My RTM Disco Review

-- Last Updated: Apr-30-07 4:27 PM EST --

I finally got the Disco out on the water this weekend.

I agree with the rave reviews. This boat really is different than the typical American SOT fishing platform. It would be perfect for a smaller, athletic, paddler in demanding conditions. I think SantaCruzMidwife would love this boat!

Its been all the rage for the SOT crowd. It had rave reviews from Cap’t Jimbo in South Florida.

They are made in France by RTM and shipped via container to the Port of Miami. They are selling so fast in South Florida that they are hard to get elsewhere in the country. I think there are only a couple on the West Coast, so far, but I expect to see lots more! I paid $190 to ship a $580 boat from Florida via FedEx.

I do have a basis from comparison. I have years of experience in different SOTs from my 18' Kevlar Shearwater to my 9' Ocean Kayak Frenzy.

It is honestly around 50#. Its significantly lighter than most plastic SOTs

I do not think it will overtake a Tarpon, Prowler, or even a Scupper that is paddled by a guy strong enough to propel one of these boats at hull speed, but not very many guys can really do that for any distance. If speed is that important to you, you probably aren’t paddling a plastic SOT, anyway.

It is more efficient than any of the above mentioned boats. That is, it takes less effort to maintain a nice easy 3-4 MPH cruising speed. Depending on the group, the boater in the Disco might easily find himself at the head of a pack of longer SOTs after a couple hours on the water.

At 26' wide it is narrower that most plastic SOTs. It has a finer entry and exit. The “V” hull is faster than the typical flat hull on most America SOTs.

It really does handle well. Comparing it to the typical fishing yak is like comparing a sports car to a pickup truck.

I will add some Caveats. I think its important because many will be in a position to buy this boat sight unseen, or not at all:

I will admit to being well over 200#. I think the initial concerns that this might not be the best boat for someone over 200# may be justified. I tested it without scuppers. One plug was lost in transit, and besides I never use scupper plugs on the ocean anyway, so I wanted to see what it was like without them. There was a lot of water in the footwells, and it slopped up into the seat. The seat also took on water if I was not careful getting into the boat, and even in small 1-2 swells.

Once water gets into the seat, it does not drain out. There are no scuppers in the seat. A good sponge is going to be required equipment. I think even paddlers under 200# may have a problem with this.

The seat is so snug that its not going to hold a lot of water, but enough to keep your butt wet. I admit to be overweight, but its mostly beer belly (Well, Jack Daniels, actually) I do not have a wide butt. Some people are just not going to fit into the seat.

A wet seat is not really a problem on the Pacific off NORCAL because you will probably be wearing a wet suit anyway, and its often not calm enough to sit still for very long. It does get very uncomfortable to sit still for long period if you are fishing wearing just trucks.

It may not be the new “follow the Pungo around the lake” boat just because it is so wet, but I will try again with scupper plugs.

I was concerned the boat might be too overloaded to perform, but once I got into 20-25 MPH head winds with 1-2 swells and chop it handled like a dream! It felt really solid.

I will need to try it in bigger conditions to really know if it’s a safe ride for a 200# Plus boater.

It lacks the total stability of the flat bottomed 28" wide SOT fishing platform. It may make some people a little nervous at first.

Some minor details. Keep in mind this boat retails for only $580:

The color scheme makes me want to take a can of spray paint to it. I might really do that. Deck rigging needs to be replaced with bungees. Not so crazy about the fittings.

On the other hand I really do like the recessed grab handles. Very good idea.

I don’t know about the hatch. I had the dealer send a hatch cover, but I didn’t have it installed. Hatches make me nervous.

More about the Disco

Capn Jimbo here, thanks for the link on my review of this smashing design. The Disco is an amazing performer, and I’d like to respond to your review.

First, congrats on choosing the Disco. You are absolutely right about the ease of paddling. The Disco at 26 inches but also with a nice narrow and fast entry and exit is amazingly fast. I own both a Disco and Pro and the Disco is faster - and - easier to paddle and keep it at a nice 4 mph cruise. It tops out in the mid 5’s. You will have no problem cruising with the longer touring kayaks.

You are right about a bit of water comin up the scuppers, but Disco provides two leashed scupper plugs which keep it quite dry. If you do get some water in just pull one or both plugs and paddle, the venturi-like scuppers are very effective, will pull out and drain the water quickly. Pop the plugs back in while you are moving and you’re dry again.

The hatch that is installed by Kayak Jeff’s in Ft. Lauderdale is quite secure, no worries. The fittings are some of the best in the market - stainless steel flat clips with aircraft rivets. Top quality.

The Disco has nice deep, butt-huggin seat. If you get any water in there just do a lil butt bongo and you can easily squeeze it out. There are two nice channels for just that purpose. This is the same kind of high performance seating used on surfski’s to minimize hull turbulence.

Last the Disco does not require a rudder regardless of the wind speed or direction and tracks like an arrow. But if you need to turn, a slight lean and sweep and around you go.

Anyway, hope that helps. A truly great design, nothing like it.


– Last Updated: May-04-07 9:55 PM EST –

I've been eying this one for a few months now, it looks nice. I called a few dealers that were listed in the NE area, and they are available if somewhat limited. I'd jump on it if I had some extra cash. I'm paddling a Perception Napali now that I acquired cheap - its fast and nice to paddle for a plastic SOT, more performance oriented like the Disco, but weighs a full 25 lbs more, a beast to load and unload. I'll be watching all the reports as this new boat catches on, and may acquire one when I can. I think it would make a good rough weather fishing boat or lake cruiser.