Rablo boats

Keywords: rablo boats
Description: The R200 is an entry-level center console that's packed with many standard amenities.

Small boats with lower sticker prices are supposed to be bare-bones outfits, designed to whet buyers’ appetites for boating before they move up. But what if an “entry level” boat is already chock full of standard amenities? It would look a lot like the Robalo R200, a small boat packing a lot inside.

The R200 is a center console designed to make the family-minded fisherman (or his wife) choose it rather than a comparably sized bowrider. It offers horseshoe-shape bow seating with removable cushions. You don’t have to remove them to access the storage underneath, thanks to the easy-access latch system. The compartments are insulated and drain overboard, and serve as fish boxes or coolers. The recessed bow rail and side-mounted bow cleats keep hardware out of the way.

I consider the standard leaning post at the helm another big plus. Many builders of entry-level center consoles equip the boat with standard twin pedestal seats. The anodized aluminum post allows the driver the option to sit or stand, harbors a cooler underneath and sports the essential aft grab rail.

The R200 also includes two fold-down jumpseats built along the transom — the most comfortable, if not the driest, seats on a cruise. A standard oval-shape, blue-interior 15-gallon livewell sits in between them. These are all great amenities, but they do eat into the limited cockpit space of a 20-footer. Do you want comfort or roominess? I’ll take the comfort here.

Fighting fish won’t be a problem, not when you factor in the standard coaming bolsters and recessed toe rails. The gunwale tops are 10 inches wide around the boat, creating a great nonslip step so you can board from bow to stern. The console has 5 feet of headroom, deep for a 20-footer. A portable MSD is optional, and this head compartment has a hanging rack for your PFDs or wet clothing.

How does it run? With the Yamaha F150, just great. We topped 44 mph, carved safe turns at 30 mph and outran a storm through nasty bay chop on test day. We encountered minimal spray during the transit.

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