Before we dig into the details of the new MasterCraft X26, let me tell you a true story about a guy I used to know who worked for a tow boat manufacturer. He owned a ski boat from the builder he worked for. No surprise there. But he also owned a large stern-drive, which he called his “go-to-dinner” boat. Why own two runabouts? He understood that a ski boat isn’t necessarily the most comfortable for cruising or entertaining a large group of friends. No, he didn’t work for MasterCraft, but with its new X26, it seems MasterCraft understands that dichotomy.
Yes, the X26 is a V-drive designed for throwing wakes and towing riders. But it’s also designed to be a functional family cruiser. The X26 makes a fine “go-to-dinner boat,” if you will. Let’s begin by looking at its features specific to family cruising and day-boating.
For starters, the X26 can be fitted with an optional head and wet bar. Minus the wet bar, the bulkhead behind the driver, where the sink is located, is fitted with four cupholders. I know of no other tow boat that offers a head as standard or optional equipment, but for cruising and day-boating, sometimes a head is a make-or-break point for a family shopping for new boat.
In standard trim the X26 comes with such niceties as snap-in carpeting, flip-up armrests in the bow, and a billet door under the windshield between the cowls. The bow also is fitted with an anchor locker and two spacious lounges with stowage beneath. The starboard side is especially capacious because it hinges at the top of the back rest, to offer up more stowage space in front of the dashboard.
The cockpit is where the X26 really shows off its capacity for comfort. For example, the two-up observer’s seat features a backrest that hinges fore and aft so passengers can face front or rear. The wraparound lounge is packed with features, from the removable trash bin to its bucket-style outer rear backrests and two removable Igloo coolers. There’s also ample stowage under the cushions, each accessible with dual-action hinges so you can lift them with one hand, but you don’t have to hold them open. It’s a small detail that really makes a difference in ease of use.
I also appreciate the bucket seats on either side of the transom. When not in use, the backrests fold down to create a full width-flat sun pad. At rest, they flip up and provide a comfy spot to watch the kids swimming off the platform.
There are some other interesting options that you wouldn’t normally associate with a tow boat. For example, the X26 is available with a refrigerator, a $2,290 option, and—get this—a bow thruster, which runs $10,940. The head and wet bar are a package, priced at $3,330.
If you consider the boat’s base price is $150,790, then those options add up to a pretty big ticket for the X26, and there are enough options to send this boat over the $200K mark. It’s not often you see this kind of no-expense-spared pricing. That’s a lot of coin for a boat, but what the X26 delivers that a high-end stern drive runabout can’t is the watersports capability that comes only with an inboard. That capability also comes at a price, $22,400 to be exact, for the surf and convenience package.
The package comes with a triple-tank ballast system — 2,800 pounds! — and a ZFT4 tower with port and starboard tow points. The package also includes board racks, a removable pylon, three wake-shaping tabs on the transom, and a premium audio system with a seven-inch touch screen including controls and memory functions. It also includes a boat cover and a Bimini top.
The X26 comes with a lot of sophisticated equipment — more things to break as my dad used to say — but MasterCraft alleviates that caveat with its five years, no fears warranty, which is transferrable to the second owner. So, yes, the boat is expensive. But perhaps not as expensive as buying two new boats, which you might otherwise have to do, to fulfill the multiple needs the X26 can feed.
Other Choices: There aren't many watersports boats built to this level, but another high-priced hotrod is the Super Air Nautique G25. The Malibu Wakesetter 24 MXZ is also quite impressive, and it come with a little less sticker shock. Neither, however, has that head compartment.
For more information, visit MasterCraft.
See MasterCraft X26 listings.
|Fuel capacity||88 gal.|