This test was in Florida, in 2-4' seas, and ran it @ over 100mph
Revolution Performance Marine 26 Redline PDF | Print | E-mail
Revolution Performance Marine’s 26 Redline doesn’t just move well on the water—it’s priced to move well in the showroom.
If new sport catamaran prices these days don’t have your jaw dropping, you haven’t been shopping for one. Or you have one big and healthy bankroll, in which case, you need to buy two sport cats and send one to your friends at Powerboat magazine. The escalation of prices in the sport-cat realm has been staggering. We’re not saying they’re not worth it—some of these cats are true works of performance art—but any catamaran in the 26- to 32-foot range with four or five seats, no cabin and a $200,000-plus sticker is, by most reasonable definitions, expensive.
That’s why sport-cat buyers on a budget, a relative statement to be sure, should appreciate the 26 Redline from Revolution Performance Marine. With a MerCruiser 496 Mag engine, the base boat rings in at $90,500. And while that’s not exactly chump change, it is inexpensive relative to the market. The model we tested in Fort Myers, Fla., had several upgrades, including a 675-horsepower Ron Sporl engine, that upped the price to $128,950—still on the low end. Yet the boat was anything but.
Conditions on our test day for the 26 Redline were less than ideal. They included sloppy 2- to 4-footers and occasional winds gusting up to 20 mph. Adding to the mix of wind-whipped water was the occasional monster wake from a yacht or fishing boat.
For a 26-footer, the sport cat handled those conditions remarkably well. It did hit hard a couple of times when taking the seas to quarter, and crosswind gusts did push it around ever so slightly, but in head-on and following seas the ride was surprisingly soft and smooth. Plus, thanks to excellent construction quality, the 26-footer felt sturdy when it landed after a few substantial launches.
Accelerating or decelerating, the boat held its course with very little steering input. It also earned high marks in slalom and circle-turn evaluations. “I like its manners—it never leans out at all,” said lead test driver Bob Teague. “Plus, it carves nicely, especially when you’re going fast.”
Thanks to the 675-hp carbureted engine hooked up to a 1.5:1 gear ratio IMCO Marine Xtreme Advantage SC drive with a 36"-pitch lab-finished Bravo One propeller, the 26 Redline was a blast. We weren’t surprised. At our 2007 Performance Trials, the single-engine cat was the fastest one we’ve ever tested with a Mercury Racing HP525EFI engine at 95.1 mph.
With the engine running 5,600 rpm, the latest boat reached 104.4 mph in conditions that were far from ideal for the sport cat. Both of our test drivers said they were sure the boat had another mile per hour or two in it under conditions better suited for speed runs.
The boat accelerated fairly well, reaching 75 mph in 20 seconds from a standing start. In the midrange, the 26-footer ran from 30 to 50 mph in 4.9 seconds and from 40 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.
Come to find out, when putting the boat on the trailer after our tests, the builder discovered that a propeller blade tip had broken off. Not only would that affect top speed, but it would likely lead to slower acceleration speeds, which was reflected in the numbers we saw.
Tooling our lead inspector described as “straight as an arrow” and bright gelcoat graphics gave the 26 Redline plenty of dock appeal. Pearl in the charcoal and red portions of the gelcoat added extra bling, and all the screws holding the aluminum rubrail in place were carefully aligned. Of note, the builder did a particularly fine job applying the rubrail around the hard angles created by the sponsons.
A resin-infusion process was used to create the boat’s hull and engine hatch, and the hull and deck were vacuum-bagged. The catamaran’s lamination schedule included vinylester resin and biaxial and quadraxial fiberglass fabrics. For coring, the builder used a combination of balsa, urethane foam and polypropylene honeycomb coring.
Deck hardware was left to six retractable cleats and a retractable LED navigation light. Three acrylic sections comprised the boat’s windshield, which was installed on the deck without gaps.
Twin screw jacks opened the engine hatch that was outfitted with an optional scoop. To secure the big-block power plant, the builder used through-bolted L-angles. The builder also dedicated serious time and energy to supporting the wiring and plumbing, most of which was hidden from sight.
At just $800, the triple-bucket-style bench seat is an option we’d recommend for the 26 Redline. Without question, separate buckets for each passenger are far more comfortable and reassuring than a conventional bench seat, especially in a sport catamaran that can run faster than 100 mph.
Another option in the 26 Redline we believed was well worth the money was the rectangular berth underneath the boat’s deck. Sure, it added $1,500 to the sticker price but it also added functionality to the boat. Folks probably won’t spend a lot of time there, but a berth is a nice thing to have—without compromising much belowdeck stowage space—when you need it, if for no other reason than to get out of the sun. Plus, for use after dark, the cabin had four LED fixtures.
High-back bucket seats on polished billet stands were provided for the driver and co-pilot. An elliptical stainless-steel grab handle and a glove box were ahead of the co-pilot spot to port.
Snap-in carpet covered the cockpit sole. A separate piece of carpet snapped to the hinged lid for the in-sole stowage locker.
The helm was outfitted with optional Monster gauges from Livorsi Marine. Supplied with silver rims and bezels, the gauges were mounted in a carbon-fiber panel and arranged in a horseshoe pattern around an IMCO Marine tilt helm with an Isotta steering wheel. The throttle and shifter also were from Livorsi.
The 26 Redline was, without question, a lot of sport catamaran for the money. It boasted top-notch construction, excellent cockpit layout and strong performance. For the price, you’ll have a hard time finding anything as good, much less better.