Rinker 260 EC

With a little studying, you can start to call urban structures by their architects. Well-known designers create certain fingerprints on the outsides of buildings with a specific feel inside. We find that true of Rinker boats, too. When testing the 260 Express Cruiser, we could have covered up the brand references in the boat and known from its tight cornering that it was a Rinker.

What we think: With a little studying, you can start to call urban structures by their architects. Well-known designers create certain fingerprints on the outsides of buildings with a specific feel inside. We find that true of Rinker boats, too. When testing the 260 Express Cruiser, we could have covered up the brand references in the boat and known from its tight cornering that it was a Rinker. They have running surfaces so dialed in that even this overnighter, running on a single engine, has unmistakable handling characteristics.

The same individuality is found in the cabin. A person 6-foot-4 can step into the salon and not slouch because Rinker always places emphasis on headroom. On this model they've also squeezed the forward bulkhead as far forward as possible to make the living quarters, including the fully-equipped galley, feel bigger. A full-length mirror on the back of the door to the walk-in head helps that area breathe, too. And because storage is always an issue on a 26- to 28-foot overnighter, the forward stateroom converts to a bed with three cushions instead of one since the smaller cushions are easier to stow. We found the mid-berth plenty big for sleeping one adult or two kids.

Our test boat sat at the dock one night with the standard camper canvas over the cockpit. Several people commented how big it looked, which is due to the extra stanchion above the transom — it dramatically lifts the aft end of the canvas, giving realistic sleeping room. It's another way Rinker develops more space than you"d expect from a boat in the 260's segment.

Who should buy it: A couple or a family with kids can hardly go wrong by stepping into the overnighter category -- or stepping back from a larger boat -- with this express cruiser. The 260 is even trailerable without special permits.

Vital Stats * Length Overall: 28'10" * Beam: 8'6" * Dry Weight: 6,750 lb. * Fresh Water Capacity: 33 gal. * Fuel Capacity: 75 gal. * Max HP: 320 * MSRP (test boat w/ Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi DP): $80,438 * NMMA Certified: Yes

Test Drive * Test Engine: Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi Duoprop * Test Prop: F2 * Test Load: People (380 lb.); Fuel (25 gal.) * Top Speed: 41.6 mph @ 5,200 rpm * Time to Plane: 5.0 sec. * Time to 30 mph: 9.9 sec.