­nar.com—Capt.Bil­lPike

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