Being purpose built is something that has increasingly been en vogue in recent years. It can be seen everywhere. So few doctors are just primary care internists anymore, so you can’t just go in and see if the pain in your arm is a tumor or not, nope, now you have to go see a skeletal oncologist surgeon who is one of three in the state and hope he has time for you. Cars are much the same too — no more five seats and four wheels that all kind of look the same. Nowadays you can find an all-wheel drive SUV that has a power convertible top, because … why not. The days of ‘one-size fits all’ are pretty much gone for good. Niche markets are the demand, and more and more specialization is expected at this point. This philosophy can be seen in the boating world as well. A boat like the Robalo 246 Cayman is a wonderful example of exactly what we expect a bay boat to be. It can get into and out of skinny water without so much as tickling its hull and has all the features and amenities you might expect to find in a true fishing boat.
The 246 Cayman picks up where Robalo left off with the 206 and 226 variations and synthesizes what it learned from each of those into a shallow water and weeds loving boat that can handle a bit of rough every once in a while. At 24’6” the 246 Cayman offers incredibly large casting decks at both the bow and stern. The unusually large 9’ beam allows for wider side decks, not to mention more stability to help it take on those unexpected storms and choppy waves. Also helping with a stable ride is the pronounced bow flare that keeps things dry when choppy waters threaten to soak everyone onboard.
On board there is room for nine actual adults that can all be seated in various places at once. In so many average bay boats, we are used to having to play the game of having to choose whether we want to fish and have a casting deck, or have seating so everyone won’t be mad at us. The bow seating that you might think would be nonexistent due to the casting deck, actually shares the space nicely, and can even be had with removable backrests. There is a removable table that can affixed and still not be intrusive to those that want to fish. Lower that same table and suddenly you have a very nice sun pad to lay out on, all the while it will be hiding not less than three compartments for storage underneath in the form of lockable storage bins.
while the helm sports some molded setbacks and all the basic necessities of modern boating — a compass dead center flanked by useful storage space, as well as all-too-necessary cell phone holder, and even a 12-volt plug for charging those devices. Stainless switches control everything on the boat, while there is space for a pair of 12” screens if so desired, as well as space provided for an optional Garmin 741xs nav system. The stainless steel steering wheel feels solid and provides more than adequate feedback. The helm bench seat is made with an aluminum tube frame while the seating material is UV-resistant. The seat backs pull double duty as they also are mounts for four rod holders, while below the seat is a 70-quart cooler for all things beverage.
Power comes from a 4.2-liter 4-stroke Yamaha 300 XCA that pumps out 300 horsepower, which is enough power to help the 246 Cayman to plane in 3.0 seconds, while helping it to run from 0-30 mph in 8.7 seconds. Not bad for a fishing boat with a dry weight of 3,500 pounds.
So for about the cost of a new BMW 3-Series, you can have yourself a very specialized bay boat in the form of the Robalo 246 Cayman. It isn’t a boat that can do everything, but then, that’s kind of the point. No one wants generic or universal anymore. The 246 Cayman was made to be what it is, a wonderfully purpose built bay boat. In this world of niche markets, Robalo has created a very special specialist we can all enjoy.