Release Boatworks 43 Gameboat: Blending Classic Design with Modern Technology

Capt. Karl Anderson explores the Release Boatworks 43 Gameboat, showcasing how this dayboat combines timeless aesthetics with cutting-edge construction and performance features.
Release Boatworks 43 Gameboat cruises across the water.
The Release 43 Gameboat blends an old-school dayboat layout with new technology and performance. Courtesy Release Boatworks / Austin Coit

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A builder of top-notch custom boats since 2009, Release Boatworks has been seeing good success with its 34-, 43- and 46-foot walkaround and express models. Its engineers utilize precision CAD programming and three-dimensional solid modeling software, and the company has also invested in a new 5-axis CNC router to create mold plugs. These processes allow the company to take advantage of production manufacturing efficiencies—including reduced build times—while building a stronger, tougher boat relative to cold-molded construction and yet remaining a custom-boat-building company.

Integrating advanced ­composite construction techniques such as blending fabrics and various core-material densities and thicknesses for different parts of the boat—along with infusion and vacuum-bagging those parts—can effectively reduce build time and increase manufacturing accuracy and overall strength, as well as build shape into the boat much easier than shaping wood.

Construction and Performance

Top-down aerial view of a sport-fishing boat cruising across the water, leaving cresting waves in its wake.
The Release 43 comes on plane with little effort and settles in at a great economical cruise at 2,000 rpm, burning 43 gallons per hour while making 24.8 knots for 0.6 miles per gallon. Courtesy Release Boatworks / Austin Coit

Partnering with an industry leader in advanced composites, Composites Consulting Group, a subsidiary of DIAB Group, Release utilizes the specifications from CCG to set the standards on all build materials while also training Release boatbuilders on how to integrate them into the manufacturing process. The folks at Release have joined Merritt’s Boat & Engine Works in a very exclusive club of those who are committed to this type of construction in sport-fishing boats.

I had the pleasure of testing its new 43-foot Gameboat flybridge recently in Vero Beach, Florida. Utilizing its proven hull, Release added a house and flybridge—a first for the builder for this model—for its owner. Honoring the old-school dayboat layout of the 1960s-vintage Rybovich and Merritt 37-foot dayboats with an open aft bulkhead, the 43 Gameboat offers new construction technology, classic lines, speed, ride and ­serious fishability.

Our test boat has twin 725 hp D11 Volvo diesel engines with straight shafts and running gear. She has an 11.5-kilowatt Onan generator, 620-gallon fuel ­capacity and 60-gallon water capacity, and we tested her with all fluids full and two of us on the boat with light winds and less than one-foot chop. She comes on plane with little effort and settles in at a great economical cruise at 2,000 rpm, burning 43 gallons per hour while making 24.8 knots for 0.6 miles per gallon. Pushing her up to make a move to another spot, she slips along at 31.5 knots, burning 64 gph, making 0.5 mpg at 2,400 rpm; at wide open she hits 33.5 knots, burning 70 gph.

View of the helm overlooking the ocean.
Her practical console with centerline teak helm pod features a comprehensive electronics package. Courtesy Release Boatworks / Austin Coit

Helm and Cockpit

This good-looking 43-footer lacks little, as she has a flybridge with good seating in front of the console with a pull-out refrigerator drawer and side bench seating with storage beneath to port and starboard. Her practical console with centerline teak helm pod features a comprehensive electronics package including a pair of Garmin 8616 multifunction units with a chart plotter and an echo sounder, Garmin autopilot, Simrad SY50 omni sonar, a Volvo joystick controller, a ZipWake trim-tab controller and two Icom ICM510 VHF radios, one on the helm dash and one in the overhead drop-down electronics box. Controls for the Seakeeper 6, engines and push-button switching for pertinent ship’s systems are located on the dash beneath the displays within easy reach of the helmsman.

The 43 fulfills her fishing criteria with a full tuna tower featuring a Garmin 8612, an Icom VHF, a set of Rupp Big Riggs triple-spreader outriggers, a center rigger, and three rod holders facing aft and one forward at the cockpit level. The fully appointed cockpit includes a mezzanine with a freezer with a single lid under the seat and two pull-out drawers under the footrest on the port side. To starboard is a combo freezer/storage box with a split lid under the mezzanine seat and a large deep storage box and a four-slot Plano box compartment under the footrest deck. Outboard of the armrest on the starboard side is a cockpit Volvo joystick controller, and to port on the bulkhead above the backrest is an additional Garmin 8612 display for the crew and guests.

Four fishing reels in the fighting chair of a sport-fishing boat.
The Release 43 cockit offers a large, clear fishing workspace. Courtesy Release Boatworks / Austin Coit

She has freshwater washdown to port and saltwater washdown to starboard, as well as two large in-deck fish boxes, lazarette access and a molded-in transom baitwell/fish box with a clear lid. Her fighting chair, teak deck and cover boards give her the look that fits the DNA of her fishy legacy.

Interior Layout

The open bulkhead of the 43 is closed in with poly curtains and canvas to contain the air conditioning and keep the boat closed up dockside. However, she’s quickly opened up to make full use of her dayboat advantages. Release did a great job with the interior, building fully molded fiberglass engine boxes with integral seating on either side that lift up to expose the entire engine, making any routine maintenance a snap. To port is a U-shaped dinette with a teak table, while the starboard side features a long bench seat with tackle storage behind it.

On our test boat, there is a mini galley up forward of the seating with a sink to port outboard and an Isotherm pull-out refrigerator to starboard outboard—she is truly a dayboat. The forward bulkhead to port has teak cabinets with three doors, one for the microwave and two storage cabinets. The starboard forward bulkhead has a flat-screen television. Release builds the 43 in two layouts: galley up with a second stateroom like our test boat, or a large single forward stateroom with galley down.

The interior engine room of a sport-fishing boat.
The 43 Gameboat has 725 hp D11 Volvo diesel engines with straight shafts and running gear. Courtesy Release Boatworks / Austin Coit

Moving below on our test boat, there is a teak-accented head to starboard with a full shower, a vanity and a stainless sink. To port is the second stateroom with over-and-under bunks. Fully forward is the master stateroom with an island queen berth.

The Release 43 Gameboat is a sleek-looking modern take on the nimble dayboats of the 1960s and ’70s. True to her forebears in terms of boat-handling attributes, this 43 spins within her own axis and backs down with little rooting to bury the transom. It is easy to feather the throttles and keep her moving in reverse at a very brisk clip. She has a clean wake at trolling speed for bait fishing, and her lure speed is calm with good lanes for lure placement.

Read Next: The Innovators of the Marine Industry.

With her classic good looks, solid composite construction, dayboat layout and modern fishing technologies, the 43 is a great blueprint for what’s to come from Release Boatworks, all while paying respect to the boats that set the standard from the great builders of the day.

Release Boatworks 43 Gameboat Specs

  • LOA: 43’
  • Beam: 14’10”
  • Draft: 3’9”
  • Displ.: 34,000 lb.
  • Fuel: 620 gal.
  • Water: 60 gal.
  • Power: Twin Volvo D11 725 hp
  • Gears/Ratio: ZF 1.75/1
  • Propellers: Veem
  • Paint: Awlcraft 2000
  • Climate Control: Dometic

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