Rayglass 850 Legend

A Rayglass 850 Legend won the Overall Winner prize at the 2000 New Zealand Boat Show and the same boat also won the GRP Fishing Boat award. Geoff Green visited the Rayglass factory and went aboard the showboat to see why this established model continues to impress the judges.

Rayglass 850 Legend
Rayglass 850 Legend

In his acceptance speech at the award ceremony, Tony Hembrow, managing director of Rayglass Boats, said this year's win qualified the many other awards the company had won at earlier shows. He was referring to the show's new management team and the all-new judging system they had put in place to identify this year's winners. Tony felt the selection of the 850 Legend by a fresh group of judges using new criteria had endorsed the recognition gained at previous shows.

COMPANY FLAGSHIP The Rayglass 850 is the flagship of the Legend range and, at 8.67m long overall and 2.45m beam, it will require a very capable tow vehicle and a substantial braked trailer. And while size brings associated cost, it also generates universal advantages such as comfort-generating internal volume and the security of extended operational capabilities. Provided the weather is on the positive side of marginal, the 850's long water line, 23-degree vee and 2,650kg on-the-water weight should allow owners to pretty much roam as they please.

Tony says most 850s have been sold to big boat buyers who did not wish to commit to another launch, and seasoned game fishermen who appreciate the ability to work both coasts.

With around 40 boats on the water, the most popular engine option has proven to be Yamaha's 250hp diesel stern drive (about 90%), followed by twin 200hp Yamaha outboards. The award winning boat we looked at is powered by the diesel option and the owner says he gets good performance and fuel economy from the installation.

UPMARKET PRESENTATION One of the first things to register when I stepped aboard, other than the boat's general upmarket presentation, was the size of the cockpit. It is generously proportioned and there is no doubt this contributed to the fishing section win. Other features include a large under-floor stainless steel kill bin (300l), cavernous storage lockers in the moulded seat bases, a rocket launcher, rod holders, side pocket rod storage, cockpit lights, wash-down pump and an under-floor fuel tank (400l) that will take you to the King Bank and back.

While weekend cruisers may not want all the fishing related options, blue water anglers and keen divers will definitely appreciate the 850's standard cruising configuration. The cabin provides a generous double bunk about 2.25m long (with the infill in), galley facilities and a private, enclosed head. There's plenty of headroom in the cabin and the use of curved mouldings with large radii adds to the general flow and comfort, as they do throughout the whole boat.

The galley offers a compact but capable fridge, two-burner gas stove, small sink, hot and cold pressure water (40l tank) and some storage.

The toilet compartment has a shower drain moulded in the sole, but as yet no one has fitted an interior shower because, from a showering point of view, space is a little tight. An electric flush toilet is fitted as standard and all the 850s built to date have the showers fitted on the boarding platform.

The toilet door also doubles as a cabin door and it swings across to close off the cabin. If it's just the double bunk that needs to be isolated - such as when young children are put to bed - a privacy curtain can be drawn across an overhead track and the edges domed to the galley unit and toilet bulkhead.

The helm station is appealing and functional, and the stylish hardtop provides excellent protection from the elements. It also creates an indoor-outdoor transition between the cockpit and cabin. It also provides a structure to support a rear canopy that could provide a sheltered social area of immense trailer boat proportions and allow friends and family to bunk down in the cockpit (on an airbed).

BEYOND THE CALL Construction of the 850 Legend goes much further than the Boating Industries Association requirements and each boat is built to commercial survey standard. A registered surveyor inspects and signs-off each boat as it moves from one production stage to the next, and this means all 850s can be put into commercial operation simply by bolting on the extra equipment required.

While building each boat to survey standard adds to the purchase price, Tony says the peace-of-mind and premium second-hand price it generates, is worth the outlay. "Very few of our boats come on the second hand market, but when they do, they hold their value because every one meets a high, uniform standard. With this in mind, we prefer to sell complete, turn-key boat, motor and trailer packages so that individual efforts don't dilute the pool with older engines and home-built trailers."

With an on the water weight of around 2,650kg, the gross towing weight, depending on fit-out and provisioning, is around 3,300kg.

Rayglass 850 legend
Length (overall): 8.67m
Beam: 2.45m
Deadrise: 23°
Rec/max hp: 260-500hp
Fuel: 270-450lt
Nominal Gross Towing Weight: 3000kg

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