Yamaha event showcases boatbuilders

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Sportsman Boats technical sales representative Will Coxe demonstrates the ride on the bow of its new 26-foot bay boat.

Sportsman Boats technical sales representative Will Coxe demonstrates the ride on the bow of its new 26-foot bay boat.

ST. MICHAELS, Md. — Yamaha gathered boating media on the Eastern Shore of Maryland this week to highlight its F300s, XTO Offshore engines and improvements to its Helm Master while also highlighting several boatbuilders, including two that brought prototypes of new models to the event.

Sportsman brought a prototype of its new bay boat, the Sportsman 267 Open powered by a 425-hp XTO Offshore. The boat features the console and leaning post from the Sportsman 282 Open center console and was outfitted with Power Pole and Minn Kota trolling motor.

The Sportsman 267 comes standard with a hydraulic jack plate, one Garmin screen and JL Audio, as well as power steering.

The company was launched in 2011 in Summerville, S.C., by Tommy Hancock, the former owner of Sea Pro, and Dale Martin, who used to own Key West, said Sportsman Boats technical sales representative Will Coxe.

“They decided to get together to build a boat to fit the times and today’s four-stroke motors,” said Coxe during a sea trial on Wednesday.

The concept was also to marry hardcore fishing elements in its bay boats and center consoles with a family-friendly design, said Coxe.

The SportTech hulls feature a no-wood, all-fiberglass construction using composite materials, vinylester resin and bonding agents. The construction process gives the bay boats a smooth, dry ride, even for those on the bow’s sundeck, said Coxe. Water was calm with about a foot of chop, and the boat was stable, even when cutting through wakes from other boats.

“All the aluminum fabrication is done in-house, and all the fabric is done in-house,” said Coxe, adding that the company employs around 200 employees. There’s no price on the boat yet.

Grady-White brought a prototype of its Canyon 326 with twin F300s and Helm Master.

The new 32-footer will sell for about $304,000.

The new 32-footer will sell for about $304,000.

“It fit in a nice spot between the 30- and the 34-footer,” said product designer Christian Carraway. Special attention was paid to the 10-foot, 9-inch beam, which Carraway called one of the beamiest boats on the market for its length.

The bow seating with foldaway backrests is designed to create family comfort, and the 180-quart port and starboard insulated fish boxes are a nod to the builder’s fishing roots, said Grady-White marketing vice president Shelley Tubaugh. The boat is priced at $304,000.

Regulator brought the first bay boat in its lineup, the 26XO with power provided by an XTO Offshore. The boat had enough space on the bow for two or three anglers to cast and fish comfortably. The $134,000 boat is meant to the first in a lineup of bay boats.

The Pursuit 408S with triple XTO Offshores gave journalists an opportunity to try the new Helm Master features — a good fit since Pursuit was one of the companies that partnered with Yamaha so it could test its technology.

Nautic Star also brought its 2602 Legacy with XTO and World Cat showed its 320 Dual Console with twin F300s.

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