Boat Review: Rybovich 55

For the past 50 years, Rybovich sport-fishing boats have set the standard as a top-quality custom boat that performs admirably in any sea.

For the past 50 years, Rybovich sport-fishing boats have set the standard as a top-quality custom boat that performs admirably in any sea. While plenty of things have changed over the past five decades, Rybovich's recently completed Shibumi proves that the best things remain unchanged over time.
Shibumi represents Rybovich's milestone 100th hull and was built for a first-time buyer of a large sport-fisherman using proven cold-molded construction techniques. Designed and built in the classic Rybovich style, she features the builder's trademark broken sheer, window lines and complete varnished teak package in the cockpit. Unlike most other boats being built these days, though, this 55-footer features a forward-facing tinted windshield rather than a painted bulkhead, offering a clear 360-degree view. That dictate from the boat's owner means a loss of some storage in the forward bulkhead compartments, but the resulting view is easily worth the tradeoff.

Hand-selected, perfectly matched teak is used throughout Shibumi's three-stateroom, two-head interior, including in the valances, doorjambs, bed rails, headliner moldings and entertainment centers. Black granite is used for all countertops in the galley and heads, though their honeycomb construction makes them even lighter than Corian. A Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer sits under the counter to improve visibility. Another nice touch: Controls for the sound system are included in each stateroom.

Up on the bridge, a centerline helm presides over a large console that stretches all the way to the starboard bulkhead. All electronics are contained in two pods on separate hydraulic lifts. One pod contains navigation equipment, while the other houses the communications and fishing products. The split pod allows skippers to keep select compartments shut while running or fishing. Around the helm is a "phone booth" style enclosure, fronted by a bench seat to port and an L-shaped seat with rod storage underneath to starboard.

In the cockpit, the Shibumi contains all the fishing bells and whistles needed for fishing off Cape Cod and Nantucket during the summer and Florida and the Bahamas in the winter. Her 1,000 gallons of fuel provide excellent range, considering the efficient 58 gph she consumes at 1,900 rpm and 31 knots. A more aggressive cruise speed of 34 knots (2,100 rpm) brings the fuel consumption up to 72 gph. Powered by twin Detroit 8V2000s that are enclosed in a highly finished engine room compartment, the Shibumi reaches a top speed of 37 knots.