With the beginning of the new model year, Row2k takes an advance look at the newest products coming out of the boat sheds. We rate them for safety, mileage, ecological considerations, and sheer go-like-a-bat-out-of-hell qualities. We recently test-coxed the newest Resokaschpoli VII, and found it a pleasure to handle, well worthy of the praise which generations of Resokaschpoli enthusiasts have bestowed upon its predecessors.
The engineers have made substantial improvements over last year's model, and we found this one tracked easily through the curves, thanks to some increased muscle from the bow thrusters. Instrument placement is ergonomic and intuitive, with the steering controls properly separated from the electronic countermeasures -- although inexperienced coxswains may find the volume control uncomfortably close to the torpedo arming switch, requiring special care during cold morning practices when gloved hands make for less- than-dexterous fingering. The buoy proximity toggle has been moved to the left side of the stakeboat release, making for an overall cleaner layout. Instrument readout is uncluttered, with stroke rating, boat speed, stock ticker (Pacific Rim exchanges were an option on the model we tested), and world headlines all crisply displayed in sunlight-readable characters.
A devotion to safety is evident in every detail, from the inflatable bow-ball, which deploys within .04 seconds of impact, to the pre-programmable backing alarm, (choice of Beethoven's "Fur Elise," Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild," or "Just Get Up and Do It" by the Phlaiming e-Memos). The childproof locks on the oarlock keepers are a thoughtful safety device, now standard on all the high-end models, and the sliding seats make getting in and out of the shell easy and assured, even with a full load of groceries in each hand. Nor have cabin comforts been neglected. An Eighteen-CD changer in the aft buoyancy tank provides separate entertainment channels to every seat in the boat, and this -- along with the voice and data ports conveniently located beside each footstretcher -- ensure maximum bandwidth and productivity, even during the longest practices. The footstretcher memory modules store up to four individual settings -- a must-have feature for hot boating at crowded regatta docks. The patented Extendi-Bow feature has been lengthened to six feet this year, perfect for those otherwise close finishes, and its rapid deployment keeps you in firm control of race tactics no matter what surprise moves your competitors may throw at you. Coxswains and rowers alike will appreciate the enhanced hydraulic slide control, variable power-assist feather rolloff, and the (new on this year's model) CatchGuard system. We found the set to be a bit mushy on tight turns, perhaps a casualty of the weight-reduced roll bars, but, that being said, whether for low-intensity outings or international competition, the RKV VII offers on-the-water excitement for everyone.