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September 21, 2007

Rinalli 6 Meter LT

The Rinalli 6 Meter LT is not your everyday flats skiff. Technically, it's more of a general bay boat than a hard-core skiff because of its size, but innovative design features allow it to perform like a much smaller boat.

The Rinalli is built on a patented racing hull known as the Duo-Delta Conic hull. This design features a deltaconic hull section forward that has a sharp entry for cutting through waves and wide chines for stability. Strakes provide substantial lift, and the boat's precisely positioned step is ventilated by notches in the chines, introducing a layer of air to the aft hull section.

The aft section is much flatter, with a centerline pad on which the boat rides at speed. Rinalli says that the forward, sharper hull section creates a bow wave on which the flatter aft section can surf at high speeds. The boat's wetted surface is greatly reduced, leading to impressive efficiency.

How impressive? Well, the Rinalli reaches a top speed of 57.2 mph at 5800 rpm with only a 200-hp Mercury EFI outboard for power. At 4000 rpm the boat cruises at an easy 30 mph. Efficiency is assisted by a small bracket and jackplate bolted onto the transom that allows the engine to be mounted at maximum height to reduce drag. The hull design enables the boat to plane with virtually no bow rise.

The day we tested the Rinalli was flat calm, so we can't say too much about the hull's rough-water performance, but the handling was good. Even at high speeds the boat was very stable (something that can't be said of all step-hulled boats) and turned as if it was riding on rails.

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SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 20'10"
Beam: 8'5"
Max HP: 225
Transom deadrise: 18 ¿
Dry weight: 2,100 lbs.
Base price w/ 200-hp EFI
Mercury outboard: $39,500

Aside from the hull design, the Rinalli is also a well-thought-out fishing platform. It has two large casting decks equipped with numerous storage spaces. These compartments are actually molded into the hull cap, so they should be strong. The huge bow deck contains two large live wells (actually, one is intended for use as a release well), with a spacious dry-storage compartment forward of that. A fourth compartment holds the anchor and standard 12- and 24-volt trolling-motor plugs. Rinalli also uses flush-mount Accon anchor lights and cleats to reduce snags.

The aft casting deck is likewise storage-rich. The helm seating area has removable backrests that can be stowed in two dry-storage boxes beneath the seats when it's time to fish. There are actually three seating options, including a combination leaning post/storage box for the helmsman. Aft, there are two good-sized fishboxes that drain overboard, and a very large centerline compartment that contains all of the boat's pumps and through-hull fittings, providing easy access to everything. This space is also the only part of the hull that isn't filled with closed-cell foam. Even if you took a wave in the boat, there simply isn't anywhere for the water to go except out again.

The console has no forward seat. Instead, Rinalli places five rod holders along the console face. I would prefer to put the rods elsewhere in favor of an unobstructed view, but that's a personal choice. The console has a canvas flap that affords access to the wiring and a small storage space, and also has a stainless-steel handrail and a Venturi-style acrylic windshield. A second stainless handrail positioned beneath the seats provides an extra handhold on rough days.

Rinalli uses no wood in the boat, opting instead for all-composite construction, and offers a ten-year limited structural hull warranty. The 6 Meter LT offers a spacious light-tackle fishing platform combined with a highly efficient, stable and dry hull. That's a combination a lot of inshore fishermen are going to like.

Rinalli Boats, Seguin, TX; (830) 372-3300; www.rinalliboats.com.