45 Convertible — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca — August 2002
She’s Got Game
|Part 2: Fine top-end speed|
When I took over the helm from Cratch and slid the Twin Disc controls forward, I noted that she was comparatively slow out of the hole. But once she hit about 1600 rpm, the turbos kicked in, and she really started to accelerate. I attribute her low-end lethargy to a combination of the electronically controlled diesels, which delay fuel delivery on the low end to avoid smoke, and to the relatively small diameter (29.5 inches) and extreme pitch (45 inches) of the props. The immediate load on the heavily angled prop causes her to be a tad sluggish. But as the acceleration curve shows (see spec box), this combination propels her like a rocket after 1600 rpm, where those props apparently bite water like billfish on a bait ball. The idea to use these unusual props came from Rampage's mechanical engineer, Keith Stanley, who seems to dream about props the way I dream about winning the lottery. He says that he'd heard of some rather unusual "out-of-square" prop configurations being used by some overseas builders and thought it might be a good fit for the 45's prop pocket hull design. Despite the 45's slow start out of the hole, these props seem a good fit in light of her fine top-end speed.
In addition to her fine turn of speed, the 45 offered good close-quarters maneuvering--it's simply a matter of sliding the controls in and out of gear, as there's no throttle necessary to swing her around. The small-diameter wheels would usually hinder close-quarter performance, but a combination of horsepower, extreme pitch, a 2:1 gear reduction, and long chord lengths toward the outer radius of each blade allows for easy operation.
Sightlines at all speeds were clean over the 45's big, flat, aircraft-carrier-like foredeck. Two benchseats, one forward of the helm and one to port, allow guests to join the helmsman underway, and they also provide large stowage areas underneath for charts, rods, and the like.
One problem I have with the 45 is her optional Bluewater tuna tower. To get up it, you must stand on the rail directly aft of the helm, then swing yourself out and around. Unless you're agile, this is a nuisance at best and dangerous at worst, as one slip and you hit the deck or the water. Opt for the hardtop; unless you're trolling daily or using the boat for charter, the risk doesn't seem worth the rewards. Besides, the flying bridge offers great visibility for checking lines and finding fish.
A little earlier I had a chance to inspect the 45's 130-square-foot all-about-fishing cockpit, about which I had no problems. It includes, as standard equipment, a 36-gallon livewell, two five-foot long fishboxes with macerators, a transom door for the big ones, and a tackle cabinet with sink and freezer.
I wrapped up my wheel time and turned things back over to Cratch, who ran the 45 to a temporary berth at The Fish House Grill in Wrightsville Beach. Salt-covered, wind-blown, and ready to take five, I found the 45's saloon, with L-shape lounge to port and dinette to starboard, inviting. Her cherry interior, which has a satin finish, provides a warm feel, although I have an affinity for high gloss and wish it were an option. For a minute I contemplated heading below decks for a quick shower in one of the two heads and a nap in the master stateroom forward with queen-size berth. The guest stateroom aft to port with twin berths was nearly as attractive to my tired bones.
But there were miles to go before I would sleep this day, and more to learn about the 45. I spent the rest of my time getting all the fine details about this sweet-looking boat, but all I truly needed to know had been revealed to me earlier that morning when she walked the walk.
Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts Phone: (910) 371-3663. Fax: (910) 371-1275. www.rampageyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.