With a price tag that’s less than $20,000, the Robalo R-160 should appeal not only to first-time buyers, but also those looking for a small coastal fishing boat or thinking about getting their teenagers into their own boat.
For $19,795, you get a versatile center console with a Yamaha F50 4-stroke and an aluminum trailer, says East Coast sales manager Joe Pegg. The R-160 can also be powered with an F70 ($20,795) or F90 ($21,995).
The boat is all about value and simplicity, says Pegg. “We have a high-quality boat with loads of value, and part of the value is that it’s easy to store, clean and maintain,” he says. The R-160 has an optional collapsible console windshield, and the standard trailer tongue folds to shrink its footprint in the garage back home.
This is no lake skiff, says Pegg. With its Kevlar construction, modified-vee hull, high freeboard and self-bailing cockpit, the R-160 is designed to handle choppy coastal waters, he says. The F50 pushes this 16-footer to a 31-mph top end; it’ll hit 36 mph with the F70 and 41 mph with the F90.
The layout includes a bow casting platform and a seat on the forward side of the console. Both hold insulated compartments, and the console seat can serve as a live well. The leaning post at the helm contains a cooler, and its seat back pivots forward for an aft-facing setup. The backrests on the two cockpit jump seats (with storage underneath) fold down to turn the area into an aft casting platform whose center section conceals a 16-gallon portable fuel tank. Grab rails are mounted outboard of each jump seat.
The console is simple, with a breaker panel to starboard and plenty of room for flush-mounted electronics. Robalo Boats, Nashville, Georgia, (229) 686-7481. robalo.com
This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue.