Flexibility is the operative word with the Rampage 41. She can be had in either the 41 "Express" or "Open" version. The Express is a serious fishing machine fully equipped for big game. The Open is a "crossover" version that is intended for both family cruising and day-boating, as well as fishing. Multiple cockpit configurations are available for different specific applications. By offering a boat that can truly morph between a hardcore fishing machine and a luxurious/entertaining cruiser, the Rampage 41 Express has important utility that most boats in class lack.
Among the Widest Beam in Class.
At 16’ (4.88 m), the Rampage 41 Express has what we’ve found to be one of the widest beams in class, 1’ to 3’ wider, in fact. This has huge benefits to the interior space as a crowd can feel more relaxed and less cramped. Cockpit and helm deck space are also robust as a result, and side decks are not neglected.
Heavy Dry Weight.
With an estimated 30,000 (13,608 kg) dry weight, she’s heavier than most express cruisers and in the middle of express fish boats. That translates to a more solid feel to her handling characteristics, which we’ve verified during our tests.
Cabin Headroom, 6’7” (2.0 m).
This puts her headroom at the top of the class and really gives her an open, expansive feel when in the lower deck. When combined with the added beam, the result is a boat that seems much bigger than her 41'.
Helm Deck Seating.
We think that this helm deck is one of the most functional in class. We like the helm on the centerline and the port and starboard companion seats that are independent and swivel. Further, the port and starboard banquettes are comfortable and with them, 4 to 6 more people can be seated.
Rampage has added an optional aft bulkhead to the rear of the salon creating a second stateroom with a Pullman-style berth over the lower berth. This adds privacy and makes the boat into a family cruiser, a vessel that can be cruised by two couples, or one that can host a gang for an extended fishing tournament.
Greater Fuel Capacity -- Greater Range.
The Rampage 41 Express carries 700 gallons (2,650 L) of fuel. That is 100 gallons (379 L) more than her closest competitor and 175 gallons (662 L) or 33% more than most boats in class. This gives the 41 Express prodigious range, particularly at moderate cruising speeds.
Built by KCS International.
Most express boat builders specialize in either the cruising or the sportfishing categories. KCS International builds boats in both. It cruising boat line is Cruisers Yachts, which is a premier line of luxury boats. All of the materials and designer fabrics that are used in the Cruisers Yachts are also used in the Rampage 41 Express.
Before we get into the performance aspect, it’s important to note that we were testing on a sloppy day with the winds blowing across Lake Michigan creating 2’ to 4’ seas. Not ideal conditions but it certainly gave us a good indication of how well she handles in this sort of mess. We say "not ideal" because any boat will slow down and use more fuel when battering against seas of this size vs. flat-calm conditions. On the other hand, we like to also get a feel for how the boat will handle in challenging conditions, knowing that performance numbers are a "worse case" scenario. So with that said….
The Test Boat Specs.
The Rampage 41 Express has an LOA of 44' (13.41 m) with pulpit, a beam of 16' (4.88 m) and a dry weight of 33,725 lbs. ( 15,329 kgs.). Fully laden with all tanks full she would have a displacement of 38,860 lbs. (17,773 kgs.). The boat as tested had an estimated displacement of 37,455 lbs. (17,025 kgs.), or 96% of her fully laden displacement. Most boats are tested with half fuel or less, so in addition to the sea conditions, her nearly maximum weight also makes our test numbers a "real world" indicator.
Speed and Fuel Consumption.
With a pair of 715-hp CAT C-12 ACERT’s turning 29x43 Veem Interceptor props, we reached a top speed of 35.5 kts at 2300 rpm. At that speed we were burning 68 gph for a range of 328.7 nm.
came in at 1750 rpm and 24.3 kts. That speed reduced the fuel burn down to 37 gph, giving us a range of 414.6 nm.Now the Rampage factory test captain tells us that he has easily reached speeds of 36 to 37 kts. Considering that he probably did so on a calm day, we could believe that with no problem. But the fact that we came darn close to that in 2’ to 4’ seas is a huge testimony to how well this boat handles this type of conditions. And she did it with no pounding.
Our test captain's report read as follows:"This is an exceptionally well-mannered boat. She carves through snotty conditions with ease and remained comfortable throughout the entire test. Her wide flared bows throw a lot of water, and with gusty conditions there was no way to expect a dry ride. However, we did find that the wipers were sufficient to keep the windshields clear, and we appreciated the delay feature as well as the fact that they’re self stowing."
"In a head sea
, the test numbers speak for themselves. We hardly slowed down from the 37 knots the factory captain got in calm conditions. As good as she was in a head sea, she was even better in the beam and following seas. In all conditions, the autopilot held the course steadily with no corrections needed.
"In following seas
, there was no tendency to plow into the forward waves, but she would slice through with more than enough buoyancy to rise to the top every time. We tried increasing speed at select times to see if the bow would stuff but she was having none of it. She just kept slicing through and rising to meet the next wave, all while we were able to stand with barely a need to hold onto anything."
Getting the Shaft?
We’re seeing that there’s a trend in the industry favoring pods for this class of boat. The truth is, that this is a trend that favors the marketability of the boats rather than the boats themselves. Don’t get us wrong, there are distinct advantages with pods regarding fuel burn and the all-important joystick functionality. But those come at a hefty price increase over straight shafts and rudders. And that price can be hard to justify.So here, Rampage stayed with the tried and true shaft/rudder system. We’ve already validated how well she performs, so what about at the dock? Can she still be maneuvered in close quarters?
Any concerns about being able to handle this boat around the dock should be alleviated by a simple test ride. She is among the easiest boats to dock that we’ve been on. A large part of that ease of maneuverability comes from the addition of the optional bow thruster ($10,735) that represents a fraction of the cost of pods. With this, and the big props, we were able to make this boat practically deal cards.
Docking the 41 Express.
She moves well on her own momentum and there’s a lot of thrust coming from those 43" pitch props. To start, shift into "low" mode on the controls to activate the trolling valves. Then, just control her with pulses -- in and out of gear -- using the separate engines to control speed and direction. We had her sliding sideways to, and used the thruster to gently hold her OFF the dock, and that translated into a gentle kiss against the dock just as we ran out of momentum.
Backing into a slip
, we lined up the stern and drove her back in with the engines pulling the stern gently one way or the other. The bow thruster would then keep the hull lined up properly for the narrow entry. All that was needed was a tap or two on the thruster stick. Our captain reported: "She’s quite intuitive and seems to follow the command on her own with very little input from the helm. It was eerie, and comforting at the same time."
By starting our inspection in the cockpit we can begin to get a feel for the versatility that makes the Rampage 41 Express such an attractive boat. Everything that can be added is modular so components can be selected at will to dial-in to the type of boat wanted. For example, based on the owner's experience and comfort level, the boat can come equipped with bow or bow and stern thrusters, or no thrusters at all.
Our test boat was laid out with the basic setup of two aft facing seats ($4,260 ea) and a livewell at the transom. The seats are unusual because they can actually be sat in by most anyone without having to climb up on to a console or mezzanine. Likewise, when wanting to get up and grab a pole, the angler does not have to hop down from a perch.The livewell in the transom is standard and has a capacity of 65-gallons (246 L) but tuna tubes can be added that will reduce the capacity to 45-gallons (170 L).
The Fighting Pit.
The cockpit itself is 100 sq. ft. -- as big as any in class. For those who want to fit a fighting chair, support has already been laminated in underneath the deck in the center, and there is room behind the chair for a mate to guide the chair and another hand to move from port to starboard with gaff or net.Plenty of LED courtesy lighting is conveniently placed to satisfy both the night fishermen and the owner entertaining a group for an evening cruise across the bay.Cockpit bolsters are removable but they’re comfortable for whatever the itinerary calls for so no need to bother. Seven gunwale-mounted rod holders are strategically placed, and we’d certainly consider dropping a grill into one. The transom door is to starboard and it can be used for boarding guests or tuna, both will be equally welcomed. There’s both a fresh and raw water washdown spigot under the gunwales. Caprails are kept snag-free thanks to large hawse holes with cleats below.
Additional modular components can be added as desired to create the layout suitable for the type of plan one has for the boat. To port, choose from an aft facing seat with a Frigid Rigid cooler below, a bait prep unit with sink and tackle storage or a bait prep unit with either a 120V or 220V freezer box. To starboard, add the same freezer boxes with voltage of choice, the bait prep with sink, or the aft seat with cooler.
The helm deck features wrap around seating to both sides of a center-mounted helm. The forward ends have swivel pedestal seats to either side and these can face forward when underway, or swivel to the sides to create a conversational area. However, when facing forward the seats could really use footrests against the forward bulkheads. There are footrests below, but in a seaway, putting feet forward to wedge into the seat can be a major advantage in the quest for stability.
The helm is well laid out with quality components including digital engine controls. The test boat was fitted with the optional Raymarine package with twin 16” (40.6 cm) displays, a 4 kW open array radar, autopilot and a Raymarine 55 VHF. It bears noting that the panel is angled so that both displays are facing the operator, rather than simply being flat. Our test boat was also fitted with a bow thruster ($10,735) and we’ve touched on the benefits of that feature in the docking section of this report.
Between the windows and the optional hardtop, there’s open space that is sure to be fitted with isinglass. We had a wet test day and it didn’t make the helm any drier having it open. The other advantage of putting isinglass here is that on hot days it can be unzipped for fresh air.
Our test boat was fitted with the optional hardtop by Bausch American ($40,850) and it included a 3-degree forward angle radar mount, tri-color LED lighting, spreader lights, perimeter handrails and ladders to both rear corners.
An upper station can be added to the 41 when a tuna tower is selected. Feel free to also add outriggers and a full canvas enclosure.
A switch to the right of the starboard aft-facing seat actuates the hinged helm deck, which raises and lowers automatically providing wide-open access to the engine compartment. Steps to the center make the access even easier. Entering a day hatch in the center of the helm deck makes for even quicker access.
Inside we have a well laid out compartment with easy access to all sides of the 715-hp CAT C12 ACERT engines. All of the batteries and switches are forward. Each engine, plus the genset, has it’s own battery. A fourth bank powers the house systems.
The 700-gallon (2,650 L), total, fuel tanks are one of the secret weapons of the Rampage 41 Express both for offshore fishermen wanting to go down island, and for cruising folks who need serious range. The dual fuel tanks have a crossover system that requires electrically transferring fuel between the two tanks as need be. Racor filters are mounted to the tanks themselves. The 10 kW generator is standard and mounts just behind the entry steps.
Upon entering the accommodations deck, it immediately becomes apparent that there’s a definite advantage to being owned by KCS, the same parent company that builds Cruisers Yachts. The same quality Cherry wood interior, vinyl headliner and solid Cherry table that we’ve come to admire in the company’s yachts is right here as well. Standard flooring is removable carpeting over fiberglass decking but it’s a rare individual that won’t spring for the classy look of the teak and holly sole with removable carpet ($13,305).
The main salon is over to the port side and consists of an L-shaped, Ultraleather upholstered settee wrapping around a solid cherry pedestal table. A custom made oval mirror is fitted to the aft bulkhead. Overhead hatches provide natural light but there are no hull side windows or opening portlights. This is in keeping with the clean look of the exterior hull favored by most avid sportfishermen. The space is used for added storage.
The galley is as pleasing as it is functional. Both the stove and sink are covered to add additional working space to the solid surface counter for food prep. Instead of the traditional microwave, Rampage added a convection microwave. The refrigerator and freezer are separate drawer units, which means that items will not come dumping out on the deck when opened.
Forward of the salon is the master stateroom. In the standard configuration there is a privacy curtain to pull across, but we’d prefer the option that was fitted on our test boat that includes a solid bulkhead both fore and aft of the salon ($22,145) creating two private staterooms. The forward bulkhead also includes beautiful Wenge wood doors with elegant frosted glass inlays.
Once inside, we are presented with an island queen berth with access steps to both sides. An overhead hatch allows natural light and ventilation as well as an emergency egress. All bedding is included and there’s storage both below, and in the often-neglected space above the sides of the compartment in the bow flare. And naturally there are the usual cedar hanging lockers.
Behind the salon is an optional feature that we think makes the Rampage 41 Express even more attractive, an optional second cabin ($22,145). This one has a bench seat for sleeping on, and the seat back lifts up, Pullman-style, to create an upper berth. We like this arrangement because it maximizes space for one person, and maximizes sleeping potential with the Pullman. There’s plenty of room to move about and get dressed. This is also where the ship's main electrical panel is located.
Directly across from the aft cabin, or to the starboard side of the entry stairs, is the head. We expected to see a wet-head but this one features a full walk-in shower. There’s storage both over the toilet and behind large mirrored doors over the sink. The sole and bulkheads are all fiberglass. As this is an offshore boat, a macerator pump with overboard discharge ($1,120) is offered for use when outside no discharge zones.
Base pricing of the Rampage 41 Express is just under $846k. With full options that can climb. However, thanks to factory direct pricing, dealers are not required to stock this boat, which saves money on many aspects (shipping, insurance, floor plan…etc). Those savings are then passed onto the purchaser making this boat priced at $795k as tested.
In the express fishboat category there are only a few boats in this size range on the market. For those who want a hard-core fishing machine, the Rampage 41 Express’ large cockpit and comfortable helm deck seating have obvious advantages. The remarkable 441 nautical mile range at best cruise is simply icing on the cake for anglers wanting to go down island and not have to worry about fuel.
A secondary aspect of the boat's range is the fact that she can easily go on her own bottom to places like Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas, or Venezuela. This capability will also appeal to any cruising family who would like to break out of the same-old-same-old and take a long cruise to the tropics -- or up north. Even going from Chicago to North Channel or Georgian Bay can easily be handled on a load of fuel.
Seaworthy Motor Cruiser.
Not everyone can afford a large motoryacht, but they don't have to in order to have a trustworthy deck underfoot. In fact, the Rampage 41's low CG and tank-like bow make her a seaworthy vessel. That's what we like about boats originally designed for blue water work instead of running from one marina to another.
While the Rampage 41 Express we tested had two sleeping cabins with bulkheads, the below decks area can be highly customized by the builder to fit specific applications. Without the bulkheads the salon becomes huge and the dinette greatly expanded. The forward cabin can have port and starboard bunks for grandkids or for four fishing buddies. One need only decide what is wanted.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Rampage 41 Express (2014-) is 40.8 mph (65.7 kph), burning 68.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 257.38 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Rampage 41 Express (2014-) is 28.0 mph (45.1 kph), and the boat gets 0.8 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.34 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 477 miles (767.66 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 715-hp Cat C12 .
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Optional|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
(It's quick and FREE!)