By Lenny Rudow
Robalo R180: Small Center Console, Big Attitude
The R180 may be the smallest model in the Robalo fleet, but it has the huge heart of a serious fishing boat.
The Robalo Boats R180 is a new model that follows an old Robalo formula: built a stout, heavy boat for the LOA, give it lots of deadrise, and make every component tough. Net result? An 18-footer than rides and feels like a significantly larger boat.
The R180 tips the scales at an eyebrow-raising 2,600-lbs. That’s a whopping 500 to 1,000 lbs. more than most competing 18 foot boats, and all that mass gives this boat a unique ability to bully waves out of its way. Part of all that heft comes from Robalo’s overbuild-it construction techniques, which include a hand-laid hull, molded fiberglass stringers, and welded stainless-steel rails. But the stocky feel is matched by a stocky design, with high gunwales and a tall bow that will provide a feeling of safety, especially when kids are aboard. The down-side to those tall sides and beefy construction? More windage, a heavier tow, and less speed and fuel economy than lighter, shorter boats with less weight. For those of us who prefer a rock-solid feeling underfoot, it seems like the tradeoff is more than worth it.
Pricing is another high point for this model. With a trailer and 115 Yamaha four-stroke, the R180 features a “no haggle” price tag of $26,220. And that’s well-equipped, with a 15-gallon livewell, an anodized aluminum leaning post, hydraulic steering, vertical rodracks for six rigs, four gunwale-mounted rodholders, and coaming bolsters. Need help convincing other family members that this is a good buy? Remind Mom or anyone else that this is one of the smallest, least expensive boat-motor-trailer packages around that comes with a center console head compartment. I was shocked at how easy it was to enter the head—in most boats this small, even a skinny guy like me has to contort a bit to enter the console—but in this case the entire front of the console swings open.
The bottom line? This is one of the biggest 18-footers on the water. And while it might be a new model, Robalo’s heavy-duty attitude comes through in spades. Short, stocky, rugged spades.
For more information, visit Robalo Boats.
- Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including Boats.com and Yachtworld.com. With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design who has won 28 BWI and OWAA writing awards.
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