Looking at the distinctly beautiful bow flare, if I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought we were ready to head out of Oregon Inlet or some other Carolina port. The beacon off Hambrooks Bar, however, corrected that assumption. I was at the public ramp in Cambridge, MD, where I met Rob Hardy of Composite Yacht. We were about to take a spin on the boat builder’s latest creation, what Hardy calls the CY26 or Composite 26. Making her first sea trial was Holly Foster of PropTalk’s advertising sales team. (And yes, of course we insisted she take a turn at the wheel!) The CY26, or Composite 26, built by Composite Yacht in Cambridge, MD, can be designed to accept outboard or inboard power. Photo by Chris D. Dollar Hardy said they didn’t tag the all composite center consoles with “a snazzy name like Predator, or BeastMaster, or whatever,” but then again a boat this good looking can stand on her own without a catchy moniker. A Composite Yacht concept drawn by Mick Price, the CY26 is designed to accept outboard or inboard power. The boat is constructed using a vacuum bagged process and modern structural foam, so she’s lighter than other boats in her class. That means you won’t burn as much fuel getting to the fishing grounds or the raftup. Opt for inboard power, and you sacrifice all-out speed for better fuel economy. I admit the pretty lines, alluring hull color, and fast outboards first drew me in (I’m a guy after all), but after an hour on the CY26, I also appreciate her inner self. Performance-wise the hole shot was smooth, top speed impressive (57.6 mph per GPS), stability excellent, and cruising and idling speed satisfactory. The Carolina flare not only looks sweet, but it also kept us dry. Built with a reverse chine and delta pad running along the keel from just past midship to the stern, it tracked and handled sharp turns with no hint of that annoying hull skid found in some lightweight boats. Yeah, yeah, Dollar but can you fish from her? No doubt. I’d have no problem whatsoever taking this rig offshore, yet wouldn’t feel out of place live lining for rockfish. I could easily maneuver from the helm to the gunwales or bow and back again. I felt no shame dropping a few hints to Rob that we needed another trip to the bluewater to confirm this quality. This boat was equipped with the optional rigging station, bait prep area, and storage compartments that screamed angling functionality. I hate cramped spaces, but stepping down beneath the console into the standup head/shower was comfortable. While I was impressed with almost everything about the boat, what really stood out to me were the smooth ride and firm handling, ample deck space in the stern for landing big fish, and the fit and finish. For example, the T-top’s aluminum was buffed to a mirror finish (frankly I might be a little scared, too nice for me), and the canvas work by Price’s Yacht Canvas was first rate. The electronics (twin Garmin 7212 units) were placed perfectly in the console, and access to wiring and fuses couldn’t have been easier. Not that I have a ton of experience on the subject, but I have worked with a few (relatively) small shop boat builders, and of course have had many conversations with others. One of the best things about the process is that within reason you can tweak what things matter most to you. “We also offer a similar boat in 23 feet, and we’re very close to beginning one in the 32-foot range,” Rob added. Composite Yacht was founded by Martin Hardy, Rob’s father, who was a career boat builder with roots in traditional wooden boat building. “Composite Yacht has embraced modern build materials and techniques from the onset and infused them with the classic designs we all love to provide very strong, durable and lightweight boats that have timeless appeal,” says Rob, who now runs the family business. “Many people are of the mindset that a lightweight boat cannot provide a decent ride, and I’m more than willing to provide sea trials to prove the contrary. Also, as far as I know, we are the only company offering a boat like our 26, an all-Composite, trailerable, Carolina-style boat.” So if you’re in the market for a sharp-looking, well-made, sweet-riding boat capable of handling the Chesapeake and Atlantic with confidence, give Rob a call, check out Composite Yacht on Facebook, or visit compositeyacht.biz Tale of the Tape (as tested) LOA: 26'5" (~30' w/bracket) HP: 200-500 HP; twin 200 Yamahas as tested Beam: 9'6" Draft: 24" Fuel Capacity: Single 200-gallon belly tank Weight: 5500 lbs. Starting Price: $98K Price as tested (including trailer): ~$150K by Captain Chris D. Dollar