The Rinker 192 Captiva ran more than 50 mph. (Photos by Zenon Bilas)

The Rinker 192 Captiva ran more than 50 mph. (Photos by Zenon Bilas)

When a boatbuilder pays close attention to the desires of buyers, a worthwhile product usually emerges. Such is the case with the Rinker 192 Captiva. This 19-footer shows how the entry-level boat buyer can get a lot of bang for the buck.

Introduced in model year 2001, the 192 replaces the 190 Captiva. While the 192's hull dimensions are the same as the 190's, the eight-passenger 192 features several small, but clever additions.

The 192 Captiva has a sharp on-water look. The 8-foot beam is nicely proportioned to the 19 foot, 2 inch length, providing generous interior space for this size boat. A wraparound, walk-through windshield and your choice of accent colors add to the appeal.

With a relatively sharp entry, Rinker's 192 Captiva slices through choppy water with ease.

With a relatively sharp entry, Rinker's 192 Captiva slices through choppy water with ease.

The base color of white is accented by one of four hull-stripe colors in the gelcoat. Our test boat had yellow accents, which is new for Rinker this year. Yellow has become popular recently, especially in ski, wakeboard and performance boats, and is trending toward the runabout market now.

Rinker's vibrant yellow shines nicely, especially in direct sunlight. Other accent colors include black, blue and red. New decal graphics feature a racing checkerboard theme. The raised script-style emblem of the Rinker name rounds out the 192 Captiva's handsome exterior.

Department of Interior

The interior is welcoming. Forward bucket seats, along with L-shaped cockpit seating and a walk-through transom make this boat cozy and highly livable. Contributing to this cozy feeling is a 321/2-inch cockpit depth at the helm — several inches deeper than most runabouts of this size.

The open bow can be transformed into a spacious sunpad. The configuration allowed me (at 5 foot, 8 inches tall) to recline comfortably, thanks to the well-cushioned backrests of the bow seats. In less than a minute, using two additional pads supported by two removable cross beams, I transformed the bow seats into a triangular sunpad. On the other end of the boat, the L-shaped cockpit seat is 76 inches long and can hold four adults. Rinker uses 32-ounce upholstery throughout.

Most entry-level runabouts offer two seating arrangements. The 192 Captiva offers only one; however, it's the right one. The twin bucket seats (Rinker calls them sports-style seats) slide fore and aft, and swivel. The passenger seat spins 180 degrees, though the driver's seat, because of the throttle, will not do a complete about-face.

The dash features faux wood-grain highlights, full instrumentation and a digital depth finder as standard equipment.

The dash features faux wood-grain highlights, full instrumentation and a digital depth finder as standard equipment.

The helm features a wood-grain-like dashboard. Besides the traditional full line of seven gauges, Rinker includes a depth gauge as standard equipment. In 2001, Rinker used VDO gauges, however, in 2002 the company is offering Teleflex gauges. The helm also has a Kenwood AM/FM/cassette stereo with four speakers as standard. Unless you've got all your favorite music on cassette tapes, you should upgrade to the six-disc Kenwood CD player — a $350 upcharge.

Because of the newly appointed walk-through transom design, the stern sunpad is smaller than that of the Captiva 190. Still, its 59x42-inch dimension will fit one sunbather, lying diagonally, quite comfortably.

Eaters and Drinkers Ahoy!

A humble but great new feature is a trash container built into the port forward corner of the sunpad. Now the boat doesn't have to get littered with Moon Pie wrappers. A door swings open to reveal a 21-quart Rubbermaid trash can. Once it's filled, just remove, and dump the contents.

Of course, families like to take coolers on board to carry drinks and ice. The 192 Captiva comes with a 36-quart Igloo portable cooler, and Rinker designed a spot on the boat to fit it perfectly. It slides under the aft seat pad. A fiddle in the fiberglass sole keeps the cooler in place. During our testing, the cooler never budged, except when we got thirsty.

The 192 has 10 molded-in drink holders: four in the bow, two for the driver, two for the co-pilot, and two in the cockpit. More holders located in the cockpit would be nice, but the sunpad precludes this.

Storage for watersports accessories is a weak point. The major storage is the floor locker; with only a 9-inch opening, a kneeboard or wakeboard will not fit into it. And with a depth of just 101/2 inches, the locker won't hold a high-wrap slalom ski, either. While a ski with low-wrap bindings will fit, placing it there takes some negotiating.

The in-sole ski locker should be deeper, as it would not hold a slalom ski with high-wrap bindings.

The in-sole ski locker should be deeper, as it would not hold a slalom ski with high-wrap bindings.

The floor locker includes a plastic liner that keeps items clean and away from the bilge; however, this nicety eats up precious space. Another apparent flaw is that its door closes unless you hold it up.
A spring-type or gas-assist strut would be a nice feature. The storage compartments under the bow seats hinge open and need to be kept up by hand, also.

On the bright side, there is a storage bonus when you remove the seat pad from the port settee. A storage locker measuring 10x40x20 inches appears, and is ideal for small items. Another hidden storage treasure is under the transom walkthrough, where the top step is also a door that hinges open to expose a 9x12x36-inch storage locker.

The 192 Captiva includes snap-in Berber carpet as a standard item. I like this feature because it lends an upscale look while still allowing for quick cleaning.

During my inspection of the building process of the 192 Captiva at the Rinker factory, I was quite pleased to see fiberglass stringers being installed. Often, wood is used for stringers in this class and price of boat. I detected only a few uses of wood in the 192 Captiva. Fiberglass-encapsulated wood is placed over the stringers as a sub-floor (the main floor is fiberglass), and wood is used in the sheerline (where the hull meets the deckliner), providing a sturdy attachment point for the two sections.

Light and Lively

Rinker offers only MerCruiser engines. The 192 Captiva's standard power is a 190 hp MerCruiser 4.3L V-6 engine. Our test boat featured the 210 hp 4.3L EFI with a 21-inch-pitch aluminum three-blade prop. With an approximate weight of 3400 pounds (boat, 31 gallons of fuel, and a two-person crew), the 192 Captiva's acceleration time of 0 to 30 in about 6 seconds was respectable. What's more, we easily crested 50 mph at wide-open throttle.

The 192 has the option of a 240 hp 5.0L, which would probably improve holeshot as well as top speed. However, Rinker says that the 192 handles best with the 4.3L, which is about 120 pounds lighter than the 5.0L.

Maneuvering the boat is easy and fun thanks to standard Teleflex rack-and-pinion, power-assist steering. With significant deadrise at the transom — 20 degrees — the 192 handles rough water exceptionally well.

The transom walkthrough on the 192 Captiva makes it easy to get to the swim platform to go waterskiing. As with many other runabouts, the swim platform is not designed to make getting into skis or boards with high-wrap bindings easy. So I did all my foot insertions on the sunpad.

Starting with a single ski, I felt a weak, mushy pullout from the 4.3L. For boaters who like to waterski, a drop in prop pitch to 19 will increase pullout power for easier single-ski starts. Of course, this prop switch will decrease top speed slightly. A Mercury High-Five propeller, with its five blades, would be an even better choice for more holeshot.

Once up on the ski, I crossed the wake slowly and then aggressively. In both cases the wake was small and fun to cross. For wakeboarding the 192's wake shape is fairly good, but not big. For a sterndrive, the 192 Captiva maintained speed well for wakeboarding as long as I stayed above 20 mph. The tow eye located on the transom is low for riding. An aftermarket, removable ski pylon would be a benefit here. Though many runabout manufacturers are offering towers, Rinker does not yet provide one.

The 192 Captiva is an attractive boat that will provide countless hours of fun. Families who want a boat of under 20 feet priced in the low $20,000s should give the 192 Captiva a serious look.