The new Cabriolet Royale 26 would be equally at home alongside the bright red Pininfarina coupe dominating the Museum of Modern Art's second floor, or plying the waterways of Ft. Lauderdale and Newport Beach on a champagne dinner cruise. The Australian builder has recreated a timeless craft that will surely remain in vogue for decades to come.
A feature unique to all models in the Cabriolet Royale series is the folding convertible top. Pushing a button on the dash or your key chain folds and stows the top behind the after bench seat. The top can also be programmed to close automatically if it starts to rain. The side windows are electrically controlled, as well, and the high-gloss mahogany-like hull complements the timeless stainless-steel framed windshield and powerful sheer.
Although the 26 and her 21-foot sister would make unique tenders on any megayacht, an inflatable should probably be on reserve to handle messy water activities. Think of having an SUV in the garage to complement a Rolls-Royce Corniche. It's hard to imagine snorkelers with wet, salty swimsuits clamoring over the Austrian Schmidt leather upholstery and deep pile carpet in the cockpit. Additional cockpit features include a CD player, a 12-volt refrigerator, full instrumentation recessed in a mahogany dash, Morse controls and a wood-trim steering wheel.
A small, albeit functional cabin is tucked into the 26's forepeak. Two berths flank the side of the hull, and an MSD and sink are aft. The area may be a little tight for an overnight stay but will be great for an afternoon nap for the younger crew. An opening hatch provides ample light and ventilation. If you want to take a few weekend trips, Cabriolet also builds a 34-foot model with a more substantial interior, including a full galley, a head, a V-berth and a settee.
Although the Cabriolet Royale series' bright hull finish appears to be a maintenance headache, it is actually patent-pending ImageFibre. The computer-generated wood-grain finish is molded into the topsides and deck, providing the appearance of timber with the advantages of fiberglass. The hull is constructed with balsa core, and the decks are ash.
Twin 210 hp Mercury V6 sterndrives power the 26. Power options include jet drives and Yanmar or Volvo diesel packages. Depending on the power choice, speeds up to 70 mph are possible.
Cabriolet builds each vessel to order, but only builds a limited number each year.
Cabriolet Royale, (800) 688-7029; www.cabrioletroyale.com.