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Delta T26

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There was a conversation, perhaps apocryphal, that took place between the authors Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller years ago at a party hosted by a billionaire at his Shelter Island manse. Vonnegut is said to have reminded his friend that the billionaire, a hedge funder, had made more money in one day’s trading than Heller’s seminal novel Catch-22 had made in its entirety of existence. To this prickly observation, Heller responded: “Yes, but I have something he will never have—enough.”

I was reminded of that exchange as I took the wheel of the Delta T26 off the shores of glitzy Manalapan, Florida, one of the richest zip codes in America. The houses here resemble seaside castles as they straddle a spit of land bordering both the ICW and the Atlantic Ocean. And from my test boat, I got a good look at many of them. Not that I particularly cared about the grandeur on display. I was having too much fun of my own.

The T26 is a little jitterbug. With the hammer down, her lone 300-hp Mercury Verado had her zipping across the waves at a screamy 48 knots. At that speed, the wind roared over my head like exhaust from a jet engine. But the boat’s Fusion stereo still blasted The Weeknd’s song “Starboy” clearly as we slalomed through the markers in the ICW en route to Hillsboro Inlet.

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I should say, the music was easy to hear with the Mercury’s exhaust dipped below the surface, which reduces the engine vibrations to a gentle coo. When the engine’s “sport exhaust mode” was engaged, however, the Delta announced herself like a brazen go-fast, the 300 horses loud enough to make the china clatter in the mansions on shore. Choosing to be overtly loud for no specific reason is not something that falls in line with my particular druthers, but hey, whatever blows your hair back.

The T26 has a remarkably clean interface on the dashboard, including two Garmin MFDs complemented by a trim and tidy suede-covered wheel. Zipwake interceptors were within easy reach as well, and are particularly welcome on a boat small enough to have her attitude adjusted by two or three large dudes sitting on the portside gunwale. The helm is protected by an inverted-rake Portuguese windshield, which lends the boat a workboat look that I enjoy. As with all things steeped in Swedish design, form follows function. The inverted glass dries faster after taking spray and soaks up zero volume in the helm space. And to answer an inevitable question, no the windshield will do little to hinder the model’s aerodynamics, as that would really only come into play at speeds cresting 50 knots.

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When we reached the inlet, we were met with a strong current, of which the boat made short work. As we motored out to the Atlantic, I waved with sangfroid at the observers on the jetty who stood with their cameras at the ready hoping to film some waterborne disaster with the makings of a viral video. Not today, suckers!

Out in open water the boat performed with an easy assurance—tight through the turns and solid in the 2- to 3-foot rollers. Her twin-stepped hull designed by the Swede Ted Mannerfelt was particularly laudable as she landed cushion-soft in the troughs.

After a spell I gave up the wheel to the Delta representative on board with me and plopped down on the transom seating. From that vantage point, I admired the neatly laid out cockpit, with its typical Swedish design. Modular furniture makes efficient use of the space with three different seating arrangements available, including forward-facing seating, a sunpad arrangement or seating facing both forward and aft. And the look is understated—as ready for a leisurely cruise in the canals of Stockholm as it is for a mad dash across Biscayne Bay to a chic waterside Miami eatery.

Once tied up on those glitzy docks, the unschooled might suspect the owner of the T26 would be agog at (and maybe a bit jealous of) the sea of larger vessels surrounding it. But then again, the unschooled wouldn’t know that the Delta owner already has everything he needs.

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Specifications:

LOA: 28’8”Beam: 8’5”
Draft: 3’2”
Displ.: 3,968 lbs.
Fuel: 58 gal.
Water: 13 gal.
Cruise speed: 35 knots
Top speed: 53 knots
Power: 1/300-hp or 400-hp Mercury Verado

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