Rayglass Legend 2800

By: Norman Holtzhausen

How do you up the stakes and improve on a boat that is already…well…legendary? Rayglass’ new Legend 2800 succeeds – it’s an exceptional boat.

Rayglass Legend 2800
Rayglass Legend 2800
Untitled Document Rayglass’ range of Legend composite boats and Protector RIBs are highly regarded – both locally and internationally, and with such an established market you’d expect the company to show a little reluctance about changing a winning formula.

But technology moves on and customer expectations change and over the past few years, Rayglass has progressively updated each of the models in its range. Each upgrade carries a fresh name to indicate the new design.

The Legend 850 is the last of the range to receive the facelift treatment and has been repackaged as the Legend 2800. First launched in 1997, the 850 quickly established a name for itself among buyers wanting plenty of room while staying within the limits of a towable package.

This winning formula has been difficult to improve upon, and changes to the 2800 hull are subtle rather than radical. Rayglass has taken considerable care to ensure it improved the design rather than simply change the appearance.

Beam has been increased slightly from 2.45m to 2.48m, while the deadrise has remained unchanged at 23 degrees. A slightly finer entry at the bow smoothes out the ride, while increased buoyancy at the stern supports the current trend toward four stroke motors. These are significantly heavier than the two-strokes of 10 years ago, but have become the standard for boats of this class.

Changes to the cabin layout are much more visible. The main cabin has been increased in length by 300mm, moving the helm position back by the same amount. Not at the expense of cockpit space, however, thanks to a redesign of the transom and engine box ensuring there’s the same amount of fighting area.

The modern demand for greater range (and bigger engines) has seen the cockpit floor raised slightly to accommodate larger fuel tanks. At the same time fresh water capacity’s been upped to 110 litres, and two huge moulded plastic fish bins (260 litres each) hide under deck hatches. The bins are easily removed for cleaning, eliminating any possibility of a residual smell permeating through the cabin.

And speaking of the cabin, this is a boat equipped for serious weekend trips with plenty of room. The bunks really are full length, accommodating even really tall adults. Storage compartments under each bunk provide heaps of space, while wide shelves above each bunk cope with the sort of gear that’s needed quickly. A removable infill turns the separate bunks into a generous double bunk.

The galley’s well-appointed, with a 65-litre fridge, two-burner gas stove, extendable teak table (creates more working space) and sink with pressurised freshwater tap. Drawers and cupboards hold all the necessary cooking and eating utensils, and an eye-level storage compartment with sliding door provides additional space. The galley is positioned so that there is plenty of headroom (courtesy of a large cutaway in the dash area).

Opposite the galley is the toilet fitted with an electric macerator – flushing is a simple flick of the switch. The toilet door also doubles as a cabin door, enabling the cabin to be fully closed off when combined with a removable panel for the dash. It can be locked for greater security.

The helm station and cockpit combine space with functionality. Both seats, which have built-in side supports, can rotate 360o, allowing the skipper or observer to face rearwards when fishing. The windscreen is a Rayglass-trademark – a curved unit, shared with the boat’s smaller sister, the Legend 2500. This provides excellent visibility forwards and sideways, with sliding side windows for fresh air.

A Raymarine C120 colour chartplotter/sounder dominates the helm station. It’s complemented by an array of Mercury Smartcraft monitoring gauges, showing exactly what’s happening with both engines, and large switchboards fitted either side of the steering. The Maxwell auto winch on the bow keeps anchoring simple through the rocker switch at the helm.

The cabin roof houses an Icom VHF radio and the Sirius CD/Tuner sound system. Speakers are fitted into cabin’s rear pillars. The hardtop is another component the 2800 shares with the 2500.

The 2800 is available in both sterndrive and outboard configurations, with engine options ranging from 250hp to a mind-boggling 600hp. The test boat was fitted with twin Mercury Verado 175Hp outboards which made for a well-balanced package. On our test day we launched at Westhaven Marina, with Rayglass marketing manager Adam Wickes easily performing a single-handed launch off the custom-built, tandem axle braked trailer.

Once clear of the marina’s five knot zone, we gently eased the throttle forward. Mercury’s digital throttle control (DTC) system is fantastic: smooth and light yet providing positive control of the horses at the back. The Auckland Harbourmaster’s new twelve-knot restricted zone allowed us plenty of time to test the lower range of planing speed. The hull had no problems at this lower speed, unlike our accompanying boat which rolled about uncomfortably at the lower speed.

Once clear of the restricted zone we pushed the throttles open. There is nothing quite as invigorating as the muted roar of two supercharged engines running in sync, and the boat behaved beautifully. The hydraulic steering is light and positive, and the boat handled impeccably with good grip, thanks in part to planing strakes running the length of the hull.

Conditions on our test day were good, with only a slight chop. Spray was non-existent. We found some ferry wakes to play in, and with its fine entry, the boat simply sliced cleanly and softly through them. Trim tabs are fitted as standard, although we found no reason to use them.

The ride is exceptionally smooth and even though this is not the sort of boat you’d "hoon around" in it took everything we could throw at it. We tested the boat’s suitability for game fishing by backing down at reasonable speed, and again found nothing lacking.

The lack of stern hatches means there is never any danger of water coming into the cockpit, but the high boarding platform remained well clear of the water anyway. Standing starts are also good, thanks to the grunt of the twin Verados and the intelligence built into the electronic controls.

The cockpit layout is perfect for serious fishing, despite the boat’s genteel aesthetics. A huge baitboard is complemented by four rod holders, and is removable for cleaning. A livebait tank is built into the transom (starboard), with a freshwater sink and washdown hose on the port side.

Lockers provide additional storage space and the cockpit is fully self-draining with an easy-clean floor. The battery compartment is typical of the thought that goes into every aspect of Rayglass boats – the batteries sit on shelves well above any possible deck water.

Rayglass boats are renowned for their exceptional finished, and this boat didn’t disappoint. Even the beads of sealant around the window frames are perfectly formed, and joints between the various mouldings are precise.

Rayglass’ positive flotation system essentially makes the boat unsinkable. Endurathane closed-cell foam is injected into all boat cavities that are not otherwise used. Even with massive structural damage, the hull will not sink, and the foam provides additional qualities of sound-deadening and rigidity.

Rayglass boats are not the cheapest on the market, but they are certainly among the best. This new, top-of-the-range trailer boat is sure to be a winner, whether as a family boat, dive platform, hardcore fishing boat or simply a classy all-rounder.

Specifications Rayglass 2800 (price as tested: $198,800)

LOA: 8.7m (28.4’)
Draft: 0.9m (2’11.5")
Beam: 2.48m (8’)
Fuel: 400 litres
Water: 110 litres
Berths: 2 x single berths convertible into a double
Engines: Twin Mercury Verado Supercharged 175Hp outboard
Electronics: Raymarine C120 GPS Plotter/ Radar, Icom VHF, Sirius CD/Tuner stereo
Anchor Winch: Maxwell auto anchor system
Trim Tabs: Lenco
Trailer: Hosking Tandem-axle multi-roller with electric Sensa-brake system

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