While glassfibre boats try to be wooden inside, Graham Snook test the RM890: a wooden boat with a modern interior
See the November 2015 issue of Yachting Monthly for the full test
What’s she like to sail?
Most yachts will shine in a good force 5, but the 890 was shining so bright she was blinding. We topped out at 9.4 knots beam-reaching in 20 knots of breeze, surfing off waves and generally having a whale of a time – or ‘working hard’, as I tell the editor.
She responded well to the helm, and the flat sections of her hull worked to get her surfing quicker than most – the downside is when a flat surface catches a wave it can slam a little. There was some cruising gear on board, more was yet to arrive; even so she was quick, comfortable and surprisingly dry.
It’s possible to helm seated in the cockpit, but with any heel it feels right to sit on the coaming. I found the steering a little stiff. This did however mean I could leave the helm to tend a line without her steering a course of her own. Although not quite nine metres long, her speed was up there with larger yachts, making longer distances easier to achieve.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
Her open plan interior has benefits as well as drawbacks. It’s a bright area, and the large, forward-facing saloon window allows light to fill the saloon and forward berth area, even with very dark upholstery. It does however lack privacy, not a problem for a family or couple, but it isn’t ideal for a group of friends.
Shelved stowage is a little rudimentary and lighting forward isn’t the most generous. The shelves particularly might start to bug me after a while: it’s sometimes nice to be able to hide stuff away and out of sight rather than looking at, say, a bright green first aid kit on a shelf day in and day out.
Her hull is painted, epoxy-impregnated plywood. It’s very fair and could be mistaken for GRP, however it’s likely to be less forgiving than GRP if you were to misjudge a berthing manoeuvre. Her anchor stows well in the optional bowsprit and is led to an optional windlass directly aft of the forestay, which feeds straight into the deep chain locker.
Would she suit you and your crew?
It’s fair to say the RM890 lacks the luxury feel of many mass-produced boats, her galley is basic and her painted finish might not be to everyone’s taste. However the lack of frills make her more affordable (starting at around £70,000), as does her ability to dry out. Our test boat had over £22,000 of carbon mast and Doyle Stratis sails, which no doubt boosted her performance, but even with an aluminium mast and less exotic Dacron sails I would still expect her to be faster than most other boats in her class. She’s set up really well for short-handed sailing, so for a couple of eager sailors she’s make a wonderfully fun coastal cruiser with the occasional longer trip if required. Her twin keels, which enable her to dry out upright, open up a host of cruising grounds.
There will be those who find the thought of a brightly coloured, hard-chine, twin-keeled, wooden boat as comfortable to live with as a Great Dane in a bed-sit, but thankfully not everyone feels this way. The 890 is a fast little cruiser that’s well laid out both on deck and inside. OK, she lacks finesse below decks, but she’s a fun boat to sail and what you lose in luxury you gain in practicality, performance and most of all enjoyment.
Facts and figures
Price £117,535 (with £22,600 extras: carbon mast and Technora sails)
LOA 8.90m (29ft 2in)
LWL 8.80m (28ft 10in)
Beam 3.42m (11ft 3in)
Draught 1.50/1.90m (4ft 11in – 6ft 3in)
Displacement 3,200kg (7055lb)
Ballast 950kg (2095lb)
Ballast ratio 29.7 (%)
Sail area 50m2 (538 sq ft)
SA/D ratio 23.4
Diesel 60 litres (13 gal)
Water 120 litres (26 gal)
RCD category B
Designer Marc Lombard
Builder RM Yachts
UK Agent RM Yachts UK
Tel 01202 724 917