John page williams
The following review was written by John Page Williams, Editor-at-large, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. John, senior naturalist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has been a regular contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine for 30 years, specializing in environmental issues, nature, wildlife, fishing and boats. He has been testing new and used boats for the magazine's Time-Tested and New Boat News departments since 1998.
Composite 26
MARCH 2009
 
   
Length overall  26' 5"
Beam  9' 6"
Draft  2'
Weight5,500 lb
Fuel 100 gals
Power  250-500 hp
Base Price  $114,000

The new Composite 26 is an elegant hull with a Palm Beach sheerline and a dramatic Carolina flare at the bow. Designed and built by Composite Yacht, an experienced custom shop near the Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the 26 is available in three versions: a semi-custom open center-console, a center-console with bow cuddy and an express, each with an extensive option list for fishing or cruising. The hull is vacuum-bagged fiberglass around Core-Cell structural foam, with fiberglass stringers and a high-density foam-cored transom. Composite's ability to produce strong, sharp angles in the keel and chines is remarkable, as is its ability to de-core areas around fittings, including through-hulls. They can work wood trim into the boat if desired, but they are especially proud of the hull's combination of strength and light weight.

Our test boat (actually hull number one) was wide open, with a 315-hp Yanmar diesel inboard fitted under the console. Note the draft: 24 inches. The engine, mounted nearly level, drives the shaft and propeller through a tunnel that begins gradually “coaxing water into it,” as one of the crewmembers remarked. In the sea trial, the boat left a clean, low wake, with no hint of ventilation from the tunnel, even in sharp turns at high speed. A cupped, four-blade propeller helped, but most of the credit goes to the overall design of the tunnel. The effective transom deadrise is 22 degrees, tapering to a very sharp bow entry.

The Yanmar balanced the boat well and accelerated quickly. Top speed was 38 mph at 4000 rpm with six people aboard. Easy cruising speeds ranged from 24 mph at 2700 rpm to 27 mph at 3000. In any form, the 26 is a trailerable, efficient, sturdy pocket canyon runner that will turn heads in any marina. Composite Yacht, Trappe, Md.; 410-476-4414; www.compositeyacht.biz