By Cam McRae
No one could ever accuse the Rinker folks of being unaware of market trends. The company rode the wave of express cruiser popularity for a couple of decades. But, faced with an economic turndown and a shift in interest to smaller boats, Rinker ramped up its runabout production with their line of deftly styled, and perfectly named, Captiva bowriders.
Rinker began as a family company, dating back to 1945. It’s now part of the Nautic Global conglomerate, but the thought that goes into a current Rinker has the same intensity that created the cruisers. The 216 BR, at less than 22 feet, is not a big boat, but it comes with small details and major features that set it apart.
A twenty-foot bowrider is an affordable do-anything boat, constituting a huge and highly competitive portion of the current marine recreation market. Moreover, it’s a hull size that presents a unique challenge to boat builders. The parameters are sharply limited, a length of 20-22 ft., a beam of 8 ft 6in, and a modified vee bottom. Within those confines a design team has to cram their choice of performance, style and convenience features – without the craft feeling crammed or overdesigned.
Rinker assured the ride quality of the 216 by selecting a 19 degree deadrise that extends right to the transom. Then they enhanced the boat’s performance and tow talents by adding wide reverse chines. The lifting effect of the chines aids acceleration, speed and agility while dramatically reducing spray.
The look and style of a bowrider, especially a small one, is defined by the front edge of the windshield. Moving that edge back in the boat increases the size of the bow area, but can affect the shape of the windshield, requiring a taller rake in order to retain space in the main cockpit.
Rinker has decided to create a bow area that’s not palatial – big enough to be comfortable. With that, the windshield moves forward and rakes back, giving the 216 a sleek profile that is the signature of all the Captivas. Rinker’s emphasis on the main cockpit can be seen in the tidy design of the folding wind dam below the windshield between bow and main cockpit. This bowrider’s passengers will be comfortable on those chilly days when no one wants to ride up front.
If any of the 216BR’s features sets it apart, it would be storage, always a premium on a small boat – and often dealt with as an afterthought by designers. On the 216 it was obviously a priority. There are no fewer than six compartments arrayed around the boat, plus an anchor well and a wakeboard-sized floor locker between the consoles. You can add to that some spacious open bins along the sides. And, while it’s difficult to be truly innovative on a small runabout, (it has all been done before…) Rinker brings us a novel take on stern boarding access. Outer cushions on the engine box pad lift up like wings, revealing non-skid walking surfaces. No more sneaker prints on the upholstery.
Until MerCruiser releases the 220hp version of its all new proprietary 4.5L V6, the current 4.3L 220 is the 216’s engine of choice. A 4.3L will push the Captiva somewhere into the high 40s, depending on prop choice. The new 4.5L should post similar top speeds but will deliver better acceleration and fuel economy. If the budget will handle it, you might opt for the 250hp 4.5L – and create a 50 mph pocket rocket.
We don’t talk about the price of boats often enough. Any boat is an expensive purchase, but the twenty foot runabout can be an economical choice. Some comparison shopping is required. Pick out three or four boats that you might find appealing. Then, check the list prices for the base boat, your desired power package and some of the major options such as canvas, wakeboard tower, custom colour scheme etc. Factor in charges like delivery or installation fees. When you look at the Captiva’s bottom line – I think you’ll be pleased.
By Cam McRae