Monterey 260 SCR

It’s suitable for framing.

Most boats are designed around their accommodations. The lines are drawn to enclose a certain number of berths and seats, which is fine until something needs to be added or changed. Monterey's 260 SCR doesn't suffer from this problem. Stowage, service access, entertainment areas, and even alternate deck plans are integral to the design for this new midcabin cruiser. Nothing looks tacked on or appears to be an afterthought. Designs such as this are typical on larger craft, which helps explain why the 260 SCR is such a winner.

It certainly boasts its share of big-boat features. The bow scuff plate, a chunky hunk of stainless steel, is more than a pretty accessory, as anyone who has ever hauled an anchor while a boat is pitching can avow. The galvanic isolator helps prevent corrosion that can occur when connecting to questionable shorepower, something that can happen at any dock. The engine compartment is gel coated and brightly lit. Plus, I had no trouble grabbing the pumps, dipsticks, filters, batteries, and other maintenance points. Even the water heater, which is often shoehorned into boats this size, will be a snap to winterize. Yachty "soft" touches include the frosted port in the head, faux teak cabin sole and steps, and a fiddle rail installed around the single-burner galley stove that Monterey placed in the faux-granite counter.

The aft berth fits two kids or a cozy couple, and all electronics are housed in a single locker here for easy service. The V-berth is comfortable, ringed by a stowage shelf, and bathed in natural light through the deck hatch. The head is generous, and the overall feel of the cabin is gracious thanks to varnished wood laminate and plush upholstery.

Topside, you can recline on the bow sunpad. Aft, my tester featured the standard layout, with dunnage box seating on the platform and a portside recliner built into the cockpit. A sun island ($1,417) is available. Either way you get the wetbar with solid-surface top.

Powered by MerCruiser's 377 MAG DTS Bravo Three (formerly called the 6.2MPI), my tester hit 42.1 mph and cruised easily at 25 to 30 mph through bay chop and boat wakes.

Contact: 352-528-2628, www.montereyboats.com