The conundrum is common. Dad wants to go fast. Mom wants a nice runabout that is safe, comfortable, and probably most important, quiet. No open exhaust outlets for her or others on the lake, thank you very much. And truth be told, dad wants his family to be comfortable too. Larson's 226 Senza is a great compromise, but if you look closely, it really isn't a compromise at all. And it's competitively priced.
Let's start with dad, because his needs are more basic. With middle-of-the-road power, a 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MPI small-block with a dual-prop Bravo Three drive, Larson claims 55 mph top speeds. However, you can opt for a 320-horse 377 MPI and a single-prop Bravo One drive (single props are faster on the top end, but dual props are more responsive at low and mid speeds). Add a stainless steel propeller and you have a 60 mph boat. But the 226 Senza is no squirrelly handful from behind the wheel. With 21 degrees of deadrise and four full-length-strakes on the running surface, the hull design has what it takes to keep the optional horsepower on track.
The boat weights approximately 3,850 pounds, which also helps keep it planted on the water, but won't require a giant dually diesel to pull it. It measures 22 feet 3 inches long and the usual 8 feet 6 inches abeam. Additionally, it holds 11 people and draws a maximum of 36 inches of water. Oh, and you can get Captain's Call switchable exhaust and a smoked custom windshield too.
OK, dad, you can stop reading. Mom, this next part is for you.
Sitting in the cockpit, you'll feel just like you're lounging in the boat you wanted, even if dad didn't want to go fast. The cockpit features a standard removable dinette table and a nonskid walk-through to the swim platform. When you're not using the walk-through, the center cushion flips down to create a full-width sunpad. You can get an optional extended swim platform, which comes with a boarding ladder. Better opt for the platform mat, too, for extra traction. You also can get optional stern filler cushions, which make for a more private place for sunbathing. Optional snap-in carpeting adds to the warmth of the interior.
In the bow, the 226 Senza features deep seating with stainless steel grab handles for an extra measure of safety, cupholders and loads of stowage under each of the three cushions. It's also nice to know you get pull-up cleats, two at the stern, two amidships and one at the bow. Pull-up cleats are better for kids because they can't stub their toes on them when boarding or debarking, which shows Larson put some thought into how this boat will be used.
If you have older kids, say tweenies or teenagers, you might want to opt for the wakeboard tower, bimini top and the air compressor, which is great for filling up tubes and other inflatable toys (not those kind, dad; I thought I told you to stop reading). Kids of any age also will love the optional bow filler cushion and Sirius satellite radio capability.
It's nice to know there is at least one boat on the market that forges a compromise among the needs of everyone in the family*#8212;yet isn't really a compromise at all. Something sporty, something safe and comfortable, and something teenagers wouldn't mind being seen in with their parents.
Equipped with the 220-horse 5.0-liter V-8, the 226 Senza's base price is $38,183, which includes a trailer. For more information, visit www.larsonboats.com.