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October 26, 2001

Robalo 2320

To say I was surprised at the dramatic improvements over Robalos of years ago would be understatement.

Robalo (meaning "snook" in Spanish) has always had a loyal following, though I never considered it one of the top offshore fishing boats. In fact, right up until this boat test, I had considered the company's motto "Blue water tough" just so much advertising hype. But it's time to eat crow. After running a new Robalo, I came back thinking that I hadn't seen a boat quite so well designed and well built in a very long time.

Our test day in Islamorada greeted us with a beautiful sunny morning and seas 2 to 3 feet out of the southeast. But the stationary hurricane some 200 miles to the south added an urgency to the test. We probably wouldn't have a second day to fish.

With twin 150 hp Mercurys, the 2320 experiences moderate bow rise coming up onto plane. To counteract the bow rise, I used trim tabs and found them to be quite sensitive. They need just the slightest tap for measurable response. However, simply changing the Laser props (originally designed for bass boats) offers a better solution for curing the bow rise. These wheels have holes in the blades specifically to induce ventilation for better acceleration.

Despite the Lasers, the 2320 displayed terrific performance characteristics. It turns with just enough side slip to keep you in the boat. At wide-open throttle, 6,000 rpm produced 53 mph. Leaping over waves produced cushioned landings and neither a creak nor working sound to be heard. The 2320 cruised at a very respectable 38 mph turning 4,200 rpm. Running at cruising speed down sea, the boat tracks perfectly with nary a swerve.
Drifting beam to the seas in a gentle 2- to 3-foot ocean swell offered a comfortable roll moment with ever so slight a thud as the hull reached the apex of its roll and the chine hit the water. And from the beam-to position, you can easily steer the boat down sea with no power.