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Domer

Want a R160 ... but lack of boarding ladder is currently blocking sale

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I am presently taking a very serious look at the Rabolo 160 to be kept at our FL home.  The boat will be used for fishing and watersports on Florida’s lakes, rivers, and coastal waters.  However, the purchase of the R160 may be put off until a better solution for boarding the boat from within the water is provided by Robalo.  Many OEM boat designs, including the R160, fail in providing an adequate boarding ladder that over-40 somethings would be able to easily use to enter the boat from within the water.  It is my experience that boarding ladders should extend away from the hull and provide at least two full step heights beneath the water's surface.  A telescoping ladder which stores against the transom, as does the telescoping ladder featured on the currently manufactured 15’ Whaler hulls, would be a vast improvement to the Rabalo 160’s step.  Additionally, as anyone who has ever owned a small boat can attest, storage space in such boats a premium commodity.  Accordingly, taking up the boat's valuable interior storage to provide space for a portable boarding ladder is a very undesirable situation.  I truly believe that the Rabalo 160 is an otherwise superior design which addresses the needs of trailer boaters such as myself who are seeking a quality center console design and who will be garaging their boats.  The minor improvement / cost of adding a satisfactory boarding ladder would go far towards making the Rabalo 160 the boat of choice for applications such as mine.  Looking forward to your response,

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If the ladder is a deal maker/breaker there are several other manufacturers to look at. I really like my Robalo, but that's because it meets most of my needs and I was able to add on the rest. I know Carolina Skiff has a nice boarding ladder on their 15 foot boat. Key West has an option for a swim platform and boarding ladder on their 15 and 17 foot boats.

My suggestion is to look around, find the boat that seems to meet your requirements, read the reviews in Hull Truth or other non-manufacturer sites, etc. Then find a local dealer and check them out before purchase (a dealer with a bad rep is a deal breaker for me as that's where you'll have to go when you have warranty issues). Every boat I've owned ends back up in the shop at some point and with most manufacturers your dealer is your only avenue for warranty work.

Good luck and I hope you find the boat you're looking for.

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Fortunately, I do not have an immediate to purchase the boat, will lobby Robalo to consider the change, and hope for the best.  As I said initially, I consider the boat to be in all other respects, superior to the competition.  I do have one more comment with respect OEM supplied solutions for being able to enter the boat from within the water.  Such capability to easily enter the boat from the water should be considered a priority, particularly in vessels which are commonly single handed.  Should one have boat long enough, particularly in a smaller vessel, and or operate in rough water, at some point you may find yourself accidentally overboard.  A portable ladder stored in the boat would not be of any assistance in such cases.  Should one not be able to re-enter the boat via a ladder which may be accessed from within the water or via a water level swim platform, then a case may be made that the boat's design has a safety flaw.  While Rabolo may not participate in this Forum, I am hopeful that they monitor their Forum, take note of feedback, and will consider the recommended change.

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If you don’t plan on getting trim tabs, maybe you can have a whaler style ladder made for the boat? There should be enough space on either side of the transom to accommodate that. Maybe you can even order the whaler parts (call them and say you own a whaler but the ladder fell off :) ....) and install yourself?

I don’t know how easy it would be for Robalo to change their design. I have an R200 and every owner hates the design of the jump seats. It’s been 7 model years (12-18) and no change. Considering that the R160 came out 2016, I would say the chance is slim.

If you really like the boat except for the ladder, I’d say just fix it yourself, rather than settling for a lesser boat, or waiting in vain.

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I'm not trying to be overly harsh, but you are smoking something if you think a boat manufacturer is going to modify a design based on what one prospective customer wants - highly unlikely I would think.  I would also say that while your interest in an integrated swim ladder is not unreasonable, it's not very common on a 16 foot boat.   If this is a critical feature for you, why not consider other boats or possibly go up a size to the Robalo R180?  Or, as the previous poster suggested, consider modifying yourself (or having this done) after purchase. 

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19 hours ago, JoeC said:

I'm not trying to be overly harsh, but you are smoking something if you think a boat manufacturer is going to modify a design based on what one prospective customer wants - highly unlikely I would think.  I would also say that while your interest in an integrated swim ladder is not unreasonable, it's not very common on a 16 foot boat.   If this is a critical feature for you, why not consider other boats or possibly go up a size to the Robalo R180?  Or, as the previous poster suggested, consider modifying yourself (or having this done) after purchase. 

I agree. But if there’s enough complaints or demands they’ll probably consider it on their next redesign. There’s a lot of fixed costs associated with redesigns that have to be amortized over a very long production run in order remain profitable. And from what I gather, the current design is relatively new. I love the ladder on my R222 whether getting on the boat from the water or my driveway and I wouldn’t of bought the boat without. However, I wouldn’t of held my breath if it wasn’t an option. Life is too short. If you want to boat, find the best fit and have some fun. 

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On 12/27/2017 at 1:22 PM, RickR160 said:

They should offer it as an option.  Step is useless.

They probably have to change the mold to accommodate a built-in step design, which would make it highly unlikely.

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The step isn’t great, but I have had no trouble getting back in. 

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