Michael Rybovich & Sons 78 | Boat Review

Third time’s the charm for the owner of Persistence

May 8, 2020
Michael Rybovich & Sons 78 on the water.
Persistence is a combination of cold-molded perfection and meticulous attention to detail, both of which are Rybovich trademarks. Courtesy Michael Rybovich & Sons

With two Ryboviches under his belt, the owner of Persistence, Hull No. 5 by Michael Rybovich & Sons, knew exactly what he wanted for boat number three. As a summertime giant bluefin tuna fisherman, great lengths were taken when laying out a vessel that would not only meet the Rybovich standard, but also the needs of her owner. And when you want to ride to the fishing grounds and back in one day, speed and comfort was high on the priority list.

“As a custom builder, we can design and construct exactly what an owner wants, from the most aesthetically extravagant to a slimmed-down, high-performance charter or tournament boat,” says Michael Rybovich & Sons marketing director, Blake Gill. Because custom-boat clients tend to be brand-savvy, having a builder willing to give you what you want keeps Rybovich competitive in the marketplace and buyers coming back for what is revered as “the best that money can buy.”

Watch: Check out Persistence underway here.


Hull and Superstructure Construction

Under the watchful eye of designer and Webb Institute graduate Dusty Rybovich, the 78-footer underwent 28 months of pure cold-molded perfection and meticulous attention to detail to produce an on-time, on-budget delivery complete and ready to fish.

The hull bottom is laid with four solid layers of hand-picked 5/16-inch Philippine mahogany, and is cross-planked and resin-glued for strength and durability—an attribute synonymous with the Rybovich name—and the hull sides are also cross-planked and glued with three layers of the same. The entire hull is then enveloped inside and out with one layer of 1708 fiberglass, built up with epoxy, and then ground and hand-blocked to an ­ultra-smooth finish.

Structural components above the waterline required the use of okoume plywood, and where structural support was not an issue, tri-cell composite honeycomb fit the bill, to both save weight and provide a barrier to the elements. While Rybovich does use composite materials extensively in his builds, he found that the mahogany-built Persistence house weighed less than a composite one, and because speed was a factor, mahogany it was.

Michael Rybovich & Sons 78 engine room.
The twin 2,600 hp MTU diesel engines provide outstanding performance, with a top speed of over 50 knots. Courtesy Michael Rybovich & Sons

Engine Room and Performance

A generous entry at the mezzanine level opens up into a tackle and tool room with rubber imitation-cork flooring to fend off the inevitable bumps and bruises a painted floor would take. Aft finds the bulkhead, while forward and through a sub door, the two MTU 16V’s at 2,600 hp each are stabled at attention.

Built without a gyrostabilizer, Hull No. 5 doesn’t need one. Like a duck on the water, she rolls once to find her center, and then settles in. “Our deadrise is sharp at the entry, creating a soft ride in a head sea but gradually diminishing to flat as you move aft,” Michael Rybovich says, “lessening the need for stabilization and creating a more stable ride in all sea conditions.”

Rybovich sees the need and has installed gyros in some of his builds, but he also speaks in-depth with the owners about them: “What will they gain that they don’t already have with the hull design, or what will they lose in terms of space, speed and efficiency?” It’s these kinds of candid conversations that allow Rybovich to build the boat in such a way that a gyro can be added later should the next owner require it.


At the initial sea trial, the 78-footer was lumbering right along with no tabs—full of fuel and water, with 14 people on board—at a 38.6-knot cruise, producing a top end of 47.5 knots. After the wheels were tweaked for a second sea trial, and the tabs finely tuned, her top speed saw 50.2 knots at full load, burning 250 gph. With another set of Veems on the way, there’s no telling what this girl can do, though it’s likely more speed with better fuel efficiency will result. She’s a beast of a ride with an impressive hole shot and an even more impressive attitude—trolling, live-baiting or jockeying her position.

Capt. Tyler Andresen is lucky to have this Persistence underfoot, saying the boat is happiest to cruise around 1,950 rpm at a modest 38.5 knots, burning approximately 170 gph. She is also only the second—and the largest—boat in the US to be outfitted with the ZF fully electric SteerCommand system (Rybo Hull No. 4, No Agenda, was the first), and Rybovich believes this technology will eventually negate the need for hydraulic ram-driven steering in the future for their sportboats ­measuring under 78 feet.

Michael Rybovich & Sons 78 helm.
At the helm, a genuine teak pod, pop-up electronics console and spacious forward seating. Courtesy Michael Rybovich & Sons

Cockpit and Bridge

The oversize mezzanine settee and opposite jump seat are flanked inboard by custom handrails that are LED-lit from beneath, bringing another layer of safety when navigating the cockpit at night, and two undergunwale lockers with made-to-fit storage and in-house-designed and -fabricated stainless slam latches occupy each side. The past greets you with varnished teak coaming and die-cut Angelfish-logo deck drains. These tuna fishermen required additional items such as harpoon storage, an extra-large fish box and a deadman anchor—back-plated in the face of the mezzanine step and in line with the transom door—which Rybovich gladly provided.

Michael Rybovich & Sons 78 deck and fighting chair.
The oversized mezzanine offers plenty of seating while two under-gunwale lockers with made-to-fit storage occupy each side. Courtesy Michael Rybovich & Sons

Up the ladder, you find that the helmsman operates from a raw-teak platform. The pop-up navigation dash is fully dressed in Garmin and Furuno components installed by Offshore Marine Electronics, while more nods to retro Palm Beach charm include a never-fauxed teak helm pod in the ­classic shape and sliding access doors trimmed in solid teak against a shiny Matterhorn White canvas. Forward of the helm is a massive sitting area, complete with benches and a dinette table decoupaged with an official nautical chart of Nantucket Sound—a ­favorite summer haunt.

Michael Rybovich & Sons 78 interior salon.
Notable interior features include the island counter, a drop-down ceiling panel for the 4K television, and an aft day head, accessible from the salon and cockpit. Courtesy Michael Rybovich & Sons


The entire interior is encapsulated in book-matched, satin teakwood cabinet veneers, and everywhere you look are innovations typical of the builder: a coffered overhead in a reverse-beam style to accommodate the air-conditioning supply, a drop-down ceiling panel for the massive 4K television, and an indoor/outdoor day head with raw-teak decking that has an entrance from both the salon and the cockpit.

A genuine leather couch sits immediately to port, accompanied by an electric high-low coffee table, which doubles as a dining table. Separating the salon from the galley, a large, double-tiered island bar draws your attention forward, where you can’t help but notice the marble countertops, which are guarded by thick, radial sea rails.

Forward of the galley bulkhead you’ll find a pantry/utility room, where each electrical panel takes solace behind a teak-framed glass door and a hatch in the sole connects the engine room to the forward bilge.

Michael Rybovich & Sons 78 master stateroom.
The boat’s staterooms have a level of elegance that is classic and contemporary, as well as comfortable. Courtesy Michael Rybovich & Sons

Down the companionway, the starboard side houses a series of upper and lower cabinetry; the lower cabinets done in mini louvered doors, and the uppers are paned in Japanese shoji paper that has been woven with raw bamboo-reed accents and thinly sheathed in resin. All doors not leading to the four staterooms sport the ­louvers, and the shoji theme is repeated throughout in ­storage ­cabinets and the shower doors.

Interior designer Liz Dalton has been on the Rybo call list for many years. Her choice of soft goods and ­coverings breathes life into the boat’s traditional but contemporary, somewhat-nautical flair. It’s classic without being stuffy, ­showroom-ready without being austere, and is 100 ­percent comfy.

Learn the backstory of one of the most storied boatbuilders in sport-fishing history.

Rybovich told me the story of how he acquired the teak boards for Persistence, although he didn’t know they would be for her at the time. It started with: “When I saw them, I had to have them… all of them,” and ended with, “I’ll figure out how to pay for it later.” I had to laugh.


  • LOA: 78′0″
  • Beam: 21′0″
  • Draft: 4′8″
  • Displ: 118,000 lb.
  • Fuel: 2,560 gal.
  • Water: 450 gal.
  • Power: Twin MTU 16V 2600 hp
  • Gears: ZF 3070A 2:1 ratio
  • Propellers: VEEM Sportfish-HC 5-blade
  • Paint: Pettit Black Widow (Antifouling); Awlgrip Awlcraft 2000
  • Climate Control: Dometic Chillers
Aerial review of the Persistence
With a cruising speed of 36 knots, even distant Northeast bluefin tuna grounds are within easy reach. Courtesy Michael Rybovich & Sons

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