Boat Review: Rampage 41 Barta Ops Express

Overall, the Rampage 41 offers up a superbly designed and executed interior. So put away your preconceived notions about Rampage or Barta, and check out this new fishing machine.

06br_rampage

06br_rampage

The newest Rampage, the 41 Barta OPS Express, is unlike any other Rampage. Designed by Don Blount and the skilled engineers at KCS, this Rampage was built by skilled craftsmen in North Carolina. This new 41-foot express looks up to absolutely no other boat in the category - production or custom. Rampage has come of age - big time.

Performance
We picked a truly nasty day to test the boat - an east wind blasted Florida's Jupiter Inlet at a steady 15 knots, gusting to 25. Running out the inlet in the wind-against-tide conditions, we encountered breaking surf all the way across the mouth of the inlet. Seas hit 6 feet with less than a boat length between them. What a ride! Running straight into the seas at a prudent 19 mph proved a non-event: just a little spray from the odd, rogue wave and no pounding. Once past the shallows near shore, we managed to get up to a still-comfortable 23 mph.

Running beam to the seas at 35 mph, the 41 reversed course in as little as four boat lengths. She trolled at just over 7 mph at idle speed with both engines turning 600 rpm and using only 3.4 gph. At this speed, the turbulence stretches back about 8 feet aft of the transom. Other than that, you couldn't ask for a cleaner wake.

I managed about 7 mph backing down-sea before we took any water over the covering board. But it never collected on the deck, disappearing almost instantly. And spinning on a fish can make you dizzy - I'd describe the handling as superb. Left to its own devices, the Rampage 41 drifts at right angles to the seas and displays almost barge-like stability.

Heading back into the inlet, the Rampage 41 didn't sheer one iota when we came up on the back of a wave. It tracked straight and true. But we didn't really have to come back: This 41-footer boasts a 700-gallon fuel capacity - enough to make it all the way to Bermuda without any fuel bladders.

Cockpit
Sport Fishing contributor Tred Barta designed the cockpit and fishing layout, hence the moniker Barta OPS. He never does anything halfway. Even the most dedicated angler will consider the 39 rod holders sprinkled around the cockpit overkill. But many of those are optional. The standard fishing package (including space under gunwales to accommodate another 10 rods) provides more than enough rod storage.

You'll never find a production boat with more fish-box insulation. Barta is all about ice management. Other fishing/cockpit amenities include a stainless sink with fresh- and saltwater washdown, as well as copious tackle storage consisting of drawers, removable boxes and hanging spaces for lure bags in the starboard module. Recessed, but not hidden, manual teaser reels rest in the overhead above the helm. The Rampage 41 pays exceptional attention to details, such as the adjustable tensioners for outrigger lines and a Frigid Rigid cooler seat on the port side, just to name two. When it comes down to complete fishing features, few boats - production or custom - treat the genre better than this Rampage.

Engine Room
Oftentimes, express boats leave little working space around the engines. Not so in this case. The Rampage 41 boasts an incredibly roomy engine compartment in which even the largest crew can work easily. A lift-out box in the bridge-deck step hides access to fittings and the generator below.

Interior
A lovely L-shaped settee portside with storage beneath boasts a seat back that transforms into a Pullman berth. A unique trough atop the settee seat back - upholstered with the same leather as the settee - has a lift-up top, exposing eight separate compartments in which passengers can stow wallets, watches, money, iPods, sunscreen and other belongings.

The galley to starboard provides a two-burner cooktop, Corian counters, a polished stainless sink with flush counter cover, convection oven/microwave, and refrigerator/freezer drawers under the counters.

In addition to the settee and Pullman berths, the Rampage 41's island double berth on centerline provides comfortable sleeping accommodations with lots of storage under the bed. You'll also find additional storage in the valances overhead, in the bilges below and beneath the mirror-image L-shaped settees.

Overall, the Rampage 41 offers up a superbly designed and executed interior. So put away your preconceived notions about Rampage or Barta, and check out this new fishing machine. You'll be as impressed as I was.

LOA......41'6"
**BEAM......
16'
DRAFT......4'
WEIGHT......30,000 pounds (dry)
FUEL......700 gallons
WATER......100 gallons
POWER......T 715 hp Cat C-12 diesels
BASE PRICE......$654,615**

Rampage Yachts / Navassa, North Carolina / 910-371-3663 / www.rampageyachts.com