For the last two years, Lavey Craft Motorsports has been building the 26′ Redline model in a unique partnership with RPM Powerboats. Now, for the first time, Lavey has been testing a new 26′ powered by twin Mercury Racing 400R outboards. It’s the fifth model out of the mold in an extensive metamorphosis that began back in 2005, when Doug Wright first designed the hull, and it’s the first to feature a carbon kevlar layup. The boat employs the latest in CAD technology and fluid dynamics software borrowed from the racing industry, utilizing a sophisticated blend of composites, including advanced coring, multidirectional fiberglass, and composite bulkheads to yield a light yet strong hull capable of outstanding performance and handling.
RPM owner Joe Malich credits the folks at Lavey Craft with finessing the design of the 26′ to make it more user-friendly. “Chris Camire and his team ended up putting together a great piece here,” he says, referring to the latest incarnation with the 400Rs. “He’s changed the inside of the boat considerably—it has gained about three feet of room inside, about 18 inches on each side, because he tucked everything away. The throttles used to protrude about eight inches; now they’re tucked in. It’s a beautiful boat that has more freeboard than any other 26′ boat on the market.” Eventually, its creators plan to offer a walk-through open bow version of the 26′.
The boat features a motor well designed by Dan MacNamara at Team Archer Marine. “It’s one of the only cats where you can lift the motors completely out of the water,” Malich says. “The boat has a full cabin with a bed.”
In addition to the boat’s superior ergonomic offerings, its performance characteristics are also totally meeting expectations—that’s one of the reasons Mike Livorsi, founder of Livorsi Marine, has purchased two of these hulls for himself to date. Christopher Camire (son of Lavey Craft’s owner) tested the 400R-powered 26′ on Lake Elsinore for the first time last week and was blown away by the boat’s handling.
“This was the first twin-engine outboard cat I personally have ever driven,” Camire told Speedboat. “First, I gave it a couple of laps around the lake to get a quick feel of it. It felt solid, turned great and got on plane effortlessly. After I got a couple of laps, I felt totally comfortable with the boat and got 112 out of it without really even trying.”
Malich, who tested the boat with Camire, said he was exceptionally pleased by the boat’s first run out of the gate. “It was about 102 degrees outside, which really kills a 400,” he says, “so we expect to see a top speed in the low 120s after dialing in the props. We were only turning about 6,500 rpm. I think we can get another 400 rpm out of it.” According to Malich, the boat weighs in at 4,400 lbs. with the 450Rs.
This 26′ has been purchased by a customer in Seattle who plans to use it on the Puget Sound, according to Camire. “The owner is a gentleman who wanted it to have a classic look, so that’s why it has an ivory color—it has the appearance of an old boat, but it also looks like a 2020 boat.” RPM and Lavey Craft are expecting more and more of these hulls to be operated on saltwater, because it handles the rough stuff extremely well.
“This is really where the boat shines,” Malich says. “I would put it up against any cat under 28 feet out there in rough water. As far as a rough water, Doug Wright did it justice and made this thing shine in the rough water. This is why Mike Livorsi wants another boat, because of how it rides in the rough water.”
According to Malich, two additional 26′ Redlines, powered by Mercury Racing 700 SCi I/Os, will be completed in the next two weeks; one is available for sale.