Back in the early 1990s, Peter Wright and I put together a deal to fish the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 with our friend and boatbuilder Bob Roscioli on his new 72-foot Donzi. At the time, it was one of the larger sport-fishing rigs around, and after a good day of white marlin action, we were glad to be on it. Especially when a quick-moving front caught the fleet offshore about a half-hour before lines in, making for a nasty ride back from Washington Canyon to Cape May, New Jersey, in 25-knot winds. I have photos of a line of boats following us, and the first one has its bow right behind our rooster tail. We slowed to let the other boats fall in behind us, and that smoothed out our ride home considerably. It was a little damp, but the USS Nimitz would’ve taken spray that day.
The old 72 was a stretched 65; however, with 10 72-footers on the water and more in the pipeline, Roscioli decided to completely retool and make a new set of molds for the 73. That means the new 73 Roscioli Donzi is not just a stretched 72. The new boat turned into a 73-footer and also comes with an additional foot of beam. That extra beam and length give the boat a bit more hull surface to run on, ultimately increasing speed and decreasing draft to less than six feet without tunnels. To attain that additional speed, the boat relies on a proven, fully cored bottom design and twin 2,000-hp MTU 16V-2000 engines. As a result, the R-73 reaches a top-end speed of more than 40 knots – 41½ consistently on our sea trial to be exact.
What really impressed me about this boat was the way it handled. Roscioli did a great job setting up the steering with less than four turns lock to lock. The boat turns at speed like a runabout and handles in close quarters just fine; even with all the windage of the hull and superstructure, it doesn’t kite around.
The R-73 shows off its fishing potential with trolling valves that provide a clean wash and the perfect speed for slow trolling. The vessel also bumps in and out of gear as smoothly as silk – a joy for anyone fishing live baits.
The expansive bridge boasts a large L-shaped seating area and heaps of storage in front of the console. The console layout will support all the electronics you would ever need, and your screens will be safe from salt spray thanks to Plexiglas windows and the recessed panel that houses the suite.
The center-pod helm puts everything within easy reach of the skipper. You can see the corners from the helm when backing around, and the folks at Roscioli added a neat clear panel in the bridge deck, so you can also see the angler and the reel in the chair. The helm features three chairs and a recessed space in the hardtop to house electric teaser reels. And most importantly, visibility is very clear looking forward and to the sides.
The new interior layout comes with three large staterooms, each with its own private head and private crew quarters with another head in front of the engine room. The massive salon boasts a fine-leather settee to starboard, entertainment systems and a pop-up flat-screen TV along the port side. Forward of the settee to starboard you’ll find a leather dinette, and the large forward galley to starboard is loaded with storage and counter space. Three large bar stools in front of the counter complete this very social layout.
The expansive cockpit features mezzanine seating, large freezers, tackle-storage areas as well as a livewell, fish boxes and great lazarette access. The boat is trimmed with a teak sole and covering boards and a varnished teak bulkhead. The immaculate and thoughtfully laid-out engine room provides easy access to equipment, pumps and all serviceable items. The finish in the engine room is as fair and shiny as the exterior.
A big boat by volume and mass, the R-73 is also a big performer, trimmed with the finest woods, veneers, stone countertops and soft goods available. Even with more than 20 72- and 73-footers on the water, Bob Roscioli and his team continually improve their products, and the hull we tested exemplifies that dedication to perfection.
Power……Twin MTU 16V-2000
Roscioli Donzi / Fort Lauderdale, Florida / 954-581-9200 / www.rycshipyard.com