Ebbtide 2600: Powerboat Performance Report
Ebbtide 2600: Fine detail work meets bracing performance.
Plugs for the mold of the Ebbtide 2600, the latest offering from the White Bluff, Tenn., boatbuilder, were made using a computer-controlled, five-axis router. That’s high-tech stuff, the kind that’s still less-than-common in the powerboat world. But when it came to outfitting the midcabin, open-bow model, company principal Tom Trabue and his team did it the old-fashioned way. They asked themselves what features they wanted most in a versatile package, and dressed the 2600 accordingly.
The result is a model that lacks for nothing—and offers more than a few pleasant surprises. Almost every horizontal surface on the boat, for example, including the deck above the midcabin and the jumbo add-on swim platform, is set up with snap-in carpet. In essence, that makes the 2600 a giant sun pad that’s kind to bare feet. And there’s more. Much more.
Trabue is a sports car aficionado—he’s currently in the long process of restoring a vintage Porsche. He carries his passion for performance machines, without going over the top, into the runabout world. Make no mistake, Trabue cares about creature comforts. But he cares just as much about pleasing drivers.
To this end, Ebbtide outfitted the deep-V, 26-footer with a 425-hp 496 Mag HO engine from MerCruiser. That’s the most powerful engine offered for the boat, which in base form comes with a 350 Mag MPI. A Bravo One drive with 1.5:1 gear reduction and a lab-finished Mercury Mirage 14 5/8″ x 23″ three-blade stainless-steel propeller put the power to the water.
Top speed for the 2600 was 61.4 mph with the engine turning 4,950 rpm, which is swift for any family-targeted boat and a dividing line of sorts between the runabout and performance-boat worlds. Thanks to its consistent stability and excellent tracking, the 2600 rides that line quite nicely.
It would help if Ebbtide installed insulation under the engine hatch to help quiet the substantial EFI hiss, which was quite audible in the cockpit.
The 2600 turned crisply, which was particularly welcome news given its three-blade wheel. A four-blade prop might have improved the boat’s cornering bite slightly—not that there was much room for improvement—but it also might have kept the boat from cracking 60 mph.
We tested the 2600 during a busy afternoon on Sarasota Bay. Sea conditions were light, less than 1 foot of chop and minimal wind, but there were plenty of cruiser wakes coming from all directions. Through it all, the 2600 rode softly.
Given that our test boat was the second 2600 Ebbtide had produced, we expected it to be a little rough around the edges. We were wrong.
Mold work was smooth, the optional two-tone graphics exhibited a good shine and crisp separation, and installation of the rubrail was excellent. Lay-up materials included knitted and woven fiberglass, as well as vinylester resin.
With six Accon Pull-Up cleats to choose from, owners shouldn’t have any trouble finding places to tie up when it’s time for docking. Equally abundant and well placed were stainless-steel grab handles for passengers. The walk-through windshield even had a wiper on the driver’s side.
And when was the last time you saw a midcabin with one, much less two, Bomar deck hatches? It’s worth repeating: Ebbtide missed nothing when it came to amenities on the 2600.
An electric screw jack raised the engine, and access to the big-block power plant was good. In common production-boat fashion, the engine was lag-bolted into place.
To maximize seating in the 2600′s cockpit, Ebbtide outfitted it with a U-shape lounge that ran from behind the co-pilot’s bucket seat to the molded outdoor galley, with a cold-water sink and a draining cooler, behind the driver’s bucket. With support bars that fit into recesses and a filler cushion, in the lounge base, the entire lounge converted into a big sun pad.
To make it easy for passengers to travel between the platform and the cockpit, Ebbtide made the center cushion for the rear sun pad removable.
The co-pilot’s and driver’s bucket seats had flip-up bottom sections to improve forward visibility when necessary. The helm station was on the starboard side of the boat, and it was outfitted with an array of gauges, tilt steering and a Mercury throttle-and-shifter unit. All of the silver-faced gauges were mounted in black panels, which gave the helm a sport boat look and feel.
Headroom in the midcabin, which had two facing lounges, was exceptional. A filler-cushion system converted the lounges to a berth that would be ideal for kids. Other strong features included wood-grain veneers for all the cabinetry and a removable pedestal-mounted dinette.
Thanks to the previously noted deck hatches, two portholes and two entryways, natural lighting and ventilation in the cabin were as good as they get. And if that isn’t enough for you, the boat can be ordered with an air-conditioning system, as well as a microwave oven. Believe it or not, there’s space enough for both.
Depth of the lounges in the open-bow was better than average, and there were lockers for gear under the bottom cushions. Thanks to a dedicated locker on the nose, none of those spaces will be taken up by an anchor and line. Other amenities in the open bow included stainless-steel grab handles and cupholders in gunwale recesses. Like the gunwales in the cockpit, those up front were well padded.
At $79,000, the 2600 is Ebbtide’s most expensive offering. Shop around a little bit for a boat in this class and you’ll find that price is anything but high. In fact, it qualifies as a bargain, especially when you consider everything included in this boat. Add that it’s uncommonly fun to drive, and you’re looking at a steal.
Hull and Propulsion Information
|Deadrise at transom||24 degrees|
|Hull weight||5,200 pounds|
|Engine||MerCruiser 496 Mag HO|
|Lower-unit gear ratio||1.5:1|
|Propeller||Lab-finished Mercury Mirage Plus 14 5/8″ x 23″|
|Price as tested||$79,799|
Options on Test Boat
Upgrade to MerCruiser 496 Mag HO engine ($16,214), Captain’s Call exhaust ($1,783), extended swim platform ($1,292), cockpit cover ($792), swim platform carpet kit ($567), full hullside gelcoat ($492), wraparound bench filler ($425), wash down system ($417) and transom trim switch ($117).
|5 seconds||18 mph|
|10 seconds||21 mph|
|15 seconds||34 mph|
|20 seconds||46 mph|
|20-40 mph||7.2 seconds|
|30-50 mph||10 seconds|
Rpm vs. Mph
|Radar||61.4 mph at 4950 rpm|
|GPS||60.5 mph at 4950 rpm|
|Time to plane||5.1 seconds|
|Minimum planing speed||18 mph|
|At 25 mph||2.4 mpg|
|At 35 mph||2.7 mpg|
|At 45 mph||2.4 mpg|
|At 55 mph||1.8 mpg|
|At WOT||1.7 mpg|
|Fuel capacity||110 gallons|
|Wind speed||4-6 mph|
|Sea conditions||6″ to 1′ chop|
For More Information
2545 Jones Creek Road
White Bluff, TN 37187