There’s just something about a company which continues to develop their boats in tough economic climates. Sensation Boats and Living is one of the few which doesn’t bow to pressure, but instead takes the challenge head on to pursue the exceptional – and the 26 Deck outboard is a true representation of rather adding value over sacrificing with cutbacks.
Admittedly, I’m a bit of a “robust” guy, meaning I can truly appreciate the sheer volume of spaciousness on the Sensation 26 Deck. I had no problem getting comfortable with plenty wiggle room to boot – even when there were six other passengers in the stern with me!
Everything on this boat is made in-house, ensuring strict quality control mixed with the finest of materials and finishings. After melting into the comfortable seating, you may find that a paint scraper is needed to get you back to your feet again!
For me, there are four really stand-out features over and above the vastness of the interior. The large stern and centre seat walk-through lend themselves to the ease and convenience of being on a family boat, and a cavernous storage area is located when lifting the stern seating to allow space for all the water toys. Since you’ll want to spend all day on the water, a private change room with a fitted toilet is sure to come in handy and an uber-plush helm area really makes owning this vessel an absolute pleasure.
Adding to the long list of features you’ll come to appreciate are the rear-facing seat at the stern as well as the built-in basin and tap midship for all of your freshwater needs. There’s also a premium sound system onboard to get the party started, and the option to easily install a cocktail table for a more chilled out vibe. It must be noted that the hand-made non-slip deck is testament to the level of quality in the finishing and suits this craft to perfection.
While there are other outboards on the market with 350 horses or more, Andre van Helsdingen, owner of Sensation Boats and Living is adamant that the long-anticipated outboard version of their 26-foot deck boat has been waiting for a suitable engine to give it the power it deserves. Adding to Suzuki’s claim of the largest displacement in a 350 HP V6 at a massive 4.4-litres, this motor focusses on the raw, low-end brute force rather than a blistering top-speed – making it ideal to push bigger, heavier boats which are usually the playground reserved for inboard motors.
With more torque than I can count bolted onto the transom, I was super excited to see what this boat is capable of. I’ve always been a fan of Sensation boats, so this 26-footer has got some big shoes to fill.
Owed largely to the strictly-controlled vacuum-infusion build process, this craft is relatively light-weight when fighting against comparable size boats. Still, it’s approximately 2 000 kg – and no matter how you look at it, anything with figures like that is going to be commanding – and the 26 Deck doesn’t just claim that title, it relishes in it! Its displacement means it leaves a sizable wake in its path, and doubling back to see how she handles a little of her own medicine, this Sensation sits comfortably smooth. But, while it feels as though you’re perched comfortably on your own island, the hull can be surprisingly nimble – almost to the point that it can baffle the brains. In a more relatable context, imagine a limousine with the agile handling of a sports-car when you need it.
The combination of the Suzuki’s dual-prop for added grip and the low-down grunt means the 26 Deck pops up and onto the plane in a lively 4.2 seconds. Accelerating to full noise (which, might I add, has a very pleasing sporty tone) got the boat up to a decent top speed of 77.5 km/h on the gauge at 5 850 rpm. Closer to everyday skippering at 40 km/h at 3 900 rpm, the outboard sips a modest 33 litres of fuel per hour while the 26 Deck provides a super comfortable cruise on the water.
It’s important to note that all Sensation boats are built strong – something which has been evident on all the models I’ve been on. In fact, the company’s owner, Andre, doesn’t just stands by it, he stood on it – literally! Climbing onto the handmade composite fibre T-top, which Andre is extremely proud of, the over-sized roof easily took his weight without as much as a bend. A disclaimer though; just don’t try this at home – I don’t get paid enough for any type of lawsuit! This level of strength is carried throughout the boat, which is why Sensation is able to offer a limited lifetime hull warranty on all of their craft.
The sturdiness of the hull is evident in its ride, giving no sign of being second-best to any wake. With a turning circle hardly bigger than its own length without cavitation, the 26 Deck really holds its own no matter your style of boating.
There are many reasons to choose any Sensation as your daily boat, but if you’re looking for something which is featurefilled and offers true grace and heap loads of space, you won’t want to miss out on the family-friendly 26 Deck outboard. It’s an incredibly comfy cruiser that offers all the amenities of a home away from a home. The only ‘down side’ I can give this boat is that you’ll need a big car to pull it and an even bigger garage to store it – but, if that’s no issue for you, then this craft is well worth consideration.
Pricing starts at R1.1 million and it really is worth every penny!
For more information contact Sensation Boats and Living on +27 16 366 1630 or 83 545 8514.