Boat Review: Rampage 33 Express

You have no idea how small 33 feet is until you try to design a second home within its boundaries...

You have no idea how small 33 feet is until you try to design a second home within its boundaries. And of course that home must run into head seas without pounding, run down sea without swerving, not get you wet and not have any screws or windows jiggle loose and rattle. Phew! Well, despite Rampage Yachts Midwestern heritage, this North Carolina-based company has brought its 33- and 45-foot offshore boats up to a standard worthy of being called "offshore."

This 33 sleeps six, broken down as follows: The dinette table drops to create a V-berth in the bow that sleeps two in a queen on centerline with two more in oblique singles above. Or guys can create four singles without the drop-down table. The salon sofa also converts into a double berth.

As you'd expect from a company with the word "yacht" in its name, the interior of the Rampage 33 boasts plush fabrics and rich cherrywoods all put together with Old World craftsmanship. Studies say that women's greatest concerns when considering a boat purchase include security and comfort. With the quality of construction, 1 1/4-inch-diameter bow rail and the luxurious interior, selling the wife on a Rampage should be easy.

Precious few owners work on their own engines anymore, but for checking fluids and routine maintenance, the amount of room you get to work on the engines will astound you. In fact, maintaining the electronics should be equally easy with the 33's hinged helm pod. Simply tilt it aft for complete access to the instrument backs and wiring harnesses.

A 70-square-foot cockpit affords multiple anglers room to fight fish simultaneously without stepping on each other. Between the comfortable settee on the bridge deck and the aft-facing module seat on the starboard cockpit module, watching the baits between strikes becomes quite relaxing. Rampage supplies a large, in-deck fish box as well as a second fish box/baitwell in the transom for handling your food fish.

The Rampage spins quickly with or without the wheel turned - just as you'd expect a nimble boat of this size to do. It backs down at 6 knots with just the tiniest bit of water entering the cockpit through the scuppers and none through the transom door. Twin 460-hp Caterpillar C-7 turbo diesels are a good choice for this 33, and the ZF transmissions boast electronic controls that incorporate a synchronizer and standard trolling valves.

Drifting beam-to in 3-foot seas, the Rampage exhibited a long roll moment with very gentle transitions, thanks to that 13-foot beam. It doesn't like hitting head seas at full speed, but handles them quite nicely at a prudent cruising speed. Down-sea, the Rampage tracks perfectly with no hesitation when climbing the back side of a wave. Broad shoulders at the 33's bow provide tremendous buoyancy while also opening up the forward berth considerably. It tracks equally well in a quartering sea. Without any tabs, this 33 runs slightly bow high, which I

Specifications
LOA 35'6"
BEAM 13'0"
DRAFT 2'5"
WEIGHT 17,200 lbs.
FUEL 338 gal.
WATER 60 gal.
POWER T 460-hp Cats

find preferable to riding too flat. A little more inclination is excellent in a following sea.

Top speed at 2,840 rpm burning 50 gph hit a very respectable 38 mph. Dropping that back to 2,250 rpm gave us 28 mph and consumed 28 gph. I accidentally discovered one minor negative while running the Rampage. The handsome electric switch labels look fabulous at night when the backlighting illuminates them. However, the same labels appear dark and hard to read during daylight. I found this out when I tried to hit the horn button and shut down the port engine. But then again, I guess a good workman shouldn't blame his tools ...