May 16, 2011
Homecoming for an Old Florida Pair
For members of the boating press, Mako and SeaCraft held a pre-Fort Lauderdale Boat Show sneak peak at new models in Stuart in mid-October. Florida Sportsman was there to give ‘em a quick run-through.
These are brand names we've been following for 40 years—both ran advertisements for fishing boats in the very first issue of FS, Summer 1969. At the time, Mako and SeaCraft boats were built independently in Miami, Florida. Today, the two are united under the Tracker label, and built in a Forest City, North Carolina, factory.
For more, visit www.mako-boats.com
All-new Mako 18 LTS brings to mind the spirit of the old 17, with modern construction and flats layout.
All-new Mako 18 LTS again.
Curvy Euro-esque center console somewhat of a design departure for Mako, but it works. Permanent rod holders; good access to batteries inside; and standup-height wheel are pluses. This is a prototype boat, and you're apt to see certain features re-arranged—for instance those rocker switches may move to make room for a plotter/sounder.
Forward storage hatch (absent a retaining cord or strut; again, she's a prototype). About that thin composite bulkhead: Engineers used some novel construction techniques in an effort to keep the boat as light as possible. The boat was surprisingly stiff and rode well.
It's a two-piece boat, the upper cap bonded to the hull. This offers space for rodholders, among other things.
This boat was rigged with a 50-hp Merc, not a speed demon, but very miserly on fuel and capable of running 20-25 mph.
Baitwell is beneath the seat cushion in front of the console—a common place on boats of this size, but we suspect future LTS models will include a larger well aft.
Here's another new entry from Mako, the 184CC. Handsome shear line is reminiscent of larger boats, and indeed this one is scaled up quite a bit from the 171, with a full extra foot of beam and a deeper vee (18 degrees).
Coaming bolsters, horizontal rod racks and gunnel rodholders—all promising features for a small boat.
Tough to see in the photo, but there's non-skid on that aft step next to the folding ladder. Padded seat folds away when not in use.
Aft view of the 184.
Console on the 184, with integrated, angled footrest.
Front-of-console baitwell is 24 gallons. Above that, the only “hmm”: High access to the console interior will make it somewhat tough to service batteries and oil reservoir.
Flagship of the Mako fleet, the 284 Express, with room to sleep 6. Mako has abandoned the walk-around design, but retained adequate space to walk to the bow.
We ran her with twin 300 E-Tecs, powerful motors that jumped the big rig out of the hole quickly.
Baitwell on the 284 Express.
Good weather and sun protection, with windshield wipers to boot.
Aft deck hatch lifts to access bilge and batteries.
Transom fishbox is in a good place for icing down gaffed fish.
Interior shot of 284.
Helm station provided good visibility standing or seated.
All-new SeaCraft SC26 Master Angler, matching the traditional SeaCraft variable deadrise hull with widened strakes for increased lift plus a higher sheer line that increases bow flare.
Forty-gallon aft livewell, molded into the leaning post.
Very few boats offer this, but some hardcore anglers have been rigging similar systems for years—it's a sea-chest, a common raw-water pickup with pumps sealed in seawater to prevent airlock.
T-top with aft rodholders, outriggers, radio box and courtesy lights.
This console had space inside for an optional portable toilet.
Recessed bow rail, coaming bolsters and wide gunnels.
That's a pitch well at top, in addition to a fold-away transom jump seat. And of course a pair of Mercury Verados.
Fore deck storage hatch, finished, gasketed and supplied with top-of-the-line stainless hardware.
At the foot of the console seat is a 20-gallon in-deck livewell.
My memory card was maxxed-out and my time crunched, so I grabbed some house photos of the new Mako 264CC. This a 21-degree deadrise vee-hull with aggressive bow flare. We ran her outside St. Lucie Inlet into a 6-foot chop and felt comfortable.
Head and sink inside the 264 console.
Forward storage hatches, 264.