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Rampage 33 Express Review

Designing a boat of this size represents perhaps the toughest challenge in the boatbuilding world. Trying to balance sea-keeping and head-sea ride against comfort/stability/interior volume rarely achieves complete satisfaction for every boat owner. With the 33, Rampage has performed a balancing act worthy of the Flying Wallendas.

May 25, 2005

Designing a boat of this size represents perhaps the toughest challenge in the boatbuilding world. Trying to balance sea-keeping and head-sea ride against comfort/stability/interior volume rarely achieves complete satisfaction for every boat owner. With the 33, Rampage has performed a balancing act worthy of the Flying Wallendas.
 
Performance
At trolling speed, prop and hull turbulence dissipate by the third wave back, while leaving distinct, clear alleys closer than that.

Twin 460-hp Caterpillar C-7 turbo diesels are a good choice for this 33, and the ZF transmissions boasts electronic controls that incorporate a synchronizer, and standard trolling valves.

I found the steering a touch stiff. Were I to order a Rampage, I might opt for power assist instead of the standard Teleflex Sea Star system. Nonetheless, the Rampage 33 responds to wheel corrections well, making a 180-degree heading change in just about 31¼2 boat lengths.

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Seas outside Miami’s Government Cut ran a modest 1 to 3 feet with a period of about three seconds. Drifting beam-to, the Rampage exhibited a long roll moment with very gentle transitions, thanks to that 13-foot beam. But though it didn’t like hitting the wake of a passing Hatteras 65 head-on at wide-open throttle, it handled the same demand with dignity at 25 mph.  Down-sea, the Rampage tracks perfectly with no hesitation when climbing the back side of a wave. Broad shoulders at the 33’s bow provide tremendous buoyancy while opening up the forward berth considerably. It tracks equally well in a quartering sea. Without any tabs, this 33 runs slightly bow high, which I find preferable to riding too flat. A little more inclination is excellent in a following sea.

Top speed at 2,840 rpm burning 50 gph hit a very respectable 38 mph. At a higher cruising speed of 31 mph, we ran at 2,400 rpm while using 32 gph. Dropping that back to 2,250 rpm gave us 28 mph and consumed 28 gph.

I accidentally discovered one minor negative while running the Rampage. The handsome electric switch labels look fabulous at night when the backlighting illuminates them. However, the same labels appear dark and hard to read during daylight. I found this out when I tried to hit the horn button and shut down the port engine.

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Fishing
Between the cockpit and the helm deck, the Rampage 33 provides plenty of serious fishing features. The 70-square-foot cockpit affords multiple anglers room to fight fish simultaneously.

The comfortable aft-facing seat behind the starboard settee assures that you’ll be able to rest your legs while watching your trolling spread. You can enjoy a veritable armory of weapons around the cockpit, with two rod holders in each gunwale, room for four more under each gunwale, and 10 rocket launchers across the back of the hardtop and tower legs.

The large in-deck fish box on centerline pulls out for access to the bilge, while a second fish box doubles as a baitwell in the transom.

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The Rampage spins quickly with or without the wheel turned – just as you’d expect a nimble boat of this size to do. It backs down at 6 knots with just the tiniest bit of water entering the cockpit through the scuppers and none through the transom door. It could have backed down even faster. But I try to return factory boats in better shape than I take them.

**Design and Construction
**Rampage uses many ingredients common to more expensive boats: isophthalic resins, biaxial stitched fiberglass, cored hull topsides and foam-cored stringers, to name but a few. However, bowing to those who still carry a sextant in case their electronics quit, Rampage builds a solid rather than cored fiberglass bottom.

This 33 sleeps six, broken down as follows: The dinette table drops to create a V-berth in the bow that sleeps two in a queen, with two more in singles above. Or an overnight with just the guys can create four singles without the drop-down table. The sofa converts into a queen berth to accommodate two more. So as you can see, you have lots of flexibility – as long as you’re all friends.

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Corian counters in the galley present a handsome counterpoint (no pun intended) to the high-gloss cherrywood throughout the belowdecks cabin. Add high-quality fabrics and wall coverings, and the ambience becomes decidedly yachtlike.

You’ll find that the Rampage 33 runs relatively quietly, compared with similar vessels, thanks to the installation of special 3M Thinsulate soundproofing throughout the cabin and around the cockpit. I’d like to see several more layers of the material in the engine compartment to make it even quieter.

I particularly appreciate the wet locker just inside the companionway door. It’s great to be able to hang your wet gear there rather than have it drip all over the cabin.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of express boats, especially with today’s small-footprint/high-output engines, is the amazing amount of room you get to work on the engines. The Rampage 33 provides astounding space all the way around each engine, so there’s nothing you can’t easily reach.

I like having the option of two companion seats at the helm rather than just one, and you don’t have to give up the settee seating to get it. Studies say that women’s greatest concerns when considering a boat purchase include security and comfort. With the quality of construction, 11¼4-inch-diameter bow rail and the luxurious interior, selling mama on a Rampage should be easy.

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