Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
Robalo, “the most iconic and historic name in fish boat circles” has been in business since 1968 and is part of the Chaparral family of Nashville, Georgia. For 2016, Robalo offers fifteen models of center console, Cayman Bay boats, dual console, and walkarounds ranging from sixteen to thirty feet and the majority of this current fleet has been introduced in just the past four years.
At 16-feet, four-inches long on a 7-foot beam, the new R160 Center Console is the smallest of seven center console models up to thirty feet. It rides on Robalo’s Hydro Lift™ Multi Angle Extended V-Plane running surface which stretches full length and even extends beyond the engine bracket, creating built-in trim tabs and a longer running surface. The poured ceramic composite transom coring plus Kevlar-reinforced hull construction create what Robalo refers to as “100% rot free construction.” In addition, the encapsulated closed cell foam provides level upright flotation.
The R160 enjoys many of the features of its larger center console siblings but understandably on a smaller scale. Take seating for example. Two multi-function stern jump seats, one on each side of the centre stern removable 12-gallon (45 L) fuel tank have fold-forward upholstered seatbacks that, when laying flat are on the same level as the hinged access cover over the centre gas tank and together provide a full-width level aft casting platform.
Now, fold the seatbacks back up and lift the hinged seat bottom cushions and you will find designated storage and transom access under the starboard seat and a 5-gallon bucket (or more storage) under the port seat. All Robalo upholstery, including on this R160, utilizes 36-ounce expanded, French stitched vinyl with a 10 mil Nano Block topcoat for UV protection plus an anti-microbial barrier coating to help prevent molding all wrapped around Flow foam to assist faster drying.
Moving forward from the stern, a reversible backrest on the double-wide helm bench seat allows rear-facing seating as well. The hinged bottom cushion of this helm seat lifts to reveal a standard 70-quart built-in cooler. On the forward side of the helm console is a single seat with a hinged upholstered back bolster which opens to access storage within the console. A hinged seat bottom opens to access a standard built-in 16-gallon cooler with overboard drain. An optional seat cushion is available.
Within the raised bow casting deck is a huge insulated compartment. An optional cushion is also available for this casting deck. A bow access panel is especially handy for fishermen wanting to install a bow-mounted trolling motor. The center console helm comes standard with an aluminum framed acrylic windscreen plus stainless steel amenities such as the steering wheel, grab rails, plus drinkholders. There is lots of room available on the molded console face for any amount of flush-mounted electronics.
The self-bailing inner liner of the R160 provides relatively deep and safe 22-inches of interior freeboard and four stainless steel cockpit safety rails are provided as are blue LED cockpit courtesy lights. A standard starboard side transom-mounted fibreglass boarding step assists in water accessibility. Standard hull colour is white with your choice of black or blue boot stripe. You may want to personalize by opting from five choices of hull bottom or solid hull colours or from three choices of wide band hull side colours. Yamaha or Mercury outboard power from 40 to 90 horsepower is available. Robalo recommends 70 horsepower as being optimum.
There are some great options available for the R160 to dress it up to your liking. To protect from the weather, choose the bimini top with boot and/or covers for the console and helm seat. Several Garmin electronics options are available depending on the type of boating recreation you enjoy as is a Bluetooth compatible sound system.
Also at the helm, you may want the Bay Star tilt steering and the fold down console windshield complete with a powder coated rail. If fishing is a priority, go for the trolling motor wiring along with rod boxes, rod holders, and a livewell system built in to the forward console seat base coupled with six rod holders built in to the sides of this seat base. You may also want to select the larger 18-gallon (68 L) removable fuel tank and if recreation/cruising is high on your list, go for the full welded high profile bow rail and a ski tow.
The R160 may be the smallest Robalo center console but it certainly is big on features.
|Length:||16' 4"||4.98 m|
|Dry weight:||1,600 lbs||726 kg|
|Draft:||2' 3"||69 cm|
|Fuel Capacity:||12 US gals||45 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Yamaha or Mercury Outboard|