BOAT REVIEW Rayglass 3000

June 2024 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words by Norman Holtzhausen. Photography & video by Roger Mills.
Build Quality
MODEL Rayglass 3000
DESIGNER Rayglass Boats
BUILDER Rayglass Boats
ENGINE 2 x Mercury Verado 225hp / 1 x Mercruiser QSD 350 diesel
Weight on Trailer 4000 kg
Max Horsepower 600hp
Passenger Capacity 6 people
  • Great handling
  • Lots of space in the cockpit
  • Pretty good fuel consumption for a boat this size
  • A very ‘finished’ package – you won’t need to add anything else to this

The new Rayglass 3000, available in outboard and diesel inboard versions, is a completely new model for Rayglass, one that Brunswick believes will do well here in New Zealand and in offshore markets as well.

Rayglass is a well-known and respected New Zealand brand with an equally significant international profile, thanks in part to the choice of its Protector high-speed RIBs as America’s Cup chase boats. Since the first Rayglass hull was laid in 1985, the company has been quietly building a reputation for excellence and innovation in fibreglass boat construction. Its success over the years is on display in the company’s showroom in Mt Wellington, where more than 80 boat show awards occupy one corner of the floor.


However it has been a few years since Rayglass brought out a completely new model, so we were excited to be invited to test their new 3000 series. Billed as the “ultimate weekend cruiser”, the design process started by asking customers what the perfect Rayglass would look like. Rayglass then reimagined their very popular Legend 2800 into a new design, with the new hull becoming longer, with more flare in the bow, and significantly greater volume.
With nine metres of hull length to play with (the outboard model measures 9.5m overall), the designers were able to incorporate a large, traditionally styled hardtop with a spacious and airy forward cabin and a large cockpit perfect for fishing, water sports or entertaining.
A new windscreen design, with flat toughened glass panes, provides maximum visibility with minimum glare, the helm position has almost 360 degree visibility, while a large sunroof and sliding side windows let the breeze and sun come in – or keep it out when the weather is inclement.

There are two different powerplant configurations currently available: either twin outboards or single diesel inboard. Still under development is the third member of the family, a single outboard setup meant for one of the new Mercury Verado 350hp or 400hp V10 motors.
We got to play with both models currently on offer, one fitted with a pair of Mercury FourStroke 225hp V6 outboards and the other with a Mercury QSD 350hp 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel with Mercruiser Bravo 3 counter-rotating sternleg. Both boats featured the Mercury Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS) system and power steering.

Although boats this size have traditionally been powered by inboard diesels in New Zealand, the shift internationally has been towards outboard-powered boats. Despite the higher price of petrol, outboards come out on top in terms of ease of maintenance, quietness, lower emissions and a superior power-to-weight ratio. Add to that the extra interior space gained by having the motors hung off the back rather than sitting inside the boat, and it is easy to see why outboards are becoming the new standard. Rayglass is providing both options, and once the new single-outboard model is available, they will be able to cover everyone’s preferred power configuration.
After a tour of the finishing facility at Mt Wellington, where we were able to see the care and craftmanship that goes into every Rayglass, we headed down to the dock at Tamaki Marine Park to meet our rides for the day. About 75% of these two Rayglass 3000 versions are the same, with only the stern section differing between the outboard and inboard models.

Each boat features the same large, weekend-style forward cabin, with a generous double berth with infill, a galley with hob, sink and fridge, and a toilet compartment with electric flush toilet. Hidden under the bow is a Sidepower bow thruster, with a Maxwell winch out on the bow deck.
Under the hardtop, both the skipper and front passenger share the same luxuriously upholstered captain-style seats with swing-down armrests and flip-up bolsters – and both can swivel, as well as adjust for height and fore / aft position. A fixed footrest is useful when driving sitting down, but I found it to be a bit intrusive when driving standing up – a minor niggle about an otherwise exceptional helm position. Rayglass has since told me that they have a hinged footrest option under development.
Instrumentation is both simple and comprehensive, with a 19-inch Simrad touch-screen replacing all the conventional instruments. There’s a row of simple touch switches below it, with three additional control units for the Sidepower bow thruster, Maxwell anchor winch and Zipwake dynamic trim control. Tucked into a pocket in the side of the cabin is the Mercury Digital Throttle and Shift. Both boats featured powered steering, with the outboards having the latest electric steering – reduced cabling and no hydraulic hoses. Set into the eyebrow of the hardtop was a Fusion marine stereo, Simrad VHF and lxNav E500 engine monitoring system touch screen.

Facing back into the cockpit are two more padded seats, with a another forward-facing double bench seat just forward of the transom. Decks are covered in grey Ultralon which is very comfortable on the feet while gunwales feature a smart teak strip – comfortable to perch on while fishing or just enjoying the day.
The transom was where the boats differ, although both options have a large compartment right in the middle. In the case of the outboard model, a cover lifts up to reveal a huge wet-locker suitable for water toys, dive gear or whatever. On the inboard model, this space is of course the location of the engine, and you only really sense the size of the boat when you realise a 4.2-litre common-rail six-cylinder diesel engine fits in that space.

The boarding platform is naturally also different on the two models, with the outboards taking up a sizeable chunk of the transom. Smaller, but still sizeable, boarding platforms extend either side of the outboards. The inboard version gets a full-width boarding platform with yet another double-width padded seat, plus a stainless steel ‘staple’ along the back with baitboard and rod holders built in. Fishing while sitting down is the go on this boat! The wide platform also covers the sternleg, so there is little chance of a lively kahawai or kingfish wrapping your line around the prop.
Having had a good look around, we fired them up and headed out for a play. I started off on the twin outboard version, and I have to say those 225hp V6 Mercurys are very smooth. We could barely hear them at idle, and the DTS and Optimus digital steering made the skipper’s job effortless. The bow thruster made leaving a busy dock even easier, and we were soon out in open water.

They say that every hull is a compromise, and while that may be true, I think Rayglass has managed to produce a boat that makes very few concessions. To be fair, technology – and in particular the Zipwake automatic trim controls – have been the game changer. So Rayglass has opted for a conventional deep-vee hull with a relatively narrow 2.5m beam and plenty of weight. The hull design gives the boat good performance at speed and good fuel economy, while the boat’s weight means she settles down in the water for good stability at rest.
This combination sometimes results in a boat that’s tender underway, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Zipwakes completely counteract any tenderness. We used them in automatic mode the whole time (I can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t simply leave them in this mode) and the boat was unbelievable stable. I have seen deep-vee hulls that noticeably lean over when the occupants move to one side or ‘flop’ over when turned hard. Not the Rayglass – its ride was smooth and stable. We powered through some big wakes and the boat handled them comfortably.

Then I jumped onto the Mercruiser QSD 350hp diesel –powered boat with its Mercruiser Bravo 3 counter-rotating sternleg. After the relative quiet of the outboards, it was reassuring to once again hear a big, growly thing under the engine cover. In the old days they used to say there is no substitute for cubic inches, and the sound from the turbocharged 4.2 litre inline six-cylinder diesel was music to my ears.
To be fair, although the diesel at idle was markedly noisier than the outboards, at full roar the overall noise level was not too different. However, the relative performance was – the torque from a big diesel exceeds that of petrol engines, while the single diesel’s weight pretty much matched the combined weight of both outboards.

The result was acceleration and speed that matched (and possibly exceeded) the outboard-powered boat, while the fuel consumption was lower. We measured 56 litres per hour at 30 knots, compared to around 70 litres per hour at the same speed in the petrol powered model. This makes the diesel noticeably cheaper to run, both in terms of fuel cost per litre and rate of consumption – plus you get about 20% more range from the 320-litre fuel tank.

Overall I was very impressed with the new Rayglass 3000. These two boats are a reminder that there is more than one way to create a smooth-riding and comfortable hull. Rayglass’s use of a deep-vee, higher volume hull with sufficient weight has resulted in a boat that is stable both at rest and at speed. The hull efficient at speed, while Zipwake technology completely removes any potential tenderness issues. The hardtop cabin configuration has proved popular in the New Zealand for several decades, so Rayglass has wisely chosen not to switch to some radical new cabin layout. The company plans to grow its export profile, and I am sure the Rayglass 3000 will rapidly become one of their most popular models.

For more details go to On their website they have a very easy-to-use 3D virtual tour of the boat, which lets you dive into all the details. Alternatively, give them a call on 09 5737979.