With the complete dormancy of the once-great Baja line of production-built sportboats, thanks to ongoing legal wranglings of Baja by Fountain, Fountain, and Donzi in Washington, N.C., the go-fast boat powerboat market has been short on affordable new production offerings. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on where you sit, the recession of the last few years has decimated demand to the point where the scarcity of such new products hasn’t really mattered. The used-model supply has filled the void.

A finished deck of the new 26 Convincor from Checkmate Powerboats.

A finished deck of the new 26 Convincor from Checkmate Powerboats.

But with the high-performance market appearing to be, at least in the first half of 2012, making a modest recovery, the demand for entry-level is likely to increase. That could make Checkmate’s release of its much-anticipated 26-foot-long Convincor V-bottom very good, if not absolutely perfect.

“We have five orders for the 26, one with a [Mercury Racing] 525EFI engine, and we’re sold out of production slots on that model through July,” said Doug Smith, the owner of Checkmate in Bucyrus, Ohio, and the founder and former owner of Baja Marine. “We’re very pleased with the reception to it so far.”

Base power for 26 Convincor is a 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2L engine with a Bravo One drive. With that propulsion package, the 26-footer will retail for approximately $80,000. Stern drive engine packages up to the Mercury Racing 525EFI, as well as outboard engine packages, will be offered for the boat.

The 26 Convincor will boast an aggressively styled McLeod interior, as well as a wraparound windshield designed specifically for the boat. Checkmate also recently completed new interior cockpit tooling to expand buyer customization options.

“We built some new fiberglass tooling for the cockpit panels that incorporate grab handles and cupholders, so the people who buy the 26 will be able custom-order interior colors to match their exterior colors,” Smith explained.

Checkmate has stern-drive and outboard-powered models from 18 to 30 feet long, as well as a new “one-off”—at least for now—43-footer currently in production.