A Boat for All Time
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
Combining a timeless New England profile with the latest in high-tech design, and using veteran artisans, steeped in the art of hand-crafted boat building, the Vanquish 26 Center Console is already a head-turning modern classic.
Back in the day, I began my love affair with all things nautical on my first boat, a Maine-built, 42-foot wood lobster boat from the Webber’s Cove yard in East Blue Hill. With her single 110-hp Ford Lehman diesel she wasn’t a very fast vessel but with reliable sea-keeping abilities and possessing that salty, handsome and distinctive Downeast profile, well the more time I got to spend on the water the better. Just me. Just saying.
With 25+ years now in my wake as a marine journalist, writing and doing video work for some of the most influential magazines in the industry, I get to review all types of boats from the many fine builders around the world. And yet whenever I do, somewhere in the back of my mind, I always look for that special something to set my current assignment apart from the others; something that hits me just right and brings me back to the reasons why I got into the lifestyle in the first place. So it is with the Vanquish 26 CC.
It all starts with a design, the right vision of just what the boat is going to look like, how it is going to be built, which materials will be best, will it perform as expected and if it can supply those all important creature comforts and deliver on those individual ideas of how it will be used.
To the point, the Vanquish 26CC began when Morgan Huntley, who had acquired the company in 2010, chose acclaimed marine architect Doug Zurn and his Marblehead, Massachusetts-based Zurn Yacht Design Studio for the project.
“When I first acquired the molds back then, I knew I had a boat line that could be developed and with the Zurn design, well I was off to the races,” said Huntley.
Huntley’s idea of designing a contemporary day boat having sturdy construction, with the ability to provide a superior ride and possessing head-turning good looks and a classic appeal, was quickly realized. And given there are many center console designs, this one, while incorporating state-of-the-art computer powered programs and the latest in building materials, would be based on a time-honored, traditional manner using artisans whose expertise included inheriting generations of experience in the fine craftsmanship of boat building. “For me, it was always to make sure that whatever I built, it would be a better boat.”
Let’s begin with the hull design. Starting up at the stem, the 50-degree entry is carried a third of the way back after which, at 24 degrees, it transitions to the transom, there to end in a deadrise of 16 degrees.
Working with the chines—a large chine transitions from horizontal aft to a 6 degree down angle forward which helps significantly in keeping water from finding its way over the sheer—and lifting strakes—two pair aid in straight and true tracking—this combination creates a stable ride while the flatter aft section and reduced draft, at 19”, allows for sufficient lift and the efficient use of power. “When the boat is on plane, she’s at that 24 degree mark and running really well,” Huntley notes.
Powered by a single standard 200-hp Mercury Verado, with VesselView4, or optional Yamaha Saltwater Series outboards, Vanquish reports an estimated cruise speed of 32mph/29kn and a WOT of 52mph/45kn.
With her modified-V, performance-planning hull, she is designed to get up and out of the hole quickly. To that end, her bow offers a slight rocker design, this to prevent bow steering while the convex sections up front aid in diminishing the effects of any pounding.
On the subject of strength, it is here where Huntley chooses to use superior products and construction methods and, as throughout the entire build process, including the superior fit and finish, layout, not cut any corners. “As a boat builder, we always make the intelligent material choices,” he adds.
As with all the boats in the Vanquish model line-up, the 26CC is hand built. Triaxial E-glass is expertly laid out and extends the full length of the inner as well as the outer skins with the engineered foam-cored hull and resin sealer—a premium, stronger-bonding vinyl ester epoxy is used—providing the necessary strength and reduced weight. Further, the fully enclosed cell foam core is vacuum bagged in the hull and deck. There is absolutely no wood found anywhere in the build process and for added rigidity, a layer of reinforced carbon fiber is also provided.
Huntley and Zurn also approached the sensible layout and purpose-driven profile of the 26CC in the same manner as it did with this boat’s design and build.
“Style, choice of components, both in our construction as well as everything, including the hardware used on our exteriors, and the layout coupled with the variable, fuel-efficient deadrise hull design all goes into the end product,” Huntley said. “Beauty and comfort comes standard for all those aboard.”
It all starts up forward with a stylish stainless steel bow rail and, circling the entire exterior, a stainless rub rail. And the deck mounted anchor roller allows for better visuals into the seaway.
There is comfortable and functional U-shape seating up here and the space makes for easy conversation while enjoying the ride. As well, there are plenty of storage areas beneath as well as a fully gasketed hatch in the sole. And the enclosed head is easy to access. Add the optional canvas dodger and your guests are fully protected from wind and weather.
At the helm, which is purposely situated so as to be out of the so-called ‘knee knock’ zone of the console when seated, the location of all switches, throttles, electronics, and other important helm components are properly positioned. “With being so detail oriented on the little things you can be confident that we have taken care of the big ones as well,” Huntley offered. And the seating fully aft affords great views whether underway, at anchor, or just enjoying some time at the dock. Add such impressive options as a Sunbrella-topped T-top, a selection of hull colors, mahogany trim and teak decks, varnished transom, cocktail table and refrigerator, among a long list and your Vanquish 26 CC can be custom fit just for you.
Let me wrap things up with this thought. Years ago I did a story about a local workboat builder in the Chesapeake Bay. And while walking around the shop, I noticed a senior carpenter busy with a door being prepped for varnishing.
“Needed a bit of proper sanding here on one of the edges so it will fit just right,” he said to me during the conversation.
“So, how do you know how much you have to take off?” I asked, always curious about these kinds of craftsmen and their work.
“Well son,” he began as he smiled at me through sawdust-flaked safety glasses. And while running his palm down the side of the door he said, “Oh, about this much.”
The Vanquish 26CC is all about that and a lot more. With the kind of quality construction that will give you peace of mind in your investment along with her head-turning, classic good looks, she will be able to provide the kind of on-water excitement you are looking for.
Whether out on a family cruise, doing a bit of fishing, having fun with water sports activities, taking day-boat excursions, or even for those having a bigger boat who just want something to use around the bay or waterway, this center console has it all, and that includes those of you who are outside of the saltwater market and do your boating on the Great Lakes.
My advice? Set up a visit to the Newport, Rhode Island facility and get on a sea trial and find out for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
LOA: 26'8"; BEAM: 8'0"; DRAFT: 19"; DEAD RISE: 16°
DISPLACEMENT: 4,200 LBS; FUEL: 75 US gallons
CRUISE SPEED: 32 mph/28knots (Est.)
MAX SPEED: 52mph/45 knots (Est.)
Mercury Verado 200 (standard)
1 Washington St., Newport Shipyard
Newport, Rhode Island 02840
401-396-5173; [email protected]