It pains me to believe that if you were to take the labels off a dozen nondescript 21-foot center-console hulls and line them up side by side, you’d be hard-pressed to tell them apart. That will never be a problem for the North Rip 21. This boat bears such a distinctive look and style that you cannot mistake it for anything else. That its look is particularly handsome certainly won’t hurt its chances of success either. This boat is elegantly simple in its functionality — and that takes infinitely more effort and creativity than simply loading it with all sorts of features.
Running the boat through the insane, chaotic chop generated by hundreds of vessels of all sizes performing sea trials during the Miami International Boat Show truly taxes a boat’s abilities. The 200 hp Evinrude on our transom lifted us to plane virtually instantly, and we hit a top speed of 46 mph at 5,700 rpm while burning 18.6 gph. Optimum cruise was 32 mph at 4,000 rpm using 10 gph for a 288-mile range. The North Rip has a pair of Volvo Penta QL trim tabs, which proved very sensitive at all speeds. At cruising speed, the 21 turns tightly (tighter to port than starboard due to torque) and leans substantially into it. A Yamaha 150 is an available option.
Conditions really tested stability in a beam sea, and the North Rip’s roll moment proved moderate with incredibly gentle transitions. Considering the design goals of this boat of fishing roiling north Atlantic rips for stripers, blues and fluke, it has attained its holy grail.
I watched from the dock each time the North Rip came and went, taking out assorted journalists, prospective buyers and potential dealers. It reminded me of a hummingbird, darting to and fro in complete control, changing direction in a blink and looking stunningly beautiful in the process. I just can’t get over its handsome utility.
When fishing such a compact boat among the steep rips and rough water commonly found in the Northeast, a nonskid deck becomes a critical factor, and the North Rip provides excellent grip without tearing you up if you kneel. I found the bow ideal for fly-fishing, which coincides with one of my favorite ways to catch stripers. The fishing space is wide open, with excellent toe space all the way around and a gunwale designed for comfort when you brace your legs against it. Pop-up cleats from stem to stern and a pop-up navigation light on the bow assure you’ll never snag that fly line either.
While a relatively small boat, the North Rip still features an above-deck, 20-gallon, recirculating livewell, a 180-gallon fish box under the foredeck, as well as a pair of 20-gallon boxes on each side. In fact, to date, these qualify as the largest fish boxes on a 21-footer on the market.
North Rip provides three rod holders across the back of a leaning post to augment four in the gunwales.
Design and Construction
As you can see, the pretty lines of this boat with its proud bow really set it apart. The North Rip’s designer, Daryl A. Wilbur, performed extensive research prior to drawing the lines in order to carefully adjust the center of gravity and center of buoyancy. Consequently, this is an exceptionally well-balanced boat. As you might imagine, the hull incorporates lots of complex geometry with many curves, unusual radiuses and angles throughout, all created via an amazing seven-axis robotic router. Add to that the imprimatur of legendary Rhode Island boatbuilder Everett Pearson, and you simply can’t doubt that this boat will be as solid as a rock.
North Rip employs an advanced SCRIMP construction method (Seeman Composite Resin Infusion Molding Process) — a vacuum-bagged, resin-infused method of building composite hulls (in this case using Core-Cell) combined with hexagonal cell structure print blocker for a flawless glossy finish — and you can see that this qualifies as way more than your average fishing skiff. Anytime I can run a gorgeous boat that also offers unassailable functionality, I am all over it! There’s no doubt the North Rip 21 will succeed.
LOA: 20 ft. 9 in.
BEAM: 8 ft.
DRAFT: 1 ft. 2 in.
DEADRISE: 20 deg.
WEIGHT: 2,400 lb.
FUEL: 90 gal.
MAX POWER: 200 hp OB
MSRP: $55,000 (w/ Evinrude 200 or Yamaha F150)
North Rip Sportfishing Boats / Warren, Rhode Island 02885 / 401-247-3000 / www.northripboats.com_