In New England terms, this is a bassboat. We're not talking largemouth here. The Pemaquid 26's lineage has been refined in that slow Down East way for the pursuit of striped bass, a fish that often feeds in the surf line or among rocks. So bassboats must be stable in confused waters, highly maneuverable, and able to take the occasional bump and grind.
This is a gentleman's bassboat that may never see scales on its deck. Yet the 26 has a bassboat's full bow to rise to the waves, keel for protection, good-size rudder to swing the boat around quickly, and rock-bouncing construction. In addition, you'll find some lobsterboat touches, with additional bow flare and a more sinuous sheer line. There's also a molded-in strake on each side that reduces spray and provides an extra touch of stability and lift while underway. All of which equals a nice touch of craftsmanship and practicality on this round-bottomed hull. We took the 26 out in a modest 15-mph breeze. Conditions weren't bassboat rough, but they were sloppy enough to prove the strakes work. The boat was also remarkably quiet. At 2400 rpm we measured 83 dB-A, and most of that was water slapping the hull.
That silent running can be attributed to sound insulation, plus the optional foam coring ($3,225) in the hull. Our boat also had an optional Aquadrive system ($4,100), which incorporates a constant velocity joint, thrust bearing, and flange mounted between the transmission and the propeller shaft. It reduces hull-borne noise and vibration by maintaining proper alignment. The Aquadrive also eliminates axial loads on the engine by transmitting thrust directly to the bearing and bulkhead. So you push and pull against the boat, not the engine.
One of the few boats similar to the Pemaquid 26 is the Fortier 26. With a hardtop (an extra $1,000 on the Pemaquid) and similar power as our test boat, it goes for about $84,500. We like that it carries two 50-gallon fuel tanks, one port and one starboard of the engine. The Pemaquid 26 has its single 100-gallon tank in the stern, which makes you wonder about trim as fuel is used. During the test, however, with the boat fully loaded and running at its most dramatic attack angle, there was good visibility over the bow.
Because it's custom built, our 26 had a step deck, not an engine box. The main bulkhead was pushed forward a foot to gain cockpit space and the hardtop raised a few inches. We'd opt for the step deck if it were our boat - we hate slamming our knees into an engine box - and we thought the other changes were equally fitting. Though we'd specify gutters and scuppers around the engine hatches to keep water off the machinery.
LAST WORD. A classy craft with a grand ancestry. It would be a shame to get fish blood on its deck.
Displacement (lbs., approx.)........5,800
Bridge clearance..7'6 "
Minimum cockpit depth..........2'3"
Max. cabin headroom ..........6'2"
Fuel capacity (gal.) ..........100
Water capacity (gal.) ..........20
Price (w/standard power) ..........$71,275
Price (w/test power) ..........$80,753
STANDARD POWER: Single 270-hp PCM V-8 gasoline inboard.
OPTIONAL POWER: Single gasoline inboard to 308 hp or diesel inboard to 315 bhp.
TEST BOAT POWER: Single 230-bhp Yanmar 4LHDTE in-line-4 diesel inboard with 210.86 cid, 3.94" bore x 4.33" stroke, swinging a 18" x 16" four-bladed bronze prop through a 1.59:1 reduction.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major items): Auto. bilge pump; 4 ss opening ports; hydraulic steering; ss steering wheel; navigation lights; fuel filter; 2 batteries w/selector switch; bonding system; sea strainer; ladders; convertible top w/boot.