The 2020 Robalo R230 is a brand new design of an old classic. Robalo last made an R230 in 2005. The new R230 is a 23' (7.01 m) center console with a deep-v hull, powered by Yamaha 200-hp outboard. Our test boat had the optional Yamaha 250-hp VMAX outboard – the largest outboard recommended for this boat. A reason for the reintroduction of this model is that her size is deemed a sweetspot in the market for both new entry-level buyers and boaters looking to move up.
- 12 person or 1,725 pounds capacity
- Yamaha outboard
- Enclosed head with forward entry door
- Deep-v hull
23' (7.01 m)
8' 6" (2.59 m)
4,000 lbs. (1,814 kg)
4,540 lbs. (2,059 kg)
19" (48 cm)
31" (79 cm)
5' (48 cm)
6' 9" (2.0 m)
90 gal. (341 L)
4,540 lbs. (2,059 kg)
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|0 to 30
2 persons, 1/5 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear
1 x 250-hp Yamaha VMAX
1 x 250-hp Yamaha engine
Watch Our Video
By Capt. Peter d’Anjou
The newly-designed 2020 Robalo R230 center console was recently inspected and tested by BoatTEST.
Robalo builds seven center console models from 16' to 30’ (4.88 m to 9.14 m) and they felt that they had a hole in their lineup at the 23' (7.01 m) size, even though they build a 22' (6.71 m) and a 24' (7.32 m).
Robalo is re-introducing a newly designed R230, a size Robalo last built in 2005. That boat, pictured above, was 25’ (7.62 m) in LOA due to its distinctive bow/anchor platform.
The new boat is expected to retain the fishability features Robalo puts in its center consoles with a touch of hybrid comfort. The ride is due to a new hull design and seating has been updated, all for a low introductory price.
- High-belt design for deeper cockpit depth and higher freeboards
- Fore and Aft casting decks
- Large Forward-facing head entry
- Sea Star hydraulic steering
- Self-draining cockpit
- 15-gallon (56.78 L) livewell
The new 2020 Robalo R230 has a “high-belt” design that increases cockpit depth and raises freeboard. The stainless steel rubrail is an indicator of the belt. The R230’s cockpit depth is 26” (66 cm) aft, rising to 31” (79 cm) forward.
Robalo has a Lifetime Limited Hull Warranty and 5 Year Premier Level Limited Component Warranty.
The Robalo R230 trademarked the Hydro Lift multi-angle hull design that has a deadrise at the transom of 20-degrees. The new R230 has a notable rise and flare of the topsides (red arrow) along the rubrail at the shear.
Robalos start with hand-laid fiberglass construction.
The Robalo R230 has a Kevlar-reinforced hull, encapsulated reserve flotation, and stainless steel chrome-plated hardware. Friction hinges are used for most storage compartments.
We compared the Robalo R230 with three other 23' (7.01 m) center consoles on the market and weight wise it falls right in the middle of the competition.
Robalo pays attention to customer satisfaction as evidenced by 12 consecutive years of NMMA certified customer satisfaction awards.
The center console on our test boat came with an optional hardtop over the helm, the boat comes standard without one. A Bimini option is also available. The hardtop or Bimini option increase bridge clearance from 6’9” (2.06 m) to 8’6” (2.59).
The helm is centered in the boat with a magnetic compass in-line with the wheel.
A three-spoke tilt wheel is standard and it takes six full turns of the wheel to go from lock to lock. Sea Star tilt hydraulic steering is standard.
The leaning post/helm bench is 36 ½” (92.71 cm) wide with a padded backrest. The powder coat frame (black or white) is an option. A package of options for the leaning post includes double flip-up bolsters, four rod holders and the powder coating for $1,425.
Note the two levels of non-skid footrest below the wheel.
A 9” (22.86 cm) Simrad multi-function display is mounted under the stitched leather-like brow. The vertical line of accessory switches on both sides has the corresponding breaker resets outboard of each LED-backlit button.
Our test captain points out the Yamaha engine display. The 250-hp Yamaha VMAX on our test boat is an upgrade over the standard 200-hp. The control knob on the wheel is also an optional upgrade.
Below the MFD, left to right, are a Clarion stereo control, an audio input jack, the blue USB charge ports, and a custom Robalo cellphone holder in front of the wheel. A 12v charge port is hidden behind the curve of the wheel just to the right of the phone holder.
Here’s a closer look at the dedicated cell phone holder with bungee retainer right in front of the wheel. No more sharing storage space in an arbitrary cupholder for our phone-centric society.
Standing before the helm, our test captain reported that it was ergonomically comfortable with the throttles mounted on a 45-degree angle, especially at speed.
A lockable glovebox provides storage for valuables to the port side of the wheel.
The curved tailor-made safety glass windshield has no noticeable distortion. It is set in an aluminum support base. We can see that the top of the helm console flanking the compass has draining storage trays with a non-skid surface.
The optional 90” x 69” (228.6 x 175.26 cm) hardtop has a generous overhang but is not so great as to interfere with any fishing activities.
Hardtop storage includes this friction-hinged electronics locker.
The aft cockpit has room for anglers, swimmers or seated guests.
The Robalo R230’s aft seating has room for four adults. Combination cup and rod holders grace the 7” (17.78 cm) wide caprail to either side.
With the seatbacks folded down, the aft casting deck measures 83” wide by 27” (210.82 cm x 68.58 cm) fore and aft. From the cockpit sole, the step up onto the casting deck is 18” (45.72 cm) high. Note the bungees that hold the seatbacks down.
A diamond pattern non-skid provides grip on the aft casting deck. The swim platform, cockpit, and cap rail all have the same non-skid pattern.
A 6” (15.24 cm) high bolster wraps around the boat. The cockpit drains directly overboard. The small door on the face of the aft seat base hides the battery switch. The Robalo logo on the blue pad is a protection mat to prevent scratching from reels and rods placed in the two under-gunwale rod storage.
The battery switch, voltage-sensitive relay, and fuses for the DC main, toilet, overboard discharge, bilge pump, and stereo respectively are easily accessible from the cockpit.
On the port side below the jumpseats is a Pro Mariner pull-out extension cord hooked directly to the DC battery.
The aft cockpit side of the leaning post shows a solid grab rail below the rocket launchers and a retaining bar for the cooler. Robalo’s R230 comes standard with the anodized framework and the 70-quart (66 L) cooler underneath.
Thoughtful details like the cooler retainer bar hinging up so the cooler can slide in and out and secure with a pin are sometimes overlooked – but not here. We even like how the frame is curved to receive the cooler’s forward side.
A swim platform spans nearly the entire beam of the R230 and could be one way to board the boat easily from a dock.
The swim platform is partitioned off from the enclosed cockpit by the transom’s stern seat base and even more so when the seatbacks are raised.
The swim platform measures 83” wide and 24” fore and aft (210.82 x 60.96 cm) with the engine well in the middle.
The engine well is 10” (25.4 cm) deep and has a port on the bottom to access the bilge pump and fuel water separator within.
The reboarding ladder is stowed below a hinged hatch cover on the stern platform. Fixed 6” (15.24 cm) cleats are on each quarter.
The NMMA certified 3-step telescoping reboarding ladder meets ABYC standards with 22” (55.88 cm) below the waterline.
With the jumpseat backrest folded down, easy access from the swim platform into the cockpit is provided. The vinyl-covered cushions have a stain-resistant finish.
The side decks between the hardtop support and bulwarks are 17 ½” wide (44.45 cm) opening to 22 ½” (57.15 cm) on the forward end of the helm console. The caprail has a fuel fill, 6” (15.24 cm) pull-up cleat and rod holder on the port side.
One important feature is the forward-facing head access behind the console seat.
Designed for easy access, the head has a 5’ (1.52 m) overhead, generous when considering this is a 23-footer with a standard dedicated head.
When seated, one can pull the head door closed with the grab handle for privacy.
It’s a step down from deck level into the head, which is how adequate overhead space is achieved.
The Dometic Porta Pottie is standard. An optional freshwater electronic flush (porcelain) toilet with an 8-gallon (30.28 L) holding tank and overboard discharge is available in conjunction with the freshwater shower option. Dedicated storage for the optional bow table is to the right of the toilet; the pedestal legs for the table are stowed opposite on the starboard side.
The head compartment has a light and there is a port on the bulkhead above the head for access behind the helm. A vent in the door and an opening portlight above the table provides ventilation. The portlight was restricted in how far it opened - we’d like to see it open fully.
Stainless steel 3/4” (1.90 cm) diameter hand rails run from amidships on each side of the boat. The cockpit depth forward is 31” (78.74 cm).
The Robalo R230's bow seating consists of a 24” (60.96 cm) wide console seat which uses the head door as a base and seatback support. There is a wrap-around bench seat in the bow. The bench seating has a 6” (15.24 cm) bolster for a backrest and can be converted into lounges with the addition of removable backrests.
With the seatbacks removed we can see how they attach into a pull-pin bracket that locks the seatback in place.
The lounger cushions on both sides hinge forward on gas shocks to reveal insulated storage with drains.
An optional pedestal table mounts in a bracket on the forward seat base.
The table option comes with a second pedestal. Change pedestals and the table lowers to become a support for an optional filler cushion.
The in-deck storage is 22” (55.87 cm) deep.
If all the bow cushions are removed, a large forward casting deck is revealed. All of the surfaces below the cushions have diamond non-skid. The height from the casting deck to the top of the bolster is 16” (40.64 cm).
The padded bolster on the bulwark wraps around the bow seating and provides a cushion to lean against when accessing the anchor locker.
The hatch hinges to the side and an 8-lb. (3.62 kg) Danforth-style fluke anchor is seen suspended on anchor keepers, with the rode below in the chain locker.
Pull-up 6” (15.24 cm) cleats on the deck next to the anchor locker are used to secure the anchor. There is no bow roller, windlass, nor any chocks- just a simple anchor system. A custom 12-lb. (5.44 kg) anchor is an option.
The ride attitude of the Robalo R230 at speed had the forefoot right at the water’s edge.
The Numbers. The Robalo R230 has an LOA of 23’ (7.01 m), a beam of 8’6” (2.59 m), and a draft of 31” (78.74 cm). With an empty weight of 3,850 lbs. (1,746.33 kg), 20 gallons (75.70 L) fuel and two people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 4,390 lbs. (1,991 kg).
Top Speed. With a single 250-hp Yamaha VMAX outboard turning a 17” (43.18 cm) pitch stainless propeller and run up to 6000 rpm, we reached a top speed of 52.0 mph (83.7 kph).
Very little stern wave indicates an efficient hull design that doesn’t have much drag.
Best economic cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 32.0 mph (51.5 kph). At that speed, the 10.8 gph (40.7 lph) fuel burn translated into 3.0 mpg (1.27 kpl) and a range of 241 statute miles (388 km) all while still holding back a 10 percent reserve of the boat’s 90-gallon (341 L) total fuel capacity.
Our test captain made sure to come to a complete stop before pushing the throttle forward in our acceleration tests.
The Robalo R230 got on to plane in 4.7 seconds, reached 20 mph (32 kph) in 6.0 seconds and topped 30 mph (48 kph) in 8.9 seconds.
Time to plane: 4.7 seconds
Zero to 20 mph: 6.0 seconds
Zero to 30 mph: 8.9 seconds
Flatwater prohibited us from testing the Robalo R230 in any kind of rough seas.
There is an optional aluminum dual-axle trailer with disc brakes available (see dealer for details).
Base boat with engine options:
- Yamaha 200-hp ($58,995)
- Yamaha 250-hp VMAX ($63,501)
- Mercury 250-hp DTS ($65,941)
- Yamaha 250-hp 4.2L ($66,139)
Optional Equipment to Consider
The wideband ice blue topsides is a $980 option. Gel coating the entire hull in any of the available six colors is a $1,195 option.
- Fiberglass hardtop with powder coated frame ($6,475)
- Taco Grandslam outriggers (requires hardtop) ($2,185)
- Bimini top with steel bow rails and boot ($1,175)
- Trim Tabs with indicator switch ($950
- Electric toilet, 8-gal holding tank & overboard discharge ($1,930)
- Cockpit table ($470)
- Removable bow seating backrests ($1,090)
- Pull-up cleats ($265)
- Fresh water shower ($445)
- Ski tow ($910)
- Console cover ($520)
- Dual battery charger ($280)
Many of the basics most buyers would want like a VHF radio and the hardtop are options. It does give the buyer a choice of outfitting the boat with details they prefer without paying for options they don’t choose.