MAXIMISE YOUR PLEASURE
Make the most of your leisure time with this classy cruiser.
What is the fastest growing style of boat in the marine industry? A couple of years ago it would’ve been bowriders, but now the new Sports Express cruiser models are making huge inroads into the Aussie market.
Most of these new boats range from 24ft to 33ft , but with such a diversity of models now available, any newcomer needs to be a top boat if it’s going to gain a strong foothold. To be a winner in this field a boat has to be extremely stylish and innovative, while offering new buyers plenty of convenient accessories that make a day or weekend on the water a pleasure. And that’s exactly what the Maxum 2600SE does.
From the sliding transom seat to the cockpit entertainment centre, to the full galley and sleeping areas below, every centimetre is designed to maximise space and the crew’s comfort. But the most innovative facet of this new Maxum is its all-new ‘Active Seating’ system.
Plenty of clever design ideas have gone into this boat’s seating and it starts at the transom. The transom lounge slides forward and folds down into a massive sun pad. In its normal position the backrest can be reversed, so when at rest, the occupants can sit with their feet on the swim platform and remain in on the action as the kids swim behind the boat.
In fact, this lounge (with its filler cushions) is so versatile it offers more than 20 ways to lounge, sit, sunbathe, relax, or just recline in luxury. Beneath the main pad of this lounge is an enormous wet locker, which can be used as a big Esky, or as a place to store wetsuits and the like.
The extra-wide skipper’s seat also gets the treatment. It slides back so you can stand comfortably while driving. It has a bolster for the driver who wishes to sit looking over the windscreen and it swivels 180 degrees, so two people can sit here facing the rest of the crew and remain part of the conversation without having to strain their necks.
You want more ? There’s a removable table in the aft cockpit. The observer’s seat on the portside is a full-length sun lounge (with plenty of under-bunk storage) with a padded backrest that’s affixed to the cabin bulkhead. And don’t forget the entertaining centre with its sink, wet bar and fridge.
The entire aft cockpit is designed to be functional and optimise cockpit space, so when it’s time to party, you’ve got everything covered.
There’s an optional wakeboarding tower, quality sound system, drink holders and a helm set-up that will keep even the most fastidious skipper happy. It offers an adjustable sport steering wheel, full instrumentation with easy to read gauges and an extremely comfortable driving position.
The increasing popularity of sports cruisers stems from this style of boat’s cruising and island hopping, with a bit of fishing thrown in at a pinch. Try your hand at wakeboarding or skiing, or just lull around the harbour with a picnic lunch and a few friends, this boat can do it all. But what it does best is make an excellent weekender for a family of four, or two couples. She has a compact, but fully-functional galley with a single-burner stove and microwave oven, a deep sink with flick-mix tap, good storage and a sizable refrigerator. Obviously, meals would need to be carefully planned to make full use of the cooking arrangements, but whack a portable barbie off the swim platform and you’ll be cooking up a banquet in no time.
The large, U-shaped bow lounge and dining table easily converts into a double bed, while the amidships double cabin takes care of the kids or two guests.
After a swim you can use the transom hand shower to wash off the sand and salt, but at the end of the day the main bathroom awaits to freshen you up before joining your guest for drinks as you watch the sun go down over the water.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Aggressive chines, sharp-bow entry and a deep-vee hull propelled by a powerful MX 6.2lt 320hp MPI MerCruiser combine to ensure this boat’s no slouch in the performance stakes. Cruising along at 3800rpm she sits on a comfortable 38mph, but put the hammer down and she’ll hit 48mph at 5500rpm. And that’s not bad for a boat that weighs-in at more than 3.5 ton before you add people, Eskies and food.
This hull requires only a small amount of trim to perform at her best. She jumps onto the plane quickly, without any excessive bow up attitude and maintains a good running angle in all conditions.
The conditions were calm during this test, but jumping other boat’s wakes at speed showed the hull was capable of slicing through wakes and chop cleanly, without any excessive banging and crashing, or damaged backs.
The Maxum 2600SE is a top weekender that lends itself well to the Aussie lifestyle. It has the power to perform at a high level, without being outlandishly expensive to run at cruise speeds, but put the hammer down and she’ll hit almost 50mph at full noise.
The good news is the price tag. At $129,990, she’s excellent value for money for a 26-footer with all the goods to make a weekend on the water comfortable and enjoyable.
THE MAXUM STORY… SO FAR
Maxum is a Brunswick Corporation brand and a member of the Brunswick Boat Group, which is an acknowledged leader in recreational boating.
The Maxum Pipestone Minnesota factory established operations in the early 1970s, and is the largest employer in that community. The Pipestone facility employs 300 and handles the complete construction of all Maxum runabouts. Maxum has another factory at Salisbury in Maryland. It was founded more than 15 years ago and is the second largest industrial employer in the area with nearly 200 employees. This 140,000sq ft facility also handles the entire construction process of all Maxum cruisers.
Between the two factories Maxum builds 19 different models ranging from 18 to 42ft.
A MX 6.2lt 320hp MPI MerCruiser powers this latest Maxum 2600SE cruiser.
With two adults and half a load of fuel onboard in calm conditions, the Maxum 2600SE cruised comfortably at 38mph pulling 3800rpm and hit almost 50mph at a quiet 5500rpm.
BEAM: 8′ 6″
DRAFT: 1′ 11″
MAX HP: 320hp
WORDS IAN MACRAE
+ New seating system; Power-to-weight ratio
– Doesn’t like too much trim