|Rodman 565 Cruiser
— By Capt. Ken Kreisler
— August 2003
|Can a cruising boat built in Spain compete with the best from America and Europe?|
To be accepted in the Brooklyn neighborhood where I grew up, you had to prove yourself in the schoolyard, usually by playing basketball and baseball. So when Bobby Harris moved in, we kids were all waiting to see what he had—to see if he could make it. Well, Bobby turned out to be a terrific athlete, a good friend, and an integral part of the neighborhood.
With its line of family cruising boats, Rodman Yachts is the new nautical kid on the dock, and the Spanish builder has a daunting task ahead of it that is every bit as challenging as proving one’s ability at schoolyard ball. After all, it’s not going to be easy moving in on turf occupied by established domestic and imported brands like Sea Ray and Azimut.
Yet Rodman is serious. With yards in Vigo, Santo Antonia, and Moana, Spain, it currently offers 11 models in Europe, and that will be an even dozen with next year’s launch of a 64-footer. And it’s experienced. It’s been building commercial ships since 1974 and has delivered more than 10,000 vessels, many for military and commercial applications. As I boarded the Rodman 565 for a test, I wondered how well her builder was able to translate the commercial and foreign expertise into a boat for the American market.
The basics certainly sounded promising. Rodman has received ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Environmental Standardization certification for all its boats. It also employs auto-CAD in developing each model and subjects prototypes of them to a series of sea trials, then dismantles, evaluates, and reassembles them, before beginning production. To maintain production quality, it regularly subjects a variety of building materials to laboratory testing.
You can see the emphasis on strength in the 565’s hull, which is solid FRP below the waterline and balsa-cored above it and has six full-length longitudinal stringers. For strength and rigidity, she also has transverse frames every five feet that are tabbed to the hull, from the deck joint all the way through to the bilge, and balsa-cored decks that are laminated to the hull.
Rodman’s military and commercial roots were particularly evident in the engine room, where I saw fully encased wiring, squirrel-cage exhaust blowers, diamond plate covering the shafts, exhausts supported from the top as well as the bottom to cut down on vibration, and a pair of optional three-inch auxiliary engine-driven bilge pumps that could dump some serious water overboard in an emergency.
All this takes on added significance when you factor in price. At $1,022,121 as tested, the Rodman 565 is competitive with, and in many cases priced significantly below, other boats in her size range with comparable equipment. In fact, many similar vessels come in at between $1.3 and almost $1.6 million.
It didn’t appear that Rodman scrimped on the interior to get this price advantage either. I was pleased to find comfortable and well-thought-out interior accommodations, albeit the plan is much like many other cruising boats of her size. All three staterooms—the master forepeak, the twin guest to starboard, and the VIP to port—are tastefully decorated and nicely finished in cherrywood.
I found plenty of stowage in each stateroom, too. The master has drawer space below the berth, a pair of night tables with shelves, and a pair of hanging and stowage lockers. The guest quarters has a drawer below each berth, a night table cabinet, and a large hanging closet and stowage locker. The VIP has the same arrangement.
This article originally appeared in the July 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.