Rinker Fiesta Vee 300 Cruiser
APRIL 2005
 
   
Length overall  31'6"
Beam 10'6"
Draft  36"
Displacement  11,100 lb
Fuel Capacity  150 gals
Water Capacity  33 gals
Standard power  Standard twin 260hp 5.0L Mercury gas engines with Bravo III outdrives 
Base Price  $136,044


The cabin is well designed for cruising comfort with a dinette that converts to a V-berth.

Rinker is celebrating its 60th year in operation with the introduction of the new Fiesta Vee 300 Cruiser. I recently had the opportunity to inspect the new model at the Miami Boat Show with Rinker's president, Kim Slocum.

'We try to build boats the way we think boaters are going to use them,' he explained. 'It's a requirement that everyone in management uses their boats as much as they can. It's time well spent. We learn a lot from those real life experiences. We don't play golf on Saturdays; we're out on our boats, and we come to work on Monday with fresh ideas.'

A good example is the shore power system. After Slocum tripped one night over a shore power cord that ran right through the cockpit, he came up with the idea of having hook-ups on both sides of the boat. 'We're now employing that feature throughout our entire line of cruisers,' he explained. 'Experienced boaters appreciate it.' An automatic relay switch prevents one shore power inlet from back-feeding to the other.

Other handy, thoughtful touches include a pop-up blender in the cockpit galley station, a high grade of anchor rode that's less likely to turn into spaghetti in the locker, and a Bimini that's rigged independent of the radar arch. The individual sections of canvas are labeled with color-coded tags so you can easily match edges and get the cockpit covered quickly in case of an approaching storm. 'These are things you learn from using your own product,' Slocum noted.

You enter the cockpit from the broad, integral swim platform through a gate in the transom. There's an inviting, six-foot settee that spans the transom facing forward. Molded steps lead up and over the high bulwarks protecting the cockpit. Access to the foredeck is through a hinged center panel on the windshield.

The helm deck features an L-shaped settee to port, raised to provide good views as well as extra headroom in the midships cabin underneath. The helm itself has a wide bench seat, adjustable wheel, and adequate room on the faux burled maple dash for a chartplotter in the center, flanked by stainless-rimmed bezels for engine readouts. The entire sole under the cockpit hinges up with an electronically actuated piston to reveal the engine compartment.

As on the 410 Fiesta Vee I reviewed a year or so ago, the 300 provided a sweet ride. The hull lifted out of the hole with ease and grace, and very little bow rise. This is achieved, Slocum explained, through a combination of hull design, careful placement of the center of gravity, choice of trim tabs and power selection.

Once on plane, the 300 proved spry and dry. We found a comfortable cruising speed of 23.2 knots at 3500 rpm and a top speed of 39.4 knots at 5200 rpm, wide-open throttle. Turns were sure-footed and tight. It took wakes with soft landings and hardly any rolling motion at rest taking wakes broadside. The Mercury controls were remarkably smooth.

Down below, there's one sizeable cabin with plenty of headroom. The galley has a nice, deep countertop and all the necessary accoutrements. Forward, a dinette converts to a V-berth separated by a partial bulkhead and a privacy curtain. The double berth tucked under the helm deck provides additional accommodations. The head has adequate headroom and elbow-room and a hand-held shower. Overall, there's a thoughtfully designed allocation of interior space that makes it a good choice for a family cruiser.