It's the widest tuna door I've ever seen - 3' across. That's big enough to drag a world-record-busting bluefin through. To test the door, I put the boat in reverse at 8 mph, then waited for the seawater to start pouring through the seams. And waited. And waited. Nothing happened. Slam the throttles into reverse on almost any sportfisherman in this class and the door leaks - profusely. But the deck of this boat stayed dry. It takes peerless craftsmanship to fit a door with such precision. Then it hit me. I had become so preoccupied with this detail that I was missing the bigger picture. Every large diesel boat I've tested vibrates when operating astern at relatively high rpm. But the new Rybovich 60 Convertible didn't shake at all. What's going on here?
CHANGING THE RULES. Rybovich has rewritten the rules with its latest sportfishing dream machine. A neat little detail you'll immediately appreciate is the tilt-up flat inside the console. All you have to do is press a button and - zzzzzzz - up it pops in two seconds. True, tilt-up flats are not new, and they remain desirable because they protect your electronics from the elements as well as theft. But the tilt-up flat on the 60 Convertible swings into action three to eight seconds faster than other units. I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but if you're as passionate as I am about fishing, that lost time is aggravating. With a big day ahead, you hate to waste even one second. Unlike some tilt-up flat panels, this unit is big enough to house all the electronics you'd need to put a breakaway republic under complete surveillance.
THE HIGHS: Matching-grain woodwork that can't be outclassed. Zero vibrations in reverse, and the deck stays dry, too. Air compressor lines in the cockpit. Smooth, quiet ride.
THE LOWS: Is there a more expensive sportfisherman? No screen on the crash-pump intakes to prevent clogs. No drapes, valences, shaggy carpets, pillow shams...wait, isn't that a good thing?
Check out this boat's performance. Cruising at 2100 rpm during our test, the 60 Convertible hit 40.2 mph as we headed offshore. Compare that to the 37.7-mph cruise posted by both the Hatteras 60 ($1.7 million with twin 1,350-bhp Caterpillars) and the Garlington-Landeweer 61 ($2.1 million with twin 1,200-bhp MANs). What does that mean to you in real terms? On an average 100-mile round trip, you're looking at a running time of 2.49 hours for the Rybovich versus 2.65 hours for its competitors. So, you'll save nearly 10 minutes every trip, right? Wrong. You'll save more time. Why? Because when the seas pick up, you won't have to pull back the throttles as much as you would on the other convertibles.
The 60 Convertible floats over and through the seas in a way few boats in its class can. Side-to-side motion is minimal. There are none of those spine-compressing impacts. Vibrations or rattles? On this boat? They wouldn't dare. Why? Let's make some comparisons. The Hatteras 60 has 5 degrees of transom deadrise and weighs 74,500 pounds. The Garlington-Landeweer 61 has 18.5 degrees of transom deadrise and weighs 54,000 pounds. The Hatteras flattens an average wave like a bug. With its sharp V-bottom, the Garlington-Landeweer first sails over the average roller, then slices it. The 60 Convertible has 9 degrees of transom deadrise and weighs only 51,000 pounds. Point the bow of this sportfisherman into a series of average waves and it seems to squash them, split them, and sail over them all at the same time. And when you're at the helm of this boat, you can definitely feel it.
WOOD IS GOOD. Another difference between the 60 Convertible and its competitors is that it's made of wood. Triple diagonally planked Philippine mahogany makes up the hull; Douglas fir (with stainless-steel saddles at the engine beds) is used for the stringers; and teak is placed just about everywhere else. By contrast, the hull of the Hatteras 60 has a solid fiberglass bottom, and the Garlington-Landeweer 61's hull is fully cored with Airex, a closed-cell foam.
Why a wooden hull? Wood absorbs impact, sound, and vibration better than fiberglass or closed-cell foam. It boasts a moderate transom deadrise, top-quality fittings and joinery, light weight, and sea chest - which provides a water supply to all the raw-water systems and eliminates the need for several drag-producing through-hull fittings. This boat provides a ride that is as smooth and fast as any 60' sportfisherman I've ever tested. As you look at the hull, you'd never guess it's made of wood. The Jet Glow finish does, in fact, glow. More so than gel coat. And the good looks continue throughout the boat. Teakwork in the cockpit and cabin is flawless, because Rybovich has the best woodworkers and the best materials. In fact, 90 percent of all the teak the company looks at gets rejected due to imperfections. You can see the result of such care when you look at the galley cabinetry, cockpit tackle, and rigging stations. The wood's grain flows from one unit to the next, uninterrupted. It makes the galley look like the kitchen of a 1700s country estate house - don't be too surprised if Architectural Digest shows up with a camera crew.
Downsides? Keep in mind that this boat's interior, as with most Ryboviches, is pure alpha male. No fluffy valences, purple flower prints, or shaggy carpet. I call this a plus, but if your better half wants a chichi fishboat, the 60 Convertible could be a tough sell.
MARLIN DARLIN'. Now what about the cockpit rigging and tackle stations? They open at the touch of a foot pedal, creating instant access. Add a few more seconds of saved fishing time to the total. And keep your calculator handy; with a total of nine rocket launchers, you'll never waste time digging under a gunwale to get that pitch-bait rod out when a billfish appears behind a teaser. Once you get dinner onboard, it'll stay chilly in the fishbox, which is fed shaved ice via an Eskimo icemaker in the engine room. Want to spear fish, too? This engine room houses an air compressor, with lines running into the cockpit for easy dive tank refills. There's just one thing missing in the engine room: Look at the crash pump intakes and you'll note that they don't have grates or screens. I'd add them to prevent clogging.
Other fishing goodies include a livewell, five tackle drawers, a custom fighting chair, rod stowage lockers to port and starboard, fresh? and raw-water washdowns, and a macerator on the fishbox drain. Everything you need to get the "big man in the blue suit" to join you is present and accounted for. Just remember - when you're backing down on that billfish, the absence of vibrations isn't because your props fell off or your throttles aren't advancing. It's because you're captaining one of the all-around finest sportfishing vessels ever built. Period.
LAST WORD. Measure it up any way you like: performance, craftsmanship, eye appeal-hey, guys, it just doesn't get any better than this.
Displacement (lbs., approx.) ..........51,000
Minimum cockpit.....depth 2'3"
Max. cabin headroom.....6'8"
Fuel capacity (gal.)......1,300
Water capacity (gal.)......250
Price (w/standard power) ..........$2,600,000
Price (w/test power) ..........$2,600,000
STANDARD POWER: Twin 1,350-bhp Detroit Diesel Series 2000 V-12 diesel inboards.
OPTIONAL POWER: Twin diesel inboards to 2,700 bhp total.
TEST BOAT POWER: Twin 1,350-bhp Detroit Diesel series 2000 V-12 diesel inboards with 1,339 cid, 5.04" bore x 5.59" stroke, swinging 30" x 43" five-bladed Nibral props through 2.03:1 reductions.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major items): Anchor w/300' chain rode; safety package w/8 life jackets, 4 fire extinguishers, engine room auto. fire extinguish system, life ring, fog bell, and fenders; custom teak cockpit; SMX reverse-cycle a/c and heat; Eskimo icemaker; oil exchange system; sea chest; Hynautic power assist steering; trim tabs; crash pumps; 20-gal. ss water heater; custom teak interior; teak and holly soles; Raritan Lectra San heads; 5" compass; custom electronics console; SubZero refrigerator/freezer; Sharp convection/microwave oven; 2-burner Origo stovetop; washer/dryer; 20kW Northern Lights generator; 2 50-amp shorepower cords w/Glendenning retrievers; 60-amp battery charger; fresh/raw-water washdowns; insulated fishbox w/macerator; rod stowage boxes; livewell; tackle station w/5 drawers; bait prep station; fighting chair; outriggers w/ center rigger.