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Robalo R200

The R200 is an entry-level center console that's packed with many standard amenities.

August 2, 2012
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Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Robalo R200

Robalo Boats

Small boats with lower sticker prices are supposed to be bare-bones outfits, designed to whet buyers’ appetites for boating before they move up. But what if an “entry level” boat is already chock full of standard amenities? It would look a lot like the Robalo R200, a small boat packing a lot inside.

The R200 is a center console designed to make the family-minded fisherman (or his wife) choose it rather than a comparably sized bowrider. It offers horseshoe-shape bow seating with removable cushions. You don’t have to remove them to access the storage underneath, thanks to the easy-access latch system. The compartments are insulated and drain overboard, and serve as fish boxes or coolers. The recessed bow rail and side-mounted bow cleats keep hardware out of the way.

I consider the standard leaning post at the helm another big plus. Many builders of entry-level center consoles equip the boat with standard twin pedestal seats. The anodized aluminum post allows the driver the option to sit or stand, harbors a cooler underneath and sports the essential aft grab rail.

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The R200 also includes two fold-down jumpseats built along the transom — the most comfortable, if not the driest, seats on a cruise. A standard oval-shape, blue-interior 15-gallon livewell sits in between them. These are all great amenities, but they do eat into the limited cockpit space of a 20-footer. Do you want comfort or roominess? I’ll take the comfort here.

Fighting fish won’t be a problem, not when you factor in the standard coaming bolsters and recessed toe rails. The gunwale tops are 10 inches wide around the boat, creating a great nonslip step so you can board from bow to stern. The console has 5 feet of headroom, deep for a 20-footer. A portable MSD is optional, and this head compartment has a hanging rack for your PFDs or wet clothing.

How does it run? With the Yamaha F150, just great. We topped 44 mph, carved safe turns at 30 mph and outran a storm through nasty bay chop on test day. We encountered minimal spray during the transit.

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Comparable model: Trophy 1903

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