Rodman 1290 Evolution review: The next-gen multi-purpose fisher you need to see

Can the new Rodman 1290 Evolution marry the worlds of offshore fishing and family-friendly cruising? Alex Smith heads for Swanwick to find out...

Millennial buying habits have had a profound impact on the marine industry. A generation of people keen to spread their resources on a wide range of pastimes (rather than committing it all to just one) has fuelled significant growth in boat share and yacht charter programmes.

A lot of mainstream boat design, even from boatbuilders with very clearly defined histories, has also begun to ease away from specialist applications in pursuit of broader flexibility.

We’ve certainly seen the impact of that in the exponential upsurge of fast multi-purpose weekenders and big voluminous powercats. And in Rodman’s aptly named Evolution line, we have a fisher-cum-cruiser that treads very much in step with that modern trend.

Like the smaller 1090 Evolution, the Rodman 1290 Evolution is designed to transfer all of Rodman’s famous offshore fishing pedigree into a brighter, more spacious, more seductive cruising package – and one of the most vital elements of that is elevation.

As on boats like Bavaria’s award-winning SR series and Aquador’s lovely new HT line, Rodman has increased the volume on the 1290 Evolution by raising the hull and side decks.

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While that of course tends to bring with it extra weight and windage, it also creates the space for large forward hull windows, increasing light down below and opening up the views from both the forward and mid cabins.

As you move forward from the cockpit, there is now a six-inch step where previously there was none. But from that point forwards, the graceful single-level side decks sweep upwards toward the bow just as they did on the venerable 1250.

And in tandem with a prodigiously elevated guardrail, that enables the new boat to provide plenty of volume down below without in any way compromising security or ease of movement up top.

With a beam of nearly 14ft, the cockpit is very open and fishing-friendly. It comes with a big aft bait well that could equally be used as a drained ice chest, plus fold-down seats on three sides and integrated fairleads to tidy up your lines and eradicate trip hazards.

The unit beneath the flybridge steps, which currently houses another sink and bait well, can also be optioned as a barbecue. And this aft space also features a large one-piece swim platform with integrated ladder that can be specced as a hi-lo platform for easy tender deployment.

While you might argue that the simplistic starboard door of the old 1250 made the aft end feel a bit one-dimensional, this new Rodman 1250 Evolution features a three-part sliding patio door to properly integrate the internal saloon with the aft cockpit.

Read Alex’s full review of the Rodman 1290 Evolution in the April 2023 issue of MBY, out March 2.

Rodman 1290 Evolution specifications

LOA: 43ft 6in (13.28m)
Beam: 13ft 9in (4.21m)
Draft: 3ft 7in (1.09m)
Displacement: 10.83 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 1,400 litres
Engines: Twin D6-IPS500 to 650 or shaftdrives
Top speed on test: 36 knots
Fuel consumption: 101 lph @ 25.4 knots
Range: 282nm @ 25.4 knots
Noise: 79.6d(B)A @ 20 knots
RCD category: B for 12 people
Starting price: £529,200 (inc. VAT)
Price as tested: £660,228


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