The Rodman 890 Ventura is the first outboard powered boat that the Spanish yard has made for the leisure market. Jack Haines takes it for a spin on a grizzly day in the Solent
The day of our test of the Rodman 890 Ventura from Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays epitomised why wheelhouse boats are so popular in northern Europe.
If you owned an open boat you wouldn’t even think about going out in such windy, rough, cold and drizzle-threatened conditions but the wheelhouse means that you can simply shut the door, turn the keys and still get your boating fix.
The 890 Ventura comes in both fishing and cruiser guises; the fishing version gets a more open cockpit, a live bait well and rod holders while the cruiser version we had on test was fitted with seating and a table in the cockpit that can be dropped down to create a sunpad.
One particularly nice feature of the 890’s wheelhouse design is being able to gain access to it from the starboard side deck via a sliding door and the cockpit doors aft.
All of this glazing, the hatch in the roof and a wraparound windscreen make for a very bright interior and a wheelhouse that doesn’t feel claustrophobic in the slightest.
Below decks there are two spacious double berths, though the beds are open to each other with no door or even a curtain to add privacy, so you’ll have to be very familiar with whomever your guests are. There is, though, a separate heads with a sink, toilet and limited storage.
Out on the water
UK agent RBS Marine is offering a huge range of engines from Yamaha, Suzuki and Mercury in single or twin formations all the way up to the largest twin 200hp Mercury outboards that we had on test.
Performance with these engines is more than enough for a boat of this type and we managed to crack 36 knots in snotty conditions with full fuel and safety gear on board.
These 200hp Mercs are a little raucous below planing speeds but once up and into their stride they are a fine match for the 890 and its confident hull.
Rodman has a successful commercial arm to its business and this is generally reflected in the quality of its leisure boats.
And sure enough the 890’s hull felt solid as it traversed the chop without fuss but there are some components within the wheelhouse that spoiled the feeling of solidity.
The hob in the galley made a bit of a racket, as did the cockpit doors and sliding window on the port side.
It’s worth bearing in mind that this was hull number one and classed as a prototype with plenty of changes on the way for the full production run, according to RBS Marine.
While they are there it would be good add some fore and aft adjustment to the helm chair – the only downside to what is comfortable helm position – and a mechanism that means it can flip forward out of the way of the galley and add some flat counter space.
Price is always going to be key on a boat of this type, especially when you have the likes of the Bénéteau Antares and hugely popular Jeanneau Merry Fisher sharing the market both offering excellent value for money.
Some will be happy to pay that bit more for the Rodman name but others will find it hard to ignore the savings.
More information: RBS Marine
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There are some changes to be made to the 890 Ventura to make it a truly rounded package but there is plenty of potential here. If you are looking to upgrade from an open boat it should be on the list.