After making debut appearances at the Paris Boat Show in December 2015 and the London Boat Show in January 2016, Rodman’s new 890 Ventura won a great deal of international interest - and you can see why. After all, Rodman boats are built in the north of Spain, where uninterrupted Atlantic swells sweep in from the oceanic depths and up onto the continental shelf. Anyone who has traversed the Bay of Biscay will understand how aggressive the resulting seas can be, so it’s well known that Rodman takes pride in the seakeeping prowess of its boats. It also takes great pride in their quality of build, as illustrated by the fact that each and every Rodman comes with a class-leading ten-year structural hull warranty as standard. See our First Look Video from London Boat Show below:
However, the really exciting part is not about Rodman’s established talents but about the 890’s one key departure – namely that this is the first recreational outboard model yet to emerge from the marque.
So what’s the idea behind this landmark tangent for Rodman? Well it’s quite simple really. The 890 Ventura is designed to enable more first-time boaters to get a foothold in the Rodman fleet, as well as to create a ready-made upgrade route for those looking to upsize from smaller fishers. It is designed to run alongside the existing Fisher & Cruiser series and while it will come with several new features (other than the outboard engines), the idea is to package this new outboard model with precisely those traditional Rodman strengths that have helped the company achieve such a strong following in the UK.
Maximising the potential
You can spec the new Rodman 890 Ventura with a single outboard of up to 300hp or twins of up to 400hp. For those keen to experience the full spectrum of marine pursuits, from summer watersports to long-distance cruises and offshore fishing, the potent twin rig of 200s is likely to be the set-up of choice. It allows you to cruise in the high 20s, hit a top end approaching 40 knots, achieve a range in excess of 220 nautical miles and relax, safe in the knowledge that there is redundancy in the system should one of your engines fail.
Better still, the fact that the engines are hung out over the transom means that there is some tremendous capacity beneath the Rodman’s big trademark cockpit sole. For those keen to maximise the boat’s potential as a fishing and cruising machine, this space can be used to double the scale of that fuel tank to 800 litres and increase the range to well in excess of 400 nautical miles.
In addition to a step-through bow and a pair of compact swim platforms even on the twin-engined variant, the Rodman 890 Ventura features a wheelhouse with uninterrupted views all-round, plus a small galley behind the helm seat and a convertible port dinette that can boost the sleeping capacity to five. The wheelhouse is orbited by walkaround side decks with deep gunwales and guardrails and there is also a side-access door (another first for Rodman) that enables the skipper to step out onto the side deck for easy singlehanded manoeuvres. It would be easy to clutter up the wheelhouse structure with features like this but happily, the low-profile nature of the frame and supporting stanchions means that the unbroken 360-degree visibility from the helm is usefully preserved.
Down below, things are also impressively bright and obstruction-free. There is space for four people in two cabins with a standing heads and shower compartment to starboard. The use of the port dining station up in the cockpit also draws big dividends here. It generates a fine place for a couple to relax over a meal, in the shelter of the saloon and it also offers much improved space and headroom down below, at that perennially awkward point where the guests make their way into the transverse double.
Of course, the prototype Rodman 890 Ventura is not perfect. The sunroof could do with being much larger, the starboard galley is also very compact and the seating inside the saloon is limited to three - but that is the inevitable pay-off for an all-action layout on a modest platform. If you want those secure walkaround decks, that flat foredeck sunpad and that big, versatile aft cockpit space, the saloon has to take the hit. Even so, Rodman has done well to mitigate the impact of that compromise with its steep, bright, panoramic, wraparound windows – and I have little doubt that keen cruisers and fisherman will look upon these design compromises as very productive indeed.
Even at this stage, Rodman’s new 890 Ventura looks pretty convincing, but there are plenty of options that will enable you to tailor its talents to your favoured form of recreation. You can have the Fishing Package (with live baitwells, outdoor sink, wash-off facilities, rod holders and a largely open cockpit); or the Cruising Package (with triple-panel sliding glass cockpit door, large bow sunbathing cushion and a cockpit optimised for seating and dining). You can also blend the features of both, but whichever way you go, the early implications are that the 890 Ventura will remain a rapid, spacious, bright and well built ten-man boat, virtually tailor-made for the questionable summers, the petulant seas and the mixed recreation of the British Isles. Of course, as a debut model and the first Rodman with outboard propulsion, the real test will come when we put it through the Solent on a snotty day, but until then, it is free to sit on its pristine show stand, basking in the builder’s established credentials and looking for all the world like one of the best in class.
Rodman 890 Ventura specifications
Weight: 2,900kg plus engines
Power: 300hp (single) to 400hp (twin)
Cruising speed: 27 knots at 4,800rpm (43 lt/h)
Max speed: 37.8 knots at 6,400rpm
Price: from £86,400
UK dealer: RBS Marine
For a set of similar family powerboat reviews, see: 5 best 30ft family powerboats.