There were three items I noticed when I walked into Bob Roscioli's Ft. Lauderdale office.
The first was a signed poster of Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach of the Green Bay Packers. The next was a framed image of Rocky Marciano, the world's only undefeated heavyweight boxing champion. And the last was the message on the mat outside his door: The Spin Stops Here. Looking around the office, I was getting a pretty good insight into Roscioli before I even began my interview.
Like most successful boatbuilders in the competitive world of custom sportfishing yachts, Roscioli is totally immersed in every aspect of his company. "That's my name on that boat and it's something I take very seriously," said Roscioli. I suspected this was more than lip service and was anxious to put the 80 to the test.
Tom Glass, Vice President of Roscioli, showed up on cue and we left the offices and made our way out to the docks. A fully dressed Roscioli 80 is impressive-and massive. Her 144-square-foot cockpit can be loaded with all the equipment a serious angler needs, thanks to the 21-foot beam. The height of the full Pipewelders tower will make you dizzy. And those 51-foot, hydraulically operated outriggers and her considerable foredeck make her a beautiful machine to behold. While she's sure to be all business when raising fish, this formidable battlewagon has another side-she's outfitted to the nines for comfort once the rods are stowed, too.
As the electronics technicians tweaked, poked, prodded, and otherwise got the vast array of nav equipment ready for our sea trial, veteran Roscioli skipper Captain John Huard began to make the preparations to get the big boat out of her slip. With a good 45-minute ride down the New River to open water, Glass took the time to give me a tour of the 80.
Again, thanks to that beam, the salon boasts wide-open spaces with plenty of seating and room for entertaining. The portside entertainment center is housed in beautifully finished cabinetry. A comfortable leather settee in the salon is accompanied by a custom-crafted coffee table. A dinette is forward opposite the fully equipped galley that features lots of counter space and a serving island with three stools. This is sure to be a gathering place when it's time to entertain hungry anglers.
The Roscioli 80 has a three-stateroom, three-head layout and includes a captain's cabin and an additional area for the crew that offers two single bunks. All the accommodations are spacious and beautifully decorated. After all, this is a boat that will be spending lots of time offshore and underway; comfort and fishability are high on the necessities list. As I found here, and everywhere there was joinery-and there's plenty of it-the fit and finish were flawless. "We decided on all teak with this particular boat but it's really up to the client," said Glass, as I admired the satin finish.
The engineroom has stand-up space and is accessed via the cockpit. Once inside, it becomes obvious that Roscioli and crew made sure that anyone working in this area would have the kind of elbow room that every hands-on boater dreams about. The centerpiece is a pair of 2,400-horsepower MTU 12V M93 diesels. There is great access to all critical fluid checks as well as maintenance areas on both inboard and outboard sides.
Roscioli also made sure every piece of equipment is completely serviceable to avoid any kind of knuckle-busting, elbow-smacking, or torso-twisting while getting to it. And just as we were about to go topside to the bridge, Glass pointed out the Von Widmann muffler system and the Sea Torque thrust bearings. "These advanced systems are used in addition to our basic sound-insulation techniques during construction, such as foam under the berth areas, salon, and cockpit sole isolation mounts. There's that double engineroom entry door, along with lots of other methods we use, [that] all help to keep the boat quiet."
Glass and I joined Captain Huard and the five others on the bridge. With all the room up there, it was hard to believe there were eight of us sharing the space. The techies were done with their programming and Huard, using only the port engine, easily maneuvered the big boat down the serpentine river to the ICW and out to the open ocean.
The 80 answered the throttle request by jumping up on plane at 1165 rpm in dead-calm conditions. We were doing 15 knots and sipping a mere 54 gph total. That computes to about a 775-nautical-mile range with a built-in 10-percent safety margin. Impressive, but now it was time to really show off. With a running angle between 2 ½ and 3 degrees maximum, we hit a WOT of 40 knots.
There is something exciting about having your hand on the wheel of a 150,000-pound, custom-built powerhouse like the Roscioli 80 and moving it through the water at that kind of speed. Equally exhilarating is putting her into turns and watching the big foredeck immediately bank like a giant center console. When I was through, I backed her off to 2000 rpm, sat back, and enjoyed the ride at a smooth 33.2 knots.
The Roscioli 80's performance is matched by the Roscioli company's exceptional attention to detail, its ability to provide the level of amenities a boat this size and profile deserves, and the vision to make it happen. As Coach Lombardi said: "The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual." It's a philosophy Bob Roscioli believes in.
Roscioli Yachting Center, (954) 581-9200; www.donziyachts.com