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September 21, 2007

Century 2600 WA

There's plenty to please the family and fishermen in this new 26-foot walkaround.

Century Boats has redesigned its popular 26-foot walkaround model, offering improved accommodations below and enhanced fishing features in the cockpit. The result is a boat that can fish hard and take care of the family.

Belowdecks, the 2600 has a good deal of space for a boat of this size, centered around a large, cushioned berth forward. The berth is big enough so that two people could actually sleep there, provided they aren't very large people. A high-low table on the centerline converts the berth into a dinette when it's in the "up" position. The berth also has a storage area beneath it, and a thick, pleated backrest that surrounds the seating area.

The Century designers make great use of available space, providing almost 6' 4" of headroom down below. The head compartment, to starboard, features a real marine head as optional equipment, or a standard porta-potty. There's not enough room for a stall shower, but a hand-held shower head lets you rinse off with ease.

Well-Designed Helm

The bridgedeck has the helm station to starboard, with the helm and passenger seats sitting atop two molded boxes attached on top of them. The starboard box contains two tackle drawers, while the port passenger seat sits atop a large storage box. The helm seat also features a flip-down, aft-facing seat so someone can watch the baits in comfort.

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SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 26' 4"
Beam: 8' 6"
Transom deadrise: 20 ¿
Draft: 18"
Hull weight: 4,900 lbs.
Fuel: 200 gals.
Base price w/ 200-hp
Yahama HPDI outboards: $86,507

A spacious electronics box above the helm comes with a clear acrylic door to keep out water. Actually, the space is divided into two sections, one for general storage and one for electronics, but you could press both into service if you need more equipment space. Gauges are arranged port and starboard of the wheel, with switches below it. Visibility is very good from the bridgedeck because Century chose to design a relatively high platform from which you can easily see in all directions.

The boat's large cockpit should keep fishermen happy. It comes with lots of standard, fishing-friendly items, like a pair of 140-quart, in-deck fishboxes with macerator pumps that drain overboard. Locking rod lockers under the gunwales hold three rods per side, and there are two smaller lockers aft of those. The port locker contains the boat's battery switches, while the starboard locker hides the boat's salt water washdown bibb.

The integrated engine platform has a transom gate to starboard, with a 42-gallon live well on the centerline and a sink and cutting board to port. A small, tilt-out tackle locker beneath the sink holds two plastic tackle drawers. Cushions snap in place along the top of the transom bulkhead, forming a handy place for passengers to sit. There's also a removable backrest, plus coaming pads that come as standard equipment in the cockpit.

We ran the 2600 WA on a relatively calm day, but the wakes we found showed us that the boat will be a good open-water performer. It has a wide bow, necessary to create all that cabin room belowdecks, so it can pound a little when pushed too hard into a chop. However, the 20-degree transom deadrise helps smooth things out a lot. The 2600 also seemed to be very dry.

With twin 200-hp Yamaha HPDI outboards, the 2600 cruises at 38.1 mph at 4000 rpm, while burning only 17.1 gph, according to Yamaha's own performance tests. Wide-open, the 2600 reaches 51.7 mph at 5500 rpm.

The 2600 WA comes with a lengthy standard-equipment list, which includes hydraulic steering, a self-bailing cockpit with stainless-steel drains, electric trim tabs, and a stainless-steel boarding ladder. It's all backed by a ten-year, transferable warranty, so peace of mind comes standard, as well.

Century Boats, Panama City, FL; (850) 769-0311; www.centuryboats.com.