By Capt. Dan Armitage
Rinker returns to outboard power with the new Captiva 186 OB bowrider for 2012 -- its first outboard-powered boat model in 18 years! The Captiva 186 OB is a direct response to boaters who requested a sportboat package (boat, motor and trailer), a low- price point, and performance -- powered by an outboard motor. The Captiva 186 OB is also the only model in the 45-year-old boat manufacturer’s lineup that comes complete with a trailer. Rinker has identified what it considers a trend to outboard boats at the small end of their sportboat line, and I concur.
The New Stern of the 186
Rinker maintained the planing hull of the original 186 BR stern-drive model and adapted the transom of the new Captiva to accommodate outboard engines. The Windline three-step retractable swim ladder is 37 inches in length and folds to secure around a skid-free step panel that doubles has a hand hold when boarding. A portable tow pylon mounted forward of the splash-well is a welcome standard item.
Exercising the outboard option opens up the cockpit area on the 186, adding more than ten inches in cockpit sole length, which is surrounded by fully wrapped and upholstered gunwales that average 29 inches high. That is higher than some other sportboats in its class and it makes the cockpit just that much more secure, particularly for kids.
I liked the self-draining, open storage areas along the base of each bulwark. The sole locker underfoot that extends eight feet to the boat’s bow is obviously long enough for both water skis and fishing rods.
I found the helm position aboard the 186 a bit tight for my six-foot frame, with leg room a little cramped especially to starboard. At 14 inches off the floor, the helm seat height felt somewhat low for me – especially in relation the location of the throttle control which was intended to be as handy as possible when sitting in the seat and on the bolster. Shorter operators may not feel so cramped when sitting but they may lose the horizon while getting onto plane. The solution for them is to sit on the bolster -- that's what it's for. It's optional ($107) and I would recommend getting it no matter how tall or short you are.Getting the helm seat right is important on any boat you buy and the dealer is the person who can easily make it right for you by raising or lowering the seat or even moving the pedestal base slightly. Remember, this is a 18' boat and it already has a cockpit depth which is deeper than some in class. The instruments were simple and provide all of the information you need. I like the fact that the button for the horn is in red and is placed to the right of the wheel, just where it should be. On the Captiva 186 BR there is a drink holder molded into the dash just to the right of the wheel, something that the sterndrive version does not have. I would get the optional tilt steering ($243).
A 17-inch-wide companionway leads to the Captiva’s bow area, accessed through a center windshield panel that pivots on a C-channel that extends the full-length of the seam connecting it to the passenger screen section. The forward lounge seats offer angled backs and hand-holds conveniently positioned. We’d like to see a cleat both port and starboard near the bow instead of just one on the bow. This three-cleat arrangement (the other two are on the stern quarters) is not unusual for price-point boats. There is no dedicated anchor locker, but it is easy enough to stow your anchor in one of the large bins under the bow seating. The bow cleat is in exactly the right place when tying off an anchor rode. There are back rest cushions affixed to the boat in front of each console, on the sides, and forward so no matter where your guests sit in the bow they will have a comfortable back rest.
The 90-hp Evinrude E-TEC is a good match for the 186 for owners who want to keep the boat as economical as possible, and are not going to be towing waterskiiers with a boat loaded with friends or family. I reached speeds approaching 35 mph during testing, which makes it ideal for a couple blasting around the lake, or a boat for teenagers where you don't want them going too fast. Boaters who plan to tow tubes or carry more than two passengers may want to opt for a 115 or higher outboard. Hot shots, of course, will go right for the 150-hp Evinrude, which will move this 2,310 lb. (1,048 kg.) boat as fast as I would want to go. The Captiva’s hull carries a slight reverse to its chine, which offers lift at the hole shot and stability at speed. I found the boat to be a bit sensitive to load distribution at slow speeds which is not unusual for an 18' boat with a 20-degree deadrise, which is deep for this size boat. You may want to add trim tabs. Cowboys will be very glad to have the fairly deep-V hull when rocketing off waves and wakes, or when punching through a steep chop at speed.
Performance and Handling
Reaching a top speed of 34.8 mph at WOT and 0 to 30 mph in 16.3 seconds, the rig is quicker than I expected. Fuel efficiency is good as well with the 90-hp Evinrude, which burned 8.2 gph at top end and less than half that at the optimal cruising speed of 17.7 mph at 3000 rpm. At that speed, I was able to execute tighter turns than I would recommend for recreational boating purposes – and do so while maintaining a single hand position on the wheel and noting no skipping or “drifting.” While testing hole shot characteristics, I found that the horizon stayed in sight despite a pedestal seat height I found to be low. I also learned that the Evinrude outboard required no trimming to get the boat neatly on plane in an average of 6.5 seconds.
Powered with the Evinrude 90-hp E-TEC, and including the matching EZ-Loader trailer, the 186 OB is the least expensive boat in the Rinker line at and MSRP of $20,876. That price makes it very competitive with the two or three other builders with 18' outboard boats on the market. Rinker says that the 186 OB is a "value" boat and I agree. I certainly recommend that you check her out before buying any boat in class.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Rinker Captiva 186 OB (2011-) is 34.2 mph (55 kph), burning 8.2 gallons per hour (gph) or 31.04 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Rinker Captiva 186 OB (2011-) is 17.7 mph (28.5 kph), and the boat gets 4.54 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.93 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 118 miles (189.9 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 90-hp Evinrude E-TEC.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!