Robalo R317


Saltwater Sportsman - - Fishability / Robalo R317 - BY ALEX SUESCUN

RRobalo, a brand syn­ony­mous with fish­ing, re­cently launched its largest model ever, one the whole fam­ily is bound to fall in love with. The R317, the lat­est ad­di­tion to the builder’s dual-con­sole series, is chock full of con­ve­niences and ameni­ties for fun on the water, with­out for­get­ting about the fish­ing es­sen­tials.

It all starts with the de­sign and lay­out, which place a pre­mium on sta­bil­ity and com­fort, and in­clude a va­ri­ety of seat­ing ar­range­ments meant to pro­mote in­ter­ac­tion among crewmem­bers and al­low for se­ri­ous re­lax­ation.

Bow seat­ing in­cludes flip-down arm­rests and con­sists of a sin­gle star­board seat in­te­grated in the door to the step-down head com­part­ment — fur­nished with a sink, elec­tric toi­let, stor­age shelf, van­ity cabi­net and counter — and a port­side L-shaped seat with room for four, con­ceal­ing am­ple in­su­lated stor­age with over­board drain.

Dou­ble helm seats sit be­hind each con­sole, in the shade of an oversize fiber­glass hard­top com­plete with LED lights, rod hold­ers and dry stor­age. An op­tional re­tractable sun­shade ex­tends over the cock­pit, where the open­con­cept seat­ing in­cludes a 36-quart re­mov­able cooler to port, aug­mented by a re­mov­able ta­ble, per­fect for en­ter­tain­ing and shar­ing lunch with a view. Re­plac­ing the usual rear bulk­head/tran­som, Robalo’s patent­pend­ing Vista-view lounge seat lets you ad­just the dual back­rests to your pre­ferred po­si­tion — or lay them flat, cre­at­ing a siz­able sun pad — at the touch of a but­ton.

The Robalo also in­cor­po­rates a side door in the cock­pit, a full-beam in­te­grated swim plat­form with aft-fac­ing seat­ing, walk-through tran­som door, tele­scop­ing board­ing lad­der, and a tran­som fresh­wa­ter pull­out shower, plus a cabin with lock­able en­try at the port­side helm, fea­tur­ing a full fiber­glass liner, LED light­ing, a sleep­ing area, car­bon-monox­ide de­tec­tor, and stor­age for four rods.

The R317 helm sta­tion, on the star­board con­sole, fea­tures a 12-inch glass dash, which can be up­graded to 16 inches to ac­com­mo­date a larger mul­ti­func­tion dis­play and is book­ended by pan­els of back­lit switches with cir­cuit break­ers. There’s also a stereo with re­mote and aux­il­iary in­puts, 12-volt and USB power sta­tions, switches with in­di­ca­tor lights for the Lenco trim tabs, and real es­tate left for op­tions like the Op­ti­mus 360 joy­stick for easy dock­ing and ma­neu­ver­ing. A cock­pit gas grill, and a wet bar with fridge, cut­ting board, sink and fresh­wa­ter faucet — in lieu of the star­board cock­pit seat­ing — are among the other avail­able op­tions.

For the an­glers in the fam­ily, the 31-footer is equipped with a 50-gal­lon fish box be­neath the aft seats, a 25-gal­lon oval livewell with LED light­ing and clear lid on the port tran­som cor­ner, raw-water wash­down, stain­less-steel toe rail in the star­board cock­pit, four ver­ti­cal rod tubes on the hard­top frame, un­der­gun­wale rack

for two rods to star­board, and a pair of flush-mounted com­bi­na­tion drink/ rod hold­ers on the cov­er­ing boards, with more eas­ily added as an op­tion.

The hull of the R317 uti­lizes a for­ward keel to slice through the waves, and an ex­tended run­ning sur­face that al­lows the V-plane to con­tinue abaft the tran­som for su­pe­rior sta­bil­ity in a range of sea con­di­tions. The Hy­droLift hull de­sign af­fords quick plan­ing and ac­cel­er­a­tion, as well as ex­cel­lent fuel ef­fi­ciency. The ex­tended run­ning sur­face cou­pled with the tight aft hull cor­ners de­liver ev­ery­thing you need when tak­ing sharp turns.

The new Robalo is avail­able with a choice of power. Our test boat was rigged with twin Yamaha F300s, which pushed the boat from zero to 30 mph in 10 sec­onds and de­liv­ered a top speed of 55.1 mph as we sprinted across south Bis­cayne Bay in Mi­ami. Power-as­sisted hy­draulic steer­ing, stan­dard on the R317, made turn­ing ef­fort­less, and the boat felt lim­ber through­out all ma­neu­vers. Prop torque proved min­i­mal, and even in re­verse, the 31-footer turned promptly in both di­rec­tions with no ap­pre­cia­ble lag time.

De­spite some wind dur­ing our sea trial, there was never a rea­son to close the bow walk-through and its cus­tom wind­shield or to use the wind­shield wiper on the star­board con­sole. And thanks to the high free­board, which pro­vides a def­i­nite sense of se­cu­rity in the cock­pit, no sea spray made it over the gun­wales.

If your next boat is des­tined for out­ings with fam­ily and friends that in­clude cruis­ing and a mix of wa­ter­sports as well as fish­ing, this Robalo de­serves se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion. Not only does it do lots of things well, but it is also rea­son­ably priced, tak­ing into ac­count all its bells and whis­tles.

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