By Capt. Rob Smith
The 41 Express is Rampage’s second largest sport fishing yacht. Flexibility is the name of the game in sport fish yachts. One person may want a bait and tackle center and the other may want another baitwell. Some may want extra ice and freezer space; others may want a bait prep station. The Rampage 41 Express has that kind of flexibility.
The rugged hull of the 41 Express is solid fiberglass below the water line and cored with end-grain balsa above to add strength and rigidity, but not excess weight, to the hull. Everywhere the hull is penetrated, the balsa core is relieved to prevent wicking water into the core. Chines and strakes are filled with a polyester filler bond to strengthen them. The bow has a real Carolina flare and wide chine flats to shed the spray away from the deck. A sharp entry slices the waves. Deadrise at the stern is 12 degrees. The hull carries a 5-year transferrable structural warranty and a 3-year warranty against blisters below the water line.
Molded-in side steps take you into a cockpit with over 100 square feet of fishing room. The deck is reinforced with a ½” aluminum plate so you can add a fighting chair if you like. The gunwales are 12 ½” wide with 7 rod holders (4 on port and 3 on starboard). Cockpit bolsters are removable. Across the stern is a dual access baitwell/livewell. The smaller, see-through hatch allows you to check on the bait. When you use it as a fish box, the center divider is removable so you can stow the big fish in it. A baitwell with Tuna Tubes is one option and a folding transom seat is another. There are two fish boxes in the deck, both with macerators. Stainless steel lift rods help keep the hatch open and a gasket around the lid keeps water out. A center box lifts out to allow access to the bilge. The port side transom door has heavy duty hardware with top gate, and the door is gasketed. Three large scuppers quickly drain any water out of the cockpit.
There are 12 options to choose from in the helm, deck, transom and cockpit layouts. At the transom is the baitwell or fold-away seat. Port side you can have an aft-facing seat with Frigid Rigid Cooler, bait prep unit with sink and tackle storage, or bait prep unit with freezer box. Over to starboard, you can have another aft facing seat with Frigid Rigid Cooler, bait prep unit with freezer or bait prep unit with sink and tackle storage. Up on the helm deck you can choose to have port side seating and starboard side storage and prep center, port and starboard seating or my favorite, port side seating with starboard entertainment center with refrigerator, cook-top and sink.
Hitting the button brings the entire helm deck up for access to the Caterpillar C12 ACERTS in our test boat. Having crawled around a few to clean out strainers, change filters, everything else, I really appreciated the space around these big engines for maintenance. Even with the standard 11-kW generator, you have room to roam. With the helm deck back in place, you have a fuel tank inspection hatch in the step where you can shut off the fuel lines if necessary.
At The Helm
The helm is centerline and tips aft to let you add electronics and check on the connections. There is 864 square inches of landscape to fill with all your favorite electronics. Rampage angles the dash slightly back and in a slight V to bring all the instruments in clear view whether you're standing or sitting. The helm chair has enough room around it so people can get by without you having to jump up to let them pass. You get nearly unobstructed 360 degree visibility. The structure supporting the hard top and tower add a few obstacles, but I found them all easy enough to look around. If you opt for the hardtop, you have more choices. You can simply have the hardtop; you can add an upper control station, or you can go all the way and have a tuna tower with controls and wheel. With the hardtop you can also add outriggers.
The Pointy End
You can go forward up the molded-in steps and wide side decks. The integral pulpit has a standard roller assembly, anchor and 300’ (91.4 meters) of anchor line and 25’ (7.6 meters) of anchor chain. An option I couldn’t do without is a Maxwell RC 800 windlass with Fortress anchor. In pitching and rolling seas, you will appreciate the custom aluminum rail about 24” off the deck. The cabin hatch is about 17” in diameter which lets a lot of air and light inside and makes a tight, but passable escape hatch, for most people.
The cabin entry door is a sliding translucent door on the starboard side. Once inside, you might think you have entered another boat entirely since you will not find a sterile looking fishing boat interior here. Cherry wood veneer cabinetry and a solid wood removable table spice up the salon and galley. The L-shaped sofas convert to Pullman style sleepers when the backs are flipped up. This expands sleeping capacity in the salon to 4. You can go for a double stateroom design if you like and you can also add a bulkhead to the forward stateroom, but I think that would make the interior significantly smaller in useful space. A home theater system and large screen LCD TV are standard.
Serve up your delectable delights in a full galley. Appliances in the galley include a double drawer refrigerator/freezer. If you have ever used a drawer style refrigerator or freezer, you can appreciate the volume of goods it can hold in such a small space. The beautiful cabinetry is accented with solid surface counter tops. Other appliances include a convection/microwave oven and dual burner cooktop.
Sitting Down (or Standing)
The fiberglass enclosed head compartment has a solid cherry entry door. The vanity also has a solid surface counter top. The shower is enclosed so two can utilize the head at once, if you choose. There are four spots for storing rods in the shower vertically. The toilet is a Tecma and there is a ventilation fan here in the head to keep the air moving. Clearance in the head and shower is a very comfortable 77” (1.96 meters).
The forward berth has a privacy curtain, or you can opt for a bulkhead and door. The island bed is queen sized. This area is also wired for TV. Storage is good and includes a cedar lined hanging locker. The mattress measured about 78” x 59” (1.98 x 1.5 meters) and I measured 78 ½” ( 1.99 meters) clearance at the end of the bed and 38 ½ (.98 meters) from the mattress up to the escape hatch.
By The Numbers
The rugged 41 Express measures 44’ (13.4 meters) length overall with the integrated pulpit. Her beam measures 16’ (4.9 meters) and her draft is 4’ (1.2 meters). She weighs in at 16,000 lbs. (7257.5 kilos) with diesel engines. Fuel capacity is 700 gallons (2649 liters) and fresh water capacity is 100 gallons (378.4 liters). Adding the tuna tower raises the bridge clearance to 21 feet 6 inches, or about 6.5 meters.
Handling underway was smooth, but I was on an unusually calm Great Lake. Turns with the tuna tower felt normal; no tipping feeling in hard over turns. The boat I tested had conventional inboard drives. The twin CAT 12 ACERTS (715-hp) had her on plane in 11.7 seconds and up to 30 mph (48.3 kph) in 13.6 seconds. Her most economical speed was 28.2 mph (45.4 kph) at 1750 rpm where she was burning 35.6 gph (134.7 lph) for a range of 498 miles (802.5 kilometers).
Rampage is well known to offshore fishermen and often is the choice for professional fishing boat charter captains. The Rampage 41 Express can get you out to wherever the big sport fish are lurking and get you back safely even in some rough seas like you often find in the Gulf Stream. If you are looking for a tough fishing yacht -- or, a cruising boat in which to sometimes do some fishing -- you owe it to yourself to consider the Rampage 41 Express.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Rampage 41 Express (2012-) is 41.1 mph (66.1 kph), burning 66.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 253.22 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Rampage 41 Express (2012-) is 28.2 mph (45.4 kph), and the boat gets 0.79 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.34 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 498 miles (801.45 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 715 MHP Caterpillar C12 ACERT.
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Helm: Second Station||Optional|
|Oil Change System||Optional|