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Southport 26 built for 4-strokes

Several boating industry veterans have teamed up to produce a high-end 26-foot sportfishing boat built to run offshore with modern outboard power.

Designed by C. Raymond Hunt Associates, the Southport 26 center console, with its wide beam and 22 degrees of deadrise at the transom, was conceived specifically to handle today’s heavy V-6 4-stroke outboards.

Most outboard sportfishing boats were designed with the older, lighter 2-stroke engines in mind, which might only have a combined weight of about 900 to 950 pounds, says Frank Longino, a managing partner of Southport Boat Works of Leland, N.C.

The twin 225-hp Yamaha 4-strokes that power the 26CC weigh about 590 pounds each — a 230- to 280-pound discrepancy and a significant influence on the boat’s center of gravity.

“Four-strokes are really the engines of the future, so we designed the boat around the weight of the 4-strokes,” Longino says.

To handle the additional weight, the designers gave the Southport 26CC more buoyancy through a generous 9-foot, 6-inch beam and a deeper hull. The boat incorporates 22 degrees of deadrise at the transom, which warps rapidly to a very aggressive shape.

“It’s smooth, dry and stable at rest,” Longino says. “And it has virtually no hump angle coming up [on plane]. We’re thrilled with it.”

Longino and Alton Herndon are co-managing partners of Southport Boat Works. Longino was vice president of marketing for Grady-White Boats, and vice president of marketing and sales for Chris-Craft. Herndon was president of Hatteras Yachts for a number of years. Director of engineering Val Jenkins was former vice president of operations at Chris-Craft and director of operations at Cigarette Racing Team. “We’ve got great people,” Longino says.

The company has attempted to deliver a big-boat level of quality in a 26-footer, according to Longino. The new center console has a number of features not found on smaller boats, he notes, including oversized scuppers, aluminum railings, a high-water bilge pump with alarm, a large anchor locker for both the primary anchor and lunch hook, and batteries that are isolated from each other. In addition, the engines are mounted on a relatively narrow swim platform, allowing for a full transom with transom door, and enabling anglers to more easily maneuver fish around the backside of the outboards.

In terms of appearance, the 26CC’s clipper bow has the ample bow flare consistent with its North Carolina roots. Its looks are further distinguished by a reverse transom with tumblehome aft.

In addition to a smoother ride provided by the continuously variable deadrise hull, the wider and deeper design means the console itself has a low profile with plenty of room to walk around it comfortably. The console also has a gray back-lit electronics panel with dimmer switch, and contains a stand-up head and freshwater sink.

The 26CC is outfitted with serious fishing features that include a transom bait rigging station with a bait box, cutting board and aft sink with a pull-out shower wand; a 38-gallon pull-out fishbox with macerator and overboard pumpout; a 45-gallon tri-oval live well; a pair of 45-gallon insulated fishboxes forward; six flush-mounted rod holders; and port and starboard under-

gunwale rod racks and storage boxes.

Other on-board storage includes a 31-gallon insulated storage area/seat forward of the console, storage under the helm, and forward lazarette storage.

The cockpit is bolstered forward and aft. In addition to recessed deck hardware, the 26CC has recessed aluminum hand rails forward, and port and starboard aluminum toerails aft.

The T-top comes equipped with LED lighting, spreader lights, radar mounting plate and life jacket storage, and is predrilled for optional outriggers. Other options include an anchor windlass, battery charging system, stereo system and console side curtains.

The Southport 26CC uses vinylester resin, and all fiberglass and composite construction including a foam-filled fiberglass grid stringer system. The hull, stringer system, cockpit liner and deck are chemically bonded, and the boat is available in four colors: Fighting Lady Yellow, Aristo Blue, Sea Foam (light green) and Ice Blue.

The company likely will build about 75 of these boats in its first year, Longino says. The boat is available only with Yamaha 225s or 250s because the design takes into account the engines’ exact weight.

“[The designers] were able to predict within a quarter of an inch where the boat was going to float,” he says.

Initial testing of the 26CC revealed a top speed of 52 mph, Longino says. While cruising at 4,000 rpm, the boat ran about 34 mph and burned a little more than 16 gallons per hour, he says.

Future plans include a 28-foot center console with a 10-foot, 6-inch beam, which the builder plans to launch in December. The new 28-footer should be on display at the Miami International Boat Show in February.