December 29th 2011. By Lenny Rudow.

Rybovich 78: Grace and Power

This legendary family builds in wood, but the construction techniques are modern and the results only seem to add to the legend.

Few names in boatbuilding are as fabled as Rybovich. The family has been building high-end sportfishing yachts since 1947. Their latest hull to hit the water—number 126—is a 78-footer, and like those preceding it, the secret to the boat’s awesome construction and performance is a much-maligned material: wood.

The Rybovich 78 is powered by twin 1,925-horsepower CAT C-32 ACERTs.

Sure, most modern boatbuilders eschew wood. But they’re missing out, because when it’s used properly, no other material can match it. Rybovich diagonal-planks four layers of Okoume ply along the hull, then glasses it inside and out with 1708 biaxial fiberglass and epoxy resin. Net result? It’s stronger yet lighter than a molded-fiberglass boat of the same size, it has better sound-deadening properties, and maintenance is more or less the same as it would be with an all-glass boat.

Rybovich dropped a pair of honkin’ big 1,925-horsepower CAT C-32 ACERTs into the engine room, which push this 118,000-pound fishboat up to a top end of about 45 mph. Yes, that’s blazing fast for a boat of this size, but you do have to pay the piper accordingly: Fuel burn at this speed is in the neighborhood of 200 gallons per hour.

Naturally, when you inspect a Rybo you expect to find an interior glowing with lacquer, bookmatched wood grain flowing through the cabinetry, and buttery-smooth fabrics. And yes, you’ll find all of these on the new 78. In addition, you’ll discover one unexpected perk: natural lighting. Rybovich incorporated four ports in either hullside, a welcome return to a historic design feature which eliminates that cave-like feeling so many cabins have, while enhancing the boat’s classic looks.

But the most comfortable spot on board—especially for the anglers—is the cockpit. It features a monstrous settee-like mezzanine, which forms a third level elevated above the deck. From here, you can watch your lines in luxury.Rybovich 78 specifications

So, does hull number 126 match up to the Rybovich reputation? Take one look at this boat, and you’ll know why the legend lives on.

Boats like this are completely custom and don’t have directly comparable competitors, but interested parties might also want to look at Whiticar Boat Works, Jarrett Bay Boatworks, and Merritt Yachts.

For more information, visit Michael Rybovich and Sons.

Lenny Rudow

With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld,, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.