IN THEIR WORDS
Henry Depew grew up around boats, and he’s still surrounded by them. Today, the 64-year-old retiree from
“Boating is simply relaxing,” says Depew, who’s covered
They paid less than $30,000 for the boat in 1991 and have added a few things here and there, generally just enjoying it ever since. Built of fiberglass, she rides a traditional round bottom lobsterboat-style skeg hull, has an inside steering station in the wheelhouse, and cabin room below for two berths, an enclosed head and a small galley area.
The Sisu name was familiar to the
That’s crucial, because the 26 spends a lot of time on the race course. And though rooted in commercial fishing, it makes an ideal committee boat. “A nice item with the Sisu is the large, open cockpit area behind the cabin bulkhead,” says
He’s also able to keep the boat in the shallow canal waters at his waterfront home. “One of the advantages of this boat is usability in shoal waters,” says
Under way, the Sisu’s tall bow and plentiful forward freeboard help “considerably” when the wind and sea builds,
Power comes from a single 100-hp diesel, giving their boat a modest 6- to 8-mph cruising speed. (Other Sisus are more highly powered.) “Although a bit slow, it gets us from point A to point B,” says
Electronics include a fixed-mount VHF radio with a hand-held for backup, a Loran-C receiver and GPS. “Loran is the best for finding temporary marks when the seas get up,” says
There’s been some upkeep and modernizing over the years. The middle window in the wheelhouse was replaced and hinges added to open and close. The exhaust pipe is new, and two fiberglass storage areas were added in the stern area to hold the extra anchor chain, towing assembly, engine oil and the like.
As most boaters do, the couple sometimes thinks about buying a different boat — maybe a catboat or a multihull. But the 26-footer was bought to provide comfort, room and safety on the water, as
“The Sisu stays. There is really no need to change,” he says.
The Sisu 26 profile comes right out of a
The helm and fiberglass instrument console are to starboard, behind the heavy, triple-panel windshield. The engine room is under the wheelhouse sole, leaving the cockpit free of an engine box. The companionway is on centerline, leading down three steps to the compact cabin. There’s a V-berth forward that, with an insert, is convertible to a large single. The head compartment (with sink and hand shower) is to starboard.
Across the way is the galley area, with counter space for a sink and stove top, and room for a below-counter refrigerator and such add-ons as a microwave or coffee maker. Four ports let in light and ventilation.
The builder offered a variety of superstructures, including an open-side lobsterboat-style wheelhouse and an open bass boat with a soft top. Owner and designer modifications during the Sisu’s production run have resulted in boats with some differences in draft, and there are both shallow- and deepwater versions on the used boat market.
With so many Sisu 26s built, they’re easy to find in the used-boat market up and down the East Coast. Prices range from around $60,000 for a later model to $25,000 for an early version. A 1979 model set up for lobstering was for sale in
The Sisu 26 — the name comes from Norse mythology — was designed along lobsterboat lines by Royal Lowell, of the multigenerational
Production of the 26 began in the late 1970s and peaked in the 1990s, according to Jamie Lowell, nephew of the designer. He estimates that between 250 and 300 of the 26s were built by Portsmouth Boat Works in
Though the original builder has gone out of business, the Sisu 26 is still available today from the Lowell Brothers yard in
LOA: 25 feet, 11 inches
BEAM: 9 feet, 8 inches
DRAFT: 2 feet, 9 inches
WEIGHT: 7,200 pounds
PROPULSION: single inboard
from 100 hp to 240 hp
TANKAGE: 80 gallons fuel,
10 gallons water