The new Rampage 34 will be one of the first
express fishboats built in the U.S.
with Volvo Penta’s IPS drive system.
It is hard to find an express fishboat with sweeter lines, in our opinion, than the latest Rampages. As you can see in the drawing of the new Rampage 34 (above) the sweeping sheer line and soft curves of the bridge profile turn this offshore fishing boat with a high bow and a low transom into a work of art. The big news is that the new 34 (due to start building in October 2008) will be powered by twin IPS 500 pod drives.
Rampage currently builds five fishing boats from 30’
to 45’ and the new 34 will replace the builder’s 33 Express which is currently powered
by conventional inboard power. The new Rampage 34 prototype is being tested at Volvo
Penta’s Virginia test facility as you are reading this. The Swedish engine maker
has been working hard to get their new IPS system in American fishing boats.
Word on the dock was that several small, custom builders along the east coast had put IPS systems in their boats and reportedly were not thrilled with the way the IPS units behaved in backing down situations. A Rampage spokesman told us that Volvo Penta has now perfected a “Special Fishing Application” that has solved whatever problem may have existed.
Engine Weight in the Stern
Tony Martin, director of Rampage’s product development, says, “This isn’t something that we’ve taken and adapted. We’re going to pretty much start from scratch, redesigning the bottom to accept the pod drive. The pod drive during installation inherently changes the LCG of the boat and the way it sits in the water along with running angles. To compensate for that, we’ve pretty much re-designed the hull to accept the application of the pod drive.”
Volvo Penta is testing the hull full of weights to simulate the interior and deck. Martin says, “Until we actually ran the physical hull we didn’t know a number of things: like how the boat floats statically, what kind of hump angles we’re going to get coming out of the hole, what kind of running angles we’ll get when we’re at speed, or what the cruise or wide-open throttle will be like. So it’s a weight and balance game really.” Rampage engineers are quite happy with the way the prototype performs, including backing down.
The new Rampage 34 will be one of the first express
fishboats built in the U.S.
with Volvo Penta’s IPS drive system.
The reason for installing the IPS systems are obvious. Tony Martin reiterates what has been proven time and again over the last several years: “With the Volvo Penta system you’re going to get better range so you’ll ultimately get better fuel mileage out of the existing amount of fuel on board. You’ll also get better performance and better maneuverability, so the boat should run faster with the same size engine. It will also be much easier to maneuver around docks because it will have joystick technology; and the backing down characteristics of the pod drive has been improved over a conventional straight inboard engine installation.”
The IPS 500’s are said by Volvo Penta to be 30%+ more fuel efficient at “best cruise” than conventional inboard installations. BoatTEST.com has found IPS installations to actually be over 40% more efficient in some applications.
The IPS 500’s are said by Volvo Penta to be 30%+ more
fuel efficient at “best cruise” than conventional inboard installations. BoatTEST.com
has found IPS installations to actually be over 40% more efficient in some applications.
Because the engines can be moved several feet aft, the space under the bridge deck can be utilized for other purposes. Clearly, fish boxes in the cockpit sole have to be relocated and it will be interesting to see how Rampage reconfigures the cockpit. Rampage is now building all Rampage models in its plant in Oconto, Wisconsin, the home of Cruisers Yachts, its sister company which has been located there since Lewis and Clark first explored the Midwest. From all reports we have received, the move to Oconto has been a positive one from both management and consumer standpoint.
New Interior Design
The 34 Express has a larger interior than the old 33 and now sleeps four. There is a forward cabin with a pedestal bed. Aft is a lounge seat that makes into a berth with a Pullman bunk above. With a head and a small galley, Rampage has shoe-horned into this 34 versatile accommodations for a comfortable day angling or long weekend of fishing.
We’re told that Rampage plans to only build a dozen or so 34s the first year of production. The company tells us that dealers are now taking orders for the IPS-powered 34 and that deliveries will be made on a first come first served basis. With production due to start in October at press time, the first units should be hitting the water in early January 2009.
Will Rampage make the obvious move and redesign the rest of its line to take advantage of IPS efficiencies? Martin says, “Right now we’re testing the waters with the 34 but if all goes well, we’re definitely prepared to move with the rest of the product line if the demand is there. I truly believe sooner or later fishermen are going to accept this technology, probably to the point where it’s going to be in high demand."