Rodman 800 used boat buyers’ guide: This Spanish cruiser has workboat pedigree

Our resident used boat expert Nick Burnham explains how to find a good secondhand Rodman 800.

There’s a reassuring element to the roots of Spanish builder Rodman. Dating back over 40 years and steeped in the construction of commercial vessels such as fast patrol boats and passenger ferries, its leisure boat offerings, from the luxury Muse flybridges and Spirit fast cruisers through to its pilothouse/fisher range, have a ‘hewn from solid’ appeal that is rarely found at this price point.

The Rodman 800 launched in 1998 and made its UK debut at the Southampton Boat Show in 2001. When we tested a basic version early in 2002 the 800 started at just £63,000, and that included VAT.

“Construction is very solid,” says Bob Elliott, who runs a Rodman 800 as part of his Quality Time Training sea school fleet based in Portland. He bought his 2005 example in 2008 and has put over 3,000 engine hours on it since. He rates it highly. “It’s a great training boat, it’s not too imposing and easy to handle.

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“We’ve run the boat up through the Solent, down to the West Country and across the English Channel many times. We take students keen to experience cross-Channel work to Alderney and back in the same day.”

Bob has two 250hp Yanmar diesels in his boat, which he describes as ‘bombproof’. They’re a rare option and give the Rodman 800 a 30-knot top end. Rodman fitted the 800 with both single and twin installations. On launch, the base engine was a single Volvo Penta KAMD 43P driving a straight shaft.

We tested the boat with that engine, reporting 24.9 knots flat-out and a 21.5-knot fast cruise at 2,900rpm. Buyers could upgrade to a 260hp KAMD 44 or there was a Yanmar 6LP DTZE that gave 280hp. Twin engine options were Volvo Penta TAMB 31P 150hp units or Yanmar 4LH-HTE or 4LHA-DTE, the latter boosting the former’s 180hp up to 200hp.

Rodman utilised propeller tunnels to bring the propeller closer to the hull, reducing shaft angle for greater efficiency and lowering the height of the engine space as the engine was brought closer to horizontal.

That engine space is under the wheelhouse floor, which comprises part of the surprisingly decent accommodation for such a fishing-oriented vessel.

You can read our full Roman 800 used boat buyers’ guide in the December 2020 issue of MBY, which is out on November 5.


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