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PCS Boat Review By Jack Innis  (Page 102  Pacific Coast Sportfishing APRIL 2005)

Skipjack 262: A Real Keeper!
There are only two types of fish: keepers and throwbacks. Either a fish measures up, or you toss 
him back. Fishing machines also fall into those two categories. There's the type of boat that 
comes so close to perfection you'd probably keep it forever, then there are boats that come 
up short. Well throwaway the tape measure, ma! The Skipjack 262 is a bona fide keeper!
Skipjack has been a West Coast mainstay since 1966-more than 4,000 Skippys have been 
built - but the 26footer is the largest and most formidable fishing machine
currently in its trailerable lineup. Although it was first introduced in 1991, 
the Skipjack 262 is undergoing some changes. The helm seating comes with 2 buckets seats. 
That combination is still available, but now we offer a bucket seat and a 32" bench combination.
Other changes include addition of a tilt steering wheel, notching the console for 
more legroom forward, and rearranging the trim tab, throttle, and gauge locations to 
make the console more user friendly. We also offer a  transom-mounted bait tank. This two- to 2.5scoop 
tank is nicely designed with angler-friendly rounded corners to avoid snags.
The Skipjack 262 we tested had the heart of a lion. More precisely, a 285 horsepower 
Volvo Penta KAD 300 turning a Duo Prop outdrive. Earlier iterations of the 26footer were 
available with gas engines, but diesel is now the only way to go, according to the factory. Instead, 
owners will likely select one of several Volvo Penta diesel packages, the best of which come 
with big-boat-style electronic engine controls. With the diesel's miserly fuel sipping 
habits, the 170-gallon tank gives plenty of range to chase those early season albacore, 
or to do an extended cruise in the Sea of Cortez.
"This is true, fly-by-wire electronic engine control:" "The boat is easy 
to maneuver, and there are no throttle cables to get stiff over time." 
"Boats I order for general inventory are powered with 
the KAD 300 or the D-6 series, so you have between 285 and 310 horsepower." A 200 horsepower 
engine is still available for family cruisers.
The average West Coast fisherman, however, carries plenty of extra weight around in the form 
of fuel, gear, ice, and bait. He'll most likely opt for additional horsepower and torque to 
carry the load. Especially with a larger diesel, the boat will cruise with the big boys while 
giving good fuel economy.

"With electronic engines and the bigger fuel tanks, our range and performance have gone way up," 
"This boat likes to cruise with the big boys, giving good fuel economy at 20 to 
25 knots." Many owners report fuel consumption in the 2.5 mpg range.
The 262 as tested came with the Volvo KAD300, truly one of Volvo's best engine/outdrive efforts 
to date.
The KAD300 boasts 4 valves per cylinder, a mechanical compressor, a turbo charge-air cooling, 
and advanced electronics.
Combined with a specially developed Duoprop outdrive, the KAD300 delivers performance across 
the spectrum from low-speed maneuvering to great acceleration to excellent top speed.
At low speed, the 262 can complete a 360-degree turn in less than two boat lengths, a neat trick 
for a single engine vessel that should be helpful when maneuvering next to kelp paddies. Even 
with a full load of fuel and water (170/40 gallons), we were able to keep the boat on plane as 
slow as 13 mph with the trim tabs down, which means the boat hull is doing its share to contribute 
to fuel economy and performance.
The 262 should be able to chase down virtually anything that swims. The boat accelerated onto 
plane in less than five seconds, hit 25 mph in about 20 seconds, blew through 35 mph in about 
30 seconds, and maxed out at more than 40 mph in 45 seconds at 3,850 rpm!
Long-range anglers will really appreciate the low noise emissions produced by the KAD300. 
At 25 mph (an excellent cruising speed for a trailerable boat), the diesel was extremely quiet. 
Even with the three-quarter enclosed flybridge, the boat was easy on the ears, which equates 
to less fatigue during long slogs out to the fishing grounds.
Driving the boat from the flybridge, it's hard to remember you're only on a 26-footer. It feels 
rigid and solid, like any "keeper" boat should.
Skipjack spares no expense in creating a tough and rigid hull. Constructed of solid fiberglass, 
the hull is hand-laid around a massive fore-and-aft solid spruce stringer system encapsulated 
in fiberglass for stiffness, strength, and better offshore performance. Even though the boat is 
a bit narrow for a 26-footer (the factory kept it at 8'6" so special towing permits were not 
needed), the boat rocks very little when stopped on a paddy due to the hull's reverse chines 
and rather full beam at the water.
The Skipjack 262's fishing prowess is best displayed in the cockpit. The boat can fish five or 
six guys, and since it sleeps four, with two on the bridge on watch, it really can accommodate 
six. That's a lot to ask for a trailerable boat!
When carefully measured, the cockpit boasts 64 square feet. That equates to a gunwale to 
gunwale bolster measurement of about 6' 6" and a transom bolster to cabin measurement of 7' 6.
" A pair of hatches outboard of the engine provides room for 26" long, by 16" across, by 18" 
deep fish boxes. A hot and cold freshwater wash down is under the transom bolster on the port 
side. The 262 tested has a hot water heater, which works off either 110 volt shore power or 
engine to provide hot water at the dock or underway. A saltwater wash down on starboard side 
forward in the cockpit area should make hose down a snap after a hot bite. All hatches have 
gutters that flow to larger outboard channels that lead to large scuppers.
Engine access is fantastic by lifting a single sound-insulated hatch. The engine room is 
laid out so everything is accessible and serviceable. All fluid checks and fills are toward 
the top of the engine. The primary and secondary fuel filters are within easy reach. Battery 
selector switch is on the port side with easy access.
Two 20-gallon water tanks rest outboard of the engine.
Two battery banks are standard, but the boat will easily accommodate more. All wire and 
plumbing runs are in easy view. All pumps are together on the starboard side so you don't 
have to poke around the entire boat to find them.
A screw-down deck plate forward of the engine allows relatively easy access to the 170 
gallon baffled fuel tank.
Diesel, water, and waste-filler caps are all accessible from the cockpit.
The 262's saloon exemplifies Skipjack's commitment to giving anglers a big-boat feel on 
a trailerable. The saloon has just the right amount of teak trim. There is an offset 
V-berth sleeping area for two forward, and a convertible dinette on the port side. 
Storage abounds throughout the saloon, and there's even a hanging locker within reach 
of the V-berth.
The 262 as tested came with a Princess one-burner stove that runs on a small butane tank, 
which provides about three hours of cooking. This system seems a great deal safer than 
alcohol, and less bulky than a five-gallon propane tank.
The galley also has a GE turntable microwave oven and a Norcold 2.7 cubic foot AC/DC 
refrigerator. An optional 1,000-watt inverter will power the microwave at sea.
Starboard side aft in the saloon is a nicely laid out head with electric toilet and 
pull-out nozzle for shower. All features and appointments show yacht quality finish.
"Skipjack's current owner has been involved in fiberglass fabrication for decades,
"Because they've been producing automotive parts for so long, they're 
accustomed to creating perfect hoods and fenders, without waves and wobbles. So if you 
look at the laminations, look at the gel coat finish, and look at the trim, you'll see 
that it has only been made better." What really helps make the 262 a keeper is that it 
is a true "load and go" boat. You don't have to retract radar arches, peel back canvas, 
or de-rig the boat. Skipjack accomplishes this by keeping the height to 13 feet, under 
the 14-foot clearance most bridges allow.
"All you have to do is put it on the trailer, being mindful of your antennas and 
outriggers,"  Then it's load and go. Out to the fishing grounds in a 
fast, comfortable, durable boat. You know, a keeper!
For more information, contact the Skipjack factory at 888-947-8337 or visit 
Skipjack-Boats.com.In Los Angeles and San Bernardino, the dealer is Johnson Marine 
 909-986-1189.

Page 102  Pacific Coast Sportfishing APRIL 2005

 

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