Remember when people up in Wisconsin, not even remotely near salt water, designed and built Rampage offshore-fishing boats? Well, fuggedaboudit! Rampage (and KCS) enlisted the assistance of the inimitable Don Blount and then built this 41 with skilled craftsmen on the water in North Carolina. Rampage has come of age - big time.
A nasty day: The east wind blasted Florida's east coast, including our opening to the sea at Jupiter Inlet, with a steady 15 knots and gusts to 25. Running out the inlet in the wind-against-tide conditions, we encountered breaking surf all the way across the mouth of the inlet. Seas there hit 6 feet with less than a boat length between them. What a ride.
Running straight into the seas at a prudent 19 mph proved a non-event; we took just a little spray from the odd, rogue wave and no pounding. Once past the shallows near shore, we managed to get up to a still-comfortable 23 mph. Running beam to the seas at 35 mph, the 41 reversed course in as little as four boat lengths. At idle speed, it trolled at just over 7 mph (both engines turning 600 rpm) using 3.4 gph. The turbulence stretched back about 8 feet aft of the transom. Other than that, you couldn't ask for a cleaner wake.
I managed about 7 mph backing down-sea before we took any water over the covering board. But it never collected on the deck. It disappeared virtually instantly. And spinning on a fish will make you dizzy. Close-quarters handling qualifies as superb.
Left to its own devices, the Rampage 41 drifts at right angles to the seas and displays almost barge-like stability.
Heading back into the inlet, the Rampage 41 didn't sheer one iota when we came up on the back of a wave. It tracked straight and true. And talk about range: Find another 41-footer carrying 700 gallons of fuel!
_Sport Fishing _contributing editor Tred Barta designed the cockpit and fishing layout - hence the moniker Barta OPS. He never does anything halfway. Even the most dedicated angler will surely consider the 31 rod holders on the back of the tower and tower legs plus four in each gunwale for a total of 39 rods around the cockpit overkill. But many of those are optional. The standard fishing package (including space under gunwales to accommodate another 10 rods) provides more than enough rod storage.
You'll never find a production boat with more fish-box insulation. Barta is all about ice management. Other fishing/cockpit amenities include a sink with fresh- and saltwater washdown, as well as copious tackle storage consisting of drawers, removable boxes and hanging spaces for lure bags in the starboard module. Rampage also recessed, but did not hide, manual teaser reels in the overhead above the helm.
The Rampage 41 pays exceptional attention to details, such as the adjustable tensioners for outrigger lines and a Frigid Rigid cooler seat on the port side, just to name a couple. When it comes to knowledgeable, complete fishing features, no boat - production or custom - treats the genre better than this Rampage.
Design and Construction
The Rampage 41 boasts an incredibly roomy engine compartment with literally no place even the largest crew can't access.
The bridge deck's twin companion seats flank the helm seat, and underway, a vent on an electric ram at the base of the center windshield affords excellent ventilation.
Those of you who read my columns regularly know that I am all about safety offshore. Ladders (this Rampage has steps on the transom beneath the tuna door and gate) and handholds rank high with me. I honestly believe that this 41 has the best handholds of any boat on the market. Everywhere you could possibly want one, there it is - standard.
Barta's wife, Anni, helped design the interior, and you'll find superb use of what would normally be dead space. A lovely L-shaped settee to port with storage beneath has a seat back that converts into a Pullman berth. The top of a unique trough atop the settee seat back - upholstered with the same leather as the settee - lifts, exposing eight separate compartments in which passengers can stow wallets, watches, money, iPods, sunscreen and other valuables.
A beautiful head with Mysteria (comparable to Corian) counters has unique vertical rod storage in the stand-up shower stall. Personally, I'd love to see a separate locker in the saloon with dramatic lighting and a glass door to showcase the rod/reel combos, as every serious angler knows they constitute works of art.
The galley to starboard provides a two-burner cooktop, Corian counters, a polished stainless sink with flush counter cover, convection oven/microwave, and refrigerator/freezer drawers under the counters.
In addition to the settee and Pullman berths, the Rampage 41's island double berth on centerline provides comfortable sleeping accommodations with lots of storage under the bed. You'll also find additional storage in the valances overhead, in the bilges below and beneath the mirror-image L-shaped settees.
Overall, the Rampage 41 offers a superbly designed and executed interior. So put away your preconceived notions about Rampage or Barta, and check out this new fishing machine. You'll be as impressed as I was.
LOA......41 ft. 6 in.
HULL DRAFT......4 ft. (full load)
WEIGHT......30,000 lb. (dry)
POWER......Twin 715 hp Caterpillar C-12 diesels
BASE PRICE......$654,615 (base boat)
Rampage Yachts / Navassa, North Carolina / 910-371-3663 / www.rampageyachts.com