Century 2600 Walk-Around

All boats are a compromise, but Century Boats minimized many small-boat concessions with the new 2600 Walk-Around. Family day boat, tender or fishing platform certainly are within the realm of so-called pocket vessels, but demanding some privacy for personal time and accommodations for a siesta can stretch the envelope. The 2600 Walk-Around seems to bridge the gap.

Century starts with handlaid, multidirectional fiberglass, using the company's own V-Tech system of transverse bracing, foam-filled fiberglass stringers and a molded urethane transom. The seacocks are brass, the through-hull fittings are stainless or brass, and the stainless-steel cleats are reinforced with aluminum backing plates. Every connection in the electric system is waterproof, and all wires use a color-coded system.

At nearly 5,000 pounds without power, the Walk-Around is no lightweight. She won't get pushed around when the afternoon winds freshen. Her deep-V entry and 20 degrees of deadrise at the transom make her a formidable foe for any head sea encounters.

A Yamaha product will always push the load, as Century is a Yamaha company. Power options range from a single 225 or 250 hp to dual 150 or 200 hp packages. Given the weight and hull configuration, I would opt for the twins. The Yamahas, in particular, are misers in fuel consumption, and the extra kick will be welcome. Yamaha's gauge cluster includes fuel, trim, tachometer, voltmeter and speedometer.

Tempered glass is in front of the helm. The station, in addition to the engine gauges, has an in-dash recess for electronics, lighted rocker switches and a footrest. Steering on the 2600 Walk-Around is hydraulic.

In the cockpit, pedestal helm seats are atop a stowage compartment and built-in tackle box; cockpit bolsters and lighting add to the creature comforts. Each side has rod stowage and two gunwale-mounted rodholders. Nothing beats a self-bailing, nonslip cockpit, and this one has two macerated, 140-quart, insulated fishboxes. The transom prep area holds a bait well and a sink.

The cabin is fine, as much as one can do with the limits of size. The obligatory high-low table with filler creates a sleeping platform from the V-berth configuration. Thick cushions and well-padded bolsters make for cozy comfort.

A head compartment with a portable situation will meet most people's needs, though I would like to see someone figure out a way to raise the commode off the floor. Models with full marine heads are a little better.

Still, walkarounds have found their niche. Century's 2600 seems to make any compromises manageable. Century Boat Company, (850) 769-0311; www.centuryboats.com.