Launched: North Rip 21 - Soundings Online

Launched: North Rip 21

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A Rhode Island boatbuilder will launch the second generation of its North Rip 21 this spring, improving a seakindly deep-vee center console. US Watercraft has closed the transom and moved the outboard to an Armstrong engine bracket, freeing cockpit space for a live well and storage while making the boat drier and safer, says Max Buerman, the chief financial officer and a company partner. “The 21 is versatile, perfect for the bays and capable of heading offshore,” says Buerman. “With the enclosed transom you’re less exposed to the elements when reversing or drift fishing on a current. It’s definitely safer and drier.”

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At cruising speeds, the flared bow fends off waves and knocks down spray, says Buerman. “It rides like a much larger center console,” he says.

SPECIFICATIONS LOA: 20 feet, 9 inches BEAM: 8 feet WEIGHT: 2,400 pounds DRAFT: 1 foot, 2 inches HULL TYPE: deep-vee TRANSOM DEADRISE: 20 degrees POWER: single 150- or 200-hp outboard SPEED: 44 mph top, 28 mph cruise (single 200) FUEL: 90 gallons PRICE: $64,900 CONTACT: USWatercraft, Warren, Rhode Island, (401) 247-3000. uswatercraft.com

US Watercraft builds the boat using resin infusion to produce a stiff, strong hull. The company employs Plexus, a high-strength methacrylate adhesive, to bond the hull, stringer-bulkhead grid, liner and deck cap.

The North Rip 21 has been built since 2001, through three changes in ownership and the Great Recession. The original designer, Daryl Wilbur, said in a 2010 Soundings article that some owners called their 21s “pocket battlewagons” because of their big-boat seakeeping traits. Wilbur built the boat from 2001 to 2007. USWatercraft has been building it since it acquired the mold from Pearson Composites in 2012.

The deck layout remains simple, with two 20-gallon fishboxes flanking a 180-gallon fishbox in the raised foredeck and a 20-gallon transom live well. The boat can easily morph into a family dayboat, says Buerman. Options include a forward console seat with or without a live well, a permanent or flip-up stern seat, a canvas T-top with four rod holders and trim tabs.

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The boat with a single 200-hp Yamaha gets 4 mpg at 27.5 mph for a range of about 400 miles, says Buerman. A 150-hp outboard is standard, and the company will rig any brand.

US Watercraft consulted with Rhode Island charter captain and tournament fisherman Jack Sprengel to make sure the boat’s layout and equipment would satisfy diehard anglers. “Storage space on your typical 21-footer is lacking,” he says. “So we really concentrated on adding storage everywhere possible.”

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue.