We can’t all afford to have a different vehicle for every yearn or desire. Cars, and even more so (usually) boats are expensive hobbies to have, and that’s just the maintenance. So when you’re looking for a boat, unless you’re one of the upper one percent, typically, you’d like it to be able to do more than just one thing. Sure, a 1,200-horsepower DCB catamaran speed boat would be awesome to have when you want to feel the wind through your hair on the open water, as well as a 30 cruising yacht to jump into on those days you want to just lounge outside the bay and watch dolphins jumping on the horizon … but odds are, you probably can’t afford both, or even one of those things without taking out a second mortgage on your house. But, thankfully, you don’t have to have both of those boats to be able to enjoy a day at sea. The Robalo R302 is here to help you have a little bit of everything for a very reasonable price.
With a length overall of 29’2” a beam of 10’6”, and a displacement of 8,920 pounds, the R302 is not a small vessel by anyone’s estimation. it has a 300 gallon fuel capacity and a max horsepower rating of 700, so it is versatile to say the least. It can be a fishing boat or a family-friendly day tripper, or even a get-up-and-go boat all in the same day.
The first thing you might notice is the wheel and controls are actually not on-center. The console sits on the starboard-side of the boat, which was done in an effort to provide more room for the co-pilot/passenger to be able to stretch out. Truthfully, the off-center setup is a bit balky and strange at first, but the lack of complaints from your copilot will encourage you to get used to it rather quickly. The helm features tons of storage compartments and is protected by a full-height tried-and-true glass windshield that connects nicely with the hardtop overhead. There are vents available, so you won’t ever feel penned in if you don’t want to be.
At the helm, you will notice just how sturdy the R302 feels at sea. It handles with a solidarity and assuredness that can only come from well distributed heft, and a well-reinforced Kevlar hull. The R302 handles choppy water and takes turns with the ease of a professional athlete running an elementary school fitness test. But once you get out on the water, you can connect with the world using the 12-volt DC outlet to power your cell phone, or either of the two USB ports to jack into the web if need be. There is also space for twin 12-inch screens to give you all the necessary feedback on what the boat is doing, and where you are headed.
If you want to transition from family to fish, all you need to do is turn around and you will behold six gunwale rod holders, as well as a very serious 25-gallon livewell two fish lockers, and a transom door. Oh and let us not forget the other 20-gallon livewell, prep sick and 72-gallon cooler at the back end of the boat as well. You’ve got everything you need for a big day of fishing except the bait. But your kids can still enjoy their card game, so long as they move up front to the bow and utilize the convertible lounge area and table to play card games or eat pizza or make fun of dad not catching any fish.
The head compartment is actually much more inviting and non-claustrophobic than expected. There is an electric porcelain toilet, and even a small vanity that sports a fake stone look reasonably well enough, as well as a small hand sink.
The R302 isn’t just meant for sitting in the harbor however. This boat can move thanks to twin Yamaha F300 OB motors that muscle out 300-horsepower each. Getting up to planing speed takes a mere 4-seconds, while 30-mph takes just less than double that time.
The Robalo R302 isn’t a single-minded boat. It was created to be something special, but not just at one thing in particular. It can be your sun bathing boat, it can be your speed boat, and it can be your angling boat … all in the same day! It can do 80% of what those purpose-built boats can do for about 50% (or less) of the money. And even though it has a price tag of only about $150,000 (depending on options), the R302 can make you feel like a million dollars