|Rinker Fiesta Vee 390— By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— January 2004
|Part 2: I found the low-end torque of the diesels helpful with slow-speed, close-quarters maneuvers.|
My test boat was certainly rigged and ready to test. Just prior to Dumford starting the optional 370-hp Cummins 370B diesels (twin 420-hp Mercury 8.1L Horizon HO gasoline V-drives are standard), I jumped into the engine compartment for a look around. The area is accessed via a cockpit hatch and has 4'5" headroom and 1'10 1/2" inches between engines, which take up quite a bit of the space. Even at 5'7" and 160 pounds, I found the compartment tight and wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time working here. The Racor fuel filters were difficult to reach, requiring me to stretch across the front of the diesels. Outboard access was equally difficult.
I could, however, spend the whole day in the 390’s cockpit and bridge deck. The proximity of the starboard-side, U-shape cockpit seating to the helm station just forward of it keeps the cruising experience interactive for captain and guests. Of course, this arrangement also keeps everyone near the standard flip-up Pro blender at the wet bar to port. (Can you say frozen margarita?) A Corian countertop, ice maker, and two-cubic-foot Tundra refrigerator round out this space and make the cockpit party central. A few steps away, the helm is neatly arranged with Morse mechanical controls and throttles that flank the wheel with Teleflex steering, a setup that enables your hands to go from controls to wheel to throttles smoothly—no reaching required.
Dumford cranked up the powerplants and headed the 390 out onto the slick-calm lake. The diesels were coupled to a Hurth transmission with 2:1 gear reduction and 22x24 four-blade Nibral props (no cup). This duo propelled the 390 to an average top speed of 33.8 mph at 3000 rpm while burning 40 gph. That’s a nice turn of speed and admirable fuel efficiency. But when he took the engines down to 2500 rpm, I recorded an average speed of 27.7 mph, and the fuel burn dropped to 28 gph, making the 390 fuel miserly.
But I wanted to see if the 390 handled as well as she looked. I found the low-end torque of the diesels helpful with slow-speed, close-quarters maneuvers. (In this size range, I think diesels are a better choice than gasoline powerplants when it comes to boathandling, and you’re likely to do better at resale.) While the 390 handled well at high speeds, she leaned considerably going into turns. This caused the standard biminis (there are two) and acrylic canvas enclosure, which covers the entire cockpit, to obscure views aft of amidships on the side she’d lean into. Sightlines straight ahead were good, however, with a maximum trim angle of seven degrees sans trim tabs.
On the way to the South Bend airport, which took some time as I got caught behind an Amish family taking their horse and carriage out for a ride, I started to formulate what Rinker had accomplished with the 390 Fiesta Vee. Her roomy below-decks area (7'2" headroom) offers a forward island berth, aft guest berth, and single head, which is a great setup for the cruising family. The birch interior makes the saloon warm and inviting, while the laundry list of standard amenities (see specs) enhances the 390’s appeal to the cost-conscious boater who wants to enter the 40-foot market. And the 390’s respectable performance will turn a head or two.
I concluded that the Rinker 390 Fiesta Vee’s look, features, ease of use, and price (base is $339,000) will help the boat become a staple in the builder’s line. Who knows? If the initial burst of interest continues for the 390, production boats may soon outnumber people in Syracuse.
Rinker Boat Company Phone: (574) 457-5731. www.rinkerboats.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.