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Ranieri Voyager 21 S

Ranieri Voyager 21 S

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  • With an excellent helming experience, plenty of storage, lashings of style and a high-quality fit-out, it’s a very satisfying plaything indeed. 
  • The 21 S possesses enough classical Italian flavour to excite in a way few boats in its sector can match.
  • Though modest in outright terms, the performance of the Ranieri, within its family-friendly 40-knot bracket, is outstanding.

Ranieri Voyager 21 S

Alex Smith heads for the Italian lakes to test Ranieri’s latest G2-equipped dayboat.

Ranieri are an Italian boatbuilder with a reputation for sporting intent. Only one of the 40-plus boats in their outboard-powered fleet exceeds the 30ft mark by a substantial margin – and even that retains a healthy degree of Italian automotive vigour and flamboyance. In fact, the modern Ranieri yard oversees a range that encompasses every mainstream form of small sports boat around. It builds RIBs from 18 to 30 feet, as well as hard boats in Sun deck, Cabin and Sports Fishing form, but it’s the company’s lighter, more simplistic Open line of craft that concerns us here.

Known as the Voyager line, it comprises 12 models in 11 hull lengths from 15 to 30 feet. The 21 S sits right in the middle of that range and shares a lot of the traits that have helped make Ranieri’s more recent boats feel so distinctive. In particular, a tremendous degree of effort has been expended on the detail in the mouldings. From the deep, recessed curve on the hull sides to the flat planes of the angled forepeak and the complex moulding flourishes of the engine well and the console, it’s a level of effort that goes way beyond practical necessity. In tandem with the aggressive-looking hull steps, the stainless steel trim and the sculpted, low-profile deck furniture, it makes this boat look and feel far more exotic than its basic purpose as a recreational dayboat implies.


Mediterranean Layout & Style

Like various other craft in this line, the new 21 S features a walk-through transom for easy boarding, alongside cockpit seating that helps preserve an unbroken passage all the way down the port side from the swim platform to the bow locker. The entire front end can function either as a sunbathing platform or as a dining area – but given its generous length and the fact that its seat bases are so deep that they force you into a semi-lounging position rather than a regular seated position, it is at its best when configured as a sun deck.

Back in the cockpit, access to the console space is achieved by means of a sliding door directly ahead of the navigator’s seat pod – and it’s a very impressive example of its type. In addition to being great to look at, it contains plenty of compartmentalised storage, plus a useful space that extends forward beneath the foredeck and a dedicated locker for the optional sea toilet. It’s not a place you would want to linger for any great length of time, but the storage capacity is ample, headroom is decent, light is OK, and for a sporting open boat of this type it provides much more than we have a right to expect.

This pleasing combination of style and practicality persists elsewhere, not least in the quality of the stainless steel fittings. The cleats are large, masculine and radically angular, the thickset screen rim with its integrated aft hand loop is reminiscent of something from the Windy stable, and the pentagonal cylinders that anchor the grab rails to the gunwales are strangely pleasurable to behold. The firm, low-profile cushions are equally lovely – and while they’re not quite as hard as previous incarnations, they still lend the fit-out a stylish, sculptural look, while providing great comfort, particularly at the wrap-around helm seats and on the compact aft bench.

However, there are some strange design quirks here. The anchor locker hinges the wrong way, with an aperture that opens into the wind, and the boarding points amidships are in great need of some tread plates to improve grip as you make your way onto the boat from the pontoon. More crucially, though, while the helm ergonomics are very sound indeed, the position of the right-hand throttle raises a key issue. In common with comparable top-mount controls from most engine manufacturers, the test boat’s single-engine binnacle throttle has no neutral release, so it only takes minor contact from your thigh or a loop on your jacket to activate it as you walk fore and aft along the starboard walkway. It can be stiffened by means of screws on the front panel, which is ideal for the keen driver who wants more feel, but it would be good to see either a dedicated guard or a shift to a left-handed mounting position, where it is unlikely to be compromised by passing traffic.


Evidence of Pedigree

Though modest in outright terms, the performance of the Ranieri, within its family-friendly 40-knot bracket, is outstanding. At idle, with Evinrude’s new G2 outboard sitting on the transom, all is serene and relaxed with no noise and no perceptible fumes to turn you green, waste your fuel or spoil your day. Put the throttle down, however, and it’s all action. We leap onto the plane within just 2 seconds and push on to the 40-knot top end in little over 15. We’ve all seen stepped hulls on recreational boats that are more to do with cosmetic enhancement than dynamic ability, but in the case of the 21 S, there’s no mistaking the pace and running efficiency.

As you would expect, she corners relatively flat, but there’s still plenty of grip available, and the retention of pace, with that torque-rich outboard powering you on, is extremely gratifying. If you turn at pace while trimmed out a little, there’s some attractive slide, but it’s by no means a hairy experience. On the contrary, with the pivot point directly beneath the helm, it doesn’t take long before you find yourself gleefully exploring the dynamic balance between grip and slide to fine effect. We seem to be propped to top out at around 4950rpm, which is significantly short of the quoted maximum, but for most of us, a modest top end is a small price to pay for a driving experience as agile, responsive and engaging as this.

However, while the skipper’s position fits like a glove, enabling you to enjoy the drive to the utmost, the navigator’s position is not up to the same standard. There’s no foot brace to push yourself back into the lumbar support, and the screen’s grabbing point is so far removed that the only way to access it is to stand up ahead of the seat. Given that Ranieri need to preserve decent access to the console’s sliding door, this is not a quirk that can be easily remedied. From a personal perspective, I’m perfectly content to stand on a boat like this, but if you prefer to take a seat, the secure but windswept aft bench might just be the better option. 


Verdict

It’s difficult to assess what this boat is really capable of on a misty, windless lake in northern Italy, but I’ve tested a few craft in this range and, like the rest of the Voyager models, the 21 S possesses enough classical Italian flavour to excite in a way few boats in its sector can match. It is a well-built boat that runs efficiently with a proper driver’s helm and an impressively uncompromising hull. True, there are some design peculiarities here and there, and at around £40,000 it’s not the cheapest 20ft dayboating option you can buy, but with an excellent helming experience, plenty of storage, lashings of style and a high-quality fit-out, it’s a very satisfying plaything indeed. 


For

  • Balanced and responsive drive
  • Tremendous pickup
  • Impressive fit and finish
  • Fine aesthetics
  • Plenty of storage

Against

  • Throttle position needs rethinking
  • Gunwale tops lack tread plates
  • Co-pilot seat needs a better grabbing point
  • Standard features list is mean

Performance

RPM Speed Fuel flow Range

500 2.0 0.8 540.0

1000 4.5 2.3 422.6

1500 6.3 5.3 256.8

2000 7.3 10.9 144.7

2500 10.5 15.4 147.3

3000 13.8 20.5 145.4

3500 24.4 25.7 205.1

4000 30.5 35.5 185.6

4500 35.6 44.5 172.8

4950 39.3 68.7 123.6

Specifications

  • LOA: 6.3m
  • Beam: 2.4m
  • Weight: 1150kg
  • Fuel capacity: 240 litres
  • Freshwater capacity: 80 litres
  • People capacity: 7
  • Max. power: 200hp (twin or single)
  • Engine: Evinrude G2 200

Notable Standard Features

  • Front sun pad cushions
  • Fuel gauge
  • Navigation lights
  • Console with twin portholes
  • Bench with folding back
  • Automatic bilge pump
  • Boarding ladder
  • Stainless steel handrail
  • Mechanical steering
  • Electric horn

Notable Options

  • Anchor and chain
  • Compass
  • Coloured hull
  • Aft sun pad and cushions
  • Gas cooker
  • Fridge
  • Hard top
  • Stereo system
  • Shower system
  • Ski pole
  • LED cockpit courtesy lights
  • Underwater light
  • Bow roller
  • Teak-lined cockpit
  • 220v shore power
  • Electric anchor winch
  • Black-water tank
  • Auxiliary engine bracket
  • Forward table
  • Bimini
  • All-over canvas
  • Electric marine WC

Package price

  • From £39,256

Contact

Reddish Marine

Island Street

Salcombe

Devon
TQ8 8DP

01548 844094

www.reddish-marine.co.uk

www.ranieri-international.com

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