Captain’s Report by Dan Armitage
To offer a feature-filled express cruiser capable of entertaining a dozen guests topside and comfortably sleep two couples, or a family of four, below. The target market for the new 290, according to our Rinker spokesman, is the young family who may be entering the cruiser market or moving up from a smaller class cruiser to allow them expanded entertainment options while cruising or relaxing dockside.
There is no getting around the fact that historically Rinker has fielded cruisers that are among the lowest-priced in class, and the 290 EC is no exception. The builder proudly proclaims that the 290 is available for "as low as" $80,999 equipped with a 350 MAG (300-hp) MerCruiser sterndrive.
Rotating helm seat.
The double helm seat swivels to port and even slightly aft to provide more conversational comfort in the cockpit when a crowd is aboard. We have seen this feature in only a couple of boats.
The Rinker 290 EC comes standard with "camper canvas", a piece of equipment that is usually relegated to the option list by most builders, even the most expensive ones. We like this feature as it extends the useful season of any boat. Mom will like it because it means she can stay topside if it begins to rain.
Options for cruising.
Because most buyers will use the 290 strictly as a day boat, it has put a lot of expensive cruising-oriented equipment on the options list. In that way most people will not be paying for things that they will rarely use. The 5 kW generator, A/C, folding radar arch, colored gel coat in the topsides and other up-grades are all on the option list. Having said that, there are a number of standard items on the 290 which we sometimes see on a builders option list, such as a pressurized transom shower, a stowable table for the cockpit, an electric engine hatch lift, a spotlight and a windshield wiper.
The 290 EC appears to have met Rinker’s goal of producing a sleek-looking, 30-foot-class cruiser designed around entertaining and comfort topside and below. The cockpit seating set-up is modern and functional – from rotating double-helm seat and aft-facing to the rumble seat aft. Standard accessories and options are sensible without being over the top and the standard power is sufficient for most purposes. The boat is priced at $80,999, plus freight and dealer prep, for the standard package. I suggest that you go through the option list, determine what you will really need, if anything, and tack that on to this low price. My guess is that most people will still be under 100k.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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