Ferrari, Rolex, Holland & Holland, Rybovich - names that are so closely associated with the best of the best that they become iconic, setting a standard by which all other brands are judged. Persistence, the newest boat launched by Rybovich & Sons, erases any possible doubt that the firm, which for a couple of decades fell from grace under outside ownership, has again attained the highest-possible ranking for luxury sport-fisher construction. Mike Rybovich, son of Emil (one of John "the Old Man" Rybovich's three sons), came back to run the boatbuilding part of his family's old firm for the current owner, entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga. The result is one of the prettiest and finest-finished sport-fishing boats I've ever seen.
I always start every boat review in the engine room, and I almost couldn't find it on this boat. I dropped down from the cockpit into a small, air-conditioned room and almost turned to climb back up to the cockpit and find the real entrance when I saw a watertight door with a large glass viewing port. Through the glass I saw the gleaming-white machinery space with a pair of massive 2,400 hp MTU engines.
I was standing next to a spotless tackle room, and every rod tip stood aligned vertically against the forward bulkhead. What appeared to be the aft bulkhead hinged upward revealing every reel, securely mounted on holders, with the rod butts in brackets on the backside half of the "wall." Two of the butts were used as legs to secure the hinged door in a horizontal position so it could be used as a rigging table. What deckhand wouldn't love a private air-conditioned rigging room?
And the captain gets a spare Aquamatic 1,200-gallon-per-day reverse osmosis watermaker, seated outboard of the stainless-steel toolbox, complete with hand basin. If the main watermaker fails a thousand miles down the Caribbean rim, just swap it out with the spare one. Outboard of the tool room you'll also find a space that stores 50 gallons of clean lube oil.
Except for the main engine oil filters, which MTU mounts on a slight up-slant on the forward end of the engines that almost mandates cleaning up at least a few drops of old oil, everything is easy to service. There are even passageways, accessed through the pump room, that lie forward of the main engine room, back down outboard of the big mains. That blew me away! The engine-room design makes all necessary preventative maintenance easy.
Rybovich cold-molds the hull with quadruple diagonal planking on the bottom and with seven major, and three lesser, fore-and-aft structural members.The hull sides contain heavy-duty stringers at the cockpit deck level, at the sheer clamp and along the traditional Rybovich "broken-style" sheer line. "Rybovich has been using this construction for almost 50 years," says Rybovich. "We are familiar with it, and these days we use computers and CAD engineering to simulate the stresses at key points along the hull. We also glass the hull inside and out with 1708 biaxial cloth and epoxy resin. We only use clean-grained wood, which makes a great material with excellent sound-insulation properties without the voids found in plywood. This results in a strong, quiet boat."