Comparison Roundup. On a boat, nothing says "extreme" like a watersports tower and a set of tattoo-inspired graphics. But for many builders, these obvious ploys are the only step they use in trying to attract a younger, wake- and ski-oriented crowd. Rinker, as the kids say, is keeping it real. Sure, the R2 has a stylish folding tower with wakeboard racks and oversize rearview mirror as well as a bitchin' logo that sets it apart from Rinker's mainstream bowriders. But Rinker goes beyond that. Standards include such sound system must-haves as a subwoofer, amp, six cockpit speakers, dual tower-mounted barrel speakers, transom remote, and six-disc CD changer. Optional goodies: Perfect Pass speed control ($1,357), the system that high-end wakeboard boats use to hold their speeds rock steady; and a trim tab system ($921) designed to keep this 26-footer at the right attitude.
Rinker completely redesigned its Captiva line for 2006, and the effort shows. Fit and finish is on par with the better manufacturers in this field, and the lines are stylish and up to date, right down to the molded-in, not bolted on, swim platform. I found tremendous attention to detail in places where many builders scrimp-look at the well-caulked seams and shelf fiddles in the starboard console's stowage area. You'll also find an in-sole ski locker as well as a handy transom trunk that can keep skis and boards within reach of those on the swim platform. Both, however, need a mat to keep those items from banging around.
Within the cockpit the crew can lounge on the U-shaped aft bench or soak up the rays against the sunpad's chaise-like, lift-up backrest. Flip-up bolsters are standard issue on both the helm and companion seats, which feature a suspension design to take the backache out of rough water. Top speed nipped at 50 mph with a 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI, and bowrise wasn't an issue during a 4.5-second time to plane. (The 6-degree inclination at 2500 rpm in the chart indicates a "forced stall" used to record incremental fuel burn readings. In normal operation, you'd never run at that engine speed without towing-or without lots of negative drive trim.) While I discovered the wake was best with neutral trim tabs at adult boarding speeds, applying tab enabled me to hold a comfortable plane as low as 13 mph, handy for teaching the littlest rippers.