|Rinker Fiesta Vee 390— By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— January 2004
|This prolific Midwest builder jumps into the 40- foot-plus market with its largest cruiser to date.|
Syracuse, Indiana, might not be as quickly associated with boats as, say, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but on the quiet Syracuse street called West Chicago, the number of boats produced last year almost equaled the town’s 3,000-plus population. The builder responsible for this? Rinker. Some people say Rinker is Syracuse, since it employs about 15 percent of the area’s residents. By the look of things, the builder might need to hire a few more hands now that it has launched its 390 Fiesta Vee, its largest to date and the flagship of its cruiser series.
I stopped by Rinker’s plant and saw several 390s, which have solid hand-laid fiberglass bottoms and end-grain balsa hull sides (Rinker says it will soon move to Divinycell coring), in various stages of production. Some hulls were white, some two-tone blue, some pewter, and some black (all standard color options for the 390). I also noticed a test tank where 31-footers were getting rained on with fresh water. Rinker’s marketing manager Kim Slocum told me that every vessel gets soaked for four hours to ensure there are no leaks before going out to an owner.
The facility was buzzing, as Rinker is cranking out two 390s per month and plans to soon build one per week. According to Rinker plant manager Chris Dumford, if the builder doesn’t increase production, it will take two years to catch up on current 390 orders. Two years? What put this vessel in such demand right out of the box? To find out, Dumford and I ventured to Lake Wawasee, the largest natural lake in Indiana, to test this flagship.
Styling may be one explanation for the 390’s success. I’ve seen other express cruisers that appeared top-heavy or boxy, but that’s not the case with the 390. The standard curved radar arch helps soften the boat’s lines. The arch can also be lowered with the removal of a couple of bolts.
I stepped onboard the solid swim platform, which several guests could hang out on and take advantage of the standard transom shower. What the swim platform had in size, the electrically opening transom garage offered in space. Inside was an array of neatly hung standard shorepower cords (two 50s, plus adapters for other 30- and 50-amp configurations), battery switches (I’d prefer to see them inboard for safety reasons), and the optional 3.3-hp Mercury outboard for the optional Mercury 270 RIB. The RIB package is one of only a few options offered. Why? Because most everything is standard, including but not limited to a Raymarine electronics package that includes an RL80C radar, GPS, and plotter, ST60 Tridata, plus a 10-kW Kohler gasoline genset. In the 390’s genre, these amenities are often options. Dumford says its extensive standard equipment keeps the quality consistent.
This article originally appeared in the December 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.